This post is as much about our lunch at Amen, the new hip Brussels restaurant, as it is about our love of champagne. Yes, the bubbly festive seazon is officially open and in the words of Marlene Dietrich, drinking champagne gives you the impression that every day is Sunday. How can you argue with that?
A bit about the restaurant.
Amen is the brainchild of Pascal Devalkeneer, chef of the renowned 2 Michelin started restaurant, Chalet de la Foret (where I must admit we haven’t been .. yet). The name already hints at the monastically minimalist approach Amen takes to design, with an interior which is all white and wood. Personally, it is a style I love and Amen won me over as soon as I entered. I can only imagine that their lunch and dinner seating is just as inviting as our lunch arrangements.
The food, although slightly adapted from the regular restaurant menu to suit our champagne tasting, was a good introduction to the cuisine Amen is putting forward and at times even surprising. I particularly enjoyed the home made bread (absolutely perfect!), the marinated sardines and a starter of dried ham, figs and polenta. Reading different reviews of Amen I was not sure what to expect. Some consider the price/ quality ratio too high. Others are raving about the set lunch, which I still think is on the pricey side (27e for starter and main). Everyone though agrees that the Amen water jugs – a bull and an owl – are just great (a little pre-Christmas tip – now they are for sale too!)
Our main, a roast belly of pork with potatoes, was melt in your mouth delicious, despite the tiny portion. Unfortunately I could not spot this dish on the Amen menu … . But this is how food and wine pairings go. However the dessert, a madeleine biscuit served with a milk ice cream, was way too dry and almost everyone left it a bit unfinished.
A bit about the champagne.
Now we are coming to the bubbles bit! And the main reason I found myself at Amen this lunch time, which I extendedly covered in my InstaStories. The tasting was organized by the Benelux Champagne Bureau to (re)introduce champagne as a festive drink. But not only. As the 5th importer of champagne, Belgium has a long standing tradition of enjoying ‘les bulles dorees’. And as we are sharing facts, it seems Belgians also enjoy their champagne brut … while my personal favourite is the extra brut (particularly the blanc de blanc, which is 100% Chardonnay). Why am I being this specific? We had the chance to visit and learn more about champagne a few times, including our considerable pre-wedding stocking trip (!) so by now I have tried enough champagnes to know what I like. Not that there are many champagnes I don’t like …
We tasted 6 different champagnes, ranging from big household names (Veuve Clicquot) to smaller producers which were a very nice discovery (Champgane Fleury). We took a virtual 360 tour of Champagne (which in all honestly, I realize it the future of PR … but it still makes me feel a bit dizzy!). We discovered the Champagne Campus. So without taking much more of your time, pop that bottle of champagne you have in the fridge (yes, I know you!), open it and enjoy this 3min video on all questions … champagne from the Champagne Campus!
I would like to extend our thanks to the Benelux Champagne Bureau for organising this amazing meal and to the Amen 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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