Following the hype: Gastronomica Luxembourg

In the last couple of years, I noted less and less traditional concepts open their doors in Luxembourg and left the place to hybrid forms of business, similarly to what happened already in most of the other European capital. So – not just bar, but spaces integrated with shops, not just restaurants but also library, meeting point, concert hall.

It happened also recently that there are places most of my friends have been already to and I did not feel interested to visit yet, until a certain point when their descriptions became so pressing, I decide to check in myself.

Gastronomica Luxembourg, located in the area of Hollerich, is a clear example of both cases: a shop for Italian authentic products but also a restaurant and an after-work spot. A place most people I know loves, due to its products and its prices – this is a recurring reason, indeed.

So, on Wednesday night, after a business meeting with Jenni, I propose her to give Gastronomica Luxembourg a try. Their Facebook page was sponsoring an after-work on that day, so we headed there around 7.30 pm.

The restaurant is located in the complex of “Troc”, so we parked our car outside and walked in the building. The area is not very fashionable: the restaurant is overlooking a parking space and the atmosphere is very post-industrial..

We expected to find an Italian aperitif style, indeed when we entered everybody was seated at the tables having kind of dinner. Without hi or hello, a waiter came to us, asked if we reserved and, when we say no, he pushed us on a table next to the fridge. Actually – we said, we prefer staying outside.

We move on the “terrace” and we took place on a old and dusty couch. The table in front of us was dirty but the waiter did not take care of it. We asked for two glasses of white wine and the waiter shortly came back with a half litre pitcher – he did not ask if we had preferences for the wine nor if the pitcher was fine. He then proposed us a mixed platter to accompany the wine and we accepted. The platter indeed, even if composed only by cold items (charcuterie, cheese, salads, pickles) took ages to come.

The food was very good and there was a quite good selection. Mostly cold cuts and cold salads, as well as some pieces of cheese and grilled  vegetables. The quantity was huge for two persons and was accompanied by a huge basket of Italian bread.

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During the further hour we spent outside nobody came to check on us. We got to draw  the attention of the waiter waiving to him inside. We ordered some more wine and a small cheese platter to conclude.

The wine he took to us lately was different from the first one, randomly: the waiter just told us, he decided to give you some different wine – I wonder that was just the bottle they had open at that time-.  Then, when the cheese arrived, he placed the platter on top of  the fist one, that was still unfinished and with some pieces left. I can perfectly understand the needs of not being formal, but that was a bit too much.

We finished the cheese and the wine and as the night was pretty chilli, we went inside to pay. I wanted to offer my friend the night, so I just asked the waiter how much it was in total and handle him my debit card. He said “15 euro” – no ticket and no menu with prices.. -. I found it incredibly low, but I supposed we paid only the wine and indeed everybody was describing it as very cheap place. I was leaving the room when the waiter shouted at me: “and you friend is not paying?”. Sorry – I said – I supposed it was the total, in fact I asked you “how much we pay in total”.. He told me he split it already for us – who asked? Gosh.

To sum up, what I liked about Gastronomica:

  • The only thing I liked was the food that was pretty good and definitely cheap. Unfortunately, having a small bill is not the only important thing when going to a restaurant – otherwise it would be the same buying nice products and have them at home.

What I did not like about Gastronomica:

  • Even if the place is brand new, details are left there, unattended. The worst I have seen in the restroom an unattached Ikea mirror left in front of the wc. The idea about having spare furniture to fill the “terrace” is not that bad, but still a bit of cleanness would help.
  • Service is unbelievable: table left dirty, no questions about the wine, wine randomly changed, dishes left on the dirty one, no bill……

In conclusion: I perfectly see people like Gastronomica for its good Italian food and cheap bill. At the same time, while I understand a place like this should not be formal, to me the service is an important part of the dining out experience and here was completely missing. I don’t feel I will come back any time soon.

MixinLux event: After-work at Jakob’s

I had already a chance to introduce you to the MixinLux organization some posts ago. After having talked with Mariano and Zach, I decided to attend their last event at Jakob’s, in Clausen, as I was really curious to see how their after-works differ from others in Luxembourg…

As you can see from the pictures posted at the bottom of this post, I definitely had a blast and now I could not wait myself for them to organize next events.

I found several differences compared to other after-works I have attended so far, small details that could make interesting also for you like MixinLux FB page and save the date for next party.

– Even if the location was big enough and most of the people joined the event with their group of friends, there was really a informal, lovely spirit and atmosphere around. I arrived at the party alone but I was not really feeling scared or embarrassed. I got immediately the chance to talk with several different people, being themselves alone as well and I made some interesting chats and business connections. So, if you are new in town, you want to make some different friends and connections (without the Tinder approach 😛 ), MixinLux events are for you!

– There was this great matching idea behind this Jakob’s event: at the entrance, every person was given a small gift, ladies receiving a bolt and men a screw. If you were finding the bolt (or screw) matching yours, bingo! free shots at the counter.

– I love this after-work because not everything was about drinking. There was a “sponsor corner” by this two lovely girls from Insolit’PRO, a French company specialized in team-building events. They aim to open their business cross the border – so if you are interested, you should definitely visit their page. I was impressed by how two young ladies could be so passionate about their business and so motivated to expand abroad. Finally some girls power! 🙂

– Also, there was a Bobbi Brown corner by Paris 8 – if we were coming directly from work and had no time for refreshing your make up, you wouldn’t have had to be worried 🙂

A big mention also to Jakob’s – for me was the first time at this Clausen bar and I have to say I will definitely come back: friendly service and great cocktails. Their terrace is for sure one of the best in the area.

Enjoy some pictures now:

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And some more:

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Do you know MixinLux?

While organizing my agenda with the events to attend during next week in Luxembourg, I came across the MixinLux afterwork that will be held at Jakob’s next Thursday 23rd July.
If you follow my blog since the beginning, you know I am pretty much a fan of afterwork drinks: they give the opportunity to break your weekly routine, often an informal way for networking and discovering new places and make new friends out of your circle.
Since I arrived in Luxembourg, almost nine years ago, more and more organizations for “afterwork business” were created so I decided to have a chat with Zach and Mariano, who are the founders of MixinLux, before deciding to attend, in order to understand what differentiate their afterworks from the others in Luxembourg.

Zach and Mariano explained me that MixinLux aims to gather young professionals, expats and new comers around in a same place, after work, with nice music and few drinks. The main underlying idea is to meet friends, friends of friends, colleagues we heard about but never had a chance to talk with  … in order  to widen the network or just simply being introduced to other people working in different areas – fed up of discussing always the same working topics even after work anyone? 🙂

When I asked them why MixinLux should be different from the other after work groups, they gave me four specific reasons:

  • For them, good music is essential for a great party. For this reason, MixinLux has four resident DJs playing during their afterwork. Two of them are playing from 6.30pm until 10.30-11pm, the kind of music you need to chill-out and create a bit of atmosphere. The second two start playing around 11pm, only vinyl records, when people are ready to dance.
  • For every event, MixinLux tries to find a new idea to mix people, in order to prevent groups from staying all together during the entire night – and for the after work of the next Thursday, they have already some surprises ready.
  • MixinLux afterworks propose finger food and special cocktails.
  • There is a gopro hidden somewhere during their afterworks taking a picture every 10 seconds, and make a time-lapse with it.

MixinLux association has been created in April 2015 and has already held two events:

  • Aperiteca, in Apoteca, April 9: 250 people
  • Aperikki, IKKI Bar, June 4: 420 people

As said, next one will be held at Jakob’s in Clausen next Thursday. Joining MixinLux event is totally free.

Find more information on MixinLux association and next events on their FB page – some pictures of last IKKI event are following as well:

MixinLux Facebook Page

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Aperinetwork, the Italian way of Aperif, at White House

Aperinetwork” embarked in 2014 through the initiative of three Italian guys – Federica, Alessandro and Matteo – who wanted to import the “aperitivo” into the Luxembourg nightlife culture. Some bars offered already a combination of tapas or small bites afterwork, but if you have ever been to Milan, for example, you clearly noted the difference. Moreover, Aperinetwork aims to create a less formal bound among foreign people living in Luxembourg, giving the possibility to new expats to enlarge their network and spend some quality time not bothering about work related troubles.

The Aperinetwork events took place in various locations in the past (Apotheka, Steiler, Conter..) and recently, for the last two events, they have found their home at White House by Kader.

The concept is more or less always the same: reduced price drinks and Italian food buffet, plus funny music as background.

Yesterday evening the White House was totally sold out. We luckily arrived a bit before the start of the evening – that was planned at 7.30 pm – and all the tables were already occupied. We had our drink at 50% off (Hendricks Tonic at 7 Euro instead of 14, Red Wine 4.5 Euro instead of 9) and watching the main room becoming more and more busy. We hadn’t indeed the pleasure to try the buffet: you can clearly see that free buffet is not in the Luxembourg culture as, as soon as it opened, it looked like the bread distribution in a Third World country. Calm down people, this is not your dinner, it is supposed to be an appetizer to avoid getting drunk and keep on drinking….  The concept is probably not yet clear to the most and we refused to fight to get a pizza bite. Instead, we relaxed in the smoking room on the second floor, one of the best thing at White House – that avoid you, above all during the winter season, to get a cold outside if you wish to smoke.

The evening was really pleasant: it is a good way to reconnect with people you are not seeing for long. I (mostly) stopped partying hard during the working week, but Aperinetwork is one of the event I always like to attend, as it is fresh, a bit posh and an unusual and valid alternative for few drinks afterwork.

For being updated on next events, like Aperinetwork page on Facebook:

Aperinetwork Luxembourg

Check out also White House next events and features:

White House Luxembourg
17b rue des Bains,
L-1212 Luxembourg

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