From burgers to gourmet food. That is the fascinating culinary journey made by Alexandre Pottock.
Until relatively recently he was cooking up burgers at “Hemgie’s” on rue du Bailli, a particularly bustling part of Ixelles. But, having decided he’d had enough of that type of food, he opted for something quite different.
So, with the help of his wife Betsy (and several family members!) he set about the task of transforming what used to be a burger outlet into a top notch restaurant offering some very fine dishes.
The result is “Pottok Restaurant”. It has only recently opened but is already proving a big hit in this ever-lively part of Brussels. Everything has been changed and that includes the interior.
The menu is kept deliberately short, mostly so as to avoid any wastage, and much is genuinely homemade ranging from the very tasty bread to soft drinks, including lemonade, orange and iced tea.
Another reason for the relatively small menu is that Alexandre wants to ensure that he uses only the freshest and seasonal ingredients in his cooking. It’s something many restaurants claim to do but, here, it really happens (the only thing that is ‘bought in’ being the cheese). He’s also keen to ensure the card follows the seasons, hence you will currently find asparagus on offer, shortly to be followed by artichoke. Later in the year, other seasonal products will find their way onto the a la carte.
Current main courses include a delicious Teriyaki half-cooked “Red Label” salmon served with carrot spaghetti, ginger and sautéed rice. Another is fresh tagliatelle with the aforementioned asparagus along with oyster mushrooms and roasted hazelnuts.
There’s some very fine starters as well, including Tataki of marinated beef tenderloin and green asparagus and also carpaccio of salmon, raspberry and coriander. Each day, a different type of – very tasty – tapas is served as an appetiser.
As you’d expect from someone who spent six years cooking them, there’s a “Pottok Burger” on the menu, served in that splendid homemade bread. A short but nice choice of deserts include a lovely “five spices” cream brulee and hazelnut brownie. You can also avail yourself of a great selection of teas while wine lovers will be in their element here as there is a fantastic choice of some very, very good quality reds and whites (and rose).
One of the many pleasures of eating here is the genuinely friendly ambience, due in the main to the family spirit that imbues “Pottock.” When you consider the family connections here, this is not an accident: Gaelle, Alexandre’s cousin, is part of the team, Alexandre’s carpenter brother in law, Robin, is responsible for much of the stylish wooden bar and other furnishings/accessories while mention should also be given to Alexandre’s mother Nazlin for inspiring her son to such culinary heights.
Alexandre grew up in upstate New York and came to Belgium when he was five. He dabbled in sound engineering as a career but soon decided that wasn’t for him and opted for his “first love” – food. The good news is that the love and passion he used to invest in cooking burgers has been transferred to a whole new level.
On that score (and others) this new addition to the Brussels restaurant scene deserves top marks.
Good to know:
- 90 rue du Bailli, Ixelles
- 02 325 9594