There are two kinds of people when it comes to hotel restaurants : the hoity-toity ones that love to frequent bars and restaurants of 4 and 5 star hotels and then there is the crowd that is somewhat afraid to cross the threshold of that kind of fancy hotels. In The 1040 @Sofitel Europe in Brussels you will find both kinds enjoying the belgian specialities ‘revisited’ by chef Jean-Philippe Watteyne presents in close collaboration with Fabrizio Iannacci, Executive Chef of the restaurant.
Instead of what you might expect at the entrance of the Sofitel Europe in Brussels the bar and restaurant The 1040 are not pretentious at all even though the top-notch attention to detail in the interior. In fact this restaurant ensures a mix of elite 5 star people and a popular brasserie with a gastronomy accessible for everyone.
Frankly speaking the interior has so much to offer that if you happen to be an bad company you won’t get annoyed for a moment. There’s lots of space between tables and every corner has got his own cosy atmosphere. So you can choose a tabel according to the mood you are in and let the amazing ambiance do the rest.
Refined and well presented, it’s a real treat to eat here. With local and seasonal products, the chefs at the 1040 reinvented Belgian specialties. “In this restaurant we serve belgian classics ‘revisited style’” chef Jean-Philippe Watteyne says. “Therefore Executive Chef Fabrizio Iannacci and myself play with techniques and textures and add an Italian touch.”
Raw and natural materials compliment polished and exquisitively reimagined Belgian classic dishes by Jean-Philippe Watteneyne and Fabrizio Iannacci. All the classics with a beautiful twist.
A modern brasserieJean-Philippe Watteyne has revisited many dishes from starter to dessert. “My favourite starters are ‘Notre anguille au vert 1040’ – crispy cannola stuffed with smoked eel mousse, spinach chlorophyll and Isigny sauce (18 euro) and the ‘Carpaccio de boeuf Ciney’ with carbonnade sauce, mustard mousse and brown Binchoise gel (14 euro)”, the waiter tells. “Apart from that I can suggest the delicious tasting contemporary version of ‘Les tomates crevettes by Jean-Phi’ (18 euro) and as dessert the ‘revisited’ merveilleux with meringue, mascarpone cream and chocolate crips on the inside (8 euro).”
As gin lovers we revive our appetite with a Star of Bombay (16 euro) It’s served with orange zest and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic. The latter we think is a pity as the Mediterranean tonic makes a better combination with the Star of Bombay. Our dinner partner chose the Tangueray gin with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic some grapefruit slices and pink berries (11 euro).
We try the ‘Carpaccio de boeuf Ciney’ with carbonnade sauce, mustard mousse and brown Binchoise gel (14 euro)”. The carpaccio was very nicely presented also very tasty with a kind of mayonnaise with pronounced mustard flavor. The ‘Assortiment de croquettes’ – Queues d’écrevisses, fromage de l’abbaye d’Orval, chicons au gratin, carbonnade à la flamande (10 euro) consists of a selection of four different croquettes: one from crayfish tails, one from cheese from the Orval abbey, one from chicory au gratin and one made of Flemish stew. A great selection. Only the croquette made of Flemish stew missed some taste.
A real eye opener for us were the ‘Boulets liégeois végétariens et pomme paille’ (18 euro)
The art of the unexpected
A real eye opener for us were the ‘Boulets liégeois végétariens et pomme paille’ (18 euro) a Belgian traditional speciality which, as its name indicates, comes from the city of Liège. Chef Jean-Philippe Watteyne and Executive Chef Fabrizio Iannacci succeeded very well in creating the taste of the original dish that consists of meatballs made from pork and veal or pork and beef minced meat cooked in a pan until golden brown and simmered in a sweet and sour sauce made from onions, vinegar, brown sugar, Liège syrup and raisins. The vegan version of the meat balls are made from dehydrated baked lentils that are and much more consistent and creamy in terms of texture. Very special but a great combination with the smoked chioggia beetroot. The red caramelizes red onions, are clearly prepared with someone with Mediterranean roots.
The Contre-filet limousin à la Belge – servi dans son beurre de cuisson aillé, coeur de laitue et frites au blanc de boeuf (28 euro). This Belgian strip loin from Limousin – served in its garlic cooking butter with lettuce heart and beef white fries. Is a very simple but very tasty dish served with homemade bearnaise.
Waterzooi de poissons by Jean-Phi – dos de saumon mi-cuit, gambas, roulade de plie et sauce hollandaise à la blanche (26 euro) Half-cooked salmon back, prawns, plaice roulade and white hollandaise sauce. The bright egg tast of the white hollandaise sauce combines in a great way with the fish dish however we didn’t like some of the vegetables especially the overcooked carrots served with the dish.
A great discovery in terms of ‘revisited’ Belgian classics, staff friendlyness, service and interior only the seperately served vegetables could do with some crispyness and seasoning. A simple and elegant world where Belgium is celebrated.
The 1040, Place Jourdan 1, 1040 Brussels, Belgium, www.the1040.be,