Chez Oki

You know the times when you have just that one particular memorable dinner? When all you ate was different, raised questions and afterwards, difficult to forget? I rarely come across restaurants which offer such food. Of course there are the favourite restaurants you visit over and over again. There are the restaurants which assure with quality dishes and never disappoint. There are the fast food restaurants (and by this I don’t mean McDonald’s) where you go in, eat, happy, out. And then there are the new discoveries.

I recently embarked on such a new discovery, by going to Chez Oki.

The story so far
Chez Oki is located in what is fast becoming a very young and trendy area in Brussels. Forever changing, I have been living in this neighbourhood for the past 6 years. Yet never got bored of it. Somehow the vibe of the neighbourhood realizes when its locals feel a slight tinge of boredom and then something happens. In this particular case something like the Chez Oki happened!

First impressions
Chez Oki calls itself a French – Japanese fusion restaurant. This particular combination is new to me, so I was very excited to try it out. After an evening of wine tasting at the Chai&Bar, we finally made it to Chez Oki. The place looks great from the outside. What I first noticed upon entering was the wine – covering a whole wall. The rest of the restaurant is all white walls and Zen feeling. Not more than 15 tables, the place probably sits around 30/40 people but I can only advise: book in advance. We went there on a Wednesday when you think people stay home (!) yet the whole place was booked up.

The food
The food of course was my biggest question mark. French and Japanese in one? Not sure what to expect, we looked at the menus with the same attention you’d look at a high tech manual. A lot of it though was … well … Japanese to us.

Always a safe option when trying out a new restaurant, go for the tasting menu. At Chez Oki this comes to 30euro, including a starter, a main and a dessert. No drinks. Looking around, the food on other people’s plates looked great, so expectations growing, we ordered our wine and waited. The wine list covers quite an extensive choice of French wines, as well as other European and non-European countries. Then again wine choice is never a problem in Brussels.

The food, the reason we went to Chez Oki, finally arrived. Foie gras sushi. Never heard of something similar before, it was a delight to discover it. Lightly caramelized foie gras with soya sauce on a maki roll. Then the main course: pink lamb with a ginger and soya sauce and Japanese roasted vegetables. And to end a combination of chocolate cake and green tea and ginger ice cream. An absolute explosion of flavours. Now all I am waiting for is to try out the other French Japanese combinations on offer.

Service with a smile
Personally I can not complain about it. The waitress was very helpful and talked us through the menu, the sommelier helped us chose a wine – for once not only proposing the most expensive wines on the menu.

The verdict
Easy. I’ll be going there again the first chance I get. Perhaps not on a weekly basis, as my budget won’t permit that (count on 100euro for two with wine). But a must for future culinary experiences. (Some interesting tips in the comments: the menu changes ever so often, and you can stayed informed by sms)

Chez Oki: website, Rue Lesbroussart 62, 1050 Brussels

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