25 April 2009

KOKOB, Brussels

Once upon a time there was an Ethiopian engineer, his Belgian - Moroccan friend and a Belgian partner who decided to open an Ethiopian restaurant in the centre of Brussels. That was 2 years ago.

Since then, this lively, colourful, original, and trendy place, which has wisely enough avoided the (too easy) temptation to open an ethnic appealing place with plenty of masks and arrows of invented tribes on the walls, is always full with a clientele in their late 20's and above ready to have fun and to discover a world of exciting tastes and flavours while entering in the sensuality of the black continent.

Kokob, which translates as 'raising star' in Ethiopian, is a true star in the current Brussels' resto scene, an absolutely must go even for those who may be a bit reluctant to taste unknown African food or eating with... the hands !

If this is the first time you go to the restaurant, just let you guide by the service, who may perfectly propose to start with an aperitif made of rum, pineapple juice and hibiscus flower while waiting to be given a table, to follow with a discovery menu made of some meat dishes and some vegetable dishes (you will be served a random combination of either lamb, chicken or beef depending of the mood of the chef unless otherwise stated), and finish with an Ethiopian coffee.

The discovery menu consists in a series of small dishes the content of which is delicately spooned on the injera (a staple bread made of teff, a cereal similar to the millet) laying on the bottom of a big plate in which, following the Ethiopian tradition, everybody helps oneself.

To eat the dishes, pieces of injera (served in a side basket) are torn off and used to grab the food. All the dishes served in the discovery menu may be eaten together, so you may combine some yellow lentils with a home-made white cheese, a bit of salad with fried cubed chicken with spicy spinach, stewed cabbage and potato with chopped beef and curcuma, etc.

The service is friendly, efficient, kind, smiley, and always ready to advise the customer on how to get the best of the menu, how to tear off the injera, and to explain how the Ethiopians eat their food. By the way, the service has no complex in introducing the first injera crêpe into the mouth of the client to show him/her how it works...

Apart from being a restaurant, Kokob also organises concerts, photo exhibitions and other cultural events (not only about Ethiopia).

Finally, interesting to know that although the food is heated and the dishes finished in the open kitchen that you see at the end of the room, the food is made by female Ethiopian cooks during the day, as most stews may take long hours to prepare.

Do not go without booking!

For more information, please visit http://www.kokob.be/

Rating : 7/10


It is clear that my colleague Florence Paquay is a lover of Japanese food and restaurants and that she even seems to become the reference of this kind of food in 'Taules del Mon'...

Please find below her impressions about a new franchise of Japanese food that recently opened in Brussels and that she has (no doubt about this!) already discovered.

Do not hesitate to add your comments at the bottom of this e-mail or to send them at taules.del.mon@gmail.com

A new sushi place opened a while ago on avenue Louise 144, B-1050 Brussels: http://www.sushishop.be

I never tried the restaurant, which is always full, but did try the delivery services for lunch recently: very easy on-line order, quick delivery (within the hour, the promise was kept!) and the sushis & sashimis were simply delicious and fresh.

They have a huge variety of products for all tastes and unusual savours like beef tartar sushi, foie gras & figs California rolls, etc.

The Sushi Shop delivers in: 1000 Brussels, 1040 Etterbeek, 1050 Ixelles & 1060 Saint-Gilles. Creating your account & ordering just takes a few minutes.

Deliveries 7/7 (except Sunday noon): 11.00 - 14.30 & 18.00 - 23.00

Florence Paquay

16 April 2009

P.A. & Co., Stockholm, Sweden

You may believe that Stockholm is the capital of that welfare state placed in the middle of the European Nordics whose blond, tall and fit population only drive Volvos and Saabs, stare in front of the TV watching the Nobel awards ceremony, enjoy commenting the royal family gossips, are able to screw and unscrew thousands of times the same IKEA do-it-yourself furniture and support their ice-hockey national team, the whole of it admired and respected while having a shot of Absolut Vodka (or two!) and listening to ABBA hits. You may also think that there is nothing to eat up there...

Surprise, this is not exactly the case!

Believe it or not, Stockholm is a great city to eat and to have fun (at the same time), a town with plenty of lively restaurants and a good choice of atmospheres, cuisines and prices. As The New York Times put it in an article, ‘Stockholm’s restaurant scene is overheated’...

A short recent visit to this beautiful city was enough to realise that people like going out (a lot!) regardless on whether they go to a recently opened place or to a well known address, on whether the restaurant is in the trendy, elegant Östermalm or in the somewhat bohemian neighbourhoods of Södermalm and Kungsholmen, and whether it is a mainstream address with wi-fi internet connection and some couches to lay on with the lap-top or a posh Michelin starred restaurant with clients aged 50 and more with a shiny Porsche waiting at the door.

For those who would not expect it or simply do not know it, please bear in mind that Sweden and Norway are the countries where most of the recently awarded cooks in well known international contests come from.

In my opinion, this is certainly not because these cooks may be able to only prepare eels, salmons and herrings like anybody else in the world, which is indeed true, but because of their creativity and their confidence in providing something different and tasty yet remaining well rooted to their culture and culinary sources.

Such creativity blossoms a bit everywhere in town, not just in restaurants like the well known "Sturehof", the "Riche", the "Muggen" (a midday informal café with wooden tables and candles everywhere serving simple and a bit too cooked yet tasty pasta and a glass of Jacob’s Creek shiraz – cabernet, the same place where Stieg Larsson advised to have lunch in his bestseller ‘Millenium’), the "Brunnsgatan 1", the "Gondolen", the "Grill", the "Kungsholmen" and "The Veranda" (Grand Hotel), but also the "Mathias Dahlgren", the only Swedish restaurant to have ever been awarded a two Michelin stars ("Edsbacka krog" was the first one). By the way, the chef Mathias Dahlgren is only 40!

"PA & Co." was discovered absolutely by chance when a blond woman clerly in her late fifties and with a hint of Pippi Langstrumpf hippyness stopped pedalling her bicycle next to me in the middle of the street and asked me if I needed some help. The map I was handling may have given her the impression that I was lost.

When I told her I was looking for a restaurant where I could try good Swedish specialities she immediately recommended to head to the somewhat hidden "PA & Co.", an informal place with a clubby atmosphere, small tables and wooden chairs, a couple of chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, a lot of candles (remember we are in Sweden!), a single board with the menu on the wall (only in Swedish), and filled with a clientele ranging from cool intellectuals to media, literature and fashion types.

The reindeer terrine covered with bacon on a mushroom sauce and lingonberry jam, smashed potatoes and sliced cucumbers in a side dish might not be a very original choice if you are a Sweed, but it was very very good! (as was the starter - fish eggs on a crispy potato basis -, the jazzy music and the service).

Do not try to go without booking.

Rating: 6.5/10

08 April 2009


My colleague Florence Paquay recently visited MITSUI, one of the best, yet unpretentious, Japanese restaurants in Brussels, and wanted to share her experience with Taules del Mon.

MITSUI is the first Japanese restaurant appearing in this blog.

Visité par hasard un dimanche soir, le Mitsui Teppan Yaki est situé derrière la place du Châtelain, rue de Prévot 86 à 1050 Bruxelles.

Accueil chaleureux, service impeccable et souriant, les sashimi mix et makis au thon étaient très frais et tout simplement délicieux. Choix de vins à prix très abordables (nous avons pris le Pinot Noir frais).

Le restaurant était bien rempli un dimanche soir, donc mieux vaut réserver par téléphone au 02/534.09.53 (ouvert 7/7). Il y a la possibilité de réserver autour des plaques de cuisson afin de profiter du spectacle, un kimono vous sera alors prêté.

Le parking dans le quartier n'est pas toujours aisé dans cette rue à sens unique.


Florence Paquay