A gastronomique adventure: Ma Langue Sourit, Moutfort, Luxembourg

Couple of weeks ago, my partner in crime Kochi invited me out for dinner to try Ma Langue Sourit, the one-star Michelin restaurant located in Moutfort, just 15 minutes driving from the city centre.

I have been there ages ago, at the beginning of my adventure in Luxembourg, and I had lovely memories. Unfortunately we always end up choosing places around the city recently when dining out, so I did not have the occasion to visit it again. With my mood not among the stars and a lot of thoughts going in my mind, it was indeed great leaving the city for one night and I should do it more often.

We got there around 8ish, during a pleasant evening, and we were accommodated on the outdoor terrace. Only another couple was seated already – it was during the France – Germany match for European Cup, and probably most of the people in Luxembourg were in front of a screen.

The terrace ambience is lovely. Woods all around, very cared settings, you forget for a short while where you are. We started with a pink champagne aperitif that was accompanied by a delicious platter of small appetizers. The fried quail egg enrolled in wasabi powder was definitely my favourite, but all the others were pretty tasty as well.

We moved in, in the cosy dining room, where we went for the 6 courses tasting menu with wine pairing. We only asked to change the dessert with the cheese – as both me and Kochi are not very much for sweets stuff (you seen us, right?😛 )

The menu was all amazing: foie gras as amuse bouche, marinated sea bass, lobster and potatoes, white fish with coco sauce, lemon and herbs sorbet, duck, poached egg as pre-dessert (as we went for an all salted menu), cheese trolley. With the coffee with had an ice cream with strawberry and meringue and some mignardises.

On the wine side, we had 4 glasses of white wine and two glasses of red. The nice part of the story was that the sommelier was leaving us guessing the wine before coming back with detailed indications – we did not bad, thanks to Kochi’s professional skills. I did my dirty job guessing right the one from Bourgogne – playing at home.

Enjoy the pictures of the dinner followed by my general impressions about Ma Langue Sourit and our time there.

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Things I loved about Ma Langue Sourit:

The ambience: you don’t have to travel 250 km to find a relaxed and quiet environment, cared in details and never boring. Enjoy the terrace for the aperitif and coffee, admire the bold coloured paintings on the walls, sit down and leave behind all the issues.
The service: if your idea about a Michelin-star restaurant it is still about old fashioned penguins, silver trolleys and white gloves, forget about it. Ma Langue Sourit is the perfect example of how the service in a high-end restaurant could be kinda informal but still polite and rigorous. Dishes are explained in details, questions replied with no hesitation, but still you can have your laugh with the sommelier or the waiter. We were the last one to remain in the house, still enjoying our ciggy after coffee on the terrace and we never felt the pressure to leave.
The Food: ca va sans dire. Ma Langue Sourit could teach some chefs that, to be gastronomique and contemporary, you don’t have to cook gold foil or have your dish served in a space shuttle. Very traditional ingredients here are presented in a sophisticated yet innovative way, surprising your palate with unexpected combinations and warm aromas. My favourite numbers were definitely the marinated sea bass, the herbs sorbet and the poached egg

Things I liked a bit less about Ma Langue Sourit:

– It is very difficult for me to find something I didn’t like, as I enjoyed very much this special night. If only I have to find an element to improve, I would say that, when going for the tasting menu, portions should be much limited. I enjoyed the food and I was feeling quite fine at the very end, but eating the last dishes I was feeling doing it only because I needed to, while my stomach was begging for mercy.

In conclusion: Ma Langue Sourit is a paradise for food lovers. You get here an inventive and captivating refined French cuisine, the perfect service and a lovely environment just few minutes from the city centre. Perfect for special celebrations and romantic tete-a-tete.

 

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Brasserie Guillame, Luxembourg city, aka: how to ruin your Sunday

Being living in Luxembourg for 10 years, I think I have visited most of the places that are considered as an “institution” in the country. Some of them, I really like, some of them to me are just traps for old Luxembourgish chicks. I am always giving them a chance, anyway, every couple of years, so it was the case of Brasserie Guillame today, when it happened to be in the city centre around 1.30 pm and we wanted to have a relaxed lunch outdoor.

We noted couple of tables available on the terrace and we waited at the entrance. Two waiters passed in front of us and did not even bother to say hi – being busy does not exclude being polite. We got to stop a third one that accommodated us on a tiny table on side.

Allocation of the space is crazy: you basically eating together with your next two neighbours and cannot even move an inch that also the next two tables move – good luck if they have to leave while you eating.

Waiter arrived again, gave us the menu and ask for an aperitif: yes, please, we said. And ordered a Campari soda and a Hugo.

Open the menu and just realized how crazy prices are – if you follow the blog you probably know I am very keen of spending my money in food and booze, but 34 euro for a tuna carpaccio, really? You pay the location, hubby said, and he was probably right, but I was still supposing I was going to eat well – poor little dreaming girl.

So while the table next to us finished the apero, had main, ordered wine and wine arrived, our aperitif were nowhere to be seen. Waiter came to take our order and I politely asked him if we were not supposed to have our drinks during our 15 minutes wait to see him again. Drinks arrived 5 minutes after he took our order. Hugo was nice to be seen but completely watered down.

Food arrived: hubby had a beef carpaccio with basil and roquette, while I went for a beef tartare. One small portion of fries was “to be shared”, as described by the waiter. Salad was so ugly I just pretended it was not on the table. I had a glass of rose’ that was likely to be coming from Lidl wine paper boxes.

I was starving and generally speaking you see I am not a picky girl – I eat almost everything. But that tartare it was one of the most disgusting thing I had in a while. It was so full of mayonnaise and mustard it was almost impossible to taste the meat. After two forks, the only things I was able to taste were pieces of cartilage I took in the middle of the mess (calling it dish it is definitely too much). I left it all on the plat – another thing I usually never do.

I ate all the fries, as I was hungry, and the waiter came and asked if we wanted more. Yes please, we said. After 20 minutes, again, fries were nowhere to be seen – I ordered my coffee and hubby had finished his carpaccio and had his dish removed. There, together with the coffee, came the fries.

As side note, if a customer is leaving a course totally on the dish, it is good thing asking him/her if he/she did not like the plat and if anything could have been done differently. Apparently this is not happening at Brasserie Guillame and my dish was taken from the table without – beg my pardon – giving a fuck about the fact I did not eat it all.

Final bill came 76 euro for 2 apero, 1 carpaccio, 1 tartare, 2 glasses of wine.

Ca va sans dire, they will not see me again – and still trying to wonder what people find attractive in this place.

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A new place in Hamilius, Franz, Luxembourg City

I always tend to write my reviews after one visit to a place, unless it is too short or confusing. In the case of Franz, the new brasserie right in Hamilius, I am writing this post after having been there three times and not yet feeling comfortable about giving my opinion about it.

My experiences were really different one to the other: I was invited there for the opening, joined it with my partner in crime Kochi and we had more than a couple glasses of cremant. The waiter who was serving the drinks was super available to explain us the background of the place. We had also some food, but indeed the waitress who was in charge of this part was heading pretty fast to the tables she knew, totally skipping ours. We tried the salmon tartine (very good) and above all the beef tartare, that was amazing, really. I would have liked to try as well the burgers, but I had no luck.

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Shortly after, as I was very positively impressed by the place, I decided to come back with a friend for an after-work. I had very high expectations and they were deluded in the worst way. With the brasserie almost empty, at 7 pm on a Wednesday – except one table at the entrance drinking wine – we waited 45 minutes to get a cocktail. They told us they had problems with the computers, indeed I think the main issue is that one waitress does not have a clue about where she is working. As said, our drinks arrived after 45 minutes and several reminders and were left on the table without a napkin, without some peanuts, just plain watery glasses on the table. Forgetting about the service, the drinks were awful. If you ever had a Negroni, you would have felt embarrassed drinking something like that, tasting only orange juice (Negroni is prepared with Gin, Martini and Campari). We wanted to eat something, but we were so annoyed, we moved next door.

As a bad experience, above all at the beginning, means nothing, I decided to come back to Franz over the week end for nibbling something in front of a drink. My husband ordered a Gin Tonic, I had a Bloody Mary, plus a platter of cold cuts and a mixed vegetables dips with cream cheese – here’s some pictures.

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So:

  • Drinks were very nice and well prepared. My Bloody Mary might have just be a bit spicier, but I really enjoyed it. Correct price, correct preparation, good quantity. Compared to the one I just had before somewhere else in the city centre, the one from Franz was delicious, another level.
  • Again: why bringing drinks without a napking or coasters? It is warm outside and with the ice, the table started to be full  of water shortly after.
  • Food: Cold Cut platter was amazing. Very big, good quality and variety (maybe a bit too much pancetta?). The vegetable dip indeed was not impressive (only radish and the cream cheese, even if good and tasty, was too dense for dipping).  Other dishes passing in front of us were very very nice and I will definitely come back to try the pizza to share, the burger and the tartare. Lovely presentation and very attractive plats!
  • Only issue I would note on the food side: if you order a platter of charcuterie you probabily are going to eat it with some bread. We received a basket with only two slices of bread. Really? We had indeed to ask it again, and again we were given only two smaller slices. Not sure what the problem was, maybe running out of bread?, as when we arrived we saw table with baskets full of bread.
  • Lastly: the service you are getting is really depending on which the waitresses is serving your table. In the second part of the evening, our waitress changed and we were indeed very happy. She was smiling, fast, nice. Kind of waitress you like to be served by and who makes your stay very pleasant. Indeed, same one from last time, was out of the world. Not sure if it is because she is inexperienced, or tired, or not willing to work. You talk to her and she just seems not to understand, she remained stucked in the middle of the terrace with cold drinks in hands without knowing where to go. Definitely not the service you expect from this kind of place.

In conclusion: I have to say at the end of these three experiences I like Franz. The location is perfect for my standards and the decorations cared in details, I like the terrace – spacious and relaxed compared to other areas of the city centre -, I like the menu formula they propose (charcuterie was great and I am going to try other dishes that look delicious). I would just for the moment suggest to be same same with all the kinds of clients – those you know and the new ones -, to care a bit more service details (a napkin under the glass and some more bread with the charcuterie would be appreciated :) ). I consider my first Negroni choice a wrong moment, but I will keep ordering wines and Bloody Mary:) Highly recommended for a spontaneous dinner in town or a relaxed after-work. The place is going to be amazing as soon as the road work will be over.

Jenni’s Corner: La Guinguette de Janette

As an enthusiastic dancer, I was pleased to be invited on behalf of Barefoot in Luxembourg to La Guinguette de Janette, a retro-themed Swing party taking place at Brigitte in Dommeldange, Luxembourg, and organized by the lovely girls behind Janette magazine.

It was a few hours before the sunset when ladies dressed in polka-dot pattern and gentlemen wearing hats and suspenders, started to stroll towards the event venue.

The garden was decorated with colourful lanterns and a light summer breeze provided a relief in the hot summer evening. With only 20 EUR donation (15 at pre-sale), the guests had a possibility to enjoy an open bar and  fill their stomachs with barbecue or grab something delicious from one of the food trucks bordering the garden. Besides cremant, the local sparkling wine, there was wine-tasting and the bar provided custom-made drinks, specially designed for this particular event. I mixed my own drink at Cointreau Cocktail trolley along with so many other cocktail-lovers who took the opportunity to practise their bartender skills.

While waiting for the people to arrive, I had my hair done by some professional hairdressers and there was also a chance to get guidance in make-up section. Gradually the dance floor got filled with several talented dancers and other rookies eager to learn Lindy Hop steps and Swing style bootie shaking. Live band God Save the Swing together with DJ Mr. Serge were responsible for the rhythm and both of them did an excellent job with their performances. I was also very happy about Swing Dance Luxembourg coming on the stage and holding a short introduction workshop about the basic swing and Lindy Hop moves. It was very easy to follow their example and mimic some of the basic steps that build the frame for the actual dance.

 The atmosphere at the event place was both relaxed and energetic at the same time. Some people had clearly just come to enjoy a few drinks with friends in an alternative environment while the others were dancing wildly as if they had been locked in a cage for a week. The organisers had also been very thoughtful towards the football fans the most eager fans were able to follow one of the Eurocup semi-final match on a large screen placed on the event premises. These supporters also made sure that everyone knew some team scored a goal…

Overall everyone seemed to have good time especially since approximately most of the people were still staying there when I started to head home around 23.00. I enjoyed every single minute of my time there and would definitely recommend this event not only to dancers but also to someone who likes to have a drink with friends, experience something different in Luxembourg or simply just have a reason to wear retro clothes. Looking forward for next Janette event!

Enjoy some pictures!

Jenni Laiho

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Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Gianni & Brie, Petopia

Good Morning and welcome at Barefoot in Luxembourg for a new episode of our series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people”, thank you for joining.

Let’s kick it off: Who are you? Can you introduce you briefly? What are you doing here?
We are Gianni, Italian, and Brie, American. We both moved to Luxembourg for work in the same month and met exactly 1 year later by chance in the street. In September 2015 we started Petopia, a web platform for people with pets in the Luxembourg region.

Can you tell Barefoot in Luxembourg readers a bit more about your Petopia project?
Petopia
s a new website with the goal of providing a one-stop-shop for everything in the Luxembourg region related to having healthy, happy, pets and people. Our listings mainly focus on companies in the Luxembourg region, however we have started branching out to the neighbouring countries, France, Belgium, and Germany. Our website features information on businesses with solid reputations whose services we have personally experienced, or which were highly recommended by associates. We conduct individual meetings with the companies listed so that we can learn more about the founders, employees, and any additional details regarding services they provide.

Why people in Luxembourg should be attracted by your project?
It opens pet owner and businesses to new experience and opportunities. We aim to build a reference for all the animal owners in Luxembourg where they can find services, news, information, new ideas and answer to their questions. Often you have a pet, but, you are not fully aware of all the activities, services and opportunities dedicated to them.

What are the best three things about your project and what do you enjoy about working on it?
It gives us the possibility to meet passionate, interesting and motivated people during their activities with animals. It is so enriching. We discover new things everyday. It gives us the feeling of creating something that can help people in getting the most out of their experiences with their animals and also helps small businesses with promoting their quality services. This project, in its entirety, is a reward for us.

Coming back to your Luxembourg background, how long have you been living in Luxembourg?
We have both been living in Luxembourg for 4 years.

What is your most beloved place in the city?
Our favourite place in the city is The Chocolate House. There is nothing better than a hot cup of speculoos flavoured hot chocolate on a cold winter day.

What is your favourite restaurant in Luxembourg?
Our favourite place to get the best ice cream ever is Bargello. The ice cream is homemade, fresh, and simply fantastic.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
Home. We love watching Netflix on our couch with our German Shepard, McKayla, and cat, Zoe.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
We are always impressed with the amount of diversity in the city and the positive influence it brings to the society.

What do you miss here and you would like to change or improve?
Since Gianni grew up in Italy, he mostly misses being close to the seaside. If we could change anything about Luxembourg, it would be the weather and proximity to the sea.

What is the best place you visited in a range of 200 km from the city and that you would suggest for a daily trip?
Strasbourg, in France is one of our favourite places. We love going there any time of year, but especially in the winter during the Christmas market.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?
Welcoming

Discover more about Gianni & Brie’s Petopia project on its website: petopia

 

Discovering Indian restaurants: Swagat, Strassen, Luxembourg

My search about the perfect Indian restaurant in Luxembourg continues. Couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday, we decided to try Swagat, in Strassen.I passed there in front several times and always been attracted by the bold decorations. Moreover, it is open on Sundays.

We got to the restaurant without a reservation around 7.30 pm and we were placed on a table on the corridor halley, just in front of the entrance.At the beginning the service was a bit too much invasive. We got our menu and the waitress wanted to take immediately our order. I understood this might have been because shortly after the restaurant got almost full and it became very difficult to attract the attention of the waiters.

I went as usual for a chicken soup as starter, while hubby had meat samosa, and as main we decided to share a Vindaloo Chichen, some Madras Vegetables and Jhaalfrazy Lamb. We also ordered some Garlic Naan.

Pictures of our dinner followed by my general impressions.

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Things I liked about Swagat:

  •  I have to say, this restaurant failed to impress me. Our experience was not that bad, but at the same time, in consideration of all the other Indian restaurants I have already tried in the city, I would not feel motivated to come back here.
  • Indeed, the atmosphere and the decorations are cosy and the food presentation is interesting.

Things I did not like about Swagat:

  • Food was kind deluding for my Indian standards. Again, not bad in toto. but missing a sparkle. The chicken soup was a plain broth filled with boiled chicken pieces and cucumber. The Samosa hubby took were one totally without salt and the other one so salted it was impossible to eat. The Vindaloo was far from being spicy (even if I asked it to be very spicy) and the main dish portions were very small – never found an Indian restaurant where I was able to finish three shared main and still being hungry! While the pots seemed to be the usual size, both the chicken and the lamb were all full of sauce and had only 4 pieces of meat the chicken and probably 5 the lamb.
  • Service was very fresh and smiling when we arrived, but totally changed as soon as couple of tables more filled the main room. The waiters spent a lot of time to “usual clients'” tables, totally forgetting about us – had to remind for drinks and bill and they were almost annoyed to have to get to our table
  • It was a cold Sunday evening  but the restaurant was particularly hot and to refresh the air, they open the main door. The temperature of the room improved, but the open door was just in front of our table and I was shivering for the second part of the dinner.

In conclusion: Swagat was not my favourite Indian choice. Food without a sparkle and grumpy service, notwithstanding a nice atmosphere and presentation, are making it at the bottom of my preferences in town.

Jenni’s Corner: Hub Dot Anniversary Event

From this month on, a new series of articles written by Jenni Laiho will be published on Barefoot in Luxembourg. Struggling a bit between the blog, the events and my work, I found some needed support in Jenni, who is helping me out with my agenda. Wishing Jenni a warm welcome to Barefoot in Luxembourg! The first event she attended on my behalf was the anniversary of Hub Dot Luxembourg.

On a behalf of Barefoot in Luxembourg, I had a privilege to be part of the second Luxembourg Hubdot event which idea behind is to provide similar minded women with networking opportunities.

Upon my arrival at Bo Concept, where the event took place on Thursday 16th June, I was positively surprised to notice how  casually everybody was chatting with each other, while sipping champagne and nibbling appetizers. Many of these women were complete strangers to one another,  connected with a common interest towards personal growth and fashion; the latter being the theme of the day’s event.

As compared to many other similar events I have been, Hubdot has a distinctive element of being based on story-telling rather than just standard mingling. As I entered the venue, the event was just about to start and the host Carlotta welcomed the first speaker to climb on the stage. Each speaker had 90 seconds to shortly present their experience and tell the public what had made them to change the course of their lives and become bloggers, designers, personal shoppers or shop owners.  After nearly 18 speakers had shared their stories, I felt really inspired. It was simply amazing to hear how these ordinary women with very normal and diverse background had left their permanent jobs to pursue their dream or were working hard along the daytime work.

What I really liked about the event, was the fact that it was open for everyone without a specific social status, experience or other qualifications. I was also impressed by the idea of using “dot codes” as an ice breaker meaning that each person chose to wear a different dot colour on their clothes according to their current status. Green: ‘I’m here to be inspired’; yellow: ‘I have an idea. Can anyone help?; blue: ‘I’m here to socialize and shop’; red: ‘I’m established (in my career/business)’; and purple: ‘I want to tell you about (my story/work). It meant that other participants could see on one glance the reason why someone else was here.

In the middle of the speeches, there was a short break, which everyone could be used for mingling and exchanging different viewpoints.  I browsed around the different stands that were set up by these women who already had launched their businesses. There were a lot of beautiful jewellery, hand bags and clothes that really deserve to get more attention. Besides promoting the actual products, the event was really more about spreading the energy, enthusiasm and courage for each and every one to follow their true passion.

I had a chance to talk to some of these ladies that I could never get  hold on in a normal circumstances and I found it truly empowering. I might not change my current job just yet but it really made me think about the other possibilities through which I could better utilize my creativeness and imagination.

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