20 December 2008

LOLA - Brussels

Opened more than a decade ago, Lola is a cosmopolitan and contemporary place in the middle of the very elegant Sablon.

Lola is also a concept about a stylish, elegant, beautiful black young woman that you would imagine behind the kitchen burners whistling while cooking, fully in love with her boyfriend, serving the tables with grace, a woman that represents the happy side of life, the kind of woman you would like to write a song about if you were a musician...

In a less poetic mood, however, Lola's magic recipe for success is a continued and balanced combination between the quality of the food, the freshness of the products, the creation of new executions and a dose of innovation (when needed), an good offer of wines (good to know that white one is always served the perfect temperature here!), the attentive service and... above all, the regularity through the years and a very well-defined personality.

Indeed, Lola is one of those places where you would like to invite your friends, your relatives, your most beloved visits to Brussels, and you would still be never tired to try once and again.

As far as the starters are concerned, Lola proposes some reminiscent plates from the best brasserie tradition like the 'croquettes de crevettes grises' and a hint of Asian food like the 'tempura de scampi sauce aigre-douce'.

However, a visit to this place should be the opportunity to taste the typically Lolan 'tourelle de crabe, remoulade de céleri rave et tomates sechées' or the 'salade gourmande de haricots verts au foie gras'.

The mains are even greater : 'cabillaud rôti, parmentier au cerfeuil, émulsion de poireaux au beurre de ferme', 'filet de bar au lait d'amandes, risotto aux champignons des bois', or the 'fricassée de volaille aux morilles, tagliatelles', 'cuisse de canard confite aux lentilles vertes de Puy'.

Do not try to go to Lola without booking!

Rating : 7.2/10

14 December 2008


Taules del Món (Tables of the World) was born a month ago with the intention to become a gateway to gastronomy in Belgium and provide useful information of good restaurants from all over the world.

Although the main idea was more to focus on gastronomy than on culinary aspects, many of you have shown an interest for the blog to provide relevant food information i.e. recipes, too.

In order to enable this, please do not hesitate to send your recipes, comments, ideas, photos and anything you might wish to share at the following e-mail address:


Enjoy Taules del Món, a haven of taste and pleasure !


10 December 2008


Placed in a back street of Ixelles, Les Brassins is a classic 'estaminet' (word used in the Northern departments of France and Belgium to describe the 'small cafe on the corner'), furnished with wooden chairs and tables (not very comfortable, I must admit) and old liquor and tobacco tin plates on the wall (Kwak, Palm, Bastos, Sandeman, Oude Hasselt Feyten Genever, Bière des Houillières and Spa, just to mention some of them).

It is also a culinary institution in Brussels (even if I discovered it just a month ago) where food is made with the heart!

The restaurant is a genuine, simple and unpretentious place gathering all sorts of herds, but with a majority of young, informal and slighlty 'alter-mondialiste' style people of all nationalities whose main idea is to have a great moment in couple or with the colleagues while repeating once and again (as it is clear that most of clients are recidivists!) the excellent home-made style, Belgian cuisine of this tiny, iconic place.

A true experience at Les Brassins starts with the unavoidable taste of one of the 40 excellent Belgian beers available at the counter (by the way, sometimes this is going to be the best way to wait before you are given a free table in this often crowded place).

Once with the menu in your hands you will immediately realise that the list of proposals is not very extensive and that some big stars of the classic Belgian cuisine such as 'moules et frites' or 'jambonneau' are missing.

However, it will not take you that much either to realise that the size of the menu is just a minor detail if we compare it with the quality of the food. You will certainly experience some difficulties when trying to choose between one of the best 'carbonnades à la flamande' in town (slightly sweet thanks to the beer sauce), an excellent 'onglet de boeuf aux echalottes', a home-made 'boulettes sauce tomate', a true 'soupe d'oignon' or simply when ordering my favourite : a 'boeuf simple face' (a medium cooked beef steak coated with a thin layer of mustard, smashed onions and parsley...).

As in many other places, French fries (beware that French fries always came from Belgium, not France!) are happy here to accompany the main orders.

However, it is fair to point out that French fries here are not taken out from an industrial bag stored in the freezer before being put into a fryer, but rather peeled and sliced manually, which not only makes a real difference in the taste, but which is also the pride of the waitress!

You will realise that Les Brassins serves low salty food.

Still hungry? Do not hesitate to have (or share!) a 'moelleux au chocolat', a delicious home-made dessert with chocolate drops overflowing the spoon...

As far as the service is concerned, it's all about young, kind and ready to listen waitresses here. By the way, one of them, a graphic designer during the day, told me she is currently giving a lift to the website (http://www.lesbrassins.com/) and mentioned that this tiny restaurant receives good critics from newspapers from around the world such as The NY Times from time to time.

Les Brassins is mentioned in the Guide du Routard 2008. Take away service available.

Rate: 6.4/10

03 December 2008


Located in the popular district of Marolles (behind the Palais of Justice), this is an unavoidable must, a mythic restaurant in the world of genuine Belgian brasseries whose lively and unpretentious atmosphere makes of any guest a happy person.

Just next to the entrance, the view from the street of a crowded kitchen full of pots and pans and the restless ups and downs of the cooks (including chef Thierry Courtois) preparing sauces, mounting plates or baking 'jambonneaux' provides a hint of what we will enjoy at the table later on.

This place, which once shifted from blue plastic tablecloth to yellow paper one (considered to be a major change), is a true success story both before and after its not-that-recent reopening (a 'lourd contrôle fiscal' kept it shut for a while), and even after a younger generation (headed by Jeanine Van Avermaet-Van den Hende) took it over from the founders.

Well, my friend Olivier would argue that, apart from the change in the tablecloth, the mentioned control did provide other significant changes to the restaurant as the portions of 'jambonneau' were significantly shrinked... Our discussion on this important issue remains open...

Nevermind, the Stekerlapatte ('freshwater fish' in brusseleir, the local Brussels dialect), a restaurant to which I might have been around fifteen times (!?!), is a funny option and a good place to go when receiving guests not started with Belgian brasseries, a place where you might wish to stop before heading home after a film in the cinema, a concert, an exhibition, or simply when looking for a tasty meal without having to think too much, perhaps late on a Friday night after a stressing working day.

Every option in the menu is a great treat and the identity card of the real Belgian cuisine, that of the people, the one that really identifies and summarises the country the best.

So, do not hesitate to try any of the following masterpieces! : 'demi-poulet de grain rôti à la bruxelloise flambée à la fine champagne, crème sauce aux champignons', the 'daurade royale grillée, beurre d'anchois, olive oil and pommes nature', the 'nage aux trois poissons et scampi, pommes nature, rouille et croutons', the 'magret de canard rôti aux échalotes, à la sauce de pamplemousse, miel et gingembre', the 'côtes d'agneau, tomates grillées, sauce béarnaise, haricots verts étuvés au beurre, stoemp aux carottes, miel et amandes', the 'onglet de bœuf poêlé aux échalotes entières fondues au beurre', the 'steak tartare "minute", either prepared or not, petite salade verte, pommes frites', the 'bloempanch à la bruxelloise: large tranche de boudin noir poêlée, pommes de quartiers caramélisées'...

...even if Stekerlapatte is reknown by a star dish prepared like anywhere else and this is the famous, the unique, the great, the incredible 'jambonneau entier rôti au four, à la crème sauce moutarde en grains et pommes rissolées' a real delight and a decent gateway to culinary Belgium!

If Stekerlapatte had to disappear again, Brussels would probably remain a great place to have fun while discovering new places and eating delicious plates but I presume it would certainly lose one of its most iconic references.

Stekerlapatte is also a good place for concerts. Styles as varied as folk, jazz, cabaret, French music... are often performed on the first floor on Fridays night and on weekends.


Rating: 6.5/10