Some restaurants have about everything. A mesmerizing interior and decor, a cosy atmosphere and great food. Brinz’l is one of those places in Brussels. The only thing that’s missing is lots of parking spaces around the corner. But hey, that’s why they have a voiturier.
Text and photos Anja Van Der Borght
When we enter the restaurant our eye immediately captures the image of a fan on the opposite wall. As we are the first to arrive for the evening service I feel how I am drawn to the wall to touch it. It looks like a huge mosaic but appears to be structured wall paper. The waiter laughs. Most or our guests either ask us what the wall is made from or touch it to find out for themselves.
Brinz’l is housed in a former well-known ‘café’ in Uccle in exactly the same spot where Michelinrestaurant BonBon started starring. Sounds promising, no?
Well, since the opening in December 2015, Brinz’l has become an epicurean brand that really counts today in the gastronomic landscape of Brussels. In all humility and without making too much noise, Laure Genonceaux is doing a titanic work constantly trying to produce excellent cuisine. And this pays of. In 2017 Laure got awarded Lady Chef of the Year, a title she is still defending till the next edition in January 2019.
Daughter of a Belgian father and a Mauritian mother, Laure admired in her young days how her mother would prepare typical Creole dishes and other specialities from her birth country. In her teens it became clear. Laure wanted to become a chef. After having rehearsed in the shadow of Brussels iconic leaders like Christopher Hardiquest (BonBon) and Evan Triantopoulos (The Grill Herbs), Laure has finally found her own way. In Brinz’l she serves a fushion cuisine prepared with seasonal products. We are looking forward to try that out but enjoy in the mean time the cozy atmosphere in the restaurant that feels like a beautiful dining room with a gin and tonic tastefully prepared with French luxury gin G’Vine Floraison and Thomas Henry Tonic. As G’Vine is distilled from grapes and infused with vine flowers, Brinz’l added some grapes to the glass. Decorative and tasty at the same time. Our dinner partner chooses a fresh tasting home apertif made from brown Mauritan rum, lime juice and gingerbeer. It immediately evoques South-American holiday souvenirs.
The ‘velouté of lentils with cream ‘saté de chine’ which we get served as amuse bouche is to die for. Saté de chine is a mix of herbs with peanuts but it certainly is the creaminess the velouté reveals in our mouth that makes the difference. In the beginning it seams as if we taste a bit of Boursin cream cheese but that is just an impression.
Brinz’l means ‘aubergine’ in Mauritian so of course we expected some eggplant inspired dishes. Well the ‘beignets’ of eggplant we get served as amuse bouche are a good introduction. In terms of herbs and garlic they are perfectly balanced however we think they are a bit oily and therefore we think a tempura of eggplant might be a good and lighter alternative.
The appetizers we get served afterwards come with some instructions. The waiter suggests us to eat them in a certain order. He advises to start with the lace tiles with rillettes of sardines and homemade ketchup with raspberry. Crisp and fresh. The Portuguese oysters are served with a smoked cream (smoked on beechwax). Our favourite is the third appetizer: openworked eggs – cooked at low temperature – with Lyon mousse and chantilly with bacon. Mmmmh, yummie.
In addition to the title of Chaudfontaine Lady Chef, Laure Genonceaux also recently became ambassador and member of the ‘Chef’ Irish Beef Club’. That is to say that the meat she proposes is as carefully selected as of perfect quality, as well as the fish, the vegetables, … In Brinz’l only products of high quality, first freshness and proximity get served as often as possible. It’s something we particularily taste in the first starter: ‘Scottisch salmon tartare with espuma of seasalad (a kind of algae), frozen oyster powder, potato brioche and mayonnaise of shells. The salmon is of an extraordinary taste and quality.
Today we choose a five course menu with two starters, two main dishes and cheese or dessert. The second starter: ‘Scallop carpaccio’ is presented on two discs of phyllo and served with a mousse of fois gras, a cream of Jerusalem artichoke and a vinaigrette with coffee oil. The scallops combine greatly with the crispiness of the phyllo.
The piece of bream we get served as a first main dish tastes quite wild. The chicory and orange marmalade, chickpea cake and veal sauce with pepper of Madagascar balance the dish but the fish is not our favourite for it’s somewhat earthy taste.
Ok, Laure is ambassador and member of the ‘Chef’ Irish Beef Club’ but we are in the middle of the wild season so Laure chose some wild on the menu. The meat of the deer fillet litteraly melts in our mouth. The chestnut cream it is served with is not our favourite but we love the cannelloni of turnip with pear and gel of quince, petals of Brussels sprouts perfumed with tonkabean.
For dessert we get a simplified version of the Paris-Brest with a diplomate with praline, icecream with salted caramelbutter.
And of course some sweets with our coffee. We were full so we just tried the fruit paste. We definitely come back!
Now that we are enjoying again long winter evenings at home and of course, with the holiday season coming, Laure decided to launch a catering service. A good idea of Laure who already knows how much it will please her customers and all the others as it will be a catering service of the wealthiest since you can pick up your food or have it delivered. Each having its associated instructions. The dishes will nevertheless be different from those of the menu of Brinz’l and this to make it easier to warm them at home but they will still have the same signature of Laure Genonceaux.
Brinz’l – Rue des Carmélites 93, 1180 Bruxelles, tel +32 (0)2 218 23 32, www.brinzl.be
Open: evening from Tuesday to Saturday – Thursday and Friday for lunch
Closed: Sunday and Monday all day & every noon except Thursday and Friday