AKABOBUTTEK & NATURWELTEN: new ecological shop in Luxembourg

When it comes to  ecological thinking in terms of providing organic food or eco-friendly products, I feel a bit like Luxembourg is lagging behind in the development of offering these products as compared to many other European countries.

On Friday 31st of March, I was thrilled to attend the opening of AKABOBUTTEK & NATURWELTEN, located in the area on 8 Rue de Bonnevoie. The shop focuses on providing ecologically made products and they have a huge variety of different household textiles and other items (mattresses, carpets, curtains, wooden furniture), yoga wear, men and women’s fashion and accessories,  cosmetics and cleaning products. The owner of the shop has also a “tour bus” and the new shop is in fact an extension of what they were already offering via this bus.

At the opening evening, the boutique was full of customers and the new store crew was warmly welcoming everyone to come and have a closer look to the new establishment. The shop owners also explained to me the philosophy of the store which is based on sustainable development. The idea is to support the developing countries by providing the people better pay for their work. All the products also have a Fair-trade or equivalent certification.

This new shop is ideal for consumers who value environment and are concerned about the inequality of the developing countries. The prices of items are somewhat higher as compared to mass chain stores but the quality is often better and at least one knows that the extra money is given to people who really are in need of it and have earned it. The store itself is also cute and the crew very eager to help and advise.

 

 

Naturwelten Wunnen & Schlofen
8, rue de Bonnevoie
L-1260 Luxembourg-Gare

Opening hours:
Monday 10-18h30
Tuesday -Friday 10-18h30
Saturday 10-18h
Sunday and holidays closed

pictures courtesy of Akabobus 

 

Jenni’s Corner: Apres-Ski with Janette

In terms of weather, March 9th was a perfect day for the women’s magazine Janette to organize an After-ski themed after-work event. It wasn’t too cold to stay outside and the week long rain had finally stopped.
The event took place outside Vinoteca under a huge portable roof which protected us from the cold winter wind. Under the roof, there was an outside bar that sold mainly wine but also some other drinks – they went very well together with a nice selection of different Swiss Cheese that was served on a wooden table on the other corner of the tent.

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I arrived at the venue approximately an hour after the event had started and I noticed that the place was very packed. Small bar tables were surrounded by people who chitchatted with each other while they sipped wine and dipped pieces of bread in melted cheese. Many people praised the quality of cheese fondues and also liked the easy-going music that the live DJ was playing.

I found that the event was perfectly suited for the season and was very well set up. People seemed to be having a good time by posing in front a camera and the place was full of laughter and happiness. The only improvement point would be to think about a bigger location due to the great number of people participating the after-work.

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Thanks Janette for the invitation! I met many people I knew and the alpine like atmosphere made the event very successful!

 

 

Iron Bartender Competition

Two weeks ago, Barefoot in Luxembourg has been invited to a new event concept that took part among five bars in the city center of Luxembourg (The Tube, Bellamy, Go Ten, Octans, Konrad). The idea is based on the cult Japanese TV show Iron Chef.

Each month a “mystery ingredient” will be chosen which the bars have to use to develop a special cocktail. That ingredient could be a special spirit, or fruit, or juice etc. Each bars cocktail is then judged by an independent panel and a trophy awarded to the winning bar to display until the next month.

Barefoot in Luxembourg was part of the jury of the first edition and the selected mysterious ingredient for that time has been Diplomatico Reserve Exclusive Rum from Venezuela.

We started our night as jury at The Tube bar, where we were proposed a very refreshing cocktail called About Figgin’ Thymes – the name has been based on the words assonance with “freaking times” and thyme, one of the main ingredient of the cocktail.
The drink was pleasantly sour and complex, you could not feel much the alcohol and was enjoyable to drink – perfect for a summer after-work. Personally, I found it a bit too much “ladylike”, but I would not mind ordering it again to start a night out.

 

We moved then to Bellamy where we were offered their Capitaliko cocktail – prepared with Rhum Diplomatico, Amaretto, chocolate and orange. The preparation was impressive but in this case the taste, while very good even for me that I am not an Amaretto fan, resulted quite strong. On the other side, we were offered some great food to share prepared by the Bellamy kitchen. I did not know that at Bellamy you could have as well some food – tapas style – and I have to say it was delicious. I would definitely come back to try some more in the next weeks!

 

Third stop was at Go Ten bar: their special cocktail – Diplomatico Choice – was a kind of Mojito prepared with coconut milk and chili. The cocktail presentation was the best one to me: the drink was served in a metallic glass covered on ice and accompanied by some exotic bites with beef and pineapple. The taste of the cocktail was as well for me the best one of the night: definitely a drink I can have all night long, above all during the warm season – I was imagining myself on a panorama pool in Cancun, sipping this ice glass. As some other members of the jury noted, indeed, it was not very much innovative cocktail – but it was the best flavor for most of us.

 

At Octans, the cocktail Carascastagnette was prepared with Rhum Diplomatico, home made pineapple liquor, Gran Marnier and Habanero. It was served together with an home made pineapple mousse prepared with cinnamon (heaven!). The combo was great, as well the cocktail. As taste, it reminds a bit the first one at The Tube, a bit girly.
Octans had definitely one of the better atmosphere for the night and the preparation was very captivating. I would have stayed there all night long!

Last but not least, it was the turn of Konrad. We were welcomed in the downstairs cozy bar room: their drink was called Cozaron, another word  game meaning as well “Konrad’s Son”.
The cocktail was prepared homemade cranberry jam. To me, while the idea was pretty much the most original one, the flavor was too much sweet, but the innovative effort was extraordinary.

 

Based on the average vote of the whole jury – about the name, the presentation, the taste, the originality, the winner of the first Iron Bartender competition was the Go Ten drink.

For us, it was a very nice initiative, something finally different that gives the possibility not only to the jury but as well to customers to try new cocktails – they will remain in the bar menu in fact for an entire month until the next competition.

A huge thank you from Barefoot in Luxembourg to Paul for the invitation, to Olivia our wonderful hostess for the night and to the teams of all the bars participating – you did great and we are really curious to follow up the results of next round.

The amazing pictures coming with this articles are kind courtesy of Nena Corner Photography, who joined us in the jury.

Nemo’s, Kirchberg, Luxembourg City

After long time, last week was finally the time to go to the movies again. I had a girls night with a friend and we decided to go to watch the new “50 shades”. I was a bit skeptical as I was very deluded by the first one of the series but I have to say this one, to me, was definitely better. Not an intellectual movie, for sure, but at least a better plot and some very romantic bits (yes, I cried).

After the movie, we decided to stop at Utopolis for dinner and we headed to Nemo’s, a small Japanese restaurant. It was full being a Saturday night and we did not reserve ahead, but they were anyway able to find us a small table. I ordered once from them online and the sushi was not very good – but it was already couple of years ago, so I wanted to give them another try.

The service was informal and pretty fast, we went for a beer and a glass of wine and ordered a Sushi Sashimi Combo. The platter was quite good for sharing – I had a huge box of pop-corn during the movie – for more consistent appetites it would definitely be better order the bigger combinations

Couple of pictures of our dinner and my considerations about the night.

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What I liked about Nemo’s:

– It was a very good after-movie solution: fast and smiling service, nice food combinations, comfortable location.
– Our sushi sashimi combo was a good portion to share, the fish was fresh and well prepared and the variety was impressive for such small platter.
– The price was more than fair (less than 30 euro each for two drinks, the sushi platter, coffee and sake).

What I liked a bit less about Nemo’s:

– Indeed, being in the middle of the Utopolis and with clear windows, the location is definitely not fashion and a bit chaotic. I would not consider to visit it on purposes, but this is indeed the best after-movie solution for me.

In conclusion: Sushi at Nemo’s was pretty good. If you are around Kirchberg or at the movies and you want to have some nice Japanese food, this is definitely a recommended informal place for me.

 

Dinner at La Briscola, Luxembourg City

Recently my blog had a very unusual turn from my beloved exotic places to Italian ones. As discussed in some previous post, being Italian, it is very difficult to find a place “as in Italy”, as most of the restaurants in town seem to have adapted their tastes to the local ones – having overcooked spaghetti as side dish, mixing heavy cream in several pasta sauces, adding some weird toppings, like ground meet, to pizza.

So, as it was for Indian food, I put in place a research off the beaten tracks in Luxembourg city and about new places, and I came across this intimate corner, opened a bit more than one month ago, La Briscola.

La Briscola was born from the love for authentic raw materials, exceptional wines and regional dishes of four young Italian men, already in Luxembourg with different backgrounds. They put into La Briscola their competencies at various level and the result is a surprising “new kind” of place. I said new kind because I have seen something similar only in Italy – specifically, in Milan. La Briscola started as a restaurant – they offer lunch set menu and a la carte dinner – but it is a meeting point as well after-work, for the “aperitivo”, and after-dinner, mainly over the week-end.

At the beginning I was a bit scared by the location, that, let’s be honest, is not one of the best in town, hidden in a small street off the train station. This – traditionally – is not an area for professional people and expats to go out during the night, but things are definitely starting to change in the last years, with more and more “nice” restaurants and bars taking the place of strip-bars and junkie spots.

Once you enter the door, anyway, you totally forget where you are. La Briscola is probably the perfect example of a place who came out with the “wow” effect, even without an awards winning architect and million of euros spent in lighting and materials (the reference is not a coincidence, indeed).
At the entrance, a cozy area for the after-work, with old barrels, candles, high chairs. The “parquet” and some of the wall decorations are obtained from the restoration of wine boxes. The bar counter occupies the central part of the venue, while, after that, the main dining room opens on the back, with an impressive wine shelf, wooden tables well distanced and a lovely mezzanine, perfect for a romantic date.

I started my evening in the entrance room, on the barrels, with an amiable glass (or maybe two..) of Pinot Noir, that was accompanied by bruschetta prepared with sun-dried tomatoes.

We moved afterwards in the main room – that was quite busy for being a Monday evening: I went for a Smoked Eggplants Flan, with Burrata cheese mousse and Lard d’Arnad as starter, while my friend had Cream of Leeks, Red Potatoes and Crispy Bacon.

As for presentation, as for taste, both dishes were delicious. The combination of flavors of my flan was impressive: it mixed perfectly the smoked note of the aubergines, with the sweetness of the cheese and the roundness of the cold cut. The balance was impeccable as well under the quantity point of view.
The soup was similarly enjoyable: a bit thick, but not through artificial additions nor useless cream, with the bacon compensating perfectly leeks sugary taste, in a pungent final crunch.

In the middle we were offered some yummy Truffle cheese to taste.

As for main, I chose the Paccheri with Duck Sauce and Quince: the pasta was “al dente”, as I love it, the duck sauce intense but mitigated by the apples – that you can barely feel at the end – and with a persistent, amazing perfume of rosemary that pervaded the dish. The other main we ordered was the Rabbit ‘alla Cacciatora’: I supposed I might have not been honest, as rabbit is one of the best dishes my grandmother prepares, indeed this was one was one of the closest in taste I ever tried. It was soft, savory, intensive. A dish I would definitely take myself next time at La Briscola.

We accompanied our dinner with a Vertigo – Felluga and concluded, after an amazing Millefoglie to share, with a glass (or maybe two…) of Grappa Barricata Le Diciotto Lune.

The final bill read 97 Eur, rounded to 80 Eur. Incredibly fair for what we have had.

After the pictures of my dinner, find, as usual, my conclusive impressions.

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What I loved about La Briscola:

  • The Location: substantially different from the usual “Italian style” restaurants in town, intimate, cozy, full of small details cared in the particular, in the middle between a posh wine bar and an informal regional restaurant.
  • The Food: the selection of raw materials and the composition of the menu is impressive. This is the kind of place where you would like to try everything that is on the carte. Portions are fair, presentation accurate and tastes unforgettable.
  • The Service: being a Monday evening the entire restaurant was under one person, who anyway served all the tables precisely, taking his time to explain dishes and wines and to talk with clients. Well done.

What I liked a bit less about La Briscola:

  • As clearly emerged from the review, I loved the place and I cannot wait to come back. If I have to find something to improve, it will definitely be the restroom area. Nothing wrong with it, but considering how well the restaurant and bar parts are set, I would have definitely expected some more care in the details.

In conclusion: La Briscola for me was one of the greatest discovery so far in 2017 and stepped already on the top of my favorite Italian restaurants in Luxembourg – together with Giallo -. The place is perfect for an informal dinner with friends, for a business talk or for a romantic date – book the mezzanine, in this case! Bonus point: you can just stop by for a quick glass of wine after-work and a shared charcuterie platter.

 

 

Taverna Yamas, Luxembourg City

Couple of week-ends ago my sister was visiting in town, so, after long time, we took the occasion to have a Greek dinner in loving memory of those spent at her in-laws in Crete.

We were huge fan of Le Grec in Bonnevoie and recently the restaurant moved in a more central location, just behind Paname in Place de Paris, called Taverna Yamas. The venue, compared to the previous one, is cozier and details are very distinctive and warmer. We were placed in a big table in one of the two main rooms and we were offered a glass of cremant as soon as we joined the place, waiting for all the people to arrive.

We started with some different starters to share and then each and every one of us had a main course.

Some pictures of our dinner and then my impressions.

If you are reading my reviews you know already we like the kitchen at Le Grec and was our favorite Greek restaurant in town.

What I liked about Yamas:

  • The service remained one of the value point of the restaurant – friendly, informal, funny. You never want to leave at the end of the night!
  • Compared to Le Grec, portions are slightly smaller and presentation more accurate: for me this is definitely a favorable point, as at Le Grec I was never able to finish my dishes.
  • The location, as said, is warmer and more personalized than the previous one. There is also a nice terrace overlooking the street.

What I liked a bit less about Yamas:

  • I have to say, everything is great at Taverna Yamas. Evenings there are just to short – or too long the day after you have to recover from hangover.

In conclusion: Taverna Yamas is my favorite Greek restaurant in town. You can really feel the Greek spirit there and spent a very pleasant and informal night with your friends.

Discovering Almdudler, the new drink from Austria

At the end of January, I was invited on behalf of Barefoot in Luxembourg to Paname to discover Almdudler; a carbonated soft drink from Austria which is slowly making its way into Luxembourg.

The brand name Almdudler apparently comes from an old phrase “auf der Alm dudeln” which means singing in the alpine meadows referring to the origins of the beverage’s birth place.
This drink has a long history in Austria and competes with Coca-Cola when it comes to its popularity.

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The after-work event organized at Paname started at 18.00 and the venue was extremely crowded since the biggest part of the location was serving normal guests and only a small part of it was reserved for the private event. I was offered to taste this sugar free herbal lemonade with cremant as a cocktail as well as directly from a bottle. Personally I preferred the cocktail since I’m not a very huge fan of sodas in general. However, for someone consuming a lot of soda, Almdudler could be a great option for a change.  At Paname, Almdudler was served along with funky appetizers and there was a photographer snapping pictures while we, the guests, had a chance to mingle around, talk to each other and exchange opinions.

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The taste of the drink was very sweet and mild but it was very hard to say what Almdudler tasted like. This wasn’t because it tasted artificial or anything, it was rather the fact that it didn’t really have a flavor of any fruit or other substance that I could relate it to.  I would recommend everyone to try it out and see how they liked it. Almdudler that we enjoyed was packed in glass bottles but as far as Luxembourg is concerned, the drink is available in normal plastic bottles and available in any Delhaize supermarket around the country.

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Most bars also have it so next time you are going out, don’t forget to give your taste buds a new experience!