I am always a bit scared to go back to restaurants twice. It happened too many times already that when coming back, the food wasn’t as good, because the cook had a bad day, or the service wasn’t as nice as the first time I went, or the restaurant had decided to change its interior entirely, sometimes to a worse in my opinion. It’s some kind of “non-fulfilment of expectations” anxiety. But on the other hand, like this I can be entirely certain to recommend a restaurant: when it was great many times.
Le Tournant was great the first time and I would say at least equally well, or even better the second. The first time was rather spontaneous, all in line with the spontaneous visit of a person I hadn’t spent dinner with for way too long. A quick look at the menu, a quick look into each other’s eyes and the decision was made: homemade foie gras with fig jam and toasted bread as a starter and duck confit and the hand cut beef tartar as a main. All the dishes here are homemade, except for the cheeses, and so was the perfect, smooth and tasteful foie gras. The duck confit was incredibly tender, full with simple but interesting and matching spices and herbs along with some oven-baked potatoes. The star of that evening was with no doubt (besides my special visitor) the hand cut beef tartar. Cut in thick cubes, marinated in I-have-no-idea-what because I was so focused on eating, mixed with soft morels and served with crispy fries. I would order this dish again at any point.
The second visit was with the lovely Judith, my main food companion here in Brussels. We were greeted very nicely by Denis, the chef and owner of the place, who is super nice and keen to have a chat with you on his visions and sources of inspiration. Exceptionally, we were able to try a bit of the foie gras, the terrine and the rillettes, all homemade. It goes without saying that these three starters were very delicious, together with the very good, fresh bread.
I appreciated a lot the first main dish:
arranged on the plate, without many frills and furbelows, there was a crispy, fresh mixed green salad with a simple vinaigrette, a few oven potatoes baked in duck fat and the center part of this dish: the Entrecote. Super tender, cooked just to the perfect point –medium rare– with no sauce needed, just a few pinches of coarse sea salt. Judith and I were please by such an ordinarily-looking dish, tasting so nicely. The following seabass, arranged on four different summer salads (that didn’t sweep me off my feet, but were tasty as well) was tender too, with a crispy fried skin. The fish was served with a miso and yuzu sauce of which I didn’t expect much in the beginning, to be honest. But the taste of the tartar with the fish was somehow quite special, matching just perfectly. The dessert was a special assortment of several desserts, with a piece of lemon tart, gooey and rich chocolate cake and a crumble made from apple, pear and peach, topped with yoghurt ice cream made from white cheese with orange blossom. I think my favourite one was the last!
One of the most important details at Le Tournant, however, is the wine. Their wine selection is very diverse, all being biodynamic, natural wines from mostly France, but you’ll also find a few bottles from Italy and other countries. More on the wine soon, in another article.What’s important, is that here all wines accompanying your meal are chosen carefully with a lot of thoughts behind it. Each of our delicious dishes was matched with a white or red wine, along with some explanations by the very nice staff. Especially the wines served with each of the desserts were matched so well that it seemed that the dessert was made for its respective counterpart in wine, such as the yuzu sake that was served with the lemon tart.
The interior is quite clean, not too many things hanging on the walls, beside some funny posters. Tables and chairs are kept simple, made from the same wood as the bar and not standing too close to your neighbors, which I often appreciate. The only thing that self-proclaimed lightning-expert Judith remarked, was that the lights could be a bit more dimmed to create a cosier atmosphere. In case you feel bored by your dinner-date: you can look into the open kitchen while enjoying a dinner that is perfect for almost any occasion.
Good to know: Starters around 9-12€, mains around 18€
Address: Chaussée de Wavre 168, 1050 Ixelles; website