Where does the time fly? We only just shared with you our last commune dinner in Evere … and in the meantime we survived the holiday period, finished one year, started another, set new resolutions. But fear not. Our commune dinner club met again and headed to Forest.
(If you are interested, you can read more here on when and why we started our commune dinner club).
Commune Facts – Forest
- records place Forest all the way to the 7thC
- probably best known for the biggest concert venue in Belgium, Forest National (I must admit I still have to go and see a concert there …)
- the Altitude Cent with the Church of St. Augustine is probably one of the best known commune mark, named like this because it stands 100m above sea level
- the Abbey of Forest, dating back to the 12thC, was especially build for women (prioresses)
- the commune also houses the WIELS, a contemporary art centre opened in 2007 and housed in an old brewery from the 1930s (gorgeous, gorgeous building and fantastic art!)
Culinary discovery – Passage a Niveau
As per usual our initial aim was to start with an apero. A chance for us to unwind a bit after work, catch up, try a new beer bar. However, as surreal as it may sound, we could not find one single bar in Forest. Of course there are plenty of small, local (and pretty dark) bars but we were after something with a bit more personality. Nothing unfortunately on this lower side of Forest. Not being around the Altitude Cent we thought of the Wiels Cafe, but unfortunately their cafe closes already at 18:00.
Wich means we headed directly to the Passage a Niveau restaurant. The first ones to arrive we were a bit worried the restaurant might stay empty. No one likes an empty restaurant. But just as we were finishing our apero maison, diners started arriving. And soon the restaurant was full to the brim.
The Passage a Niveau is very much playing on its name. What does it mean? Level crossing which refers to the intersection where a railways line crosses a road. The interior takes the railway theme further, recreating the interiors of a vintage train, with first class seats, second class seats, controllers hats and note pads. With servers buzzing around, food and drinks being served, it almost felt like we were onboard of our very own Orient Express.
We all chose different dishes to try as much as possible of the menu. Some big hits like the carpaccio or the saute di vongole with garlic and white wine and some big misses like my wild mushroom toast. So much potential, such poor execution. The same was true for the mains as well. The duck was perfectly pink. The berry sauce just the right touch of sweet and sour. The pheasant however was tough and chewy, which is the last thing you want from a game bird. Granted, probably not most modern dishes but the portions were all very generous The wine list is extensive and upon the suggestion of our waiter we ordered and shared a bottle of Portuguese red, which was fantastic. To end we ordered a truly unctuous chocolate cake with 4 spoons which I must admit was a high.
Would I go back? Probably. Why? Because every restaurant deserves a second chance and, because in all fairness the atmosphere is unique.
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