Last weekend I finally made it to Jaloa. I’ve lived in Brussels for over a decade and, as you may know from this blog, I love food, but for some reason had never managed to have dinner here until now. Jaloa recently received its first Michelin star so it seemed like the perfect place to enjoy an anniversary dinner with the husband.
Located at the end of Quai aux Briques near the canal, Jaloa is slightly off the beaten track. Metro stop Sainte-Catherine is conveniently close by, or they offer valet parking if you decide to drive. The building is composed of a wing of a 17th century house and the last remnant of the convent of the Holy Cross dating back to the 15th century, with a redesigned, modern interior. The dinning space is divided between a front and back room, with an open kitchen in between.
We were seated in the back room with a view of owner-chef Colin Gaëtan and the open kitchen, which they’ve somehow managed to make extremely quiet yet visible through glass. In total the restaurant seats about 30, with the option to have a private party of 25.
Having read about Jaloa before, I knew that there is no a la carte service, only fixed menus. However, the husband did not know and was a bit lost when the waiter brought us an aperitif and amuse-bouche with no sign of a menu. Eventually someone came by the table to explain the concept – option of a “surprise” four, six or nine course meal (all available with wine pairings). The waiter explained the main ingredients in each dish but left the preparation as the surprise.
As this was a special occasion, and we hadn’t had much for lunch, we went for the six-course menu with wine pairings. We started out with two fish courses, both excellently prepared with good wine choices. The meat course was composed of various parts of a wild pig, delicious and beautifully prepared.
Before dessert we enjoyed a generous serving from the cheese cart (my favorite part!). It was clear that all the ingredients were of the highest quality and the presentation well considered. The one disappointment was the petit-four, which are usually a great treat with coffee in a restaurant of this type.
Overall the meal was superb, but I’m not totally convinced this is a true 1 star Michelin restaurant compared to others that I have tried. There was something lacking in the service, but we had a very enjoyable and delicious meal nonetheless. I hope to go back again someday and also try Jaloa’s sister restaurant (The Brasserie) that’s just down the street.
4 Quai aux Barques, 1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 513 1992
Open: Monday to Sunday, 12-2pm and 7-9:30pm, closed Saturday lunchtime and Monday lunchtime.