Reloaded: Max & Moritz, Belair, Luxembourg

You might remember that, for the couple of years I lived in Belair, Max & Moritz was my nightcap place. I loved it and so I could have not been happier when Frank invited me last week end to try their new menu.

The place has not change much since my last recent visit: the space of the bar is separated from the one of the restaurant and I personally appreciate this choice very much. On the restaurant’s side, warm, cozy, intimate, plexiglass structures have been included to adapt the space to the new Covid rules. Still, the lovely couches on the windows, the tall wooden tables in the middle of the room, the lamps, the pillows, everything remained and welcome you in a lovely atmosphere.

Having a great bar on side means you could start your dinner with a great cocktail: the choice at Max & Moritz is pretty wide and my favorite one is definitely the Munich Mule, a Moscow Mule prepared with Hendricks Gin – sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

The menu is also charming: the first feeling myself and Rita had was that “we wanted to try it all”. As it was not possible, we decided to go for a “sharing option”, instead of ordering dishes just for ourselves.

We had: truffle croquettes (Rita’s favorite), bone marrow (served with home made pan brioche and red onions confit), Rockefeller oysters (my personal choice) and dry-aged Portuguese sirloin, served with vegetable and mashed potatoes.

If you are two people and you want to share starters, a number of four / five starters is more than appropriate, while another option might be to have a small starter each and then ordering a main dish. The focus of the main dishes menu is undeniably on the meat, but you have also some decent fish and vegetarian options.

We were pretty full after the meal, but we still had a small space for the dessert – you could not say no to dessert, right? Rita went for apple crumble, while me, as I cannot once again decide, I opted for the cafe’ du chef, which included 5 small-sized desserts chosen by the chef. Next to that, we had an unforgettable Espresso Martini.

Pictures of our dinner followed by my final impressions about Max & Moritz.

What I loved about Max & Moritz:

  • With no doubts, I love the place. It is extremely different from most of the places you can visit in Luxembourg and what makes it feel special is definitely the hearty atmosphere, relaxed, easy going. A place in which you can stay from after-work to after-dinner without feeling bored. The décor is very unique and if it was not for the windows on the street, you can easily forget to be in Luxembourg and find yourself in a posh eatery in Shoreditch.
  • Food is to die for: I have been among the first clients of Max & Moritz, therefore I can testify how their menu, over the time, has found its identity and it is now mature enough to be defined not just as a restaurant annexed to a great cocktail bar, but a great restaurant itself. As said above, there is nothing on the menu which was not appealing, if you like sharing, this is definitely the place for you as well as if you are a meat lovers. The dish I liked most, together with the sirloin, which was melting in my mouth as butter, was indeed the Rockefeller oysters, which are prepared with garlic, parsley, baby spinach and bread crumbs and baked. I am sure, even if you are not a fan of oysters, you will love them! My next stop will be definitely the truffle burger 😛
  • Service: kind, friendly, smiley. If you are in doubt, trust your waiter, as they are really prepared about the menu. Cocktails: what I can add? I think they are just the cherry on the cake of this amazing place. Do not miss the Espresso Martini to close your dinner – just espresso is boring, right?

What I liked a bit less about Max & Moritz:

  • Currently the only thing I don’t like is that I cannot just walk there (and back!) from my apartment anymore, like when I was living around the corner 🙂

In conclusion: if you are looking for a warm and cozy restaurant for a night out with friends or your date, look no further. Max & Moritz is the perfect place to share a dinner with your loved one: food is delicious, cocktails well prepared and service welcoming. Whatever occasion you are celebrating, you cannot go wrong choosing Max & Moritz.

PS Rita has a great page on Instagram as well where she talks about Luxembourg, cooking and travels. Follow her here.

 

Al Grappolo, Gare, Luxembourg

A new week has started and the weather is very depressing, isn’t it? Personally I am a fan of the cold season, which I prefer much more than the hot one, but rain… I can’t really handle it. After a week of much work and some social gatherings, last week-end I just stayed in and cook for my friends.

But.. I have still couple of reviews to post about “new” places I have visited during the previous week-end. Al Grappolo, in rue Adolphe Fisher, is one of these places. It is not new, as it has been open for some time now, but for some reasons, even if I wanted so much to try, I never had the occasion. I heard a lot of great stuff about it, so I was very curious and excited.

First of all, book in advance as the place is very small. We got there around 8 pm and the place is pretty cozy, the atmosphere is calm and warm. Candlelights, white table cloths, an old fashion record player. We ordered a Campari spritz to kick off the night and then the owner came to our table to introduce us the menu. Indeed, there is not a fixed menu, but it is changing every day with some limited choices.

We chose two portions of porchetta (roasted pork) with gorgonzola to start. To follow, I had veal with mushrooms, L. calamarata (a kind of pasta) with squids and E. pasta with “nonna” ragu.

We had a bottle of primitivo during the dinner – which took ages to be chosen, so praise to the patient of the staff who supported our decision – and we concluded with some digestives.

Total bill read 210 Eur – two starters, three mains, 3 apero, bottle of wine (which was around 50 Eur) – 70 Euro each.

Pictures of the dinner – starter pic is ugly, but I was so hungry I forgot to make it before eating – followed by my impressions about Al Grappolo.

 

Things I liked about Al Grappolo:

  • My expectations about food probably were generally too high, we had a pleasant, tasty dinner, but I think what makes the place special is the combination between the good food, the amazing atmosphere and the bubbling service. Walking into the door, you are catapulted in an Alice in Wonderland’s hole, where Luxembourg grey sky is thousand years far, surrounded by this welcoming feeling you might have when you eat at someone’s place.
  • Next to the food, the choice of wine is incredible, wide and interesting. Personally speaking, I would choose not to go to a place which has decent food, if I don’t like the wine offer. At Al Grappolo, wine would be one of the first reason to have dinner for me.
  • Considering what we ate (and drank), I have found the bill quite fair compared to similar place, above all for how pleasant was our night.

What I liked a bit less about Al Grappolo:

  • Let’s be honest: the fact they don’t have a fixed menu and the choice is very limited, is ensuring that the products are always fresh and seasonal. At the same time, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The night we had dinner there was only one starter (pork), couple of meat pasta dishes, one fish pasta, one meat main course (the one I had) or grilled meat (for 2 people). I am very easy going in terms of food and I eat everything, so it was not an issue for me, but if you are with picky eaters, it might not be the right place.

 

In conclusion: Al Grappolo is a very cozy and warm Italian place located just off Place de Paris. It offers seasonal products and a very authentic cuisine, together with a great choice of wine. I would definitely recommend, especially for a night out with friends, when you want to be at restaurant all night and enjoy one glass more.

 

Trattoria da Gino, Luxembourg City

The story is the same: you see “work in progress” on a window in the city previously occupied by a restaurant you walk by and you start to wonder which kind of food you are going to eat there next. And then, when the sign unveils, you discover that it is, once again, an Italian restaurant.

The question is: do we need another Italian restaurant in town? This was the same I might have initially crossed my mind when I discovered that, at the place of a lunch eatery next the station, an Italian trattoria was going to open, Trattoria da Gino.

My curiosity has never been stopped by a cliché, therefore I decided anyway to try the restaurant – well, I said, even if it was just another boring Italian night, would still be Italian.

I could have not been more wrong.

The place itself, to start with, it is quite different from most of the Italian places I have been in the city: bright is the first adjective I would use to describe it, cozy, relaxed, with a clean and open kitchen on view at the end of the main room – open kitchen in an Italian restaurant in Luxembourg for me is a first time.

First time I visited Trattoria da Gino was a very calm Saturday night at the end of August, during the Fair, and the restaurant was full but not packed. We have been welcome by the owner, Gino – you have probably seen him already around as he has an astonishing experience in the food industry in Luxembourg.

While drinking an aperitif, I discovered the lovely details of the place. The restaurant embraced perfectly the concept of Italian “trattoria” : there is not a menu, but the dishes proposed a la carte change on a daily basis for dinner, are limited to a few and are written on a huge chalkboard on the wall.

We decided to share a starter (“vitello tonnato”, a North Italian cold dish composed by tiny slices of veal and a tuna fish sauce). For main, I went for “Fusilli Calabresi con Sugo di Porcelletto” – homemade pasta from the South of Italy with a piglet sauce, while my friend had Roasted Duck with Plums sauce.

During the meal, we drank one of my favorite wine ever – Marina Cvetic Montepulciano. The list of wine – as the food card – is limited but has indeed some extremely interested items.

Our dinner and our entire evening were amazingly pleasant: I was surprised above all by the fact that, even if the place is low key and casual (exactly a “trattoria”), ingredients are gourmet, dishes are polished, wine list has a lovely selection and the dish presentation is definitely very refined – more like a high end restaurant than a casual eatery.

I did not mention the taste of the food, which was amazing.

I did not miss the chance to come back to visit Gino very soon afterwards – fact is, they are publishing the daily menu on their FB page and when I am leaving the office and I see something I like, as it is very close to where I live, I just ask myself: do you want to cook or do you want to have …? Well, you know already the reply.

On my second visit, I had another succulent dish – “fregola” (an Italian small type of pasta typical from Sardinia) with sea food followed by a delicious Baba’ with rhum – still dreaming about that. Another time, I had a sandwich with octopus. Then I lost the count…

Well – actually I have been there on a wine tasting night – but I am happy I did not have many pictures about that, but only blurred memories and a memorable headache to follow 🙂
Indeed, Gino is also organizing special nights that are just a good excuse to try the place – on a regular basis, there are wine tasting events and after-works. Watch out the Facebook page for more update.

To conclude, the striking contrast between the concept of the restaurant – a low key Italian trattoria – and the result they obtained – a fine-dining selection of dishes and ingredient, special wines and sophisticated presentation – is making Trattoria da Gino a unique place in its style on the Luxembourg scene – and therefore a must to visit.

This article has been adapted from the one we originally published as contributors on the new Editus website.

Agave Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar, Hollerich, Luxembourg

This was for me the most waited opening of 2018 – you know why? As I live just nearby and when I saw “tequila bar opening soon” my heart started giggling – LOL.

So when finally Agave opened its door last month, it jumped at the top of my place to try – and my dear friend Jenni came to support me – never seen she left me drinking alone one week-end.

We booked for Halloween night – and I recognize now, it might not have been a great idea as first try, therefore my review should be read in consideration of the above.

We got there around 8ish and the place – that is kind of small – was already packed. I was immediately surprised to note how they did a great job to chance completely its appearance compared to its predecessor (“I Quattro Mori“, that now moved to Esch/Alzette). The restaurant now is colorful, bold, joyful. Remind me of this tequila bar just off the harbor in Isla Mujeres that was serving giant Margaritas – I definitely need some Caribbean vacations I did not take this year!

Anyway – as said, we got there and it was very full. We had our table and we were given menu card. Now, as usual, we started with the idea of limiting our choices as we wanted to “go out” after. We ordered, in the meanwhile, two frozen margaritas, classic, and went after for two starters and one main to share. As starter we had nachos with guacamole and shrimps ceviche, followed by shrimps tacos.

Our wait was the longest I remember in a while and when we were almost done with our second drink and I started feeling tipsy, we checked for our food. Finally, after 5 minutes, it arrived, all together.

As we were pretty in a hurry to get downtown later, we skipped the coffee and the tequila – we actually had them at my place while waiting for our cab 🙂

Our bill: 4 margaritas, 1 bottle of water, 1 guacamole and nachos, 1 shrimps ceviche, 1 shrimps tacos (4 pieces), read 81 Eur in total.

Pictures of the dinner followed by my first impressions about Agave.

What I liked about Agave:

  • The restaurant is lovely: the atmosphere feels authentic, I love the decorations and it is everything but commercial. I think they did a great job trying to give the place a different accent compared to those already existing in the city, something never seen, and I definitely appreciate it – you don’t feel to be in Luxembourg and it is a difficult exercise considering the surrounding area.
  • The food was truly good: loved the guacamole and the shrimps tacos, really. Ceviche was to me a bit a hit and a miss – it was good but could not enjoyed it fully as it was submersed in raw onions – and if you plan a night out, it might not be the greatest thing to eat – not that I had to kiss anyone, but still.
  • The menu also has some very interesting choices: as Jenni does not eat meat, we were a bit limited, but I want definitely to come back to try other dishes that I saw running around toward other tables and looked very good. Portions are also more than fair.
  • Last, but not least, our margarita was amazing, the list of cocktails is fascinating and I would definitely go for a cocktail again.

What I liked a bit less about Agave:

  • Now the painful part. We waited to much, really too much. More than 1 hour and 15 minutes to get nachos and guacamole to me it is definitely not acceptable and I was very annoyed. To make it up, they took everything together, that was also something I didn’t appreciate – as table was small and after 10 minutes food was over.
    I don’t feel the urge to be bad and I think what happened might be considered acceptable considering Agave has been open for less than 1 month, so it is still on trial. And, not to forget, it was Halloween night, so it was fully booked. We talked with a friend who dined there just the day before and said she had a very relaxed dinner. So, keep up and I am sure things will improve.
  • Second thing we noted is that, as it was full but relatively small, it tended to become very noisy – perfect for friends’ dinner, a bit less in that specific case for a romantic rendez-vous.

So – in conclusion: Agave is a new Mexican restaurant at the very end of rue de Hollerich. Decorations are colorful, drinks amazing and food tasty. The place has been opened for less than one month, therefore there might be still room for improvements (for us, the waiting time ). It is a vibrant place with a different kind of cozy atmosphere and I would definitely visit it again on a calmer night to taste other items off their interesting menu list. Strongly recommended for a night out with friends.