Have been walking around Brussels a lot this week, enjoying the cool warmth of Spring and longer daylight hours. What a difference a week makes!
On Wednesday, instead of staying in and making dinner, we walked to Place du Châtelain after I got off work to see what the fuss was about the weekly evening market. It was swarming with yuppies, drinking beer or wine while others were queuing up for Moroccan pastilla, deep-fried Thai snacks and oysters. Too crowded and hip for our liking, we ventured towards Rue du Bailli looking for a wine bar that we had passed on previous occasions.
The area around OenoTK @ 31 rue Africaine was significantly calmer than over at Place du Châtelain even though it was a stone’s throw away. We found seats by the window, which was nice as it was still bright outside and we had a view of the church (l’Église de la Sainte-Trinité).It being the middle of the work week and the first week when it has actually been warm enough to turn off the heater in the apartment, we had some bubbly – rosé brut for me, blanquette de Limoux for AB – because we felt like it. Pourquoi pas? : )We also ordered some anchovies and a tortilla which was chopped into little pieces that kept falling onto the ground. Erm, not very smart.We soon finished our sparkling wine and decided to go somewhere else for a drink as the drinks were a little expensive at OenoTK and we didn’t take to the ambience of the place (maybe it was the strange pink neon lights behind the bar). The server who took our order was a cool chap, but he was probably the only plus point of OenoTK during our short visit and I don’t think that we’d be returning any time soon.We walked around aimlessly, exploring the streets south of Place du Châtelain before arriving at Avenue Louise. It was dark by then as we strolled parallel to the tram lines, pointing out buildings that represent Brusselization / Bruxellisation.
I proposed that we check out a wine bar that a colleague had recommended to me. We found L’Etiquette @ 19 Ave Emilie de Mot under a generic modern building (Bruxellisation!) Since my colleague is French, I figured that his recommendation is likely to be credible. So we got ourselves a table on the terrace and ordered some wine and small bites. Everything that we ordered was not bad, especially given the price – e.g. 5€ for a plate of bresola with ricotta and rucola; 4€ for a glass of decent Rioja red wine.It became a little too cool to be hanging out on the terrace so we moved indoors. We bought a card and topped it up with some money to try out the self-serving wine vending machine where you can choose from around 50 bottles of red and white wines that are sold in the shop. You can also decide the amount that you wish to have, ranging from a quarter-sized serving, to a demi glass, to a full pour. How cool is that!Also, the price changes proportionally to the volume of wine. Which means that you can taste an expensive wine that costs 22€ per glass for just 5.50€ (sure, it would be a small sip). Apparently this Italian wine dispenser, Enomatic is able to preserve wines for at least three weeks after the bottles have been opened.
Today, being Friday, and yet another sunny day – although it was much colder than the earlier days – we went out for a drink again. This time, we went to St. Boniface. We stopped at Eccome No! @ 10 rue Ernest Solvay where we shared some delicious pizza al taglio (i.e. pizza by the slice). At an average of 4€ per slice, it was a little expensive for pizza though the quality of the food and friendly service make up for it. A reviewer on Cityplug.be summed it up quite well and amusingly: “la vraie pizza italienne, faite mains, comme là-bas, par des vrais italiens” – which literally means “the real Italian pizza, made by hand, just like in Italy, by the real Italians”!After we had our fill of pizza, we went to Etxebarri Tapas de Autor @ 14 rue Francart, which is just round the corner, for some Spanish wines and more food. We had discovered this tapas and wine bar by chance earlier this year and were quite happy to find seats by the window this time, looking out to St. Boniface and the street. The sun was just setting when we got seated and I managed to get a few shots with the church in the background before the sun got too low.The Rioja red wines were as good as we remembered them to be and quite reasonably priced at 4-5€ per glass. As AB was still hungry, we ordered a plate of charcuterie which turned out to be quite a large serving of four different types including lomo and jamón ibérico de bellota. The quality was good, especially the jambon, but woah, it was a LOT of pork and salt. Good thing we’ll be going to the royal greenhouse (les Serres Royales de Laeken) tomorrow and hopefully will burn off some of the fat! : )