La Fin de Siecle

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Were I to tell you ‘cult restaurant’ what do you first think of?

Say ‘cult restaurant’, and I’ll think of La Fin de Siecle. Or Athenes. Those restaurants that you just know are great no matter what, that you love going (back) to and selfishly, you want to keep to yourself. Hidden on the restaurant radar. I already hear you ask why then share this cult restaurant with you, publicly, on the blog? The truth? I have no idea!

Probably because a cult restaurant is meant to be shared and enjoyed by like minded foodies. Or maybe because in return I want to hear all about your own cult restaurant? You pick.

The story so far
It’s been so long since I first went to La Fin de Siecle (The End of the Century), that I ignore when, who with, or why we went there. It must have been with friends I trusted, friends who knew more at that stage about hidden Brussels than me.

First impressions
I remember entering La Fin de Siecle for the first time and being slightly taken aback by the buzz, the movement, the imposing, scary?, personality full Greek owner, the overall chaotic feel of the restaurant. The lack of ‘system’: what, no reservations? Only to be confirmed by the fact that there are no ‘private’ tables, and everyone sort of sits together.

I fell in love with the place there and then!

The food
Ok, a slight exaggeration … but I think I know the menu by heart. It didn’t change in the last, oh, I don’t know, 10 years? I don’t want it to change either. What they cook, they cook really well. There is a little mix and match of everything. There is a nod to Asia, a nod to Africa, a European touch here and there. Spare ribs anyone? They serve that too.

By now I must have tried all but 1 or 2 of their dishes. Loved them all but I have to admit my favorites must be the merguez and cous cous, the shrimps with baked potatoes, and the moussaka. Prices range from +/-10euro to +/- 16euro for mains. I think they also have desserts, but usually the ‘buzz’ takes over – conversation, wine, laughter, noise, food, coffees, etc – that we never make it to dessert.

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Service with a smile
Yes, I think. The service blends in so well with the rest of the atmosphere at La Fin de Siecle, that it’s difficult to tell: are they serving us? are they joining us for a drink? are they maybe, like us, customers? A slight (I am sure though efficient and organized) chaotic serving but food always comes on time, orders are never mixed and everything is spot on. Which is what you would expect of any restaurant, just not La Fin de Siecle. There you go!

The verdict
See you there next time?

Last thing (… and you thought I forgot …) – what is your cult restaurant? Be it Brussels or abroad.

La Fin de Siecle: Rue des Chartreux 9, 1000 Brussels

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  • Danielle the Brussels Traveller

    I can heartily recommend this restaurant. The Lamb Iranienne was tasty and the portion generous. The queue was practically out the door, but it’s worth the wait!

  • Kara

    Mmmmmm!!! BEST restaurant in the whole world.
    Had a great Chimay Grand Reserve at the recommendation of our (gorgeous) server… we tried rabbit cooked in cherry beer and beef cheek slow cooked in a brown beer sauce with mashed potatoes. STOP IT. It was the best! I have been living in France for a few months, so having a legitimate plate of food heightened the whole experience, I’m sure.
    You can’t taste the beer in the food, just small hints of other flavors. Great atmosphere, service, beer, food, prices, people… Going back next week actually! (From france)

  • Harry

    Ah I have just come back from Brussels. My two friends and I were looking for a decent restaurant to eat at with some research online and found a resturant off the beaten track.

    En route we passed this amazing restaurant that looked so vibrant and busy. I told the others that we will still check out the other restaurant but all ready think that we should eat here…

    We came back. The staff we incredible and ran the joint without pen or paper. The barman was apologetic that he couldn’t remember our order the second time we went up despite him serving up to 90 other people at the same time. The food was delicious and so reasonably priced in a city that beforehand felt like a culinary farce.

    There is no sign on the front of the property, and there is no menu at the table. All chalk board.

    This had become my favourite restaurant in many years and I hadn’t even eaten yet.

    The one and only disappointment was the house red was “quaff-able but far from transcendent”. Our second was the Bordeaux which made everything better, although the food/wine match up wasn’t quite right, that wasn’t the restaurants fault.

    I think Im going back in a month or two just to try more of the menu. Im also going to learn French because of it too…

  • Hi I live in Brussels and am very happy to have found your blog – it is great! It is great to see Le Fin de Siecle in your top 5! I’m looking forward to reading through your suggestions and discovering new places in Brussels. Take care and happy eating 🙂