I love Japanese food and I love Peruvian food. A mix of those two? A dream! When I heard about Sanzaru, a Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian fusion) restaurant opening in Brussels I was more than exited to go there.
The place is very impressive. A bit further off from all the main restaurant areas in Brussels, this one is located in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre in an old Art Deco villa. You enter the restaurant and the first thing you see is the massive copper reception where you are greeted and can hand in your jacket. To the right and left there are two rooms; the left one has an almost unlimited view into the kitchen, my personal preference. If you pass the reception and follow the stairs to the upper floor, you’ll see an equally impressive bar in the middle of the room and more seating to the left. Simple wooden tables and chairs, dimmed and very pleasant lightning and colourful drawings covering the walls. They could’ve tried to bring out more the Art Deco charm of the place but this is just my personal view.
The cocktail menu is interesting and impressive, but the preparation of cocktails takes too long, leaving you sipping from your drink until most of your starters have arrived already (and I am not a slow drinker). Also, concerning the cocktails are around 12€ they’re not that good and way too sweet.
The food is somewhat disappointing, which is a big pity, because the location and set up would indicate something else. We ordered four starters and one main dish to share, to try a bit of everything. We had the beef tacos with beef tataki marinated in Whisky: this sounded great, but it was nothing special and lacking a bit of taste. To be honest, I was missing that “special something” in each of the starters we had. The second starter was gilthead ceviche, with South American spices, so-called Peruvian tiger’s milk and yellow chili. This dish was much better, the fish was fresh and tender, but again, something was missing, leaving the dish a bit boring.
The third one, Gyoza Nikkei, were delicious and nothing to complain about and the Tiradito from red tuna, marinated in miso and served with Ponzu vegetables and a cream from avocado and apple was also quite good. We ordered the Wagyu beef Picanha as main dish in a miso, prune and Mirabelle sauce. It sounded very promising, but wasn’t; the beef had a good taste but was very chewy, which I think is inacceptable concerning price (35€) and the small size of the portion. When I made this remark to the waiter he kindly replied that I should’ve said this earlier, because ‘this happens from time to time’, but I heard the exact same thing from other people afterwards. We got sake on the house as apology – a nice gesture.
The waiters are very nice, but a bit inattentive, leaving empty plates and glasses on our table for quite a while (and normally I don’t really recognise such things), forgetting to ask about whether we want more drinks, coffee or anything else.
Sanzaru has some good potential: nice staff, beautiful location and a unique, for Brussels at least, idea. As it is now, however, I would not come back, as it is too pricey for what you get.
Good to know:
292, Avenue de Tervueren – 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
Price: We paid 140€ for a dinner for 2: with 4 starters, 1 main dish, 2 glasses of wine and 2 cocktails