10 December 2008

LES BRASSINS - Brussels




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

1 comment:

reglambrecht said...

Je confirme la bonne adresse: sympa, rapide, familial, pas cher, chaleureux