… but I am back.
… but I am back.
It is Wednesday and, like Ulysse, I feel the voice of the Sirens calling me. I try to resist, after a week like last one, that has been the happiest one of my year (my best friend was visiting from Italy) but also, most probably, the most destructive one. I am seated down at my desk, overlooking a sad, orange landscape of offices and I am just dreaming about having a drink. So I decided to trick the waiting with another summary post, this time to include a question that I often find in the Google search related to my blog. I have friends visiting – someone to take out, where do I go for an easy night out?
If you have been living in Luxembourg for more than a while, you definitely know a day of the week can change everything about one place or another. With few exceptions (Paname, Urban, Goten, Tube, you name them), at most of the bars, you have been there last week on a Wednesday and it was the most amazing place ever, now on a Friday night it is creepy and boring.
Here some of my favorite – and as usual, feel free to comment with your own , I am always very happy to discover or revaluate locations:
On a Monday Evening: Come a La Maison
This is the saddest day of the week. First of all, because your friends have been drinking all the week end and now they are full of healthy life good purposes – which will last till tomorrow – and run away from whatever invitation (you have been drinking as well, but you never had good purposes to start with). Second, because most of the cool places are closed on Mondays. But it might be the case you have a friend visiting only for the night (in Italian, I would say “che culo”), that your boss is off on Tuesday morning or you want to celebrate something special (like just being Monday) and you want to go out. Not many options, but my “to go” place is Come a La Maison. Even if you might remember from here, I am not very much fan of the restaurant, on Monday night they have the Italian after-work from 6 pm to 9 pm, really Italian style, meaning with a free buffet of food. Nice Italian food, like charcuterie, suppli’, meaballs, fresh marinated fish, pizza, cheese. It is not overcrowded, above all on the terrace during cloudy days, but yet at the third bottle of prosecco you might forget it is only still Monday – I know someone around here which occurred to be exactly in the same situation last Monday.
So, to sum up: you pay for your drinks, you eat (or nibble) how much you want (for free), you have music, pleasant atmosphere (as always at Come a la Maison) and a nice surrounding of business people who are escaping Mondays like you are doing – or at least trying. If you feel your stomach is still empty (or too full of alcohol), you can even stop by for dinner.
(Pics from Come a La Maison website)
On a Tuesday Evening: Tempo Bar
Becoming old, I started loving places where you don’t go for meeting new people but just for being around your own friends and enjoying it. Consequently, I also appreciate places where the music is not that loud and you can feel a bit “off the beaten tracks” (even if it is quite difficult in Luxembourg, but still). There is a place I love during the warm season and I always find underrated under the pure “night out” point of view and it is Tempo Bar, in Kirchberg. We start from saying that the interior design is lovely and the food is generally delicious, so I appreciate coming here as well for a business lunch or dinner. But the terrace has an amazing potential that is, to me, mostly unexpressed. This is one of the place I tend not to talk too much about as I am feeling afraid to find it completely packed next time I am coming back.
What does Tempo offer you? A unique, enchanting terrace. Overlooking Mudam, with the Philharmonie and its white shape at your back. A valid drink menu for a pre-dinner or long-afterwork drink, with fair prices – among which, my favorite, is definitely Alice Hartmann Cremant. Aside from the dinner menu, a variegate, interesting “appetizer” menu to share, including classic like oysters, charcuterie and cheese platters , but with some creative twists, – I recommend you to try the mini burgers – to die for!. It does not come like an extremely cheap place regarding food – and I am happy it is not – but it is definitely worth a try, above all during sunny days and if you are with someone who is new in Luxembourg.
On a Wednesday Evening: Lady Jane
As most of the cool nights during the week are now happening on Thursdays, I tend to save myself on Wednesday night and to give my preference, in case I (really) (have to) go out, to more intimate places. At the moment, my favorite among them is Lady Jane, in the city center.
Now – you love it or hate it. The place is a speakeasy: so, the entrance is hidden, you need to book as they have service only at the table and you need a password to get in – not too complicated to obtain, but I cannot unveil you all the secrets, rights?
What I need to tell you: getting into Lady Jane, not with some difficulties if you, like me, totally miss balance, is like getting into the living room of an old aunt. A crazy one, who is hanging lamps upside down. The cocktail menu, which is changing on a regular basis and until end of summer will be just orally decanted, is amazing. Amazing meaning something you might have not regularly seen in other places around (a more polished and calmer Experimental Cocktail Club in Chinatown). For alcohol combinations and presentations. Smoke, flowers, bamboo straws are on the menu. Next to the drinks and the quiet atmosphere (when there are no DJs on the agenda), you have a nice and unexpected menu for appetizers – to share or to eat alone. Portions are fair as well as prices. A special note to the service, that still, more than one year after the place opened, it is still to me one of the best in town. The only downside? No terrace, so to smoke you have, again, to roll down the stairs.
On a Thursday Evening: Briscolino or Project LuX
On Thursday you normally would be difficult to go wrong. If you don’t want to go to your “usual bar”, there are several nights around town in which my favorite is definitely Briscolino, the Italian after-work (here we go, again), at La Briscola. The crowd is mostly composed by young professional, you have a DJ set which intensity is going up with the night and a delicious Italian buffet.
Another similar option is proposed by Project LuX: while Briscolino, the name says it all, is always happening at La Briscola, Project LuX parties are always changing location – and sometimes also day of the week. Ikki, Skybar, Boos Café, Le Sud. Follow their page and you will be updated on a regular basis on their parties. The concept is the same, replicated at different venues: dj set, finger food, drinks, cool people. The place to see and to be seen.
On a Saturday Evening: Metropolitan
Saturday is generally too packed everywhere – so if you want a cool place where you don’t have to wait ages to drink and you can also nibble something, my suggestion would definitely be Metropolitan, in Place de Paris. You will not miss a thing: you will have the “people watching” component, you will have a nice list of drinks (including a very good Bloody Mary and a lovely Sicilian red wine), you will have an appetizers (or dinner) menu served till late – go for the sliders, they are yummy! The place is always full, but, differently from some others around, you will always find a table – and I love their white benches, they are so comfortable you can forget to leave.
(Pics from Editus)
Here I will close our week long drinking and eating around Luxembourg with three suggestions. If you want to let your hair down, Scott’s Pub. This place does not need any presentation on my side, but I would like introducing it here again as, since they changed their menu card, I feel the urge to visit them at least once per week. My personal favorite are their Truffle Fries and their Unfiltered beer. Bonus point: the unbeatable view.
Second place, if you still feel like partying, at Soho they organize cool Sunday parties – check out their FB page to be sure you are on the right Sunday! The atmosphere is pretty on the young and fashion side, but if you go with your friends early you will get into the party mood immediately. Outside bar, nice list of cocktails (a very good Aperol Spritz indeed) and normally a food corner if you feel hungry – last time I have been there they had a pasta corner and shisha was available to smoke.
(Pics from FB)
Third place, if you are with your in-laws or if you are looking for some peace after a week-end of alcohol overindulgence – B13 in Bertrange pedestrian area – you can easily get there with bus 5/6 that are stopping just in front. This is again one of my favorite terrace in Luxembourg, they do nice cocktails, have a good choice of wine and have a pretty wide selection of dishes also to share – and if you don’t want to share, go for vitello tonnato. It does not come as very cheap, but you will start saving from Monday right?
(Pictures are mine, if not stated differently)
If you remember, two years ago we had a series that was pretty followed on the blog that was called “Where to” and was including suggestions per areas of Luxembourg – our most read was definitely the Bonnevoie one.
This year, I have decided to create something similar, but with a different focus.
I will test restaurants in the same range and compare them. Because some kind of visits are too short to write a proper review, but it is worth of having indications about where to… We will start today with Vegetarian Lunch in Luxembourg.
Where do you have vegetarian lunch in the city?
Definitely the situation is better than when I arrived 13 years ago – I definitely know it, as at that time I was vegan and it was almost impossible to eat out. Now little by little new vegetarian spots are opening in town and, even if not fully vegetarian, restaurants offer a tasty and wide selection of no-meat no-fish dishes that are not plain salads. I have included those places in my list that does not want to be fully inclusive, therefore feel free to suggest with your favorite vegetarian lunch eatery or the one you want us to test!
(A special thanks to Sana for having been part of the test).
What I had: Super Bowl and Ginger Lemonade
What I spent: 18,20 Eur
What you have: The place is rather small, so it you better reserve in advance. They have a weekly menu, plus a super bowl, a super dish and a savory cake (“quiche”). Choice of drink is also rather various and starts from infused water to smoothies. They are a fully vegan restaurant, so don’t serve meat or fish.
What I think: I liked the food proposal, my dish was big and I was very full after. Ginger lemonade was very tasty. If you eat in, you have service at the table and it is lovely. Downside: it did not come out as very cheap and they don’t take lunch vouchers.
Side note: They have just opened a bigger restaurant in Cloche D’Or, definitely worth to try.
Area: Kirchberg (but there also others in the city center and station area)
What I had: pumpkins soup, Shanti sandwich (with hummus) and Rivella Green Tea
What I spent: 9.20 Euro
What you have: You don’t have service at the table and you basically help yourself among what it is available (in Kirchberg you have to get there around 12 to be able to have full choice). The menu includes 1 soup or 1 small salad, 1 sandwich and 1 drink. You have also salads, warm dishes and dessert. They have a rather healthy food choice (indicating as well the number of calories on the product) and they serve also fish / meat. The vegetarian menu is pretty wide anyway.
What I think: I like Ekxi as I can take away really quickly at the office or bring a salad at home at the evening when I don’t feel like cooking. Menu changes seasonally. Products are a bit on the commercial side and not very appealing in the presentation, but still tasty. If you take the menu, the price is very competitive. Quite different if you start taking separate random products. Perfect if you are on a budget and in a hurry.
Side note: I love their freshly made Mint Iced Tea.
Area: Kirchberg (but there is also one in the city center)
What I had: Avocado Bowl (Small) and Lemonade
What I spent: 14 Euro
What you have: You get served at the counter and the order is freshly prepared. They have a quite various menu, including as well fish and meat, starting from salad, bowl, wrap and sandwich. You have at least two vegetarian items for each category. The “small” bowl was still quite big for me and was very tasty.
What I think: As products are prepared at the moment, the wait at lunch time might be quite long and to me this is the only negative point. I love the selection of products and I love the fact that portions are large enough to fill full but not to fall asleep.
Side note: during summer, in Kircherberg the terrace is small but lovely.
Area: Place de Paris / Place de Martyr
What I had: Dish of the day (Salad, Hummus, Rice Balls and Veggies), Fairy Tale Tea and a Slice of Raw Black Forest Cake
What I spent: 23 Euro
What you have: Service is at the table – very polite – and dishes are prepared in a kitchen on display. The menu is relatively small (dish of the day, dish of the week, in combo with soup and salad, two types of cakes). The place is very cozy and relaxed. I loved their tea pot.
What I think: The main dish was good but I was not extremely impressed (it was a bit too salty for me). The cake was to die for – I would definitely have another (or another 10!) slices. They have a great selection of loose tea, but on cold drink the choice is limited.
Side note: the place is perfect if you want a central location, but very quiet.
What I had: Risotto and Nuts Cake, coffee
What I spent: 24 Eur
What you have: Service at the table – definitely one of the best service I had in Luxembourg, very kind and smiley, even when the place is full. Location is not big, therefore reservation is strongly recommended. They have a daily menu, salad and soup of the day. They are open all day, so you can also pop in also just for a coffee or a piece of cake.
What I think: The only downside at Glow is that you should be lucky with the daily menu. As the choice is limited, if you are not a fan of what it is proposed (but that you can check ahead online), it might not be worth it. For the rest, the place is lovely.
Side note: They organize a monthly brunch.
Not sure about you, but when I have to decide where to go for dinner, I am often limiting the choice to my comfort zone, meaning the areas were I live rather than I often go out – city center, place de Paris. Visiting a restaurant out of these areas has basically to be justified by a specific situation. The situation in that case, last week, has been an extreme curiosity to find out a new place that has been on my to try list since its opening – but for which I have been too lazy to move my ass out of Hollerich -, Kava Restaurant, just in front of Bertrange station.
As I did, you can easily book your table online – that for me it is always a plus point – and you get a confirmation almost immediately. We got there around 9 pm and were asked if wanted to eat on the terrace or inside. Ca va sans dire, we opted for being outside. The terrace is only partially covered – and heated – but the time to be inside this winter is going to be long, so why do not still take advantage of the pleasant temperatures?
After a while, we were provided by two menus: the list of cocktails – that includes a quite creative side for being in a restaurant – and the food menu – few starters, main with fish and meat having the common point of being mainly cooked in the wooden oven, some typical Italian dishes. Vegetarians will have at least two options per course.
We ordered a “Cocktail of the Chef” while deciding what to eat. We finally went for oysters as starter, accompanied by a glass of champagne, followed by rabbit and beef filet, both accompanied by truffle potatoes pure’ and a bottle of red one, a special one tonight.
Pictures of the dinner are followed, as usual, by my impression of Kava Restaurant.
What I loved about Kava Restaurant:
What I liked a bit less about Kava Restaurant:
In conclusion: I had awesome time at Kava Restaurant. The place does not have any gastonomique expectations, still proposes a very different kind of cuisine, with Italian origins and mainly based on the wooden oven. The food was delicious and the service exceeded our expectations. Cocktail list out of the ordinary is a plus. I would definitely recommend it for a date night, a business dinner or a meet-up with friends. The restaurant is a sophisticated oasis of peace, where all the details are adding up together in a welcoming, unique atmosphere.
I don’t know about you, but my memories related to eating at Asiatic restaurants are mostly related to my university years, where with 10 euro I could get Chinese dinner for couple of days and I was not complaining about the quality of the food received nor questioning about it contents. Since then, I have always considered certain kind of Asiatic restaurants most likely to be post hangover dinner or take away food rather than a fancy dinner location. Peppermint Restaurant definitely went over and beyond my – wrong – idea.
The restaurant is located in Bonnevoie, just a short walk from the train station. It has some bright windows on the street where – surprise! – you can see the kitchen. I feel it is a great presentation, something like saying “we have nothing to hide, look before you try”. While most of the restaurants show up their main interior décor on the street, they went for a totally different solution. The entrance hallway has pastel tones and you have this relaxed feeling while the waitress is guiding you to your table to be walked through a sensorial spa more than a restaurant.
The main restaurant room kept the same pastel, relaxed tones with lovely terrarium vases hanging from empty frames. An amazing idea I would definitely copy at my place. We visited Peppermint Restaurant on a Saturday night and the restaurant was busy but not packed, still maintaining a very zen aplomb and being everything but noisy.
We went for two soups as starter, followed by Lemongrass Chicken and Peppermint Praws. My Tamarind Soup Saigon Style has been so far the most incredible culinary highlight of 2019: a plain appearance compensated by an explosion of taste and different consistencies, finally concluded by a pleasant, prolonged spicy note.
Pictures of our dinner followed by my impressions.
What I liked about Peppermint Restaurant:
What I liked a bit less about Peppermint Restaurant:
In conclusion: Peppermint restaurant is a great example about how to be surprised by a neighbor small restaurant, which, in this specific case, offers you an unforgettable atmosphere, a kind service and, above all, an amazing exotic food proposal. Recommended for a quiet girls night out or for a first exotic date.
This article has been adapted and published on Editus.lu.
I did not know what to expect: while on one side I am a voracious online shopping user when it comes to clothing and kitchen appliances – that actually represents 80% of my purchases out of alcohol and food every month -, I have only been deceived in the past by grocery shopping experiences. In the specific, concerning what it is available in Luxembourg, Luxcaddy has unjustified sky-high prices while at Auchan-drive I have always been provided by products extremely close to their due date – last time, I picked up my delivery at 7 pm and I had some diary products which expiry date was the following day.
I also didn’t know what to expect because in the press release of the event it was mentioned a show cooking and a tasting session – so definitely something different from what I have been seeing so far.
Indeed, what I attended, at the end, was more a pleasant evening at friends’ place and not a formal press event.
Giovanni welcomed us in a lovely, secret location and seated around the kitchen, with a bubbles glass in one hand – as there is something to drink in all the great stories – and the mobile for taking pictures in the other, we were explained the background of Tasto.
Tasto is born from the passion for Italian products and decades of experience within the food distribution of his founder. The name, Tasto, that is symbolically represented in the website logo, is an instrument coming from a horse bone used to pinch a ham and check its maturity.
On Tasto, you can find products that might be available in some supermarkets in Luxembourg but also niche specialties for different Italian regions.
Giovanni used several products available for purchase on Tasto to prepare us a delicious dinner. As appetizers, we had linen seeds grissini rolled in Coppa, Parmigiano cheese with almonds and bell peppers cream – my favorite -, tarallini, mozzarella cheese with truffle honey. This was followed by Bresaola with oregano and olive oil and a pizza prepared with a ready to go base, ham and artichokes.
As main, we had a typical dish from Apulia, orecchiette prepared with cime di rapa (a South Italian variety of broccoli), anchovies and crumbs of taralli. Finally, we concluded our dinner with a cheesecake in a glass. I chose the one with hazelnut.
The entire dinner was amazing and you could definitely not tell that was prepared “out of a box”.
My personal highlights were definitely:
The base for pizza: while you cannot definitely compared it to the pizza you have at the restaurant, this to me is an extremely valid alternative to frozen pizza – you wake up drunk on Sunday morning, this is very easy to prepare, request the minimum effort and it is ready in 5 minutes. I can confirm because I did it the Sunday after the event 🙂 Also, it is perfect to keep in the fridge when you have unexpected guests and you want to prepare something quick to accompany a drink but not totally industrial.
The cherry tomato sauce: this is the product where mostly I noted the difference with the commercial correspondent product. You can taste Italy and sun in this sauce and it is a product I would be really happy to pay the surplus compared to the supermarket.
The olive oil: this is another product which is slightly different in price compared to what you can find in store but you can feel (smell and taste) the difference. I would definitely keep a jar at home to be used “raw” and give dishes a very different touch.
The ricotta cheesecake: I am not very much into sweets, you know, and above all I am not into industrial ones. A jar of Nutella can get totally untouched to the expiry date in my flat, but this cheesecake was to die for. Creamy, tasty, intense. This is a product that I would definitely recommend you to buy but I will not buy myself, as still want to fit my clothes 🙂
So: why should you order on Tasto instead of buying Italian products at the supermarket?
Tasto aims to be not only a website where you buy occasionally, but the one you can buy most of the products you need in the day to day life. You can stock up pasta and tomato sauce for example, what is more convenient than have it delivered at your door instead of loading and unloading your car?
Let me know if you will use Tasto and how do you find it. And have a spoon of ricotta cheesecake for me as well please 🙂
Here we go! I am closing my busy season at work and coming back at full-time blogging with probably the least expected review yet. If you are following the Facebook page of the blog you are aware of the background – and, if not, you can find the post somewhere there.
You know, I never stop at the first bad experience – I have at least a dozen before I can feel satisfied. This happens with restaurants – and with men, definitely. How bad someone can be, I should have at least couple of sips of it, I am not happy otherwise. I am the queen of disappointments and the favorite target of my friends “I told you”.
With the “no same day reservation” in my mind, I decided to book quite in advance at Tailors Concept for dinner. Look guys, just to be transparent: this review refers fully to my restaurant experience. My repulsion for the idea about having to reserve in advance for drinks is still pretty strong – even if I am not ruling out the possibility that I will try also the Speakeasy at some point in the future.
Now. We got at the restaurant around 7ish. It is located in the prime heart of Limpertsberg, this sepia tones, residential landscape, in a quiet, still postcard. You walk the door of a suits shop, tailor-made, where you can just have a glimpse of people, seated. If you didn’t know this was a restaurant, you would have expected them to be business men discussing on the couch of the shop, while waiting to have their measurements taken.
The restaurant area is dominated by a huge wooden counter and the atmosphere is extremely old fashion – I love it. I am feeling like getting into a movie, where suddenly I am not wearing my Isabel Marant dress anymore, but a midi, wide skirt and a fascinator and my boss is changing into a charming man with moustache (no, not the one you are thinking of, thanks).
We are taken to our table and ordered an aperitif – went for bubbles, as we were celebrating the closing of the season. Shortly after, we were given the menu, that is pretty wide and offers a dish for almost every taste – raw fish, including oysters, pasta, an astonishing selection of meat -.
As I normally do when I visit for the first time a restaurant with so much on the plate – not just metaphorically – I went for the tasting menu. There are two versions, a shorter one – mainly meat based – and a longer one – mainly fish based. This solution to me is an excellent one for couple of reasons: you have the possibility to try more than two dishes (starter and main) and it is also great if you are in-between some choices. Also, in the tasting menu, you normally have smaller portions, that it is also positive if you end up not liking something – so you don’t have a full dish to finish in front of you. And, lastly, I would expect that tasting menu to be a “best of”, so the greatest expression of the chef, perfect to understand – or at least try to – its philosophy.
We had a first welcome from the chef composed by a cheese gauffre, panzanella and foie gras. Cappuccino of cod and Croissant. King Crab Salad. Cappellacci with Prawns. Risotto with Prawns, Cacio e Pepe, Lime. Cod with tomato, olives, capers, garlic. Mini-pastries with ricotta & red berry and cannoli with Marsala. A sweet bread to share with vanilla butter, bitter orange jam and zabaione cream.
We closed with two espresso – accompanied by some more sweets (salted chocolate and chocolate truffle).
Total bill read 296 Euro, of which 85 each were for the menu, 64 Euro for a bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse we had over dinner, 20 euro for two bottles of water and 16 eur/19 eur for the champagne glasses.
Pictures of my dinner at Tailors Concept, followed by my impressions – there’s always a pause when the jury goes out to consider its verdict*.
(I apologies for the quality of the pictures, that it is even worst than my usual shitty ones, but unfortunately the restaurant has very dark lights and being with my boss I could not stretch around having her to wait and giving out my second life as a blogger..).
What I loved about Tailors Concept:
What I liked a bit less about Tailors Concept:
In conclusion, as I felt this review took ages to be over and I digressed quite a bit, I loved the food at Tailors Concept and I loved the place. Food is sophisticated and, for some side, subversive. It is the perfect place for a business dinner and if you feel like splurging for a special occasion. Atmosphere is lovely and service informal.
The last couple of months have been hectic. My working schedule during this time of the year is draining me, I have been travelling for work and several projects, including the Luxembourg Nightlife Awards jury and the organization of my birthday party, have been keeping me busy. So, during week ends, the only thing I wanted was to stay in, have healthy food and do some sport – and sleep.
Finally last week end, even if I was coming back from an overloaded week in Zurich, Mary Ann was able to convince me to go out and we took the occasion to book at Kobe, a new sushi restaurant right in the city center, which journey I have been following on social media since the day 1. While on one side I am definitely very glad restaurants are starting to anticipating their openings on the net, on the other side I am afraid this might award places with the best social media manager and eventually not those with the best food, so I was very curious to try it.
The location, as said, is right in the city center, few steps from the Grand-Duke palace, with a minimal, clean and bright décor, mostly wooden, with sushi preparation on display and also seated places around the counter.
The menu has a pretty interesting list of starters, three combination platters (for one, for two and veggie), single portions rolls (signature, maki, spring rolls, nigiri, sashimi) and bowls.
We went for a portion of Japanese oysters (prepared with ponzu sauce, ikura, scallions, chili pepper and vinegar) as starter, followed by the mixed sushi – sashimi for one person (“The Lone Samurai”) and a portion of signature rolls “Fuego” (prepared with crayfish, tuna tartare and spicy sides).
As for drinks, we had a bottle of Sake suggested by our waiter – dry, but an intense, pleasing floral note.
Pictures of our dinner, followed by my impressions, as usual.
What I liked about Kobe:
What I liked a bit less about Kobe:
In conclusion: Kobe is a new, informal sushi place right in town. Their sushi is really raising the bar for sushi restaurants in Luxembourg and I would definitely indicating it as my favorite sushi place in town so far. Perfect for a girls night out, friends’ gatherings, informal dates.
When I discussed with Corie next interview to publish on the blog, the one you are about to read today, I was initially perplexed. Corie in fact proposed me to meet Enza Fuzio, the owner of Ottika Enza. I was told that even if she is neither a chef nor a restaurateur, she is still a very central figure in Luxembourg lifestyle (and nightlife). Enza was born here in Luxembourg, by Italian parents, Corie added, she might have many things to tell you, “I am sure you will enjoy meeting her!”
I trusted her and went straight to Rue Aldringen. Finding my way around Royal-Hamilius construction site, that is evolving visibly every single day and totally changing the skyline of the city. Arrived at Ottika Enza, the first question that comes to my mind is “how did I manage never noticing this shop?” – indeed I pass here in front a thousand times per day.
Ottika Enza is a small but cozy space where the original mood of the glasses blends with the passion that its owner, Enza Fuzio, has for pop art – and you definitely cannot miss it. It is also the only eyewear store in Luxembourg to sell the Italian Independent brand. And Enza, around it, has created a community or, as she loves to say, a fan club, built up around the passion for glasses that are a bit special. Just like her.
Angela: – Enza, good morning and many thanks for having accepted our invitation. Do you prefer to speak in Italian or in French?
From this question we move straight forward talking about orecchiette for a moment, as Enza, like me, is from Apulia.
Angela: How was your interest in glasses born?
Enza: It was my vocation since I was a child. When I was 10, I had to put the first glasses. I went to buy them from Ackermann, in Place de Paris, that does not exist anymore. I was so fascinated by those white coats and their know-how that at the age of 12 I told my parents “I want to be an optician when I grow up.” At the age of 19, after completing my studies and internship, I came to Optique Berg, where I worked for 28 years as if it was my own shop. Until 2 years ago, when it closed.
A: A year ago you opened this store, Ottika Enza, which is your own, this time for real. And which has a very strong personality. It is colorful, effervescent, and modern. What is your philosophy behind?
E: My shop must be like I am, I told myself before having clear ideas about how I would personalize it. I looked inside and I realized that I wanted to propose something different that would reflect me, which would bring out my passion for creativity and art. A passion dormant during the years when I was married. My then-husband did not believe in art and this curbed me in expressing myself to the maximum. Thank God he left…
A: Do you want to keep this part or do you prefer I cut it out?
E: Oh, you must include it for sure. Everyone tells me “you’ve become another person” (after he left). This is totally incorrect: it just came out who I really was. All the path through the difficulties I’ve had to face in recent years has led to what I am today. A rebirth.
A: Tell me more about all these street art works displayed here in at the shop, in “your home”. Especially that giant mural!
E: I love photography. When the demolition of the old Hamilius area begun, I started taking pictures, I documented all the demolition, I had a huge archive at home and many people asked for it. So I was printing these pictures and putting them on display on the window of the other shop. The owner of the LTL, the company that made the demolition, passed casually in front and complimented me.
When they finally dug and they went more than 33 meters below ground, I was able to go down 2 times with them. They gave me a helmet and a vest and I was taking pictures. When down there, I saw all the graffiti that were there and they were going to be destroyed. At that point, I had a heartache. Center Aldringen has always been a meeting place for young people for ages; after school, we were meeting with friends to spend there our spare time. So it has been a crossroads for many generations who have left them the signs of their passage. So I asked if I could keep a small fragment of the wall to preserve a piece of art and to remember the past years…
A: Very brave! But I suppose it was impracticable, wasn’t it?
E: This is not over yet, listen! One day a guy who was working on the excavations sent me a picture of a fragment 2 meters long asking me if I wanted it. I wondered how he could take off the graffiti. End of the story, a few days later I got in the shop the whole marble plate with the amazing graffiti on it and that’s the original that you see on that wall. It is the only piece that has been saved from that underground gallery. It is also signed because I contacted the artist Alëxone Dizac, who now lives in Paris, and when he came to Luxembourg at the opening of an art gallery he passed by to sign it.
A: This is a beautiful story! Thanks to your sensitivity you have given new life to this work of art that would have been destroyed! What about all the other works you have here?
E: Here in the shop there are works by Daniel Mac Lloyde who last year received the first prize Young Street Artist in Rotterdam. A work by Thomas Iser, realized a few days ago: it is a window with clouds, behind the window everyone sees his future, the one that he / she dreams, his / her dreams. Madeleine Putz realized my portrait. And then there is also a work by Jacques Schneider.
A: And from street art to design, tell me about Lapo Elkann, who brought you so much luck.
E: I met Lapo Elkann at a fair in Milan and I was the first to export his brand (Italian Independent) outside Italy. Now they tell me that I was their brand ambassador. I believed in this design, I wanted it and I promoted and still promote it. Now there is a wonderful relationship with all of them.
A: I know that there is such an interest in your choices that you even manage a community on social media.
E: Yes, when people are interested in a brand then they follow you, and for Lapo brand I created a small fan club and I often organize events in store. I love to invite my clients in a festive situation, allow them to see glasses without the obligation to buy them, drink some bubbles together. On those occasions, I choose a complete collection, I display it, then there is a DJ, prosecco, photographer … people come to drink a glass, look at the collection dancing at the rhythm of music.
A: I know that in December you celebrated the first year of this eyewear boutique. Too bad not to have attended, but thanks for the invitation. How did it go?
E: It was Saturday and it was beautiful. I had the opportunity to show the glasses of Italian Independent collection made especially for me: a Unique Edition, 50 glasses with the skyline of the city of Luxembourg, as per their tradition when they open a single-brand store in other major cities of the world. On the frame there is written Unique Edition Ottika Enza Luxembourg. A hit. I have 25 pieces left.
A: These glasses are beautiful. They really suits me as well J Let’s go out for a moment here. Royal Hamilius Project. How do you see it? What do you expect? Will Les Galeries Lafayette be a positive or negative news for the commercial activities around here?
E: Absolutely positive! The whole area will become a point of attraction, will be made totally pedestrian, other shops will move or come here; I do think it will be the most beautiful area in the city. They will open at the end of the year, November, and I cannot wait.
A: Not afraid of competition?
E: No, because my shop is not like the others. I have my clients who have been following me for years. Moreover, the spaces inside the Galeries Lafayette will not be easily accessible from an economic point of view and therefore I do not think that my small and independent competitors can afford those costs. And then I believe that healthy competition is only good.
A: I agree with you. (We move back inside). From what I can see on social networks you are very involved in the nightlife of this city, you were born here and you have certainly seen its evolution. They tell me that Luxembourg was quite off before. Is that true? What has changed?
E: When we were young, we said that Luxembourg was dead. The places for “going out” were very few. Then, over time, there was a mega revolution. When I was a teenager, there were only 3 or 4 bars, Clausen was not there like we see it now. We had to travel out of Luxembourg most of the time for having fun. All the bars you see now have perhaps opened in the last 10 years.
A: What do you expect then between 2 or 5 years? Will it become a more attractive city?
E: Yes, thanks to the arrival of the University center. This has allowed the birth of many activities related to leisure, nightlife and catering. First the city center was dead because the youth was missing. Now it’s different. Too bad that the university center has developed in Belval and for me it was a huge mistake, but still an improvement that will bring so much more movement. Luxembourg is reborn!
A: And now a ritual question for us: what are your favorite places in the city? And in what genres, styles and tastes do you recognize yourself?
E: If I go out to the restaurants, I eat essentially Italian or French, I do not like exotic tastes.
A: So you’re not a sushi lover like me?
E: No no no!… (laughing) I love going to the Essenza restaurant, the owner is very special, I like him as a character, I like his restaurant, I like his cooking. He’s a bit crazy, like I am!
A: Coffee, ops, pardon, espresso, where you drink your favorite one?
E: At Caffè Torino. No doubt. We support Juventus in my family and in Turin we visited the original Caffè Torino, we became friends with everyone in Turin. When they opened here for me it became a little bit like home. Every morning I take the cappuccino there, the only one for me.
A: Enza thank you for this nice chat. Before going to drink our cappuccino at Caffè Torino which is nearby, tell me, when will your next event be?
E: Follow my Facebook page Ottika Enza and you will discover it.
Here with this wonderful woman, sparkling, avant-garde, I go to warm up with a good cappuccino. I remained to chat with her twice as much time as was used for the interview. About restaurants, family, the courage of women, the power of awakening!
I know that this new friendship will bring me much more than this interview!
It has been quite a while since we had a girls’ night out and the perfect occasion came last week, when Come à la Maison organized a Jazz Night at dinner.
The restaurant Come à la Maison is located just between rue de Hollerich and Merl and have lived over the past years an incredible ascending parabola, starting as an informal Italian eatery inside a furniture shop and expanding its activities in the same building, diversificating the offer, with a seafood corner (Come à La Mer), a wine corner (Come à la Cave) and more recently a pizza and a winter corner (Come à la Montagne).
I admit I have been there only couple of times for the brunch, which was and continues to be one of the main feature of the restaurant. The brunch offers a unique and amazing selection of dishes, from fresh oysters to homemade pasta, in a buzzy but posh atmosphere, perfect above all for a celebration or if you feel you want to have couple of prosecco to spice up your Sunday – and if you are hungry, as definitely does not come up as cheap.
Finally – it was the time to try Come à la Maison for dinner. We got our reservation at 8.00 pm and we arrived quite on time despite the light snow. The concert was already on in the main dining room, where you get through a labyrinth of accesses. The restaurant, the whole one, including the other rooms and annexes, was packed.
We were given the menu and took our time to decide while enjoying the music. Finally, we went for a shared board of charcuterie and cheese with truffle. As main, I had a “Focaccia Burger”, Angela a pumpkins soup and Annamaria a beef tartare. We drunk a bottle of Valpolicella Ripasso Giusti and concluded with espresso and Amaro del Capo.
Now it is time for the pictures of the dinner, followed by my impressions of Come à la Maison.
Things I liked about Come à la Maison:
Things I liked a bit less about Come à la Maison:
To sum up: I was positively surprised by the lovely atmosphere at Come à la Maison. While, to me, the food is not the main reason to visit the restaurant, the combination between the music, the atmosphere and the service makes the restaurant perfect for a night out or a celebration, where food might definitely not be the priority. Moreover I definitely love the events they propose, so watch out their Facebook page if you want to spend a different evening accompanied by good music.