Food writer Hughes Belin discovers that the only Indonesian restaurant in Brussels boasts good food and wine at bargain prices
A passion for Indonesia, where his father was born, led law student Sydney Houyoux to launch his own Indonesian restaurant Garuda in Brussels a few years ago. To give his clients a taste of the country’s beauty, he imported the entire decor in a 20-tonne container. The result is superb: clients dine in an exotic, fairy-tale setting of flowers, and wood and stone sculptures. The garden is amazing, not least because of its gazebo, an ideal setting for a truly romantic dinner when the Belgian weather permits.
Garuda is the only Indonesian restaurant in Brussels and gets full moral backing from the Indonesian embassy, which supported Houyoux’s endeavours from the beginning. Chef Yudi Mochamat Yahya was hired in Indonesia and studied at the University of Bandung, so the restaurant specialises in food from the area of Sunda. But its menu of special suggestions, which changes every month, also offers typical dishes from other regions of the Indonesian archipelago. My dining partner and I loved the homemade chili peanut sauce, perfumed rice and gule kambing lamb.
The food is not the only reason to recommend Garuda; it has another asset: an impressive wine list compiled by nearby wine merchant Mouchart & Fils. Carefully chosen to perfectly match the Indonesian cuisine, the wines are mainly French, but there are also bottles from the New World. Most of the wine is a bargain at the price – in the €20-30 range. The icing on the cake is Garuda’s incredible quality/price ratio: with starters under €10 and most main dishes at €15-20, this restaurant provides an affordable culinary adventure.
Garuda Avenue Adolphe Buyl 25, 1050 Brussels T.+32(0)2 513 05 92 www.garudabrussels.eu
Hughes Belin is the co-author of Brussels’ Eurodistrict Restaurants 2012, the second edition of an independent user-friendly guide in English and French to more than 350 restaurants, cafes and snack bars in the European quarter – out on November 16 and priced at €9.95