All posts tagged “ginger

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Sakagura – authentic Japanese in Congrès

Octopus in ginger

On an anonymous side street between De Brouckere and Congrès, next to office blocks and empty car parks, one finds the simple Japanese restaurant Sakagura. Despite its modest appearance, eating here is a culinary pleasure, and for very reasonable prices. Walking around the empty office blocs by night the area can feel dystopic, but stepping in through Sakagura’s doors saves you from the apocalypse.

Lightly bolied tuna

We tried their ‘Omakase umi’, which consists of three little salads and two extra dishes of your choice. The salads are exemplary if you like fish and squiggly vegetables. One contained meaty octopus slices in zesty ginger, and the suspiciously named “mountain jellyfish”, turned out to be a juicy vegetable in vinegar and chili. All the salads were fresh, filling and and delicious, with interesting flavours you don’t get in your typical Japanese restaurant. But the typical Japanese restaurant often sells mass-produced sushi, and sushi isn’t on the menu at Sakagura.

Fried chicken and dumplings

To the salads we were served pan-fried gyoza dumplings with chili and salty sauce, and deep-fried chicken made of the browner, tastier parts. The queen of the table was a lightly boiled tuna with horseradish, which was pure tender deliciousness. Horseradish and fish is always a winner. Our greedy eyes ordered in vegetable tempura as well, but this was far too much food after what we already ordered, and it felt bland compared to the first dishes.

Green tea panna cotta

My greed has few limits though, and we finished with a green tea panna cotta, dressed with sweet red beans. To me it tasted like fish and cream at the same time, but perhaps that says more about my tastebuds than Japanese desserts (from what I understand it’s an acquired taste). Next time, I’ll finish with sake instead (because they have a large selection) and try eat slightly less. Because I’m definitely returning.

Sakagura, Rue du Marais 15, 1000 Bruxelles, http://www.sakagura.be/, 02 201 78 88

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Great little Italian – La bottega no. 3

La Bottega No. 3Tiny and busy, Bottega no. 3 is already a neighbourhood favourite in Chatelain. It’s the perfect alternative Italian, with slightly kitsch decor, personable service and good music  – not to mention great pasta. Despite the tiny kitchen, they also manage to cater for larger groups by serving three big antipasti platters to a company of twelve, and then a selection of the chef’s pasta – all to share on oddly matched china.

Antipasti platterThe scrumptious antipasti platter is packed with all kinds of delicacies, like truffle infused salami, mustardy ham, broccoli soufflé and several kinds of cheese – the nutty, tangy kind that almost stings a bit. Matched with good wine, and nice music streaming out from the huge speakers in the window, it’s a snug place to see an evening away.

Truffle pastaThe pasta we were served came in three formats: one for the veggies with truffle and mushroom, some with salmon and capers, and some with duck and ginger, all served on three huge platters to us to scoop from. They were all of perfect consistency, and the sauces well-paired. The unconventional duck was my favourite, but the vegetarians were also satisfied with their slightly more limited selection. The final of the evening, tiramisu and apple cake, set the comfort tone high. Bottega No. 3 is a little pricey, but serve reliably tasty pasta, and everything surrounding the eating experience is very pleasant. We left satisfied and in high spirits.