You could call Bois Savanes a “new kid on the block” and, in a sense, it is. This fine Thai restaurant has just opened on the main square in Saint Job, a pleasant “village” on the outskirts of Brussels. But when you consider that the history of Bois Savanes dates all the way back to 1984 it is, of course, anything but “new.”
The “original” version opened back in the 80s in an impressive town house not so far away in Rhode-Saint-Genese. It was first run by the grandmother (Jeanine), then the mother (Maryse) of the current co-owner, Marie Back, so you could certainly call this place a real family affair. Marie took over the ownership, with her brother Jerome, in 2006, and the pair decided that a move away from its long-time home in Rhode to the bustling location it now occupies would be for the best.
That decision has, according to the very impressive number of bookings they’ve had, has proved a huge success. Even on a Sunday night, a traditionally quiet time for a lot of restaurants, the place is heaving with customers.
Marie says that back in 1984 Bois Savanes was one of the very few Asian (let alone Thai) restaurants in the area. But times change and, today, there are any number of such places within a relatively short space of each other. Such a trend prompted the decision to move address and Marie and Jerome have not looked back since this new restaurant opened its doors for the first time at the start of the year. The restaurant has kept its mini army of loyal customers but also attracted a whole new clutch of clients.
It can seat about 55 inside with a nice terrace seating another 45 people. The couple also work with delivery services and do a thriving takeaway service.
But, for the “real” Bois Savanes experience you really should try to book a table here to enjoy not only the great food but also the lovely surroundings and, additionally, friendly service from the all-Thai staff.
They include the Chai, who comes from the north of Thailand but has – amazingly in the horeca trade – worked at Bois Savanes for nearly three decades. He’s as cheerful as ever, perhaps even more so since the move from Rhode, saying, “It is a joy to see the place so busy.” On the longevity of his service, he asks, “When you feel so good in one place as I do here why would you want to move anywhere?”
The good news is that the cuisine here is as first class as the service. Its long time customers will be happy to hear that most of the “old” menu has been retained, including favourites like Thai curries and Pad Thai and the duck for which it has become well known over the years.
But the management have now added some exciting new dishes to complement the old,including one called Som Tam (hot), a salad with shrimps, carrots and peanuts. This is something you would find as street food everywhere in Thailand. Another new one is Khao Tom, a rice soup with shrimps and onion (and a favourite of Marie) while yet another new addition is Kaai Yang (grilled chicken).
There are some innovations to deserts as well such as sticky rice with mango and ice creams which now come with new flavours. The kids are well catered for with a 10 euros pp menu (choice of four dishes) and the lunch menu, a real snip at just 13.50 euros and comprising a choice of 2 starters and 2 mains, is particularly popular.
There is also a fixed menu (min. 2 people) which comprises soup and a choice of 3 starters and 4 mains, plus desert. Again, this is a real bargain at just 30 euros pp. Indeed, considering the quality of the food, the prices are remarkably reasonable with a salad setting you back as little at 10 euros and a mains starting from just 14.50 euros. Look out too for the excellent wine (and beer) selection and try not to leave without sampling the “Thai-style” cocktail.
Marie and Jerome have brought the same team as they had at Rhode, including the Thai-born chef. Tellingly, most have been with them for over ten years. For some, this is an old favourite that has merely re-located a few kilometres while, for others, dining at Bois Savanes will be an entirely new experience. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Good to know:
- Bois Savanes
- Address: Place Saint-Job 24, Uccle
- Contact: 02 358 3778