It is Friday. And when working in an office, after what was a long and very busy week, we usually tend to feel like no frills, filling lunches. Just plain good food.‘Le vieil Ixelles – The old Ixelles’ is such a place. Perhaps for clarification, Ixelles is one of the 19 Communes of Brussels. The Commune is one of the most central and easy accessible ones. However reaching the restaurant is an entirely different story. You either need a very good map or a guide. We had the guide.
The restaurant is a surreal little Portuguese place, where the owner greets you with ‘ne t’énerve pas’, which means ‘don’t stress’. Why, I will never understand. But instead of hello, you get don’t stress.
If you expect a menu or a price list, this is not the place. The tables are always covered with Christmas inspired table cloths (not that far off now …), and the owner seems to be Portuguese only. When asking for fish, you might get a steak. And one waiter will tell you there are no fries to go with your meal, while the other is bringing you the fries.
It is all about getting in the mood. Because as far as atmosphere is concerned, I think it is the kind of place where no one feels uncomfortable, and where food and wine always meet your expectations. A table of 8 we ordered mixed calamari and fish calderades (the closest I can link them to is a mix between the English stews and the French bouillabaisse). And it seemed as if lunch will never end.
One thing you can be sure of in this restaurant: you will never run out of food, or leave the restaurant hungry. A hidden, almost secret place, I truly recommend this place if you are looking for a different experience to your usual restaurant visits.
Le Vieil Ixelles: Rue van AA, 36, 1050 Bruxelles, Tel: 02/513 38 97