A Night Out at Casino 2000

Many people visiting Luxembourg aren’t aware that this little country sports a fairly vibrant casino area. Casino 2000 is the main venue, but an array of restaurants and lounges (as well as the main hotel) surrounding it make it feel like its own little nightlife district. It’s a fun place to spend an evening out in the Mondorf area, so let’s go over some of the highlights.

It’s actually best to start the evening checking out one of the nearby restaurants, as there are some great gourmet options in the area (specifically in Mondorf-les-Bains). LE PARIS is a nice option, and is affiliated with Casino 2000, but the best restaurant in the area is probably Les Roses, a French-inspired establishment that offers fine dining in an elegant setting. Said to combine flavors of tradition and modernity, it has a menu that’s sure to delight and surprise. Dishes look simple and artful but taste complex, and nothing is too heavy—which makes it great as a first stop on a long night out.

Next comes a visit to the actual casino, which offers a large gaming venue with a fairly conventional aesthetic. You can seat yourself at slot machines, play both French and American roulette, and perhaps most interestingly, engage in some blackjack so long as you arrive after 7:00 PM. This is one of the games that’s migrated largely to online and mobile formats for a lot of people, particularly given that there are several variations of the game available through digital casinos. But even though online blackjack is simple and accessible, it’s an entertaining game to play in person, and Casino 2000’s focus on the game in the evenings is one of its most charming attributes.

As you enjoy the actual casino floor, you might also want to fit in a visit to the Purple Lounge, either to interrupt your evening of gaming or to cap off the night if you’re all finished. Another establishment directly associated with Casino 2000, the Purple Lounge is also a nice place to eat. But it’s best known as a place where music and food go hand in hand, given there are often live performances going on. Even if you already grabbed dinner at LE PARIS or Les Roses, the Purple Lounge is a nice place to have a drink and listen to some music, or perhaps enjoy a dessert or two.

All in all it makes for a nice evening out if you have one to spare in Luxembourg.

Let’s Cook Something Luxembourgish!

On June 10th, the morning of my birthday, I attended a show cooking event organized by well-known Luxembourgish chef Anne Faber together with kitchen store Eggo in Howald.
Eggo is specialized in customized kitchens and focuses on creating tailor-made kitchen solutions that are simultaneously fresh, practical, ergonomic, chic and ergonomic. Their store offers multiple models of different styles depending on your taste and budget and is worth of checking out if this topic is relevant to you.

Anne Faber welcomed me and the other guests with a glass of cremant as we arrived at the venue. She had also prepared some cheese biscuits that paired well with sparkling wine. We had some time to mingle around before the actual event started.

The idea of the show cooking was to explore some of her new recipes that are simple and fast to cook for a big crowd of people and yet are tasty to munch away during the Duke’s Day for instance. Summer is an excellent time to invite friends and family over and try out some typical Luxembourgish food which foreigners, such as myself, have very limited knowledge of. These recipes are also going to be part of Anne’s new cook book that’s scheduled to be out some time in autumn. All recipes can be found here.

The first dish we saw being prepared was Mettwurscht Muffins. Preparation didn’t take much time nor seemed to require much of special cooking skills. The key was to throw all ingredients in a bowl, blend and mix everything well together, pour the dough into muffin tins and voila, the mixture was ready to go in to the oven.

The second dish and the main course was Rocking Kachkeis Pasta which was noodles with Kachkeis, German “cook-cheese”, arugula and nuts.  The preparation of this dish wasn’t that complicated either and the end result reminded me of American mac and cheese dish though this was the local version of it. Kachkeis definitely gave a bit of a more intense taste and adding in some arugula and nuts gave a nice touch and balanced out the flavors. This was especially an interesting combination and definitely something I could imagine cooking in winter time. Kachkeis can be bought in any supermarket in Luxembourg.

For dessert we enjoyed some Spiced Orange Crème. I’ve always been a big fan of desserts and quite critical to judge them as well. This version of orange crème was very much like a mousse when it came to consistence and was much better in taste than I expected. I think I was expecting the type of orange crème that was served in my school canteen when I went to primary school and that was nowhere close to what I was eating on that Saturday. The recipe she was using was originally her grandmother’s well-kept secret that she had only recently shared with Anne. This dish required 3 freshly pressed oranges, whipped cream, eggs, sugar and cornstarch; the key was to make the dessert already one day prior to serving it in order to create right texture and soak up the flavors.  

Overall the event was a lot of fun. It wasn’t at all as formal as I had been afraid of but it was in fact, very casual. Anne was cheerful while she was demonstrating how to create these wonderful mouth-watering portions and we even had a chance to come and feel sauces and creams in progress.  Everyone had also a lot of time to talk to one another and make new contacts. I had great time and couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday.

White Dinner 2017 is approaching…

As each and every year, the White Dinner is one of the event I am waiting most during summer in Luxembourg. I think it has a special allure and the fact that every person is basically responsible for the success of his/her table makes it for me even more interesting.

In order to get ready for this year edition, we propose an article we published already some year ago – slightly revisited.


Did you ever heard about the White Dinner?

This is a truly amazing event organized in several European cities during summer (check some pictures of the one in Paris here).

The rules are more or less always the same: the dinner is taking place in a public place that is kept secret till the very last, everybody should be dressed in total white and you must provide for everything for your group (table, chairs, food, etc.).

It is actually less complicated than it looks and having been to six White Dinners in Luxembourg already, I can ensure it is definitely worth the effort – and each and every year you want to improve!

It is just important you try to plan a bit in advance the event and to share the tasks with your group of friends.

Keep the group limited, above all if you are inexperienced. A table of 4 or 6 is easier to manage and you won’t feel overwhelmed.

Previous White Dinners in Luxembourg took place among all at the Roses Garden in front of Arcelor Mittal building, in Rue Philippe II, on the Corniche, at the Lycee des Garcon.

Some suggestions on my side, based on what my personal experience at White Dinners has been:

– Normally you receive indications regarding the “meeting point” on the morning of the event. The “meeting point” is at a walking distance from the place where the White Dinner will be actually taking place. Therefore, start to wonder where the dinner could be and above all try to find the closest parking place/bus stop. You can share the easy things to transport with your friends (have backpacks, boxes and cooler bags ready and filled). Have just one friend with the car that could move heavy stuff and tables when the X location is announced. Use foldable tables and chairs for garden that are lighter and easy to clean.

– If you are afraid of taking china with you, check at shop like Hema or Ava, in Luxembourg city. They have wonderful catering items at small price and some nice decoration solutions. We did not take china with us until the very two last editions and honestly don’t regret it.

Coordinate the food and the drinks, to avoid ending up with ten red wines bottles and nothing else. Take in consideration that, from the announcement of the “place”, it takes some time to arrange the tables and collect people, so be ready with an icy cold champagne bottle or a nice aperitif for your friends, while you are setting your table. We like to already mix our aperitif in nice plastic bottles at home, filled as well with flowers and fruits.

Go cold (pasta salad, raw fish, cheese and charcuterie) and simple (what about a bento box for your friends?). If you are afraid is going to be too complicated, you might consider to take something take away (Sushi shop box, for example).

Don’t forget ashtray if you have smoking friends, big bin bags to clean everything at the end and eventually some rags/cleaning paper as disaster recovery option (open Aperol bottle overturned on the table anyone?)

– If it is your first year, don’t bother too much about the appearance. Try to be clean,  have a nice organized table and above all to enjoy. You might see crazy stuff that night, like people having their own butler carrying them stuff around, but White Dinner is not about the best table. It is about having a different special night, about a secret place, about being thrilled of organizing something with your friends and enjoy this special and lovely moment.

Have fun!

Some pictures of my previous editions are following:

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PS As the event is secret we cannot disclose more than what we have already done, but should you be interested, send a private message to Barefoot in Luxembourg on FB and we will try to help you out..

 

A luxurious evolution: Le Chatelet, Luxembourg City

As you might have noticed if you follow the blog, we tend not to review a place more than once in a couple of years – even if, when the feedback is good, I visit it again.
We recently did an exception for Le Chatelet, the refined restaurant located in Boulevard de La Petrusse, that welcome us last time when was still part of a famous Luxembourg brand.

The restaurant has been acquired by Jean-Baptiste and Aleksandra, this refreshing couple who decided to leave their previous professional life behind and jump in a new adventure. They gave their chef “carte blanche” with the idea of moving the restaurant concept from a steak-house (remember, also Barefoot in Luxembourg was there for meat) to an innovative bistronomic brasserie.

The step to get to this level was achieved as well with some noticeable improvements to the appearance of the venue: the tables on the main road have been removed, there have been some major reviews in the internal settings and at the wine bar, but it is on the terrace that the main changes have been operated. The cheap coverage has been removed in favor of a more open and green terrace, a Parisian corner in the heart of the station area.

In regards to the cuisine, forget about bouche a la reine and toast au champignon, the card is surprisingly creative and have limited choices, but for all the tastes – it must be said that the evening menu changes every two weeks and some seasonal suggestions are proposed on spot. The a la carte menu change with seasons as well.

We had ourselves a tasting menu with wine paring.

The amuse-bouche was the prelude of an exceptional dinner: an exquisite tartare of carabineros prawns accompanied by tomato and mozzarella foam. A symphony of taste in only couple of spoons, the freshness, almost kinky taste of the prawns dancing with the comforting, bold intermezzo of the mozzarella and closed by the acid notes of the tomato.

We were already gobsmashed.

The first starter was an unpredictable combination with old-fashion reminiscences  and exotic notes: risotto with celery, lobster in two consistencies, homardine sauce and coconut milk. The intriguing part of the dish was indeed the mixture between classic tastes (lobster) with creative elements (the celery risotto was unexpectedly to die for, the coconut milk was taking you to a Bangkok food stall and back).

Then it came the foie gras ice cream, a dish that would have definitely not disfigured on a Michelin starred restaurant table. Tasty but not sickly sweet, accompanied by a crumble of hazelnuts and spices, it managed to wrap the palate without tiring it.

As main course, we had ray with semi-salted butter, young carrots with kaffir lime, emulsion of shellfish and fried capers. Again, a mishmash of a classic dish with brush strokes of originality. To me, this was as well the best combination between a dish and its wine, as the salty note of the sauce and the capers perfectly mingled with the sweet delicacy of a local Riesling.

Finally, the meat dish: lamb rumsteak with ratatouille cake, tapenade and potatoes. An astonishing presentation for a pretty vintage closure of the meal with a delicious drive.

Together with the coffee, we got our dessert, last dish of the menu: apricots, cacao crumble, coconut and vanilla ice cream, apparently a simple blending, indeed a very elaborate twist of consistencies, tastes and aromas.

Pictures of our dinner with the relevant wine pairing, followed, as usual, by my overall impression on the restaurant.

What I loved about Le Chatelet:

  • As general consideration, I have to say I was positively surprised by the new restaurant imprint, innovative but not in an aggressive or exaggerate way – as well at pricing level. Our tasting menu was fantastic, but the “a la carte” choices include some very impressive numbers as well – the fried creamy egg in the starters for example or the Carnaroli risotto with truffle and pata negra.
  • The wine selection is amazing – not in the sense of general commercial wines or just big names, but of a very attentive selection and experience. For example, with the lamb we had a Spanish red wine. We were skeptic, but it was a great wine, intense and powerful.
  • The timing of the dinner was perfect: generally with the tasting menu you often risk to have dishes coming in too quickly and to fill up immediately. Or – vice versa – to wait too much between courses and get bored. In this case, nothing could have been done better.
  • The service was great: spontaneous and attentive. A special mention to the lady who was introducing the wine, she was really showing a great passion and explaining the pairings in a detailed way, but easy to understand.

What I liked a bit less about Le Chatelet:

  • We had fabulous time and our dinner could have not been better. If I want to be picky and find one item to change, it would be the combination between the lobster dish and its wine, a Chardonnay with significant citrus notes. The dish to me was on a sweet side, as well was the wine. While my partner in crime observed a drier wine would have been better, on my side I would have kept the wine and added a bit of chili or cayenne pepper to the dish. De gustibus.

In conclusion: The visit to the new Le Chatelet overcame our expectations. We found a renewed brasserie with a strong gastronimique accents. Perfect if you are bored of the “usual” standards and expect something “more” from your dinner, without ending up in the pretentious. Strongly recommended for a date, a dinner with friends or a business meeting.

And if you wish to enjoy the sun informally, a tapas menu is also available.

Moroccan lunch at Le Gourmet Oriental, Luxembourg City

Couple of weeks ago, Sunny and I have been invited to try a corner of Morocco in Luxembourg, this exotic restaurant called “Le Gourment Oriental“.

The place is located on the busy connection between Avenue de La Gare, Place de Paris and Avenue de la Liberte’. The area is flourishing of new venues recently and started to be positively animated even during the evening. Indeed, Le Gourmet Oriental has been opened for more than two years, but it changed the original concept on the way.
At opening, in fact, the restaurant was active only as lunch eatery for the nearby offices: dishes could be ordered at the counter, were warmed up quickly and taken directly by the client at the table.

Now the restaurant has a more sophisticated appearance, even if still pretty much informal: there is though a corner for take-away and delivery, but it is also and mainly possible to seat directly at the tables and be served – at lunch there are a lunch formula and a la carte menu. From Wednesday to Saturday, Le Gourmet Oriental is also opened during the evenings, with a bigger menu – and the formula “Take your own wine“, that personally I adore, as allow you to save a substantial part of the bill and to bring a good bottle in restaurants that normally would have had a very basic wine list. Even if you pass by randomly and decide to stop, Monoprix is just in front and you can buy your bottle at the same time. Alert: No cork fees are charged on the bottles!

The location itself is very cozy – furniture are oriental style but without the “too much” cheesy effect. The service is smiling and refreshing.

I ordered Harrira Soup as starter while Sunny had Aubergine Caviar. To continue, I had Tajine with green olives and chicken while Sunny had Cous Cous with Kefta – all meat is Halal at Le Gourmet Oriental.

We concluded with a delicious Moroccan tea, very digestive.

Find the pictures of our lunch – shot by Sunny – and my usual impressions to follow:

What I loved about Le Gourmet Oriental:

  • We had a delicious lunch in a very authentic ambience: our dishes tasted lovely, different from all the exotic plats I had so far and the combination of spicy is fair  but powerful – and should you wish to elevate your experience they bring you homemade harissa at the table. The owner and all the kitchen team are from Morocco, so this is definitely ensuring an high level of credibility in the proposal.
  • The menu is various and could satisfy different palates, from meat eaters to vegetarians. There is also a great choice of various lighter wraps and of tasty-looking Moroccan patisserie. Not to mention, prices are very fair for Luxembourg standards.
  • The service is super nice: if you have any doubt, dishes and formulas are explained in details and with a smile and the owners are stopping at the tables to check if you are enjoying the lunch.

What I liked a bit less about Le Gourmet Oriental:

  • We had a very pleasant lunch and I look forward to come back to visit the restaurant as well in the evening. The only thing I might say, with reference to our lunch, is that portions are quite big, so the combination starter plus main at noon for a girl is a bit too much – if you cannot take a nap afterwards. Still definitely suggested for big appetites 🙂

In conclusion: Le Gourmet Oriental was a very pleasant discover. The venue is simple and informal, but dishes are colorful, authentic and very tasty. I enjoy the service and was surprised by the night formula where you can take your own wine without additional fees. I would definitely recommend it for an after-work dinner with colleagues or a girls night out!

If you want to see more picture of Sunny, check her blog here.

Olliewood Skate Shop Opening

On Friday April 9th, Barefoot in Luxembourg was invited to participate Olliewood’s “housewarming party” in its new location. After operating 19 years inside the “Galerie de Capucins”, the Luxembourgish skating store  had moved up the street to a more visible, brighter and customer friendly location.

Painted in white with a huge window facing towards the street, this new store indeed had indeed changed its looks towards being very fresh and young providing a more exclusive shopping experience. The new place situated just along a busy street of Rue de Capucins, will certainly contribute to a more customer flow due to its visibility. It’s now indeed much easier to stop by to check the latest season trends as the huge shopping window creates the attention of the passers-by.

 The official opening evening was full of people and it was almost impossible to get inside the store. There was a DJ playing through the evening while the clients were busy trying on hoodies, t-shirts, sneakers, caps and checking out skateboards. The personnel was very friendly and patiently advised people and answered any questions anyone had.
I can imagine this shop gaining even more popularity after the change of the location. There is a strong skating community in Luxembourg and a big number of people who simply like the skater style clothes.

 Olliewood

19, rue des Capucins L-1313

Luxembourg-City,

 Opening hours

Monday to Saturday / 10h00 – 18h00

Pictures are courtesy of Olliewood Facebook Page.


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After-Work at L’Avenue, Kirchberg

Couple of weeks ago, on a Wednesday night, we had a business meeting to plan and as we were already around Kirchberg area we decided to try for the first time L’Avenue, the modern new bar – restaurant in Arendt building, near Auchan.

The design of the venue is stunning: modern, clean, bright, slightly posh but exceptionally client-friendly. Entering, you have in front a luminous and striking bar counter – reminding me of some “Made in Chelsea” favorite drinking places -. On the left, the bar area, on the right the restaurant tables.

When we arrived, the bar area was already totally packed – we requested to the waiter a table for three people, but he was unable to find one, so we moved to the terrace. Indeed the terrace is one of the bonus point of the location but unfortunately on that specific night the weather was not compatible with a long stay. Our waiter was really nice: we started ordering two glasses of red wine – a nice Italian Primitivo – while waiting for our guest  and when our waiter saw I was actually shivering, he called us inside after having found a table.

Even if the bar area was packed, the tables allocation inside is really comfortable: you don’t get the impression to be suffocated by other people standing, like it happens in similar places and still have a good view – isn’t people watching one of the favorite hobbies in Luxembourg?

With the second round of drinks, we ordered as well some tapas: the kitchen was about to close, but we were still able to have some vegetable tempura with their dip. The presentation was very accurate, the portion quite fair for the price and the taste surprisingly good.

Some pictures of our evening followed by my general impressions – and for more pictures of the venue just check out L’Avenue FB page.


What I liked about L’Avenue:

  • The design of the location is “wow”. I really love the place and I cannot wait to be on the terrace during the warm season. It is the kind of place you might like to go straight from the office or after a business meeting like we did.
  • The service is extremely friendly: even if the place was packed and the waiter serving the bar area only one, we never felt we were forgotten and we got everything we needed on time and with a smile. Well done!
  • The drinks list is wide, including appealing cocktails and great gin selection. Tapas are served after-work and have several choices – including veggie – at a small price. Perfect if you are having dinner afterwards – and cannot wait to try the dining area in the next future.

What I liked a bit less about L’Avenue:

  • We had a super pleasant night so nothing to complain about, definitely. Maybe it would have been nice, even if you don’t order tapas, to have some chips or peanuts to snack while having your drink, but as usual this is one of the silly points of mine – I have an addictions for chips, I admit.
  • Not a real downside, indeed, but only a suggestion if you plan to visit the bar. Even if prices are very fair, it is a classy place, you cannot deny it, and being in the financial district, the customer base is mainly composed by lawyers and bankers. If you have gym-wear and sneakers on after having shopped at Auchan, it might not be the place for you. Come with high heels ladies 🙂

In conclusion: L’Avenue bar is the perfect for a fashionable drink in Kirchberg, with friends, colleagues or business partners. The lovely terrace and the stunning interior design, together with the attentive service, are making this place one of our favorite for after-working in town.