21 July 2009

TOUCAN, Brussels

Everytime I walked down Av. Lepoutre / Chaussée. de Waterloo I used to look into this glamorous brasserie bourgeoise from the street expecting to have a good reason to get in.

The years went by and I went to many other places to have lunch, to have dinner, with friends, for business, but never to Toucan... until yesterday. And I was deeply disappointed!

I am not saying I would have not preferred not to try it either, as now I know I won't repeat it for a long, very long time.

I know this article may dislike those who like thinking they are smarter than the rest, or at least smart enough to have the good taste to go to a trendy, chic, colourful address in Brussels placed on one of the best corners in town, which is indeed true, but the fact is that Brussels offers better, in fact much better in terms of quality, cuisine execution, emotion, atmosphere, service, comfort and price.

To me it's simply not enough that a bunch of good guides such as Gault Millau, Delta or newspapers such as Tribune de Bruxelles or L'Echo write good articles about this restaurant (or any other) and highlight the merits of the chef, the freshness of the menu, the care taken to the decoration using specific carrelage, nice chaires and a big sculpture of Armand Jonckers, point out the great culinary influences of Southwest France, that is, where Jean-Michel Hamon (the owner) comes from if people I go with / myself don't enjoy what we eat.

And I am indeed not very exigent either with what I eat and what I like and what I enjoy, but I simply think that a 'beef carpaccio with piquillo peppers and citronnelle' should never be a lake of olive oil where you don't even see the parmesan cheese slices, which are drown into the oil, and that a 'carré d'agneau rôti au thym frais' should never taste to other dishes (they may have used the same pan or put it into the oven with other food...), and that the 'soup of the day' should never be so salty that you can't even finish it, even if it is served in a relatively small bowl.

By the way, this is as unacceptable as a 'millefeuille de thon rouge à la ventrèche et fondu de poireaux' that had no taste, or a 'dos de cabillaud vapeur au fondu de tomate' which was as tasty as the 'millefeuille' but with a couple of sad potatoes, carrots and broccoli as a garniture...

And finally, the apple cake, which had no taste, no sugar, no caramel, nothing, was too cooked and had the bottom completely burnt... A shame.

I should probably try this brasserie bourgeoise again in the future and avoid a second disappointment ordering more classic, less adventurous brasserie dishes such as 'croquettes de crevettes', the 'jambonneau', the 'pure beef fillet with pepper sauce and French fries'... but given that there are thousands of good brasseries in Brussels that execute such dishes extremely well, it is unlikely I go to Toucan (and not recommend it either) to eat this.

A pitty!

I hope that the new Toucan in the family, the recently opened 'Toucan-sur-mer', improves the level of its brother.


Rating: 4/10

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