Every time I promise to be more ‘blog’ organized, something comes up. Either at home (friends visiting), either at work (trips abroad) or … we give in to cozy long November evenings watching Netflix. But … we are back with a restaurant review … and not any restaurant. Enter La Paix.
The story so far
The history of the Brasserie de la Paix goes back all the way to 1892 and due to its location, it is a history closely linked to the abbatoires (the slaughterhouses) of Anderlecht. And for a long time La Paix specialized in the prime cuts delivered from across the road, offering a true Belgian brasserie cuisine. Chef David Martin took the restaurant over in 2004 and for a while he kept the Belgian steak and frites tradition going. Till one day he said ‘assez’ (or so I imagine) and changed the direction of the restaurant completely. Enter Michelin star.
I understand the restaurant used to be busy brasserie style, making use of the charm of the old bank building. Today the restaurant is pretty airy, with tables set aside just far enough to offer both coziness and privacy, and above … 1000 origami cranes fluttering gently when the entrance door opens and closes. Origami? In a Belgian brasserie? Read on …
Like any creative chef, David Martin did what all chefs do. Evolved. Keeping the traditional Belgian cuisine going in the restaurant, he started to marry and mix flavours, cuisines, and cultural influences. So much so that a decisive shift took place and a few years ago, the cuisine of La Paix started to focus a lot more on fish and seafood, with notable Japanese influences. Including the decor … and the 1000 origami cranes, which are a symbol of peace (paix) in Japan.
Today the cuisine is a refined, high end French-Japanese mix which in all honestly blew my taste buds away. Familiar by name, some dishes were a true revelation. Others, which I never heard of, an explosion of flavours. Yes, I admit to love an honest, thick cut steak with home made double fried frites that any good brasserie serves up … but I am very happy to see Chef David Martin offering such a distinctive cuisine which really adds wonders to the gastronomic map of Brussels.
During our lunch we tasted sardines from Brittany served with kanisu vinegar, red mullet with sake-kasu (photo), black cod with saikyo-miso (photo), Norwegian king crab done 2 ways with chawanmushi and black sesame avocado, oysters with wild mushrooms and katsuoboshi, line caught white tuna with smoked eel and dashi vinegar, poultry with shio-koji (photo), and to end our gastronomic extravaganza, the most delicate apple millefeuille with yubeshi ice cream (photo). Exotic enough? I thought so …
Service with a smile
Pretty much all the time. Not only is the staff relaxed and very helpful, the Chef is also very approachable and loves to share his passion. Which for a foodie like me is a joy as I love to understand where the inspirations and flavours come from. Chef David Martin is sort of combining my great (blog) loves – food and travel. What more could I ask for?
Top, top, top. Great food, a very relaxed atmosphere and yes, I must admit, part of me always enjoys that special sophistication that comes with a Michelin star. I love to discover how chefs combine ingredients, how their mind works and in the case of La Paix, I loved discovering a bit of Japan in Belgium. And before you think, oh but I can’t afford Michelin star restaurants in Brussels … think again. We enjoyed our lunch courtesy of The Fork, where the La Paix 5 course prestige menu (all in, and yes that includes apero, wine, water and coffee) can be booked for 100e. Granted, not something to do on a weekly basis but for a special occasion … you will not regret it.
I would like to extend our thanks to The Fork and Brasserie La Paix for organising this amazing meal and to the staff for hosting us and dealing with our endless questions and cameras with grace.
Disclaimer: as always, all opinions written are our own.
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