Let me ask you first: do you know Poilâne bread? Thought so. Now, did you know you can find Poilâne bread in Brussels? Ah oui. Le pain Poilâne à Bruxelles.
While we were away on holiday, Charlotte and Roger (close friends, temporary in Brussels, now back in NY) discovered this little gem, La Douce Heure. Looking around our circle of friends, it seems somehow they all are into good food, quirky restaurants and hidden gems. So, while I gather my food blogging thoughts, I’ll let Charlotte speak and share their experience at La Douce Heure.
Recently Spotted in Ixelles: La Douce Heure
A hand-made tartine with guacamole, grilled eggplant and peppers, or smoked duck or grilled shrimp, or goat cheese and hazelnuts, built on a base of sourdough bread just delivered from the famous Poilâne bakery in Paris? If you think this sounds interesting, please head straight for a new eatery in Ixelles, La Douce Heure. Your time there will be happy, as you eat and contemplate both the delicious ingredients and the total impact of these just-invented, extraordinary tartines.
Your beautiful open-faced sandwich will be assembled just for you, served on a platter, lovingly arranged with stripes of pesto or grilled red pepper sauce on each side. Owners and chefs Nicolas Montrat and Karim Bennacer offer ten different kinds– ranging from their own lively spin on well known favorites such as “La Cesar Poulet” to their own new “La Douce Heure” with goat cheese, apple, pear, smoked duck, and hazelnuts.
Or you might try “La Provencale”, a colorful mille feuille of vegetables and ricotta cheese. Nicolas Montrat promises that everything is completely fresh and that the chef “does everything!’ That includes making home-made desserts, depending on what’s in the market, such as a raspberry-pistachio tiramasu or tarte tatin.
And what makes their tartine so unique-in addition to their inventive ingredients? “We are the only restaurant in Belgium to use Poilâne bread as a base for the tartine,” says Karim Bennacer.
Recent diners spotted there included a chef from a nearby restaurant. La Douce Heure has eighteen seats. Its new look is elegant and casual at the same time. You can sit at a counter or at a communal table. Wine, beer, and juices are at hand, and you may also eat breakfast there. The “Formule Poilâne” at 12euro is a lively and full meal – a seasonal salad, a tartine (a little extra for three of the fancier tartines), a glass of wine or a bottle of water, and a coffee, all served with panache and care.
Future plans include a dinner offering of salad and barbequed fish or meat. We advise you to go now, while you can still get a seat. (Text and photo Charlotte and Roger.)
La Douce Heure, Tartines de Pain Poilâne, Chausee de Vleurgat 186, 1000 Bruxelles Tel and Fax: 02/649 01 19