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.

 

 

Good food, missing spark: Divino, Cloche D’Or, Luxembourg

I have been a client at Vinissimo shop since they were still located in Livange and now they opened the door in the huge premise of Cloche D’Or is almost a weekly appointment for charcuterie, cheese and wine tasting.

Before holidays, I had a very nice lunch at the restaurant in their premise (Divino) with Patricia, so I was really excited when my friend Anna told me she booked there for one of our usual dinners.

Unfortunately, even if the food was (almost) great, I did not like so much the place in the dinner atmosphere – later I will explain why.

We shared a charcuterie platter and, as main, I went for gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese while Anna had a pizza.
We drank a Nebbiolo Gattinara 2008 and concluded with coffee and a digestif made with red Oranges.

After the picture you will find my impressions about the dinner.
    
Things I loved about Divino:

  • Charcuterie is unbeatable. The small platter was actually huge and the selection very interesting (lardo di Colonnata, liver salami, crudo ham, mortadella and focaccia).
  • Service is great. Waiters are available, smiling, always on side. Wine was decanted and we never had empty glasses.

Things I liked a bit less about Divino:

  • The location is not impressive. While at lunch time it might appear good to eat in the middle of a shop, during the evening lights are too strong and tables really too close – our neighbors were less than one hand from us.
  • The food missed the spark. My gnocchi were one of the plainest dish I had in a long time. I appreciated  they were really home-made (first place in Luxembourg probably), but were totally missing taste. Anna’s pizza was very disappointing – and the charcuterie or cheese you can order with the pizza are on side not on top.

In conclusion: Divino is a very good alternative for an upgraded lunch if you are in Gasperich or want to go out from the busy center (huge parking available). The mixed charcuterie and cheese platters are exceptional and you can combine them with great wines. I would anyway not come back for a proper dinner as spaces is too small, lack of atmosphere and not all the food options are remarkable (avoid the gnocchi and the pizza, go for Paccheri with Rabbit ).

A peaceful escape: L’Altra Osteria, Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

It has been since one month or so my husband promised me to have an Indian meal – I love Indian food, but recently I tended to have it take away at home as I am missing mates who love this spicy cuisine to join me. I was finally happy to have some Indian food on Sunday while taking my bath ritual after breakfast and before going out, hubby came to me with this face telling me some friends just called up and we were invited for lunch in a new place in Bonnevoie – ca va san dire, Italian.
As a good wife, I accepted and said bye to my Indian meal – and only because new places are always exciting me a bit.

So – L’Altra Osteria is located in the premises of Bonnevoie tennis club – you have this impression to be in a remote village, while actually you are just five minutes driving from the station.
The location is very typical – red and white table cloth, ham and Auricchio cheese on display, various yummy products to buy around. A lovely terrace – that cannot be used yesterday because of the weather – and a nice view of the countryside.

While having an aperitif – Italian alert: they have the real Camparisoda – we were served some small bruschetta with cheese. We then had a pizza to share as starter – with cherry tomato, cheese, zucchini and ham – and I ordered some pasta with mushroom and lamb meat.

Find the pictures of our lunch below and, as usual, my impression of the restaurant.


  
  

Things I loved about the L’Altra Osteria:

Very relaxed environment: tables are very distant (you know I appreciate it!), huge windows overlooking the city, calm area.
Great authentic food – the pizza was amazing (I will definitely go for pizza next time) and while the menu card is very classic, the weekly suggestions offer a very gourmet journey through real Italian flavors. My pasta dish was seriously to die for.
Fair prices – with 4 aperitif, two bottle of wines, one starter to share and four pasta dishes we spent 35 euro each. We had coffee and digestives offered.

Things I loved a bit less about L’Altra Osteria:

– Hubby is very picky on the pasta side and found his orecchiette too “al dente” – I had to eat them at the end while he was having the other half of my strozzapreti. His dish was less impressive than mine – in particular, the dried tomato made it quite salty.
– The list of the wines is still under construction – they had only few choices of red wine, no one of them memorable. We ended up taking a Chianti 2012 that was the oldest red they had – nothing special.
– This is not directly due to the restaurant, but when you access the premise you need to enter through the tennis club. The smell on the basement is incredibly disgusting and while going up to the restaurant it disappears completely, it makes the beginning of our experience very unpleasant.

To conclude: L’Altra Osteria is a very cozy Italian restaurant located in a calm area of the city. The food is genuine and various. Some improvements might be due to the new settings, but for sure we will come back and I will highly recommend it for family gatherings and meetings with friends. Amazing pizza.

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Federica

I am terribly late with my blogging schedule – I know and I am sorry! I was really not able to stay behind my blog in the last period due to several different issues I might talk a bit  in the future posts and I apology for that. I hope things are going better in the next weeks and I can make it up the ton of posts I have saved in draft or still to edit. In the meanwhile, find another chapter of our series Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people that was recorded few months ago. We will meet Federica, who was already in charge of few guest blogger’s posts at the beginning of Barefoot in Luxembourg adventure.

Hello Federica and welcome to Barefoot in Luxembourg for our readers’ favorite series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people”. We are glad of having you here today.

My pleasure.

Let’s start talking about you, can you tell us quickly about your background?

I arrived in Luxembourg almost 3 years ago working for a European project, I was supposed to stay only 3 months.. and at the end I am still here working, for another European institution!  I think Luxembourg has really a great potential and I love the international side of this tiny country. For this reason, combined with a boring routine, me and two others friends, Matteo and Alessandro, started in 2014 to organize events. That is how Aperinetwork was born. In the beginning, we were just a bunch of friends with a common view: building a network of young professionals and expats mixed with best clubs in town, music, aperitivo Italian style (that means free food buffet) and cool sponsors. I have to admit, it was not easy in the beginning because the concept of free food during an afterwork s not so common in Luxembourg, but we have the chance to work with some professional partners as WhiteHouse by Kader, Hitch and Jakob’s House where the service is on top. We also have to thank our main sponsor, who believed in us since the beginning: Bernard-Massard who contributes to the “sparkling” side of our events.

What do you enjoy mostly about your Aperinetwork adventure?

I am really happy on how Aperinetwork is growing, many other people joined us also in other cities: Turin and Barcelona. We are developing a kind of brand to share in other cities (Dubai and Paris coming soon). I love the idea of the project and for me it’s the social part like meeting new people, organizing the event and make it glamorous. Hope to do more and to continue to improve.

Which one has been so far the best Aperinetwork event?

The last event at White House by Kader was great, the Back to the Future party and of course always the next one.. Be ready for our Christmas party at Jakob’s House on December 9th!


What are Aperinetwork plans for the future?

As I already told you, organizing here in Luxembourg also in new location and with new concepts, as we did for the brunch at the golf club of Junglinster once and spreading the idea of the brand in other cities, building a wider network (check our website www.aperinetwork.com and the Linkedin page)

Let’s move back to your Luxembourg life, you said you have been living here for 3 years now.

Yes, time is flying!

What is your most beloved place in the city?

The Kikuoka country club, best place to relax surrounded by nature.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?

Le Sud, I really like that place. For sushi I like Aka in the city centre, you must try the “plateau special” there. I also love the small restaurants like the Greek Ambrosia and Aal Veinen in Vianden.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?

I like Steiler, Palais and De Gudde Wellen where I usually go with my housemates.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?

Great chance to land your perfect job, a lot of young professionals but also some nice places lost in the countryside where you can relax. I love horse riding and this is an amazing place to do it.

What would you change or improve?

More events, more new restaurants, more shops are always welcome. I would like to see all the shops open at least until 19.30 everyday.

What is the best place you visited in a range of 200 km from the city and that you would suggest for a daily trip?

I really like the Castles in Luxembourg, Vianden is one my favorite but I suggest also the “Chateau de La Grange” in France.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?

International

If you want to meet Federica, join Aperinetwork Christmas Party tonight December 9th at Jakob’s House.  Barefoot in Luxembourg will be also there!

Corie goes to Frankfurt: Food Porn Alert

Differently from most of my fellow bloggers, I am not a fan of Christmas period.
The reason behind has nothing very sentimental but the fact that December is one of the busiest month for me at work. I have to prepare for boards, have tons to reviews to be done before year-end and I travel pretty much to other offices for meetings.
When I was younger, I loved travelling for work. It means having laundry-fresh clothes for weeks, no needs to wash dishes or cook, restaurants and drinks each and every night on company’s expenses. Becoming older, it started being less attractive to me. I work for a kind of lads-only company, where small talks during lunch or dinners are mainly related to company’s matters or silly sports I don’t even understand or musicians that were already too old when I was born. If I stay for a short week, like in this case, I tend not to use laundry service at the hotel, that means when I am back I have at least 5 washing machine cycles to run – considering my husband doesn’t even know how to plug in the washing machine, I have also to take care of the clothes he did not wash during my absence – and the dirty dishes and the empty fridge.
And business dinners.. oh, fancy places, nice wines, delicious food.. but have you ever had breakfast, lunch and dinner out for a week, an entire week? – not during a vacation, but having to work in the meanwhile? Sometimes I just wish I can stay in for one night and skip the social part of the work – I don’t like to be social at work, I am sorry.
Short story long – I was busy and I am a bit behind on my blog postings schedule, I am sorry for that! My series “What to” and “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people” will be regularly back next week.

In the meanwhile, please enjoy some random pictures of the amazing food I had in Frankfurt this week.

You will find picture from Charlot (City Center area, Old Opera House), The Ivory Club, Belluga and Mediterraneo (both in Eschborn), Best Western Plus (Schwalbach).

Enjoy!

 

  
  
  
  

Italian lunch at Palazzo Italia, Luxembourg

So last week finally Pablo and I got a chance to try Palazzo Italia, a huge and bit kitch Italian restaurant that opened some times ago on a Place de Paris corner, in the Station district.

The menu is simple but various: salads, pasta, pizza and some main courses. Prices are relatively fair for the area (salads around 16 euro, pizza 13 euro, pasta 15 to 20 euro), except for chef suggestions, that looks delicious but are on the expensive side (28 euro for a dish of pasta with Italian sausage, really?)

I had pizza with Parma ham while Pablo chose Carbonara pasta. After the pictures of our lunch, you will find my general impressions about Palazzo Italia.


Things I liked about Palazzo Italia:

Lovely service: the lady who welcomed and served us was extremely nice.
– The pizza dough was very good, thin but crunchy.
– As said, relatively fair prices for the area and the kind of restaurant.

Things I liked a bit less about Palazzo Italia:

– The cheese on my pizza was far from being mozzarella. It was, I believe, one of those prepared mix for pizza with cheesy taste. Don’t like.
– Tables are very close one to the other and the place tends to be noisy. Fine for lunch, not well for dinner.

So – our lunch was pleasant and I will definitely come back to Palazzo Italia for a relaxed lunch. I will not consider anyway for a dinner date as I prefer something a bit more sophisticated and calm – based on my standards..

L’Osteria di Niederanven, Niederanven

On Sunday, hubby and I decided to treat ourselves with our usual lunch out and we headed to Osteria di Niederanven, in the village of Niederanven, just ten minutes driving from Luxembourg city center.
The restaurant was full and we were accommodated to a rustic table in the middle of the main room – a six chairs table where we occupied one side and another couple was occupying the other.
The menu has an Italian imprinting and includes several choices between fish, meat, pasta and pizza, with the last two categories being the most extensive.

I went for a Diet coke and some sparkling water and ordered Vitello tonnato (veal with tuna mayonnaise sauce) as starter and Linguini with zucchini and clams as main. Hubby opted for a mixed Italian starter and some filled fresh pasta with scamorza cheese, eggplants and bacon and a small bottle of red wine.

After the pictures of our lunch, you will find my impression.

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What I liked about Osteria di Niederanven:
– The location and the ambience are great, one of the best I have visited in the last months. Tables, cloths, decorations, everything is extremely rustic but made with attention to details. Being just some minutes away from the city center, you have the impression dining at an old aunt’ countryside house. Lovely.
Service was friendly and positive. We were left our time to decide even if we arrived past 1 pm, wine was always served by the waiter and we were not in a hurry to leave.
– The menu card is extensive and you have several great choices. Looking at the dishes that were passing in from of me for other tables, I was each and every time tempted to take something different as everything looked so good. I think the best dish taken to our table was the mixed starter hubby ordered.

What I liked a bit less:
– The location is very noisy when full, above all, if, like us, you are in the middle of the room. Ask for a table window side, it is more relaxing and quieter.
– My food choice was not impressive. The Vitello tonnato portion was way too big for being a starter (and I had big appetite!) and even if the quality of the meat was very good, it started to be filling after a while. My Linguini were extremely disappointing: zucchini were almost missing and the dish was extremely dry, started to have some taste (of clams) only at the end, when the portion was almost over. It could be that I did the wrong choice, as said, hubby’ starter was good and he told me also his pasta was fine – even if industrial and not homemade.
– I had the feeling that we paid a bit too much for what we had (two starters, two pasta dishes, half bottle wine, Diet Coke, water and one espresso were over 110 euro…), maybe because I was not very satisfied by my dishes.

In conclusion, Osteria di Niederanven is a very lovely location, immerse in a fairy tales atmosphere. My lunch was not extraordinary, but I might give it a second chance to confirm or review my first impression. Portions are huge, so, in case, next time, I will opt only for one dish.

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Vittorio

For the series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People”, this week we meet Vittorio, an Italian expat working at the EU, with music in the heart.

vitto

What is your name?
My name is Vittorio Merlo.

How do your friends call you?
Vitto.

Describe yourself with three words.
In alphabetical order: Family, Library, Music.

How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
I am here since July 1994: more than 21 years… I am Italian and before to come here I was living for 35 years in Milan.

What are you doing here?
I am working as librarian for the Court of Justice of the European Union

How do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Older… 🙂 I normally don’t like to plan for more than 2 years, the life is taking new directions suddenly and very often things happen without being able to expect them. If nothing special happens I will probably be still working but closer to the retirement, my five children will be growth up, and I will continue composing and singing my songs.

What do you fancy doing in your spare time?
As I have just said since I am 15 years old I compose and sing my songs in Italian. It is like a diary, a way to keep trace of my emotions and feelings. I sing about my family, politics and social problems, I have also written a love song for the Red Car: Ferrari! I have published 3 CDs and I like to present my songs in solo concerts at the piano. You can find my music and videos on my YouTube channel and in all the music platforms like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

What is your beloved place in Luxembourg?
Home sweet home, my house in Bissen.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
The Italian restaurant Notaro in Luxembourg and La Rameaudière in Ellange-Gare.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
In the past it was L’Inoui in Redange/Attert but unfortunately it is actually closed, I hope for a while only. I like places where you can speak with friends drinking a good glass of wine, like Culturando at Limpertsberg or Beim Abruzzebier in Grosbous.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Dry white wine, definitely, during my concerts too.

Where do you do your shopping usually?
For clothing I like Boggi but I use online shops too, like Herrenausstatter. I like cooking too and I find the choice in Auchan very good, additionally for the Italian food Enoteca Italiana in Foetz is helpful too. I like fish and I think is a pity that La Provençale doesn’t serve private families too.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Everything but the climate… however exceptionally this year I cannot complain, it was a wonderful summer! The nicest since I am living here.

What would you improve?
I think the public transports are not enough, mainly in the countryside. There are many villages where you cannot live without a car and on Sunday you are almost totally isolated. The management of the traffic is also bad, sometimes I have the feeling Luxembourgers like to create the traffic jams…

What is the best place you visited in a range of 200 km from the city and that you would suggest for a daily trip?
Probably the nicest place around Luxembourg is Trier, however everybody knows it. I would like to suggest a visit in a sunny day to Saarburg, not far from the Luxembourgish border of Wormeldange.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg.
Quiet.

If you want to discover more about Vittorio’s musician and composer activity, here you find the link to his FB page.

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Best pizza in town: Pizzeria La Torre, Luxembourg

For an Italian, pizza is not an easy matter, I know.
I suppose it is like going to the hairdresser for girls. The one you find A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, was the shittiest experience ever for your friend (#truestory) and the one you would never enter again, it is your pal’s bf. Definitely like that: it is a question of taste. So for example, hubby loves really tiny pizza – the one in Italy we call “alla romana” – while I can have it just as a slide for snack and, on my side, I prefer the really thick one – “napoletana“.

This short preface was requested, as I know my favorite pizza place, in Luxembourg, could not meet your expectations. I love La Torre in Limpesberg – just next to the water tower, short pleasant walk from Glacis – as they are doing a thick pizza and they have my favorite version – white focaccia with mozzarella cheese, tomato and Parma ham.
They have several “really Italian” pizza tastes, I mean, nothing with kebab or fajita chicken spread over – another favorite of mine is the one with porcini mushroom and sausages – and if you are not up for a pizza, they are also thick on the menu side, so you can go wild – I have never had anything different from pizza, so I couldn’t help with suggestions.

Be aware – pizza could be expensive here – for example, my favorite Parma ham is over 20 euro sigh. I don’t come here too often*, so I still find it acceptable and a good quality value.
The atmosphere is Italian and informal. Service is very friendly.

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*It could seem strange I declare my unconditioned love for a place and then state I am not visiting it often.. You know what, there I had my last date with that  boy and after years (five?), I still cannot look out of those windows without feeling uncomfortable. Illegitimate, but honest.

Another Sunday, Another Italian Restaurant: Sapori, Luxembourg

Since I came back after ten days abroad alone, I wanted to make hubby happy and let him choose the restaurant for our Sunday date.  When we woke up the weather was great, so we opted for a location with the terrace and we ended up in Beggen, in a restaurant located in Place d’Argent called Sapori. It was long time I wanted to try it, but being out of our area, we always chose closest solutions.

The restaurant has a small terrace in front, overlooking the main street, two large but intimate rooms internally, and another terrace on the back, where we found our table.

We started with a Prosecco, we had a small gazpacho as welcome from the chef,  I continued with beef carpaccio with truffle as starter – and I had to share it with hubby, who initially was not convinced enough for taking one but, after seen it, decided it was worth eating half of mine. As main, I had 7-hours roasted lamb while hubby had lamb tagliata, and we closed our lunch with iced mascarpone and cheese.

During the meal we had one of my favorite wines, Marina Cvetic Montepulciano, and for the dessert I had a glass of sweet Recioto della Valpolicella.

Here some pictures of your lunch, followed, as usual, by my general impressions.

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I loved almost everything about Sapori:

Food was outstanding: best quality materials, great techniques, fair portions, lovely presentation. The menu card was wide enough to have a good choice but most of the dishes were daily suggestions, therefore prepared with very fresh ingredients.

Service was extremely attentive and available: we called just fifteen minutes before arriving for booking and we have never been there before, but they were indeed nice to accommodate us in the best way possible. We have always had our glass filled, bread on the table and the timings of the lunch were perfect. I appreciated very much the aperitif was asked at the arrival, so I had it while looking at the menu – and not when we had already chosen, no sense then.

Special mention to the wine card: it is one of the best Italian wine card I have seen in Luxembourg. Great names, nothing too commercial, fair recharges.

Nothing was disappointing about our lunch, if I have to find something to improve, the appearance of the back terrace is not in line with the rest of the restaurant – people were coming out to smoke from the kitchen, not very pleasant to see. It needs also to be said, the bill, depending on what you eat, might not be cheap – but the quality has its price and I would definitely be extremely happy to come back to Sapori really soon.