Situated in front of the Sainte Catherine church (on the Grasmarkt) we can find a typical, Brussels restaurant called ‘La Villette’. At first glance, the building already catches the attention of by-passers, mainly because of the red and white blocked coloured curtains on the inside of the restaurant. Because of the many windows and illuminated interior, it’s easy to look inside and catch a glimpse of the authentic decor. Upon walking inside, we are greeted by the lady at the counter who offers to hang up our coats. On a busy Friday evening like this, most of the tables were already occupied by costumers, but luckily we hadn’t forgotten to make a reservation beforehand. We were given a table in the middle of the room.
The restaurant isn’t spacious, so all of the tables were placed close to each other, which made the sound of the music accompanied by the noise the other costumers were making, extra loud. But even though the place was fully occupied, we still were served rather quickly. The classical music that was being played, fitted nicely with the decor as well. The white-red blocked tablecloth matched with the curtains, and a small flower and candlelight were placed on every table. The walls were covered with old pictures and plaques that promoted different kinds of beer. Two small and authentic chandeliers were hanging from the wooden ceiling, each of them illuminating the room more than enough. The yellowish colours of the walls, together with the brown of the wooden ceiling and walls gave off a warm and cosy feeling. Mirrors seemed to be a part of the decor as well, which made the room seem bigger than it was. Upstairs was the same story, another small room with the same kind of pictures and colours.
A large diversity of food could be found on the menu, all of the classical, Belgian dishes. There are several choices with fish, salmon, cod and of course eel. And let’s not forgot the famous “moules”. During the moules season, it is not uncommon to see half of the restaurant eating those. Of course, the moules are accompanied by another Belgian speciality: fries. We heard from the waiter that these are made fresh in the kitchen, no deep freeze fries here!
The other half of the menu has meat choices. Of course, there is the famous steak tartare, the equally famous “stoofvlees or carbonades” (prepared with Belgian beer of course), you can have rabbit, and a good steak with several sauces. Finally another famous dish with chicken: “Vol-au-vent.”
Naturally, you can have an adapted Belgian beer with each of these Belgian dishes, try a normal lager beer often draft, or try to choose from the long list of special beers or fruit beers. Not an easy task.
If you have any space left after these copious dishes, you can pick something sweet from the dessert menu, but I can tell you after eating my delicious vol-au-vent with the homemade fries, I had to try hard the finish the excellent “mousse au chocolat”. When are we going back?