Brussels’ Little Italy Part VIII – Miranda Cucina

The individual stories of the siblings owning this little Italian restaurant in Chatelain couldn’t be more different. Maria worked closely with the EU bubble before opening the restaurant, whereas her brother Alessandro has always been a cook in various cities around Italy. They’re both two very friendly and hearty people, up for a chat, a laugh or some travel recommendations.

It’s partly because of this is why you feel very welcome and homey at Miranda, but it’s also because of the food. The interior is quite modern, with wood imitate tables (would prefer real wooden ones though), garden house style white chairs and big sofa benches in turquoise. Dimmed light from big lightbulbs and nice, not too loud music to create a relaxed feeling.

The food at Miranda is partly traditional and partly innovative, inspired by day-today-available ingredients. The traditional dishes, which are recipes of Maria’s and Alessandro’s mother, are served on dishes made in their homeland of Basilicata, while the more modern dishes are presented on minimalistic, modern plates. I have to admit that I was more a fan of the traditional here: both the food and the dishware, as well as the classic little salt and pepper shakers and some vases that decorated the room.

We started with two dishes: provola cream with celery and liquorice and Caponata di Melanzane with chocolate – perfectly tender eggplant pieces with little nibs of chocolate. The second one was incredibly delicious, perfect texture and a nice combination of tastes. The first one I didn’t like too much; usually I’m a fan of interesting and different tastes, but the liquorice was too sweet in my opinion and spoiled the taste of the provolone.

One of our main dishes was handmade strascinati pasta with pepperoni cruschi (crunchy dried peppers) and Cacioricotta cheese. I loved the dried peppers; they were very tasty and something completely different that I hadn’t tried like this before. We also had orecchiette with a spicy tomato sauce with a spicy sausage from Calabria, pork jowl and Parmesan mousse. This one was great, too, I just found that the price for the pasta (17-18 ) was a bit expensive. Ingredients all come from Italy and are fresh and carefully chosen, but I still think that a plate of pasta, especially if no meat or seafood is in there, shouldn’t be too pricey.

We were then given the secondi piatti: meat. The pork in a pistachio crust was ordered by my friend, and I became very envious that it wasn’t me who ordered the dish because it was delicious. It’s a recipe Maria’s mom came up with, and the pork was very tender and the crust perfectly crispy. It was served with a side of carrot puree as well as small Zucchini that, are imported from Italy, then marinated in vinegar, mint and garlic and then fried. My dish, deer, was not as great and considerably more expensive (26). It was served with a nice and fresh fennel salad and a chestnut coffee sauce/mousse – a nice idea, but somehow “too much” in terms of mixing tastes, as I found the coffee taste a bit too strong and the meat could’ve been tenderer.

Overall I find it a nice place and I would definitely come back for the pasta or the pork, but I definitely preferred the traditional dishes over the more experimental ones. Also, I find it slightly expensive, even if considering that the area is not the cheapest one.

Good to know:

  • Price: 11-17 for starters and pasta dish. 20-26 for a meat/fish dish