30 July 2009
LE GRILL DU VIEUX BOITSFORT, Brussels
It is with great pleasure that I went to 'Le Grill du Vieux Boitsfort' (opened in 1993) again after my first visit 4 years ago, when I was there for a business dinner and I left with the expectation to go back again and pay more attention to the food, the service and the place.
This 'brasserie bourgeoise', which is placed in the middle of Boitsfort - a green neighbourhood that really looks like the central square of a small village - is a convivial and welcoming place whose very Flemish-like rustic decoration seems to have been directly pulled from 'Flamant', the famous furniture store (big white counter, elegant brown and orange painted strips on the walls, etc.).
The place, run by restaurateurs Philippe and Nadine Gillet (runners of other restaurants such as Au Vieux Boitsfort, Mamy Louise and Table de Mamy), and who were once awarded with a Michelin star, prepares classic, somewhat foreseeable brasserie style dishes, but quite tasty and with an innovative touch.
Starters may include the unavoidable 'fondus aux deux fromages' (cheese croquettes), the 'salade de pommes de terre à la ciboulette et boudin blanc grillé' (potato salad with a white sausage typical from Belgium), the 'croquettes de petites grises' (shrimp croquettes), but also things such as the 'saucisson de Lyon aux pistaches et pommes nouvelles aux échalotes' (sausage from Lyon with pistaccio, potatos and oignons) or the 'œuf poché la moelle et croûtons frits à l’ail' (smashed egg with garlic bread dies).
However, I strongly recommend to try the 'tartare de thon et roquette au vieux parmesan et fleur de sel'. The mix of the tuna with the rocket is very well balanced and the salt grains found in the mixture add a very tasty final touch without the whole becoming too salty.
Some good examples of classic brasserie with a refined style are proposed among the mains : 'poêlée de filets de bar aux pâtes fraîches, beurre de tomate à l’estragon et olives' (sea-bass), 'blanc de cabillaud, stoemp de poireaux et crème de ciboulette' (cod), 'jambonneau rôti au four, mousseline moutardée à la ciboulette' (quite decent indeed!), 'andouillette de Chédeville "5A" grillée sauce dijonnaise' (typical French sausages) or the 'cuisse de canard confite, persillade et mijoté de lentilles du Puy' (duck).
If you are still hungry, do not hesitate to order the typical dessert in this place, that is, a 'trio of chocolat mousses'. It is really caloric (a lot!) but it is a delicious composition of black, light black and white chocolate... and you don't eat this everyday, do you?
The service is clean and attentive but not enthusiastic (it even seems a bit tired from time to time), even if the cook, Daniel Lopes, who works in an open kitchen, seems to have a good time while cooking.
However, I found that Le Grill du Vieux Boitsfort has two downsides: 1) The music. I really believe that the place could be a more pleasent restaurant if the radio was simply switched off and some jazz or a similar music style was played instead and; 2) The chairs. Why most chairs in brasseries are so rigid and unconfortable?
The place is mentioned in the (Michelin) Bib Gourmand Guide Benelux 2009, which gathers the best finding combining price and quality, but despite of the more than acceptable quality of this place, I would not put this restaurant it in the same basket containing names such as 'Notos' or 'De la Vigne à l'Assiette', which are a step further than 'Le Grill du Vieux Boitsfort'.
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