Truffle Bistrot: a romantic delight in Luxembourg city centre

As part of the week-long celebration for hubby’s birthday, on Tuesday night we had a tête-à-tête at the new Truffle Bistrot – Relais San Maurizio 1619, that opened at the beginning of December near Hamilius.

You might remember from a previous post, I have already tried once to have dinner there. Unfortunately, in that case, I had booked very much in advance and during the Christmas break, the restaurant changed it opening times. I was kindly contacted by the restaurant manager – who was very happy to explain me the background of the place.

Said that, we arrived at the Truffle Bistrot about 8 pm. The location has been totally renovated compared to the previous Italian bar that used to be there. At the ground floor, you have a lounge and bar area where you can have a drink whatever time – without the need of having dinner afterwards. There is also a shop corner with authentic products from Relais San Maurizio – you might find more information related to the original place on their website.

On the first floor, the restaurant room. Lovely settings, open kitchen with wide windows on the main room, so you can look inside but the smells stay there. As the place was quite empty, we went for the table just next to the windows.

We went for a bottle of Barbaresco 2006 from Relais San Maurizio, we were offered an amuse-bouche with squids and burrata, I went then for home made pasta (tajerin) with truffle followed by wasabi tuna fish, while hubby had a pumpkins soup with poached egg and truffle followed by beef filet with its juice and vegetables. As we were very full, we skipped the dessert. I opted for a coffee – that was accompanied by delicious dried fruits – while hubby had a cheese platter.

As usual, be captivated by the pictures of our dinner and find after them my comments about Truffle Bistrot.

       
  
  

Things I loved about the Truffle Bistrot:

  • Incredible atmosphere: when they started to work on the old Italian bar, I could have never imagined the new place would have been so impressive. The upstair room is warm, sophisticated, luminous but not too bright. Perfect light for a cozy dinner, whenever romantic or with friends.
  • Good menu selection: truffle, mainly, but not only. You have several fish and vegetarian choices and authentic products.
  • High quality dishes and sophisticated presentation: the best dish for me was the wasabi tuna fish and I also liked the pumpkins soup hubby had. Cheese selection was inventive and the dried fruit selection was mouth-wathering.
  • Fair quality – price: you can imagine you are not in a cheap place, but the prices are in line with same style restaurants in the city (about 16 euro for starters and 25 for main, plus extra for truffle if you want some). Moreover, compared to comments I heard before about this place, I have to say portions are definitely not small – after one starter and one main I was very full and you know I am not a skinny bitch. If you want to splurge, the tasting menu is for 70 euro.

Things I liked a bit less about the Truffle Bistrot:

  • Lucky enough, this was another place I visited recently I liked as a whole. If I have to find something, some dishes have probably a very delicate taste compared to those we are used to in Luxembourg – I think about the squid amuse-bouche and my pasta starter. Don’t expect the usual butter  Luxembourgish cuisine – at least for some of the choices.

I recommend the Truffle Bistrot: If you want to impress someone you love. For a romantic date (ask the table on the window!). For a girls night out if you like delicate and sophisticated food. For a family gathering to celebrate something special. If you don’t want to splurge and you want have couple of glasses at the bar floor with Italian aperitif and great wines – a different place from the usual local bars.

 

 

A new beer and burgers place: Snooze, Luxembourg city

After having followed the restructuring work and opening preparation on FB, Matteo and I decided to give a try to Snooze, a new sport bar that opened last week in rue Philippe II.

We booked a table – highly recommended, only 46 places so far – for the first Friday they were open and we had a casual dinner with beer and burger. After the pictures of our evening, you will find my usual impressions about the night….

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Things I loved about Snooze:

– Finally a fresh, young and brand new place. Something totally different compared to what you could have seen so far in the city center. Professional customers, kids from school and couples on date mixed in the same, cute place. Bravo!

– Good choice of burgers. I had a Spicy Mexican and Matteo a Classic Cheeseburger. The portions are huge and the buns are the best burger buns I had in town – not those that are disintegrating after two bites. Fair choice of sides as well – and you can trade your usual fries for twisters, onion rings, wedges. Similarly, wide choice for vegetarian and healthy food lovers.

– Perfect drink cards. Several draft beers and more even bottled. Gin, rum, tequila, including some specialty at a really fair price compared to other city center venues. Worth for a quick drink and snack after-work and not just for a proper dinner.

– Huge TV-screen for sport events. I cannot wait to come here for some great tennis matches, you owe me already 🙂

Things I loved a bit less:

– From a place called Beer and Burgers, I would have expected some stronger tastes – I am not here for gastronomic cuisine, darling! My Spicy Mexican burger was good, but not as I expected. If you call a burger “spicy”, it should be spicy, not a mild girly flavor.

– There was some (a lot) confusions: tables next to us received twice the wrong order and also our sauces were mixed. But I think is somehow normal being the first evening they were open and this is not worrying me too much.

Therefore I will definitely give Snooze another chance for food (that was nice anyway but not outstanding) and I strongly recommend it for drinks and for the nice environment. So far so good.

White Dinner 2015 – Some hints

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 four 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.

Some suggestions:

– Normally you receive indications regarding the “meeting point” ahead the White Dinner day. The “meeting point” is at a walking distance from the place where the White Dinner will actually take 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 place is announced. Use foldable tables and chairs for garden that are light 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.

– 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.

– 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!

Pictures of my previous editions are following:

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Sunday dinner at “La Veranda”, Luxembourg

Since hubby has started to work again with busy schedule during week-ends, the only night we can actually have a proper dinner out is Sunday.

Before my business trip to Amsterdam, we decided to spoil ourselves with some truly Italian food and we went for “La Veranda” restaurant in Howald.

We had some starters (charcuterie, cheese, pizza) and then, as main, I had grilled meat and hubby went for lamb. We accompanied it with a bottle of Tuscan wine from Bolgheri, a lovely one.

See the pictures of our night and find after some impressions about the dinner and the restaurant.

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Things I loved about dining at La Veranda:

– Food was definitely outstanding quality: I loved the cheese and the pizza was yummy. My main course included lamb, entrecote, beef filet and sausages. Everything was very good, special mention to the entrecote that was just perfect, thin and soft.

– Portions are huge but the quality is so great you can arrive at the end of a glorious dinner like ours without feeling sick.

– Service was also extremely fine: attentive and available for suggestions and clarifications about the origin of the productions and the dishes composition. Not very common in Luxembourg.

Things I liked a bit less:

– The interiors are a bit dated and old fashion and the terrace is overlooking Route de Thionville that is definitely not a fancy view.

– If you are choosing a good wine and meat/fish main and you add up some dessert and digestives, the bill is growing pretty fast.

In conclusion, I definitely enjoyed our dinner at “La Veranda”, it is a good place for an informal dinner with friends and family and, even if the surroundings are not fancy, it is definitely worth a visit.

A week end in Milan – random pictures

A week end of friends, museums, Libertines concert, and some shopping, definitely.

You can flight to Milan from Luxembourg Findel airport directly. With Easyjet, with some advance, you can manage to get favorable prices even for Friday – Monday flights.

Easyjet flight is landing at Malpensa Airport Terminal 2. From there, you can take a free shuttle to Terminal 1 (10 minutes) and from there getting a train directly to Milan Central Station or Cadorna Station. The ride is taking 40 minutes and costs around 10 euros.

From Terminal 2, you can also take a direct bus for a cheaper price, but the motorway could get pretty busy during pick hours, so you should take in consideration a longer journey.

Just couple of address to recommend in Milan:

Maison Borella hotel, Navigli area. Intimate and Luxury. Outstanding service.
Zen Restaurant, Corso Italia area. Great sushi. Service a bit messy. Really fair price (Sushi Boat below around 15 euro per person)
Mercato Metropolitano, Porta Genova area. It a an open-air market where you have ton of street food trucks . From fish and chips to oysters, from Sicilian food to wine stand, from cocktail area to Burgers. You have only to choose!

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There is a new bar in town: Octans – a Spirited Bar

Walking in the city center on Monday night, I noted this new place in rue de Cure’, just next to Urban bar. Back home, I did a small search online and I was not able to find any significant information. That made me so curious that, arranging a girl night for Wednesday, I immediately proposed to go there!

The bar, as said, is located right next to the “cool” area of Luxembourg city center. It is very dark from the outside, but, immediately in, you are welcome in a different world. I was saying to my friend: somehow I had the impression that walking through the door I left Luxembourg and I am just drinking something in Mayfair.

The atmosphere is sophisticated: mirror, fireplaces, a charming round bar. Waiters in an elegant uniform accompanied people to the tables. Tall tables on the side of the bar, low tables in the main area.

We were welcomed by the bar manager, who introduced herself and the concept behind the bar. She explained that they want to be a real cocktail bar, they have a menu, but they will try to “play” with the customer if possible and create personalized flavors cocktails based on his/her preferences. We have been asked questions about what we would have liked to drink (spicy, sour, fruity, sweet), kind of alcohol we liked, and we received the first two amazing cocktails. I had a fruity one with tequila, Federica a spicy gin with cucumber. We continued with the same style during the night. Cocktails were all delicious – probably but the last one that had too much anise, I also had too many glasses – and you could also have wine, beers, champagne.. It was a nice environment, chatty but not noisy, bit of music, people arriving and leaving.

We had great time and I am pretty sure this is going to become my favorite night spot in Luxembourg 🙂 Finally a new place and above all a different one. Well done. I just hope that the approach with the client will remain the same in the future.

http://octansbar.com/

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Birthday Dinner at Le Bouquet Garni, Luxembourg

Uff! Even if I pretend to be young, I needed some days to recover from the last birthday week end – after three days of partying I still feel a bit blurred.

On Friday night, that was actually the day of my birthday, my husband booked a table at Le Bouquet Garni. Even if I love French restaurants, we never had a chance to visit this one during our pretty long stay in Luxembourg.

The restaurant is located in the area called “Ilot Gastronomique“, in the Old Town, just behind the Grand Duke Palace. It has preserved traditional settings of the area – stone walls, timbers on view, old furniture. We were welcome in a small entrance and accompanied to our table. The restaurant has different rooms on the two floors and our table was indeed on the first one – just next to the window overlooking the back of the Palais. My husband loved the fireplace, the table was quite big for two persons and the distance with other guests more than appropriate.

There are two menu choices: a menu for 40 euro (starter, main, dessert), with brasserie imprint, and a more gastronomic one for 72 euro (again, starter, main, dessert). Both have several choices between fish and meat, plus there is the possibility to upgrade the second menu to four dishes for 85 euro.

We had a glass of champagne rose’ as aperitif – on the table there were olives and nuts to enjoy – and we went for the “Menu Selection”: cauliflower welcome from the chef, lobster as starter, sole a la “bonne femme” (with mussels and shrimps) as main and moelleux au chocolat as dessert. We accompanied the dinner with a bottle of Chablis Gran Cru.
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 photo 9ca588c8-ba0a-4838-aadb-69691aad4282_zpsqhvumuel.jpgThings I loved about the night:
– The sole and the chocolate cake were just perfect. Amazing combination of tastes, fair portions, great raw materials quality. The sole was accompanied by potatoes mousse that was just delicious, while the dessert was also composed by a yummy fruit sorbet. I am still dreaming about both.
– The service and the settings were great: I really appreciate some distance between tables, the timing of the dinner was almost great, we did not wait too much but it was not even too fast. The bottle of wine was next our table but we were always served by the waiter and our glasses were never empty.
– The two menu choices are perfect if you are coming for a dinner with friends – and therefore don’t want to splash the cash – or for a special occasion – like we did. All the dishes were appealing and the portions look correct for the price.
– The location is really romantic and perfect for a tete-a-tete.

Things I did not really love about the night:
– Overpriced aperitif (and drinks). As said, we ordered a glass of champagne rose’. I have been to the most expensive restaurants in Luxembourg and normally the maximum we paid was 18 euros (with an average of 13/15 euro). The champagne was billed 26 euro per glass – 52 euro for two glasses (!!!!). As it was a blind choice – the waiter asked us if we wanted an aperitif, so we did not have any list in front of us – I really think it was too much. Skip the aperitif if you don’t want bad surprises. Drinks had a pretty high recharge as well – 9 euro for the water, 4 euro each for espresso but in line with other similar restaurants, French wines starting from 40 euro and upgrading very fast. No Italian white wines below 100 euros. What is the sense then of having a 40 euro menu if you are going to spend the double for water, coffee and wine?
– The lobster of the starter was great, but was accompanied by a light sauce that was made only of vinegar. We were provided a spoon and when I tasted the bisque I was almost disgusted. The lobster alone indeed was very good.
– Service a bit worst at the end of the dinner, when the dessert was taken to the table we were still finishing our last glass of wine. We had a very dry wine, so I would have loved to take a sweet glass with the cake. In this way we ended up not finishing our wine and not ordering anything else. We had also to ask the waiter to wait couple of minutes to serve the coffee as he seemed a bit under pressure for made us leaving – it was not even 11 pm, so not so late and we were not the last table.

In conclusion: we had a lovely dinner. We will come back for sure, maybe to try the brasserie menu, as the settings are perfect for a romantic dinner, but please remember total price is escalating fast with the drinks – so still recommended for a special occasion and not for a “I don’t want to cook” night 😛

The last supper: L’Osteria, Luxembourg City

I have decided to give a try to Kayla’s famous diet before my birthday, so I will avoid dining out at least for a week – and then I will see depending on the results. To find the motivation to start and to have a last dinner with my husband after London week end, we headed to the City Center, where we had a lovely dinner at L’Osteria, on Place Guillaume.

I always liked the food at this restaurant – fresh products and genuine Italian dishes. Moreover, since last time we visited, the service improved a lot – we have been there during summer and one waitress, who luckily is not working there anymore, was hitting on my husband! The waiters this time were super kind, the atmosphere was relaxed and we had great time.

I had octopus salad as starter and spaghetti con vongole as main. Portions are huge, but I put my best efforts to finish the dish.

I really recommend this place if you want to have a quiet date and great Italian food. I would definitely say go for the fish on the menu.
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Week-End late considerations: how important is the Service? My awful experience (Aka cite’).

We had a pretty painful (and alcoholic 😛 ) Saturday night and I woke up on Sunday with some relevant considerations about restaurant experiences. I was not sure I wanted to write a full review of the restaurant I have been, because I am not here to make bad advertisements, but I will take it as an example to ponder what actually is important when you are eating out.

Late edit: After some early morning further considerations, I have decided to disclose the name of the restaurant. I would like to hear from you guys if you have been there recently to share further points of view. This was my experience:

Saturday night. The restaurant was full but now fully booked. We were escorted to our table and left alone for more than 10 minutes after which we physically had to stop a waiter – as no ones was making eye contact and checking tables – to ask for an aperitif. To me, it is nice to ask the clients an aperitif as soon as at the table so they can drink it quietly while making dinner choice.. but it was not the case.

We ordered a dish to share as starter – that was actually called on the menu “Medley of tempura to share” – and two separate main courses. The lady who bought us the starter tossed it on my side without even say: Please. The dish was hot and it was pretty complicated moving it on the middle of the table to actually allow also my husband to have some of the food as well. Moreover, no single plats were taken to the table – and it was not something you can eat with your hands, gosh, it was fried! We asked for them together with the wine list – as our aperitif was over. No menu card were available at the moment (really?) and we waited other good five minutes before commanding a bottle of wine – actually Champagne Rose’, but it is relatively important. We ordered it while the starter was yet to be started and until we finished nobody took care of bringing our wine or some water that we have also ordered. We had indeed to eat completely dry. Our mains came and my dish was wrong – I ordered Ebi Ebi rolls, Boston Rolls and Demi-Cuit Tuna Sashimi, and my dish had three kind of rolls on it – I had already the feeling that the dish was coming wrong as we ordered several things and the waiter did not take any notes – come on, how could you remember?. I asked to change it and the waiter took it back to the kitchen – that is “a vue“. Therefore I could clearly see she was removing some rolls from my plat with bare hands. She came back and pretend the dish was correct now – I said it was still not and she insisted it was really what I ordered, (Ebi Ebi rolls and Boston Rolls) but I have been there before several times, so I knew it was not the case. I accepted then also because hubby was starting to be starving. After finishing the dishes, we remained I think something like 15 to 20 minutes without anybody asking for a coffee, the dessert list or the bill. Pretty fed up – also because waiters were just in their gossip corner talking and were not busy – we moved to the counter to pay directly there. We pay 165 euro for two aperitif, one starter to share, two main courses, one bottle of water and one of wine.

How was the food? The food was indeed delicious, I think it the best in town for sushi. The atmosphere is nice and it is a really going out spot. On the other side, would I be happy to come back here soon? I would rather say NO. I can understand if you are eating for 30 euro each, you cannot pretend to be treated like a prince (even..), but why do I have to spend 165 euro for swallowing my starter dry or having my main coming wrong or haven’t had anybody asking me if the dinner was nice and if I am fine or I want a coffee. Please.

Don’t get me wrong. It is really important to eat well, and this is probably the first reason because you are choosing one restaurants instead of the other. BUT. I am a pretty good cooker and I enjoy having dinners at my place. The reason because I like also going out, it is the spoiled feeling you get when you don’t have to be bothered running around if the salt is missing or if the wine is still in the fridge.
I love when people are smiling – because I am paying for being here, you are not making me a favor serving -, when the timings of the dinner are correct – not in a rush, but not even 20 minutes before someone asking me for a coffee – I like people to check how my dinner was because they would be interested having returning clients and not fulfill their counter with one night stands.

Am I asking too much? How is important for you the service in a restaurant compared to the food and how you would rather behave when service has been really really disappointing like in my case?

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Corie goes shopping: Version Originale, Luxembourg

One of the complains I heard most from my friends about Luxembourg is that you don’t have great opportunities for shopping. I think this could be true, but just partially. For sure Luxembourg is missing those huge malls that could be found in city like London, Paris or NY. At the same time, I believe it is possible to have some great buys as well locally, just changing a bit your view about the shopping experience and focusing on the idea of shopping as a guilty pleasure, taking all advantages that living in a relatively small city could imply.
Luxembourg city center is full of lovely tiny shops that offer the same products you could find in other European capitals. You should only step down and be open to a “local” adventure, more familiar, more intimate and maybe even more real.

Version Original is one of my favorite shops for this reason: it mixes the great experience of a local shop – that means being served as a “client”, being listened, having someone who is looking to find a personalized solution just for you – with the wide range of brands of an international mall.
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Version Originale is easily located few steps from Place d’Armes and it opened its doors in April 2012. The concept behind is to give space to “vintage” renewed collections: for example for Stan Smith s, that are one of the trendiest shoes on the market at the moment, three special versions are currently available: the Retro one (the “Dad” shoes), the Crackled (craquelé) and the Full White, a special limited edition.
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Other cool models are the exclusive Alexander McQueen for Puma – that abroad are sold by Barneys and Luisaviaroma, the Jeremy Scott‘s one for Adidas (exclusively here), the Adidas Super Star Deluxe (another must have of the season, just arrived, hurry up!), the haute-gamme line for New Balance, that is hand-made in the US/UK, the first Air Max trainers, the Nike Quickstrike (limited edition), Keith Haring‘s for Reebok and much more.

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Version Original does not only offer shoes: they have also re-edition of vintage soccer shirts from 60s, 70s, 80s (and even for early ‘900). The shirts are from COPA, a Dutch brand with production sites in Portugal – so, nothing China-made.
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In the shop, they have also sportswear from Adidas (look at this jacket with same color shoes, girls, and tell me you don’t want to have them immediately 😛 ), t-shirts, accessories and gadgets you will not be able to find somewhere else in the city.
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Like Version Originale FB page for more updates about available and forthcoming models and pay a visit to the shop as soon as you are downtown:

Version Originale
6, rue Chimay
L-1333 Luxembourg

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