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 😛

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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My best Italian in town: Delirio Culinario, Luxembourg City

My friends I’ve been hanging off pretty long know really well that when we are arranging a dinner out and they ask for preferences, my reply, most of the time, is always: Everything but Italian!

It is not because I am not proud of my origin, but just because if you ever had Italian food in Italy, you will difficulty find it amazing when you are abroad. Most of the Italian places I’ve been around the world are hardly managed by Italians or, in the best contexts, they are trying to adapt their kitchen very much to the taste of their location instead of preserving original receipts.

This is exactly the case of most Italian restaurants I have been in Luxembourg, with one, great exception.

Delirio Culinario is located in the city center, just few steps away from the Palais, overlooking Place Guillaume. They have a pretty wide menu list, you can have meat, fish, pasta or pizza, the common denominator is that all the ingredients they use are authentic and they are prepared as our families would do in Italy – concerning mine, I would say even better 😛

We have been there recently with my husband for a Saturday night supper and we have enjoyed a lovely dinner, as usual.

We started with two glasses of Prosecco, which have been accompanied by a welcome from the chef, focaccia and truffle cheese. As starter, we took both a Carpaccio di Polpo (octopus) that was fresh and tasty (even if I always prefer to ask it without onions). To follow, my husband went for a mixed plate of fried fish, I ordered a sole with shrimps. Both dishes were lovely and you could really taste the flavor of the fish. The portions were pretty big indeed and we were not able to finish the side orders (I had some grilled vegetables and my husband a salad). During the dinner we had a exquisite Sicilian white wine, Planeta Chardonnay, and we concluded, as usual, with espresso and digestif.

Excluded the wine, that was one of the most expensive choice on the list, and the drinks, we spent less than 35 euro each for the food. Really affordable for the quality of the dinner we had. Moreover, if you are on budget, you can easily switch to other cheaper solutions – like the delicious pizza and for the fairly good house wine.

The restaurant is welcoming you even a bit later than other restaurants in the city center, and this is again another reason because we love it, and they have also delivery through livraison website.

Check it out:

Delirio Culinario
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Oldie but Goodie: Bick Stuff Restaurant, Luxembourg

It has been long time since my last visit to Bick Stuff. It was my favorite spot in the first year in Luxembourg, when I was living next block for a bit and later, when myself and my Megane were passing there in front each and every night. I don’t know if it ever happened to you, but sometimes when you close a period of your life, you try also to move on from the places where you were going, trying to cut it away from your memories..

Anyway. We decided to go to Bick Stuff for our Saturday date as last minute booking. We wanted something classic but fancy, and there are not a lot of places with this style in the city center.

Bick Stuff is just located quietly in the Clausen area, off the mainstream, but easy to get. You can spot the lightly restaurant sign from the street, even if the entrance is a bit hidden.

You will fall in love with the cozy décor. The restaurant is set just on a big room, wood all over, Christmas decorations all around. The attention to details is extreme: ornaments are not loud or trash. Small snow balls are on a shelter next to our table, a teddy bear is sitting on the couch overlooking the room, tiny lights on a tree at the entrance. The atmosphere is unreal but delicate, you can enjoy your dinner in a fairy tale mood. Obvious but true, perfect place for a date.

We had a cremant aperitif, quiches with leeks as amuse bouche, I went on the classic side with Fois Gras as starter and Filet de Boeuf as main, while my husband took the seasonal menu with terrine of pheasant and roe deer stew. Dishes were just perfect. The home made fois gras tasted different from every fois gras you have ever had before and it is join by delicious cereal bread. A pity that no salad/vegetables were proposed on the dish, as it was a bit too dry – I had the salad of my husband indeed. The beef was cooked with mushroom crust and accompanied by potatoes and a thin puff pastry with nutmeg. The portions were not tiny themselves: my husband had his dish filled three times with the lovely stew and we were really full at the end. During the dinner we drunk a delightful Saint-Emilion and my husband took from the list the last bottle of a Medoc 2004 to bring home. We concluded with Nespresso coffees and two Cognac.

Excluding the bottle we took home, we spent 100 euro each – of which 56 euro were for the Saint-Emilion bottle and 32 for the cognac. Not extremely cheap, neither on the luxury side, definitely commensurate to the enchanting dinner we had. Virginie was a perfect host, even if we were the last clients remained we never felt pressured to accelerate the timing.

A place recommended if you love the classic cuisine and you are not looking for food artifices: extremely good ingredients, perfect hospitality and graceful ambience are the distinctive elements of this lovely restaurant.

Bick Stuff
95, rue de Clausen
L-1342 – LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg)

http://www.bickstuff.lu/

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