The London Brasserie: Come for the food, stay for the atmosphere

A restaurant that has London in the title sets expectations of a certain atmosphere, one that is hard to mimic outside the confines of the city itself. Be it the mood, the food or the local and relaxed vibe; these are some of the things that characterize a London tavern.

Whether or not a place like this exists outside London, The London Brasserie sure does a good job of providing the same feeling – and certainly serving better food.

Located right in the quaint centre of Place du Luxembourg, The restaurant is a second home for many who work in the EU institutions, and so, Kemal Eryuruk, the restaurant owner and manager, runs this family business with the spirit of Turkish hospitality that his family raised him with; extending that same hospitality to his guests. Whether you want to buy a coffee and work on your laptop, or just chat away with friends, this is the place.

Kemal Eryuruk
Kemal Eryuruk

Styled in a contemporary fashion that pays elegant homage to its name with traditional London red gracing the seat covers and the walls, it provides a distinct and a smooth atmosphere to enjoy a coffee, have a candle-lit dinner or an after-work beer. There is also an outdoor gazebo with heating, for those who want to take advantage of the few slithers of sun the winter days provide; and a removable window wall that creates an open plan between the restaurant and the gazebo for the summer days.

The restaurant offers a mixed menu with popular classics of a Belgian restaurant: Moules et Frites, Steak, but then goes for something a little less common – escalopes, before branching out into international dishes like woks and nasi goreng. This works particularly well as the restaurant can cater to any picky moods you might be in. And to keep up with the locals, there is a “rotating menu” so there will always be new food to try, as well as a beer of the month.

Upon ordering the steak, I was surprised by not only how quick it came, but by the portion I got with it. With good food, there is always an unpredictable balance with quantity. Many restaurants take this to the extreme by serving a delicious dish that can fit on a fork. Thankfully, this was not the case, as I got a decent helping of vinaigrette salad, crisp cut chips, steak and the mushroom sauce. The fine meal went down a treat with my faithful companion – lager – but the one thing that really had me head over heels…the mushroom sauce. Never have I tasted such a heavenly sauce, such a perfect topper to a steak. Kemal told me that like most things on the menu, the sauces are homemade. If my cooking skills ranged beyond scrambled egg, then I would have asked the chef for the recipe.

As I finished my food and nursed the rest of my pint, the day turned to night, and the gazebo started to fill with people, creating the area into a party in which everyone seemed to be invited. I asked Kemal what was going on, and he told me Thursday was a big night for the London and indeed Place du Luxembourg. Every Thursday in the summer, the street is closed off, and the surrounding restaurants serve beer and food from their restaurant, right up until green grass that is in the center of the square. It essentially becomes a block party and is one of the places to be on Thursdays in Brussels. Now winter there won’t be anyone sitting on the grass, but that’s’ not to say the same festivous spirits isn’t there. Joy and fun exudes from this place as people gather from the gazebo bar to the sidewalks on the street, all wanting to be at the London to enjoy their time with their friends.

Having planned to stay only a short while for dinner, I found myself lingering a while longer to soak in the spirit of the party, enjoy the music and of course, another pint. If you are looking for a place to have breakfast, lunch, dinner or thinking of a lively place for a little night-cap, then I think the London could be just what you’re looking for.

Good to know:

  • Average meal a person €15-18
  • Address: Place du Luxembourg 8, 1050 – Brussels
  • Telephone: 02 280 14 91
  • Open Monday to Sunday