Exploring the world one bite at a time

Month: September 2017

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert: “Lovely Galeries”

Not to be missed! The combination of beautiful architecture and lots of chique shops makes this a must see when visiting Brussels. Chocolate lovers will be pleased to find here the highest concentration of chocolate shops in the whole of Brussels. My personal favorite: Marcolini.

This place has been photographed countless time. The symmetrie of the place is gorgeous and in the evening it is beautifully lit. Nice for some window shopping or perhaps enjoy a breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien.

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
1000 Brussels

Visited July 2017. You can find my review about Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert also on TripAdvisor.

I Latini: “Lovely pasta”

Place Sainte Catherine went through some changes in recent years. A nice addition are the terraces on the square, where you can enjoy lunch or dinner in summer.

Since we were with a group of ten persons it wasn’t easy finding a place for lunch. We were lucky that the terrace of Italian restaurant I Latini on the square had just opened so we were seated in a very nice spot under some trees.

The Italian waiter who took our order did this with the kind of flair you’ll expect from an Italian gentleman. My friends and I all ordered a pasta dish. We had to wait some time before our order arrived, but weren’t disappointed. The pasta was served on warm plates and perfectly cooked (as should be expected).

I had ordered the trofie al pesce spada affumicato e pesto di pistacchi. Due to the combination of smoked swordfish and pesto sauce, I found the dish a bit too salty. But otherwise, we had a lovely lunch.

Italian restaurant I Latini
place Sainte Catherine 2
1000 Brussels
+32 2 502 50 30

Visited July 2017. You can find my review about I Latini also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, service 4/5, food 4/5.

Grand Casino Brussels – Viage: “Nice restaurant, too many slot machines”

Restaurant Saffron in the Viage Casino was a pleasant surprise, to be honest. Wasn’t expecting such nice food in a casino. The staff was efficient and I was really impressed by the roasted sea bream I ordered. Very good! The wonton soup I had as a starter was nice, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The menu is kind of eclectic, ranging from Asian cuisine, to traditional Belgian dishes to hamburgers. So everybody will find something to their liking. Also worth noting, this is one of the few restaurants in Brussels open until 2.30 AM. On Friday and Saturday they are even open until 3.30 AM.

You’ll need to pay an entry fee to the casino though, if you want to enjoy this restaurant. Minimum age for entering the casino is 21. The casino itself had too many slot machines to my liking. We visited on the French National Holiday and got offered some free pancakes and small appetizers.

Grand Casino Brussels Viage
Anspach Boulevard 30
1000 Brussels
+32 2 300 01 00

Visited July 2017. You can find my review about Grand Casino Brussels – Viage also on TripAdvisor.

Montagne de Bueren: “A must do when in Liège”

Very steep stairs, so when arriving at the top you’ll be out of breath (don’t forget to take a bottle of water with you). But really worth doing so when visiting Liège. It is really a must see. The view is beautiful and you’ll be proud of your own accomplishment!

Montagne de Bueren
4000 Liège

Visited July 2017. You can find my review about Montagne de Bueren also on TripAdvisor.

A Pilori Taverne: “Mediocre at best”

We ended up having lunch on the terrace of A Pilori during a class excursion. The terrace is nice, but to be honest, the food is mediocre at best. But what can you expect from 15 euro for a main course, including a glass of wine? The white wine we ordered was served warm, a mistake not easy to forgive on a warm summer day.

The staff was not very good at their job and seemed to be uninterested in providing for their customers. (I have to say though, some staff members were clearly still in training). After having to drink warm wine, the tagliatelle with salmon wasn’t served hot enough and the creamy sauce seemed very un-Italian. They also somehow forgot to bring the bread, which arrived when everybody’s dishes were almost finished.

Clearly this restaurant’s staff is badly organized and the food is really not very good. A pity, because the location actually is very nice.

Brasserie taverne A Pilori
Place du Marche
4000 Liège
+32 4 250 03 01

Visited July 2017. You can find my review about A Pilori Taverne also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, service 2/5, food 3/5.

Davaar Island Cave Painting of the Crucifixion: “Great walk”

Davaar is a beautiful rocky island that you can only visit when the tide is low. So make sure to check first at the tourist information center when it is safe to walk there. The island isn’t very big, but the loose rocks make the walk kind of challenging.

When we visited Davaar Island it was really cold and a strong wind almost blew us away. Nonetheless is was an unforgettable experience. Make sure to visit the cave with the wallpainting of Jesus Christ.

Davaar Island
55.42°N 5.54°W
Campbeltown PA28 6RE

Visited April 2017. You can find my review about Davaar Island Cave Painting of the Crucifixion also on TripAdvisor.

Humphrey: “Food sharing”

Had a lovely lunch on the cozy terrace of Humprey in Brussels, not far away from the historical heart of Brussels. The start of our lunch was a bit chaotic and we had to wait a while before our drinks arrived and we could order, but the waiter explained his colleague was sick, so he had to serve the guests all alone. He was very nice though, explaining the menu in Dutch although his mother tongue was French.

We were very charmed by the food Humphrey served us. The Humphrey’s concept is all about food sharing, which I absolutely adore. We ordered five different dishes: spicy ahi poke, Filipino beef tartare, cauliflower chimichurri, grilled zucchini bellpepper and accras with yuzu (fish cakes), which was enough for four persons. The food was inspired by the Filipino cuisine and downright delicious. Every dish was presented on a different plate (with the meat served on a dried ham being the most spectacular). When fusion is done right it is an absolute delight.

Lovely place I will definitely visit again.

Restaurant Humphrey
St-Laurensstraat 36-38
1000 Brussels

Visited July 2017. You can find my review about Humphrey also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 5/5, service 3/5, food 5/5.

Best sushi in Leuven – Top 3

So, as you have guessed by now, I am a big fan of Japan and Japanese food. When I’ve had a hard day, there are a few dishes that will surely cheer me up. Naturally sushi almost always does the trick. Since most of my friends know how much I like sushi, I often get asked which is my favorite sushi restaurant in Leuven. The answer to this question is not straight forward. It depends. If you want your sushi delivered at home, I would recommend Saki Sushi or New Sushi Palace, but if you’re looking for a nice sushi meal with friends or the love of your life, I have a totally different top 3 for you.

Number 1: Wabi Sabi Sushi Bar
Perhaps not the best sushi in Leuven, but close enough. I like this restaurant, because the interior is very beautiful and stylish. The building which now hosts Wabi Sabi, belonged to an antiquarian before and it shows. Moreover Wabi Sabi is the biggest sushi restaurant in town: you’ll almost always guaranteed to find an empty table due to its sheer number of seating places. Even on a Saturday evening it is possible to find a table for two. In summer you can enjoy your sushi outside on the terrace in the Muntstraat and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Service at times can be a little slow, but the sushi makes up for it.

Muntstraat 10, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
+32 16 74 77 54

Number 2: Inari
Inari sushi was the first sushi restaurant that opened its doors in Leuven and it remains one of the best (but sadly also one of the most expensive). After all these years it still exists, which in itself proves that Inari has a loyal audience that loves coming back for more. The sushi is really great, although due to its popularity, the restaurant can get rather busy and loud. Tables are put a little too close to each other to my taste, so make sure not to share a big secret over your sushi boat. (Yes, I know, no Japanese sushi chef in his right mind will even serve sushi on a boat.)

Parijsstraat 18, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
+32 16 43 38 43

Number 3: Sakura
Sakura is a more spartan restaurant: simple tables in a mostly white, rather narrow restaurant. It is possible to sit outside on the terrace in the Muntstraat, but there are only a few tables available. The sushi is very good though, although waiting times can vary. Due to the simplicity of this restaurant and the fact that upon entering the first thing you’ll see are the sushi chefs at the counter working their magic, this restaurant has the most authentic Japanese vibe to me.

Muntstraat 21, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
+32 16 22 26 28

The three restaurants mentioned all offer take-away. Sadly none of them has a delivery service. Be warned though: in Leuven you won’t find any sushi restaurant run by Japanese people. If you prefer your sushi prepared by a Japanese chef, you’ll have to travel to Brussels or Antwerp.

If you have other recommendations, please let me know in the comments.

Kaboom Hotel: “Disappointing”

Well, to be honest, the stay in this hotel was a slight disappointment. The staff was welcoming enough, but I found this hotel to be overpriced (more than 160 euro for one night without breakfast). What put me off the most was the terrible stench in the hallway. Seems like Kaboom Hotel has a problem with there drainage system. Not pleasant at all. Luckily the stench wasn’t noticeable in the rooms themselves or I would have to had switched hotels.

The way the rooms were decorated didn’t appeal to me that much. Kitsch is the word I would use to describe it. But that is personal preference of course. I have to say that the beds were really good and the bathroom was impeccable. The shower was very clean and very comfortable. Only minor issue: the shower door couldn’t be fully closed, so the floor of the bathroom got wet when taking a shower.

I actually don’t think I will stay here again.

Kaboom Hotel
Stationsplein 1
6221 BT Maastricht
+31 43 325 3340

Stayed July 2017. You can find my review about Kaboom Hotel also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 3/5, location 5/5, service 4/5.