All posts tagged “octopus

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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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Greek delicacies at Ergon, Brussels


Grilled balsamic glazed octopus

Ergon is a very humble-looking Greek deli, but don’t let this fool you. Grab a seat inside the light, loud shop, and you can be served the most impressive delicacies. Their balsamic-glazed grilled octopus with fava bean puré and fried bean balls is a sweet, smoky bliss. If you’re feeling cold and want something densely filling, their beef ragu with orzo pasta and greek cheese is incredibly satisfying – like a rich, silky bolognese with big chunks of steak.

Greek ragu

They also serve a highly recommendable spread of dips, including aubergine tartar, spicy feta paste, squid ink tsatsiki and hummus. You can sample some Greek herbal teas, which are still foraged off cliff slopes around the country. In addition to all the great things above, Ergon is good value for money. I look forward to returning an evening with plentiful time, to sample all their meze snacks.

Dolmas

My friend Jenny who first spotted this place is an Ergon fan because they serve Greek food at its best. With five years in Athens, and a degree in classical archeology and ancient history, I trust her judgment on this, and eat there happily.

Ergon, Rue du Parnasse 1, 1050 Ixelles