Have you ever tried to find a good restaurant in Brussels on a Sunday evening? Trust me, it is not that easy but we managed to improvise a surprisingly good dinner at “The Open”. For years we’ve been passing in front this place without ever entering because of bad reviews and today I realize how much we’ve missed out. The Open has a new owner and damn he did a great job turning the place around…
The first thing you will notice when passing in front of The Open is a pig’s butt coming through the window…Weird right?
The new owner, Manu, has done a great job bringing this restaurant back to live! This art lover and retro objects collector has infused the place with a funky vibe that changes every 3 months. One visit isn’t enough to absorb every detail of this amazing exhibit: collection car miniatures, old posters and adverts, statues, drawings on the walls and ceilings, to only name a few, can be found at The Open.
The other special aspect about The Open is its menu which mixes French/Belgian bistro cuisine with Asian food. I was quite surprised about this combo but there is a lot of good to be found. The new chef, Nicolas, did a good job reworking the menu into a short list of well-mastered dishes such as jambonneau, carbonades, quailed duck, or homemade treats like tiramisu, Tatin pie or ice cream. Everything is fresh from the day, well chosen and deliciously cooked!
We were six around the table and all of us tried a starter, a main course and a dessert so we had a good idea of the quality of the menu as well as of the cocktails. All is all we tasted:
I wanted to try the Carpaccio as a starter because this is for me the best way of scoring a restaurant. Too often they serve you a plate of defrosted meat, sometimes with a piece of plastic still among the slices…It tells me a lot about the kitchen and how much they put in a dish. In the case of The Open, the Carpaccio was a total success! The plate was small but well presented; the meat was well chosen and cut; the chef added a dash of truffle oil which complemented the matured meat… What else can I say? It was beautifully made and I savored every bite.
I tried the other starters as well and the quality was similar to that of my Carpaccio. You can feel that there was a real choice of ingredients, that everything was fresh and prepared so you would enjoy your dish to the fullest.
The main courses arrived quickly after we finished the starters and didn’t disappoint: once again the presentation was nice, the portion size generous and the taste was delightful. At the end of the meal, we met the chef which was a really nice surprise, he inquired on what we liked and didn’t like and really tried to connect with his customers. It was a first and something more restaurants should do in order to get a better idea of how their menu should evolve.
At this point, it was already time to order desserts! We learned that everything is homemade which made the choice a bit more difficult than usual…I love a freshly made chocolate mousse or tiramisu! It took some time to reach a consensus but we decided to try the tiramusu, Tatin pie and ice cream and I must say that I rarely saw plates empty so fast…Didn’t even have the time to snap a picture!
We were about to ask for the bill when we met the owner, Manu, who told us a little bit about his vision for The Open, his passion for retro art/objects, how the menu was reworked. I really like the chat we had and how passionate he is about what he does, how he manages to mix his passion. Apparently, in a week or so you will be able to try a new menu and appreciate a new wall of art in the main room. It so happens that Manu is also a “fin connoisseur” of spirits and wines and made us discover a blend of whisky distilled in Bordeaux, such a pleasure!
All in All, this evening at The Open was a good surprise and an address that needs to be shared around! For a dinner of 6 with 3 courses each and a few drinks, it costs us 283€ which is reasonable for a great experience.
Highlights of the evening:
The Carpaccio…To die for!
The art all over the place
The lovely staff who is really dedicated
The passion of the owner
The chef who wants to connect with customers and who seeks improvement
The Jazz evenings every Friday and Saturday
The choice of spirits and liquors
The opening hours! From 11 AM to midnight!