Ukelele, Clausen, Luxembourg

If you are following my blog, you have probably already realized my “restaurants to try” approach. I have a “to do” list with new openings and restaurants I have never been, but it often happens that if I don’t visit a restaurant immediately after the opening, I loose a bit of interest, as I have the impression my readers will not be extremely reactive, considering there might have been written already enough on the subject.

It was the case of Ukelele, this Thai corner located in Clausen, just off the Rives. I wanted to try it so much as soon as it opened, I lost the moment, for one reason or the other, and then everybody was so much talking about it that it went at the bottom of my “next restaurant”. What could I added if a general public idea is already wide-spread?

I love Thai food indeed and I tend to stick to ordering delivery from Bangkok Thai at the station – the place is a bit dodgy (sorry!), but the food is authentic and well priced, compared to other Thai restaurants I have tried in the city (not the time to mention now, but you can easily find in my reviews).

So – I have almost forgot about Ukelele, when my boyfriend decided to surprise me with a reservation that read “I passed there in front, I liked it and I pop in for reserving”. I could not say no: first of all, because generally speaking I am the one in charge of restaurant reservation in our family and therefore it came pretty much as a¬†shock (no offense intended, just the fair truth ūüôā ). Second, because normally M. is very picky concerning food – and as much as he can eat his Delirio Culinario pizza with gorgonzola and salami at least three times per week, he is totally unmotivated regarding exotic cuisine. So – I told myself, why not.

I got to Ukelele a bit earlier than him and the place was half-busy. I gave my name at the counter and I was indicated two tables on the main street side. There were actually three tables available in total Рone in the corner with two chairs and two on a bench. I wanted to be on a chair but I was told to choose between the other two.

I ordered a Thai Tonic while I waited for M. to arrive and I was given the menu. He got there from work with his usual delay and, little by little, the restaurant got really packed.

He also had a Gin to start with and we ordered. We went for a mixed starter to share, I follow with a basil beef, while he had red curry chicken. We concluded with espresso and cognac.

After the pictures of our dinner, you will find my thoughts about Ukelele – and yes, I know lots have been written already, so these are just my two cents.

What I liked about Ukelele:

  • The place is very nice and I loved the decorations – specifically the reversed umbrellas on the ceiling. The atmosphere is warm, welcoming and casual, as well as the service. If you are not familiar with Thai cuisine, the staff is very glad to help you doing an informed choice, advising on hotness level, sauces and so on.
  • I liked the food: the basil beef was definitely MY dish and would order it again¬†straight away. Perfect level of hotness and delicious, authentic flavors. The starter platters was as well tasty. The spring rolls were so good I wanted to have other ten probably, while I liked the fish cake a bit less, but it¬†was a kind of starter I would have not ordered in a single portion. Go for the rolls, definitely ūüôā
  • While you could not expect to pay the same price you would in Thailand – in Bangkok,¬†I probably had the same dinner for the equivalent of 17 euros and my Thai colleagues were complaining about the fact it was a rather¬†expensive place – Ukelele is fairly priced, with main around 15 euros. We had basically everything (Gin Tonic to start, a shared platter of starters, two main, a good bottle of wine, coffee and cognac) and we spent a bit more than 100 Eur.

What I liked a bit less about Ukelele:

  • We had a lovely dinner and I would definitely consider to visit the restaurant again – even if over week-end it is often fully booked, so having to reserve well in advance might be, for me, a restrain factor. There are just few points I would note, as you know I am picky: the place is small and very cozy as said, but if you end up in a night where the are big groups, like the night we visited, it becomes a bit noisy. Second, on the same side, you are basically dining with the table next to you. That might be positive if you are in the mood for talking, not really if you want to have a reserved conversation and the table next to you speak your same language. Lastly, the bench where I was seated was very uncomfortable as it is at a different level to the table compared to chairs, at least if you are tallish like I am. Ask¬†for a table with chairs ūüôā¬†Silly points, as usual, indeed, and nothing that would stop¬†me to¬†consider it as my first choice for Thai dining in.

 

To sum up: Ukelele is a lovely Thai restaurant in Clausen. The location is very unique and warm and the atmosphere is casual, with a friendly service. Food is on point and prices are fair. My recommended dish would definitely be the basil beef, if you like spicy food. Perfect for a night out with friends. Reservation needed – in advance for the week-end.

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Introduction to Lebanese: Phenicia, Luxembourg

Among the guidelines for a Friday night partying, I have the rule of not having a proper dinner. It does not mean really skipping the eating part in favor of alcohol (I am too old for this shit!), but that definitely I cannot have a 4-courses meal before going out as otherwise I would rather fell asleep (age has its contribution also on this side).

So on a Friday night, Jenni and I decided to try Phenicia, a corner of Lebanon just off Place de Paris (here we are, once again!).

We decided not to book in advance as the place often looked empty from outside, but once inside we realized the tables on view on the main window are only a small part of those inside and the restaurant is pretty big – and it was pretty full!

The decorations are lovely – they create a nice, exotic atmosphere without being cheesy. We were welcomed at the entrance and accommodated to a table at the very back of the room, where most of the people were seating.

For that night, the restaurant offered a “all-you-can-eat” buffet or a la carte dinner. We opted for a la carte formula. I ordered an aperitif of the house (a mix between a sweet syrup and Lebanese cremant, pleasant and similar to our Kir Royal) while Jenni had only water.

While the menu offered various fixed price combinations and a great choice of main dishes, we decided to stay on the mezze (small dishes to share) in order, as said, to have a kind of light dinner.

We ordered Baba Ghanouj (grilled eggplants pure’, onions, tomato¬†and pepper), Falafel(fried chickpeas nuggets), Jobneh (fried cheese) and Fatayer with Spinach¬†(an oven-baked pastry stuffed with¬†spinach and sumac). The mezze were accompanied by two portions of¬†bread (and we ordered a third one later during the meal).

We drank half a bottle of enjoyable Lebanese Ksara.

We concluded with two digestif (one Baileys and one Cognac) and theoretically with a  Lebanese coffee that never came to our table.

After the pictures, you will find more about what I enjoyed of our dinner at Phenicia.

What I liked about Phenicia:

  • The restaurant has a great settings: the location, the decorations, the background music, everything contributes to create an amazing atmosphere, where, for the time of your meal, you forget about being simply in Luxembourg.
  • The food we had was amazing: I was particularly surprised by the falafel (I am a fan, I do them myself as well so I was impressed by their taste!) and by the spinach and sumac pastry (on the opposite, I am not a fan of this kind of pastry and this one¬†was was indeed delicious). Everything tasted very fresh and home made.
  • The wine was also a positive discovery: we were a bit skeptical about trying a Lebanese wine, indeed it was good. Even if we ordered only half liter, it was taken with the full bottle at the table and opened there.
  • Service was a bit a hit-and-miss. For some aspects it was great. We were explained the dishes in details, we were suggested the aperitif and the wine and as well for the digestive we received some suggestions. Staff was really polite and accommodating toward our requests. At the same time, there were some moments we have been totally forgotten (like when I wanted to order some more bread *rolling eyes*) or our requests were ignored (coffee asked twice and never arrived) and bill took ages to get to our table.

What I liked a bit less about Phenicia:

  • Except the rolling coaster service, the only slightly negative point on my side was the bill. At the end we had only some vegetarian starters and half a bottle of wine and we ended up paying 90 Eur in total (45 Eur each). While the food was great and we had good time, I still feel we slightly overpaid for what we got. At the same time, the restaurant offers several fixed combination (starter plus main or tasting of starters) so you can keep you bill under control if you want to.

In conclusion: I liked our dinner at Phenicia. While the service might be improved, the ambience is great and the food was fresh and tasty. The place is perfect for a romantic date or an exotic business dinner, but not the restaurant to visit if you are on a budget. I will come back to try more dishes as those we had very definitely yummy!

 

 

Moroccan lunch at Le Gourmet Oriental, Luxembourg City

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

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

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

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

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

We concluded with a delicious Moroccan tea, very digestive.

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

What I loved about Le Gourmet Oriental:

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

What I liked a bit less about Le Gourmet Oriental:

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

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

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

Mad About Peru’ Restaurant, Dudelange, Luxembourg

It was jut couple of months ago I was complaining with my partner in crime Kochi about the fact that in Luxembourg we were missing Peruvian cuisine spots that, in order capital cities, starting from London, have been the hype since quite long now.

It appeared that someone listened to my prayers: “Mad about Peru’” opened in Dudelange recently and we took the occasion to visit it yesterday night. I booked via their Facebook page and I got a quick confirmation reply.

We arrived in Dudelange around 8 pm: the restaurant is located in the very city center pedestrian area, but it was easy to get a parking next. The location is cozy: tall tables at the entrance and larger area with bigger tables on the back, in front of the kitchen.

We were accommodated to one of the tall table at the entrance and given the menu. We started with two Peruvian drinks – a Perulime for Kochi and a Chilcano maracuja¬†for me that were accompanied by toasted salted seeds. For the dinner we chose: lomo bites¬†(tequetos de lomo saltado) and banana chips with guacamole (peruanachos) to share for starters, then I went with a “Woman del Callao” ceviche – bar ceviche accompanied by fried calamari and spicy sauce – while Kochi went for a classic one.

We had a bottle of Peruvian chardonnay and concluded with two espresso and “marinated” pisco as digestif – we tried the one with raisins that was quite sweet for me and a drier one with apricots.

Find the pictures of our dinner followed by my impressions about the restaurant.

What I loved about Mad about Peru:

  • Our whole experience was one of the best I had recently in Luxembourg: the food was “OMG”, something totally different compared to what we are used in Luxembourg , mixing strong and delicate tastes, fresh products, accurate presentation. The banana chips were crispy, not oily, intense. The lomo bites home made and incredibly tasty. My ceviche for me was the best dish of the evening: the bar was amazing and the preparation outstanding.
  • The service was lovely, authentic, smiling. At the end of the night we were almost feeling at a friends’ place more than in a restaurant.
  • The price for the dinner was exceptionally fair: two aperitifs, two starters, two fish mains, one bottle of wine, two coffees and two digestifs (second one was offered) for a total bill of 84 euro. Difficult to find something better in town.

What I like a bit less about Mad about Peru:

  • Depending on your expectations, the menu list is not very extensive. In particular, except three appetizers, to me there is a shortage in starters to begin with.
  • The only “deluding” item of the dinner was the guacamole with the banana chips: it was homemade and fresh, but missing a bit of taste – and salt probably.

In conclusion: if you are fed up about having to decide every time between a French brasserie or an Italian pizza, go and visit “Mad about Peru’” for an amazing culinary journey. Whenever you are out for a romantic date or celebrating with friends, this is the perfect place: delicious food, kind service and cozy settings are making it already one of my favorite place. You have to travel to Dudelange, right, but it is definitely worth the ride and the prices are very fair.