Tag Archives: restaurant

Foodie Fridays – Brussels in Loft

How cool is this idea? A pop up restaurant designed by the owner of Le Show Room with top European chefs. And they throw in some live music to top it all off!

Brussels in Loft

Brussels in Loft, organized by Open Kitchen, is a temporary restaurant set up for eight days at the end of March / early April. The concept was first launched last year with local chefs (including a good friend!) and musicians. For this second round the hosts have invited pop up restaurants chefs from across Europe. Each evening will have a different city theme from Lisbon to Prague and several places in between.

Brussels in Loft

Tickets are 60€ per person and there are only 40 places available for each night. It’s not quite clear from the website what you get for your money, but I’m assuming the best and expecting a few courses and some decent wine.

Brussels in Loft

I’ve bought tickets with friends for the dinner on 5 April which will feature two German chefs, Max and Felix. They run the Reinstoff restaurant in Berlin that has two Michelin stars so I’m sure we’ll be in for a treat! The music will be courtesy of Marie Warnant, who has her third electro album coming out in March. This isn’t exactly my style, but I’m sure it will make for some interesting entertainment over dessert.

Hope to see some of you there!

Images via Brussels in Loft.

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Foodie Fridays – El Turco

If you work in the Place Luxembourg area, you are likely already familiar with El Turco. Having just started a new job in the neighborhood, it was a welcome discovery after years of cafeteria eating. Located on Rue du Trone just around the corner from Place de Londres, El Turco is a cross between a high-quality deli, restaurant and bar. Similar to others in my office, I’ve quickly become a fan, stopping by at least once a week.

As the name suggests, the food (and I’m assuming the owner as well) is Turkish. Laid out in a self-service buffet, the various cold and hot dishes change daily and offer a wide variety of choice. The website describes the food as “Mediterranean cuisine with Ottoman influences”. Sounds pretty good to me.

El Turco Brussels

I’m partial to the humus, grilled aubergine, fresh salads and usually go for one of the hot dishes, like chicken or lamb on the side. They also have delicious prepared items like feta cheese in pastry and vegetable tarte which are hard to resist. They even have typical Turkish bread like you would find sold on the streets of Istanbul.

Once you’ve filled your plate, or take-away box, and reached the cash register, the payment is simple – the cost is based on weight. They have a selection of drinks and a few desserts to choose from as well. If you decide to eat in, you can always go back for seconds, which is tempting as everything I’ve tried to date has been delicious. In total, I usually pay around €10, depending on how hungry I am on a particular day. 🙂 Not cheap for lunch, but worth every bite.

El Turco Brussels

If you’re looking for something different for a meeting (who else never wants to see an open-faced sandwich again?), El Turco offers catering and lunchbox delivery. The cold mezze buffet is €12 per person, with a supplement of €3 per person for hot food. The lunchbox is a pretty good deal at €9 per person, which includes 5 cold mezze and 2 warm dishes (minimum of 5 boxes for delivery).

The kitchen is open all week for lunch and also for dinner from Wednesday to Friday. There’s currently a special deal running for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights – an all you can eat buffet for €20. They also can open on Monday and Saturday nights for group reservations (minimum 30 people).

El Turco Brussels

As mentioned, El Turco also has a bar, which is located in the back of the restaurant (or via Place de Londres entrance). I’ve not yet gone for an after work drink, but it would be a good place to stop between the office and the metro after a long day. They have live music on Friday nights to liven the mood. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Afiyet olsun! (That’s bon appetit in Turkish, at least according to Google translate :))

73 Rue du Trone (6 Place de Londres), 1050 Ixelles
Tel: +32 2 503 3648
Open: Kitchen – Monday to Friday, 11am-3pm, Wednesday to Friday, 6-10pm; Bar – Tuesday to Friday, 5pm to late

Images via El Turco.

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Foodie Fridays – Chou

Last week a group of kind work contacts invited me for lunch at Chou on Place de Londres. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as sometimes work lunch type places in Brussels can leave a little to be desired. However, my hopes were raised when I heard that it was a favorite of theirs to take clients and organize events. It turned out to be very good indeed, and worth the journey through the snow.

Situated on a little square between Rue du Trône and Chaussée de Wavre, Chou (not to be confused with Le Chou de Bruxelles) is a tiny space with no more than 10 tables in an intimate setting. According to the video on their website, the whole idea behind the restaurant is ‘transparency’ – the chairs are transparent, the kitchen is open and you can see through the floor into the wine cellar. This is off-set with rustic wood tables and dark panelled walls, making it cozy yet modern.

Restaurant Chou Brussels

Chou was opened by French chef Dominique Aubry in 2007 and offers a set 3-course menu for €45. This menu instant is described as the ‘chef’s inspiration’  and was my pick for lunch that day. There are other menu options with higher price tags and wine pairings as well.

The service started out with a little amuse-bouche, which in my opinion is a sign of good things to come. The first course was two huge scallops perfectly cooked with a mushroom puree – two of my favorite things on one plate. Happy so far.

Restaurant Chou Brussels

Next came the main course of duck and a medley of vegetables and other interesting accompaniments (I can’t remember exactly what they were so please refer to the above picture. I think the orange puree was pumpkin or possibly carrot. In any case, yummy). And a flower petal and mousse make everything taste better, n’est-ce pas? I ate every bite.

Then the dessert. A trio of chocolate mousse, mini cheesecake and vanilla ice cream. All delicious and light enough not to feel stuffed from lunch. Coffee came with a generous selection of petits fours which I couldn’t resist tasting.

Restaurant Chou Brussels

The wait-staff was extremely friendly and welcoming, and was just attentive enough during the meal. Now I know €45 is expensive for a mid-day meal, but if someone else is footing the bill (e.g. your employer) I would highly recommend it. Otherwise, go in the evening for a special dinner, as the food is truly of gourmet quality.

Thanks to the very generous colleagues/friends who introduced me to Chou. It was a lovely meal in a perfect setting on a cold day!

Wishing you a good weekend and happy eating!

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Foodie Fridays – Le Coriandre

Time for another restaurant review! Last weekend we forewent the usual Thanksgiving meal madness (cooking for two days, a turkey too big for the oven, etc) and went out for a lovely meal with friends. Looking for somewhere we hadn’t been before, we elected to give Le Coriandre in Watermael-Boitsfort a try.

Tucked on a side street near the maison communale, Le Coriandre is a tiny restaurant with only about 10 tables. You might miss it completely with its small entrance and shaded windows, but the interior is bright yet cozy, refined yet relaxed. As a group of 6, we were seated in a semi-private area in the back, which was nice but just a little too close to the open kitchen (next time I would ask for one of the round tables nearer the front).

Le Coriandre Brussels

After ordering aperitifs, we had a look at the menu which included a limited but intriguing choice of starters and main dishes. You can order a la carte or choose from one of the fixed menus (3, 4 or 5 courses) – the options for the menus are the same as the a la carte. Almost all of us went for the 3 course menu, which is a great deal at €39 (plus €15 for wine pairings).

Le Coriandre 1

We were offered a series of amuse-bouches, including a delicious pumpkin soup. My first course was scallops (coquilles Saint-Jacques) served with delicate potatoes and an herb sauce that the waitress poured on at the table. Next came the main dish – amazing! I chose the venison (€10 supplement), which unlike in some restaurants, was very elegantly plated with pumpkin puree, grilled onions and cranberries. It was absolutely beautiful and I ate every bite!

Le Coriandre 2

Then came dessert – an out-of-this world lime tarte (doesn’t it look like some strange planet?). The little sticks are actually meringue drizzled with sauce. The best part was a little dish of home-made white chocolate ice cream. It was literally heaven on earth! And if that wasn’t enough, coffee came with a very generous serving of petits fours which we gobbled up.

Le Coriandre 3

So what’s the verdict? I’m sure it’s clear by now. This place was great – wonderful food, good service and lovely atmosphere. I would definitely recommend Le Coriandre for a night out with friends or a special occasion. Although the menu is a good price, with drinks and wine the total was around €80 per person.

The restaurant has a couple of unique offerings as well, such as cooking classes on Saturday mornings and a special catered (traiteur) Christmas menu for €50 per person.

Happy eating!

21 Rue Middelbourg, 1170 Watermael-Boitsfort
Tel: +32 2 672 45 65

Image via Eating.be.

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