Dining: We review two Brussels restaurants to check out.
To be found in Brussels’ bustling city centre, facing the ‘Le Jardin Botanique’ botanical gardens – the panorama of which was cele- brated as one of Brussels’ two wonders by Victor Hugo – a new dining desti- nation, Serra, has opened its doors.
The expansive 750 sq m gives pride of place to all kinds of flora, which thrive as they would in a greenhouse. The location opens like a living room, a place to escape, and offers visitors a great opportunity to flee the stress and strains of the city centre.
Divided into two areas, the eatery offers two distinct dining experiences: a ‘slow food’ res- taurant at the front called Urban Picnic, and an environmentally conscious restaurant concept at the back, the Garden Kitchen.
Culinary Director Pierre Balthazar has the natu- ral idea very much in mind: “When developing the SERRA menu, I wanted a lot of natural pro- ducts that I know really well, or the people who produce them. I feel it’s important to use all parts of the plant: the leaf, the stem, the root. And, of course, a tender, young shoot tastes completely different from a dried plant. By using plants at different stages of their lives I’m able to create interesting tastes and textures.”
SERRA is intent on working with local suppliers to minimize its carbon footprint and has chosen to work with accomplices who are expert in their field. As the eatery spotlights seasonality, menus change at least every two weeks. And since the chef is constantly in touch with his suppliers, he is assured that he can work with the freshest produce when it’s at its best.
Garden Kitchen is split up into three areas: a cosy bar, a central section accommodating two large communal tables and an impressive wine cellar filled with nectars from Europe with the purpose to promote eco-consciousness and local sources and, as its name indicates, veggie forward Urban Picnic welcomes patrons from morning to late at night for a relaxed, easy, healthy and heart-warming experience. www.serrabrussels.be