I must admit that at first I was a bit perplex about this new address... A bistro serving pasta called CoinCoin? With a Belgian staff? Yup it's possible and actually quite good but only because the concept was really thought through: a provider from Bologna, a well trained staff and chef, a decor that is classy without being too much, a short menu and everything on it is made from scratch in the kitchen (pasta included!)... Are you seeing a pattern? Me too!
I arrived, more than fashionably late to my dinner with Patricia on a Wednesday 7:30 PM. Besides the fact that it took me 30 minutes to find a parking spot, the evening started well! I walked towards CoinCoin and felt like "déjà vu", another street corner with cushions and tables outside for those brave enough to have a drink or a cigarette in the cold. When I entered it felt like I stepped in a restaurant from Uccle with its very classy decor, small tables and fancy people.
The interior is quite bright with its light toned walls and wood details but the layout of the room itself was also something: you have a counter with high chairs overlooking the kitchen, two lines of tables for 2, a central island with a few seats and the cash desk but also a "wall/cabinet" of apothecary like drawers and with a small bar. They really studied how to use their space to create enough seats and a cozy set-up for everyone. We sat by the window so one of us had the chair and the other had the bench with cushions.
After a quick greeting, we received the menu and chatted a bit with one of the waiters, I had my questions like why call your restaurant CoinCoin? And basically the answer was "we are on a corner", hehe smart! I also asked about the pasta and how they worked and again the answer was simple and pleasing "we do everything from scratch, the pasta, everything!". At that point I was really looking forward to testing freshly made pasta by a Belgian staff and the challenge was accepted without hesitation!
Patricia and I checked the menu but chatted a lot too so deciding on the food took a little while... We first had to choose the starter aka Antipasti and that page is split between Carne, Formaggi, Verdure, Frutti di Mare and Contorni. Ultimately, I took the Carpaccio di Manso with lemon, Parmesan and rucola and Patricia went for the Vendure with tomato, zucchini, eggplant, carrot and leek served with aïoli...A real veggie party!
While we were waiting, we snacked on some really good bread and butter while sipping on our drinks! I have to recommend the elderberry syrup with a slice of orange...That just makes your water amazing...If you don't drink alcohol of course! We were doing some catching up on our respective lives when our starters arrived in the cutest little plates !
The carpaccio was just how I loved it with that perfect combination of lemon and Parmesan, rucola and a drizzle of olive oil. The Verdure was also appetizing and well seasoned with the aïoli giving the dish an interesting twist. I really liked it and finished my plate to the last bit of salted/cheesy oil.
For our main course, we wanted pasta obviously, it's supposed to be the specialty. The main course menu is split between Pasta Secca, Pasta Fresca, Pasta Fresca della Casa, Contorni, Senza Glutine and Carne alla Griglia. So yes a lot of choice between dry pasta, fresh pasta and meat not to mention Gluten-free pasta! It took a lot of time to decide (again!) what we wanted but ultimately, we both went for a Pasta Fresca della Casa. Patricia took the vegetarian option called Norma and I took the Caramelle.
When I say that the choice was difficult, it's not just because you have a good selection of pasta, they are actually flavors you're not used to. Like in my pasta for example: ravioli stuffed with ricotta, Parma ham, celery, scallions and nuts topped with a drizzle of sage butter and pecorino. Check the menu and you'll see what I mean, the associations are not traditional at all but the result is very interesting.
When the plates arrived I thought that portion were a bit small but the pasta were so filling that actually...It was perfect if not a tad too much after the starter and bread. The presentation was neat and the food smelled amazing. A first bite convinced me to finish my plate: al dente pasta, tasting quite good, and a filling like I had never tasted. Forget about the usual ricotta and parma ham, take a risk and be surprised. Now I am thinking of trying the other flavors that I thought were strange, like the Raviolini stuffed with duck confit, stracciatella, speck, Parmesan and a cream of rosemary and lemon.
After this last plate, we were stuffed but didn't leave just yet. We had our traditional loooong chat although since we met on a Wednesday we didn't stay as late as usual, we had to work the following day. We still had space for another lemonade and a deca to finish the evening and the conversation. Around 11 PM we decide to go home and thus asked for the bill: 74,10€ for 2 with drinks included!
The bill was quite alright for 2 starters, 2 main courses, 2 lemonades, 1 glass of wine, 1/2 bottle of sparkling water and a deca. The staff was quite friendly and present when needed, always making sure that everything was ok. The room was a bit noisy especially since the tables are close so we had to shout a bit but besides that, the evening went really well and the food was awesome. Another aspect that I appreciated is the fact that everything is homemade with fresh products and that the provider of flour is from Bologna.
Now is it just me or do you also feel that Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is changing a lot and is starting to have a better selection of restaurants than other communes?
Let me know what you think!