Life in (and around) Brussels…

Random tips on things to do and places to go in Brussels and beyond


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SAN Sablon – Relish in this fantastic Michelin-Chef creation for €28

I have a new favorite lunch spot in Brussels, and those of you who have been following this blog will know that’s a pretty serious statement. 

SAN Sablon serves an amazing lunch for an unbelievably well-spent €28. This is what happens when a great chef – Sang-hoon Degeimbre from the two Michelin star L’air du temps – decides to open a restaurant in the city just for fun. (This is his second restaurant in Brussels, the other one being SAN Bruxelles on rue de Flandre, featuring the same concept). Although Chef Degeimbre is not in the kitchen, he oversees the creation of the dishes, which are then beautifully executed by his team (of which we saw three kitchen staff and two waiting tables).

Lunch is simple and relatively fast, as summarized on the website and menu (drinks other than the juice and coffee are not included in the €28 and I’d recommend choosing the dessert and the soup as menu options rather than the drinks): 

But let’s take a look at the photos for a more pictorial (and mouth-watering!) review: 

The restaurant offically seats 40 people (although it was only set up for 30 when we went) and has an elegant, modern and stylish decor

SAN Sablon is on rue Joseph Stevens, just off the Sablon and on the same street as the popular Pistolet and Brussels classic Skievelat

The concept: the meal is served in bowls and eaten with a spoon

Bread and butter to greet you and make the (short) wait more amenable

 

All bowls (except the one with dessert) are brought to the table simultaneously. The menu changes every month (if I understood correctly).

Salmon with greek orzo pasta and mushrooms in a deliciously light and refreshing citrus-based sauce

Hake tempura

This is what the delicious hake tempura looked like inside. The tempura was light and crunchy, just like it’s supposed to be

Lacto-fermented vegetables

This was a smooth and delicious lamb cream with crunchy vegetables mixed in

Kumquat madeleine accompanied by a granita of clementine and other fruits

View of the kitchen and bar seating

Drinks menu

Wine list

A few remarks especially for business lunches and families with children: 

  • As promised, the main part of the meal was served quickly and we were done in 30 minutes. However, dessert took a bit long to get out, maybe because the restaurant was filling up, so in the end it took almost an hour for the lunch.
  • Book a table for noon (opening time) to get faster service.
  • The food is delicious but probably not appealing to most kids (other than the dessert), but the staff is friendly and have no problem letting you order just for the adults.
  • They don’t take credit cards so make sure you carry enough cash.
  • The open kitchen doesn’t have the best ventilation system so your clothes will smell like food after your meal… Something to keep in mind if you’re having a client meeting in the afternoon.

All in all, this has been a fantastic find, and I’m already planning the next meal there (need to check on consistency of quality of course… But I could easily make up another excuse to go back! ;))

SAN Sablon – Rue Joseph Stevens 12 – 1000 Brussels 

Reservations online or by phone tel:+32 2 512 42 12

Open from Thursday to Monday. Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Lunch menu served only on weekdays. Evenings and weekends only €55 menu available. 


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Piccola Store

Le Vif recently published its top 10 new restaurants list, so I decided to check out a few…

Piccola Store, housed in the old Neptune (which I unfortunately never made it to) on rue Lesbroussart 48, close to Place Flagey, was my first stop.

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Piccola Store’s corner location on rue Lesbroussart

In a nutshell: Nice food, but on the pricey side (EUR 15 for a simple pasta dish), and not for those with a big appetite… Casual, relaxed atmosphere.

What happened next: Granted it wasn’t a huge meal… but I was still really hungry, so I went on to tick off another of Le Vif’s top 10 new spots. I took a look to see what was nearby and ended up going to West End for some authentic crepes… More about that soon…

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Friendly, simple interior

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Complimentary starter

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Spaghetti alle vongole, al dente

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Rigatoni, bolognese sauce

 

 


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Place Lux restaurants: Il Pasticcio

On a side street off the rue du Luxembourg is Il Pasticcio, an unimpressive Italian restaurant from the outside with a cozy atmosphere inside and surprisingly good Italian – real Italian – food, and a nice terrace (in the summer, of course…). Dishes are extremely reasonably priced ranging from EUR 9 to about EUR 14 for main courses.

They have a great selection of daily specials – I have tried about five or six and they were all excellent – and their homemade pasta is really cooked al dente and one of the best I have had outside Italy (and comparable to some Michelin rated restaurants in northern Italy). Food is simple and just good.

Like many other restaurants in the area, Il Pasticcio is closed on weekends. It is open from Monday through Friday from 12h00 to 15h00 and on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 19h00 to 22h00. Reservations highly recommended. (Nice terrace seating in the back when weather permits…)

Address: Rue Marie de Bourgogne, 3, B-1050 Bruxelles. Tel: +32 2 512 62 52.


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Ars Vinorum

Ars Vinorum is a wine bar / restaurant located on a 60-meter long street right behind Porte de Namur (rue de la Reinette 6, 1000 Brussels, Tel: 02/ 503 39 33). I went to this restaurant following some very positive recommendations, but was a bit disappointed because even though the food is good, there is much better in Brussels.

This Italian-owned restaurant is small (about 12-14 tables) and has a nice decor, with wine bottles lining the walls and dining room. The menu changes twice a week, offering a selection of pasta dishes, meat, fish, and risotto, and each dish comes with a wine recommendation, which makes decision making much easier and allows you to try wines you otherwise might not have chosen. The dish-wine pairing up is quite good, so I would recommend going for their suggestions unless you are a true wine connoisseur.

The food is overall good and prices are reasonable (between EUR 15 and EUR 20 for the main course, including a glass of wine). However, the food is not exceptional and for the same price, you can have a much better meal at other Italian restaurants such as Il Pasticcio.

Ars Vinorum is open for lunch (11-13h) and dinner (19-23h) during the week and for dinner on Sunday evenings. I would recommend it for a nice, casual meal with friends, but probably as a second choice if other options are already booked.