Domaine Mathis Bastian, Remich, Luxembourg

Since arriving in Luxembourg, several years ago, I started to slowly improve my knowledge about wine – at least, I tried. I think that the main opportunity given by this country in the wine field is the coexistence of people of different nationalities who are bringing in their own culture including, thanks god, the wine.

As Italian, unfortunately, I had always this misconception about our supremacy and I have always considered other wine regions less attractive than mine. Honestly, recently, I had good demonstration this was not always the case.

Couple of weeks ago, in fact, we were invited for a private visit to the Domaine Mathis Bastian, located in Remich, on the Mosel valley. The village, if you don’t know – and it is pretty bad for you as it is a beautiful one -, it is less than 20 minutes driving from the city and offers several attractions, including boat cruises and a romantic path on the river.

To welcome M. and I at the Domaine we found Anouk Bastian, who lovely walked us though the vineyard before, inside the production line afterwards and at the wine tasting to conclude.

Discovering the Domaine Mathis Bastian was kind of surprising for us: it is a domaine with a history of 5 generations, which has an eradicated presence into the Luxembourg gastronomy, with their wines distributed among the most known upmarket restaurants in town. Luxembourgish wines are pretty celebrated among local people but for us expats are a bit a black hole.

Our arrival at the Domaine Mathis Bastian was breathtaking. The vineyard are uphill compared to downtown Remich and have a spectacular, fairy tale view, nothing to envy to some postcard landscapes from Champagne. The Domaine itself mixed old-fashion elements with artistic modern items: the idea of Anouk’s father, Mathis, who took personally care about the renewal work, was to keep the historical features of the main building, but mix it with linear, almost futurist elements of design. From the reception hall to the single tasting rooms, you can smell this great attention to details and this unconditional love for modern art items that appear here and there around the property. Most of these items have been designed specifically for the family and intend to give an idea of lights and comfort, you don’t find somewhere else.  The mixture between the old and the new, the arty and the lines, the dark wood and the wide windows creates a space deep, intense, enchanting. A place where you not only you come to satisfy your palate with the wine, but as well to entertain your soul.


Coming to the wines, we went through some of the most representative products of the Domaine Mathis Bastian. Their carte includes some very classic numbers, that are Luxemburger’s favorites, like the Cremant and the Riesling, and some fashionable, young and dynamic bottles, like Prelude Nanami, which name is an honour to the country, Japan, where the Auxerrois Mathis Bastian won the gold medal at Japan’s Sakura women wine award. Nanami in fact in Japanese means beautiful flowe or spirit of harmonies.

The wines we tasted and you can find below in the gallery had all the wow effect: I moved five hundreds miles away from my misconception about Luxembourgish wines. I found there intense notes, structured tastes, long lasting aromas.

My favorite number was definitely the Auxerrois 2015: while I have a strong inclination for “old” white, so I was not surprised to love the Riesling collection from 2005 and 2001, this wine enchanted my palate and I closed my eyes and pictured myself on a terrace, in the sunset, barefoot and happy. It is the perfect alternative to bubbles if you don’t like bubbles 🙂


Coming back to the Domaine, while their offer to the public is mainly concentrated on the wine – so they don’t offer in-house food service -, they are keen to organize private tasting events for limited groups to introduce you to the wines produced at the Domaine. Compared to other places I have visited, the characteristic that makes Mathis Bastian a must visit place is definitely the amazing conformation of the rooms. They offer not only a welcoming spaces for the tasting, but as well an incomparable view on the vineyard and a unique atmosphere. Said that, the tasting can be definitely combined with catering service and become real events, for families, companies or just friends.


The Domaine Mathis Bastian is open to the public from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 12 and from 2 pm to 5.30 pm. Visits and tasting can be organized on appointment.

If you want to have a better chance to learn about the Domaine Mathis Bastian there are two occasions that cannot be missed:

– This week end the Domaine will held its Open Days, so it will be exceptionally open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday and you are welcome to pop in and try their delicious wines, from 2 pm to 6 pm. No invitation needed, nor entrance fee, so you just have to drive or catch a bus to Remich and show up!

– On November 16th, the Domaine will be present at the event Dubai meets Moselle at Cafesino, in Luxembourg City Centre, an exclusive event which will honor fine wines from Luxembourg, accompanied by oriental dishes. Few places left, hurry up to reserve yours!

Barefoot in Luxembourg will be at the Domaine on Saturday for the Open Days, so come and say hi. And if your week-end schedule is already full, don’t miss in the future the occasion to visit Domaine Mathis Bastian. You will fall in love with the elegant atmosphere surrounding the vineyard and will definitely be impressed by the charming taste of their wines, like we did!

 

 

Advertisements

Lumbini, Indian Restaurant, Hesperange

It seems ages I am not reviewing an Indian restaurant, right? Well: I was definitely missing it, so after couple of unsuccessful tries, I was finally able to convince a bunch of friends to have an Indian dinner. We chose Lumbini, in Hesperange, as it was quite some time I wanted to try it!

We got there a bit before 9 pm on a calm Monday night – they are open 7/7. Just a couple of tables were busy and the waiter accommodated us on a nice table on the window. The location is very cozy, overlooking the street but with the good level of “privacy” – you can see, but not be seen.

As my friends never had Indian food, it was up to me to introduce them to the menu and to suggest them dishes – and I was very keen doing that.

To start, after Papadam from the house, we shared a portion of meat samosa and one of chicken drumsticks. Both seemed to be much appreciated by the table and we continued then with: a portion of Chicken Vindaloo (guess who ordered it…), a portion of Lamb Dansak (with lentils and herbs, mild), a portion of Panchrangi Takari (vegetables in cashew nuts sauce) and two portion of Butter Naan bread. While in three we mainly shared these dishes, one of us, who does not like much sauces, ordered a portion of Chicken Tandoori.

We accompanied our dinner with two bottles of Sicilian red wine (you know, Italian men…) and concluded with espresso and two rounds of Paan digestifs (of which the second one was offered).

Total bill (2 starters, 4 mains, 2 bread, 2 bottles of wine, 3 bottles of water, 1 espresso and 4 digestif, plus 4 offered) read a bit more than 150 Eur, 38 eur per person.

Pictures of our dinner are followed by my general impressions on Lumbini.


What I liked about Lumbini
:

  • The food was nice and have the right amount of spices: mild dishes were tasty but soft, while my Vindaloo was hot, but in an appropriate way (enough for someone who is used to eat spicy as I am, but not impossible to eat). Portions were pretty big, above all the Naan was much more than expected and with three men at the table we were barely able to finish all (even if I did my best). In particular, my favorite dish was the Lamb Dansak: I usually tend not to order mild dishes, but this one was delicious and the lamb meat so tender!
  • The service was professional and polite. Even if we were a bit noisy at a certain point, the waiter was very accommodating toward our requests, open the wine at the table and make it try twice (not always happens in exotic restaurants), offered us a last round of drinks.
  • The bill came out very fair for what we ate and drunk. Even if we shared two starters in four people, we were almost not able to finish the food so portions were more than enough.

What I liked a bit less about Lumbini:

  • We did not have any negative remark about our visit. Everything went smoothly and we had great time, so would definitely consider to come back again. Couple of points just to mention to be picky as I usually am: the place is very nice, but, as most of the Indian restaurant in Luxembourg, is anything fancy or posh, so don’t expect Myfair style Indian restaurants. Then. While all our dishes were great, the only one I would not order again might be the veggie one – the nuts sauce had a very weird taste for me, almost burnt, but as it was the first time ordering it, maybe it was just a wrong choice.

 

In conclusion: Lumbini is a perfect choice if you are looking for an Indian restaurant not right in the city center. The service is extremely professional, food is enjoyable and the location is very cozy. Not to mention the fact the prices are a bit lower than the Luxembourg average. Definitely recommended for friends’ gatherings! Bonus point: it is open 7 days a week.

 

Introduction to Lebanese: Phenicia, Luxembourg

Among the guidelines for a Friday night partying, I have the rule of not having a proper dinner. It does not mean really skipping the eating part in favor of alcohol (I am too old for this shit!), but that definitely I cannot have a 4-courses meal before going out as otherwise I would rather fell asleep (age has its contribution also on this side).

So on a Friday night, Jenni and I decided to try Phenicia, a corner of Lebanon just off Place de Paris (here we are, once again!).

We decided not to book in advance as the place often looked empty from outside, but once inside we realized the tables on view on the main window are only a small part of those inside and the restaurant is pretty big – and it was pretty full!

The decorations are lovely – they create a nice, exotic atmosphere without being cheesy. We were welcomed at the entrance and accommodated to a table at the very back of the room, where most of the people were seating.

For that night, the restaurant offered a “all-you-can-eat” buffet or a la carte dinner. We opted for a la carte formula. I ordered an aperitif of the house (a mix between a sweet syrup and Lebanese cremant, pleasant and similar to our Kir Royal) while Jenni had only water.

While the menu offered various fixed price combinations and a great choice of main dishes, we decided to stay on the mezze (small dishes to share) in order, as said, to have a kind of light dinner.

We ordered Baba Ghanouj (grilled eggplants pure’, onions, tomato and pepper), Falafel(fried chickpeas nuggets), Jobneh (fried cheese) and Fatayer with Spinach (an oven-baked pastry stuffed with spinach and sumac). The mezze were accompanied by two portions of bread (and we ordered a third one later during the meal).

We drank half a bottle of enjoyable Lebanese Ksara.

We concluded with two digestif (one Baileys and one Cognac) and theoretically with a  Lebanese coffee that never came to our table.

After the pictures, you will find more about what I enjoyed of our dinner at Phenicia.

What I liked about Phenicia:

  • The restaurant has a great settings: the location, the decorations, the background music, everything contributes to create an amazing atmosphere, where, for the time of your meal, you forget about being simply in Luxembourg.
  • The food we had was amazing: I was particularly surprised by the falafel (I am a fan, I do them myself as well so I was impressed by their taste!) and by the spinach and sumac pastry (on the opposite, I am not a fan of this kind of pastry and this one was was indeed delicious). Everything tasted very fresh and home made.
  • The wine was also a positive discovery: we were a bit skeptical about trying a Lebanese wine, indeed it was good. Even if we ordered only half liter, it was taken with the full bottle at the table and opened there.
  • Service was a bit a hit-and-miss. For some aspects it was great. We were explained the dishes in details, we were suggested the aperitif and the wine and as well for the digestive we received some suggestions. Staff was really polite and accommodating toward our requests. At the same time, there were some moments we have been totally forgotten (like when I wanted to order some more bread *rolling eyes*) or our requests were ignored (coffee asked twice and never arrived) and bill took ages to get to our table.

What I liked a bit less about Phenicia:

  • Except the rolling coaster service, the only slightly negative point on my side was the bill. At the end we had only some vegetarian starters and half a bottle of wine and we ended up paying 90 Eur in total (45 Eur each). While the food was great and we had good time, I still feel we slightly overpaid for what we got. At the same time, the restaurant offers several fixed combination (starter plus main or tasting of starters) so you can keep you bill under control if you want to.

In conclusion: I liked our dinner at Phenicia. While the service might be improved, the ambience is great and the food was fresh and tasty. The place is perfect for a romantic date or an exotic business dinner, but not the restaurant to visit if you are on a budget. I will come back to try more dishes as those we had very definitely yummy!

 

 

Am Clubhaus op der Spora, Bridel, Luxembourg

Another Sunday out for dinner, another sushi review, not the last of the series but almost – keep the hype for grand-final.

So – you probably all have that friend who is always a bit picky and is not a fan of any exotic food. I am veeeery lucky and I have more than one 🙂 So much I like to try whatever kind of cuisine and, even when travelling, eating in whatever conditions, so much the most part of my closest crew is very traditional in terms of food choices. But sometimes you don’t feel like eating once again pizza or beef steak right?
For these times when you have to get to a deal, one of the options for me is the restaurant Am Clubhaus, Op der Spora, located in Bambesch, just upstairs the tennis club.

The reasons to choose this restaurants are definitely the lovely sunny terrace during the warm season and the traditional menu combined with a wide sushi choice prepared at a counter on view by Japanese chefs.

We reserved during the afternoon and got the Am Clubhaus around 8.30 pm. The restaurant has a wide parking just in front. We actually wanted to have a table on the window overlooking the tennis court, but all those available were already booked – even if still empty (remember at the reservation in case!)

We started with a mojito for aperitif and ordered then a mixed sushi / sashimi boat for 4 people and a portion of tempura shrimps. Wonder what, the picky person changed his mind and decided to have sushi as well (no comment). I also asked if a soup was included with the order – I remember it was the case last time I have been there – but I was replied if I wanted one I have to order it specifically. I did, only for me.

The boat was anticipated by a small salad welcome from the house and, during the dinner, we had 2 bottles of Chablis and concluded with espresso and digestif for 4.

Total bill read 70 Euro per person (280 Eur in total).

Pictures of our dinner and some impressions about Am Clubhaus are following.


What I liked about Am Clubhaus, Op der Spora:

  • As said, I like the fact they propose both a traditional French menu together with the sushi, so you are not obliged to stick to Japanese if you don’t want to. Personally, I always had sushi when I came there, but the other dishes don’t look back either.
  • The sushi boat was huge and pretty good, with quite some variety. In particular, I adored the tuna tataki and the soft shell crabs rolls. While there were not many innovative combinations like other sushi restaurants I have tried recently, the fish was very fresh and tasty. Definitely a great choice if you like sushi.

What I liked a bit less about Am Clubhaus, Op der Spora:

  • The service is quite slow – we waited ages between the starter and the boat. I can definitely understand it is because the sushi was prepared at the moment, but the place was quite empty and a good half of the other tables were eating a la carte.  I cannot imagine how much you should wait to get your boat during busy days.
  • I got a huge bowl of Miso soup as starter – so huge I had to share it with a friend, as I was not able to finish it. As to me the salad starter makes not much sense, I suppose with the boat you should give people the choice between a salad and a smaller bowl of soup. I was also a bit confused as a small bowl of Miso soup was indeed taken to another table next to ours instead of the salad, as happened to my at my previous visits (and therefore already included in the price). Mmm.
  • About the latter, while the portions were quite big and the sushi fresh and tasty, I still had the impression the bill is not very cheap.

In conclusion: Am Clubhaus Op der Spora is a great location for having sushi or traditional French cuisine. It is located in the lovely Bambesch, surrounded by the green, there is a kids playground nearby and during summer they offer a sunny terrace. The sushi boats are traditional but very tasty and, while the place is not cheap, it is recommended for a celebration or a special meeting with friends. And they are open on Sundays!

Tapas at Chez Rafael, Luxembourg

There are those nights you feel like eating out but not having a proper, formal dinner. This happens to me pretty often actually – if you follow our IG account (@corie.bratter), you realize we have many shared platters, Italian style apero, more than separated courses. As we wanted a bit to change last week, Jenni and I decided to head to Chez Rafael, a Spanish restaurant located in Place de Paris – our favorite area recently! – that proposes, among others, a great selection of tapas.

The restaurant has been there for ages – before I arrived in Luxembourg probably – and I have actually been there couple of years ago for lunch on several occasions when I was working in the area, but never visited during the evening. So, to change from our usual “charcuterie and cheese platter” we said, why not?

We got at Chez Rafael on a Friday night without reservation around 8.30 pm and we were afraid for a minute it was a bad idea as the place looks quite full. Luckily the owner was able to find a comfortable space for us quite quickly and we took a seat. There is a main menu of Spanish specialties, including paella – that seemed to be the main choice for all the other tables – and a separate list of tapas, available in the same number for the categories meat-based, vegetarian and with fish.

We ordered Patron’s Peppers, Galician Octopus, two times Bread with Tomato (actually we supposed the portion was just one slice, indeed it is composed by several…), Codfish balls and Tortilla. We had two glasses of Sangria to start (and 3 more in total afterwards) and we concluded with one espresso.

Total bill read 67 Eur for 2 persons.

Some pictures of our tapas dinner and my impressions.


What I liked about Chez Rafael:

  • Food was really amazing. Authentic taste, natural ingredients, a triumph for the palate. In particular, the octopus was extremely tender and it was prepared with fresh tomato and onion. The codfish balls were to die for and while normally I am not a fan of tortilla, the one we had was the best I have ever eaten in my life!
  • Service was extremely friendly: the owner was always smiling and doing polite jokes with us.
  • The price was exceptionally fair: we were very full (as the food was a lot, portions are not micro) and we spent barely 30 eur per person.

What I liked a bit less about Chez Rafael:

  • The place is not very fancy: the interior design is very basic without any particular feeling. Colorful, very clean, but still plain. That is perfect, but might not be appropriate if you are looking for something for a posh date.
  • Let’s face it: the service is “Spanish way”, so it took quite some time to us to be served, receive the food, have the bill and coffee. But that, again, was definitely fine to me, as I was not in a rush and I wanted to have a very relaxed evening with my friend. If you want to have dinner in 1 hour, it might not be the place for you.

In conclusion: I loved Chez Rafael, dining there took me back to Spain for one evening. The tapas were great and the service nice. Very recommended for a dinner with friends in a relaxed, informal ambience for a fair price. I cannot wait to come back to try more tapas and above all the wonderful paella that was passing in front of us.

Bouncewear: where basketball enthusiasts meet

On Saturday September 16th , Bouncewear opened its first store in Luxembourg near the station in Dommeldange .  The location, while a bit out of the city centre, is easy reachable and well connected.

The weather wasn’t the best but the store was nevertheless busy with clients who wanted to see what Bouncewear was all about.

Bouncewear is a Belgian retail chain specialized in pure basketball selling everything related to the sport: shirts, hoodies, footwear, basket balls and even books and accessories. Basically everything you can think of in connection with playing basketball.

On the opening day, they had a food truck serving Italian style pizza slices and pasta boxes with some different beverages. I don’t think the salesclerks had much free time to kill during the time I was there as many customers required their attention and assistance and were really interested in the products. I liked the interior design of the shop because it has lots of free space so the store wouldn’t feel too packed even if there were plenty of people at the same time. Also the articles of clothing are hang neatly and not squeezed close to one another as opposed to many cheap retail chains.

I think this shop will cater the needs of many basketball players and hopefully even encourage people for a more fit lifestyle!


Bouncewear

Address
2, rue Nennig
L-2214 Dommeldange / Luxembourg

Opening Hours
Monday:  closed
Tuesday to Friday:  11h – 18h
Saturday:  10h – 18h
Sunday: closed

 

Bee Famous: Tasty, Affordable and Organic Wine Available at Auchan’s

As autumn is approaching, Barefoot in Luxembourg was invited for a wine tasting at Beef-Bar at Auchan’s to have a sneak peak of the shop’s new wine season range. “Foire Aux Vins” is in fact an annual event taking place in September ( this year from September 20th to October 3rd) in several supermarkets in Luxembourg, including Auchan, where winemakers introduce new wines and also offer special deals for products already on the shelves. You can check out Auchan’s website for more information about products and discounts.

a8

I had a pleasure to get to know Bee Famous, an organic wine brand from South France. I have shared my impressions below.

 

White wines:
Bee Famous Organic Cévennes

  • Fresh and fruity
  • Excellent choice with spicy and Asian food

Bee Famous Organic Chardonnay

  • Very rounded, well structured, crispy
  • Goes well with grilled fish, and sushi

a

Bee Famous Organic Viognier

  • Rounded, easy to drink
  • Great for appetzers and cheese

a1

Bee Famous Organic Sauvignon

  • crispy, quite strong after-taste of blackcurrant
  • To be paired with goat cheese salad or appetizers

a2

Red wines:
Bee Famous Organic Syrah

  • Fruity, spicy
  • Try it with mediterranean or oriental food, mild cheese or drink it as aperitif

Bee Famous Organic 2015 Cevennes

  • Complex, fruity, spicy, hint of pepper
  • Herbs of Provence
  • Perfect form meat dishes, especially pork and chicken

Bee Famous Organic AOP Costières de Nime Sans Sulfites

  • No sulfites; this wine is recommended to be drank within 1-2 years
  • Try with pork, paella or Mediterranean cuisine

Bee Famous Côtes du Rhône 2016

  • Round, long, well structured
  • Serve it with a selection of chacuterie or other meat dishes

a7

Bee Famous Côtes du Rhône Plain de Dieu

  • Plain, easy
  • Goes well with chocolate dessert, meat, lamb, pork, steaks

Bee Famous Organic Languedoc Rouge 2013

  • Elegant, silky structure
  • Great with ratatouille

a3