Am Clubhaus op der Spora, Bridel, Luxembourg

Another Sunday out for dinner, another sushi review, not the last of the series but almost – keep the hype for grand-final.

So – you probably all have that friend who is always a bit picky and is not a fan of any exotic food. I am veeeery lucky and I have more than one 🙂 So much I like to try whatever kind of cuisine and, even when travelling, eating in whatever conditions, so much the most part of my closest crew is very traditional in terms of food choices. But sometimes you don’t feel like eating once again pizza or beef steak right?
For these times when you have to get to a deal, one of the options for me is the restaurant Am Clubhaus, Op der Spora, located in Bambesch, just upstairs the tennis club.

The reasons to choose this restaurants are definitely the lovely sunny terrace during the warm season and the traditional menu combined with a wide sushi choice prepared at a counter on view by Japanese chefs.

We reserved during the afternoon and got the Am Clubhaus around 8.30 pm. The restaurant has a wide parking just in front. We actually wanted to have a table on the window overlooking the tennis court, but all those available were already booked – even if still empty (remember at the reservation in case!)

We started with a mojito for aperitif and ordered then a mixed sushi / sashimi boat for 4 people and a portion of tempura shrimps. Wonder what, the picky person changed his mind and decided to have sushi as well (no comment). I also asked if a soup was included with the order – I remember it was the case last time I have been there – but I was replied if I wanted one I have to order it specifically. I did, only for me.

The boat was anticipated by a small salad welcome from the house and, during the dinner, we had 2 bottles of Chablis and concluded with espresso and digestif for 4.

Total bill read 70 Euro per person (280 Eur in total).

Pictures of our dinner and some impressions about Am Clubhaus are following.


What I liked about Am Clubhaus, Op der Spora:

  • As said, I like the fact they propose both a traditional French menu together with the sushi, so you are not obliged to stick to Japanese if you don’t want to. Personally, I always had sushi when I came there, but the other dishes don’t look back either.
  • The sushi boat was huge and pretty good, with quite some variety. In particular, I adored the tuna tataki and the soft shell crabs rolls. While there were not many innovative combinations like other sushi restaurants I have tried recently, the fish was very fresh and tasty. Definitely a great choice if you like sushi.

What I liked a bit less about Am Clubhaus, Op der Spora:

  • The service is quite slow – we waited ages between the starter and the boat. I can definitely understand it is because the sushi was prepared at the moment, but the place was quite empty and a good half of the other tables were eating a la carte.  I cannot imagine how much you should wait to get your boat during busy days.
  • I got a huge bowl of Miso soup as starter – so huge I had to share it with a friend, as I was not able to finish it. As to me the salad starter makes not much sense, I suppose with the boat you should give people the choice between a salad and a smaller bowl of soup. I was also a bit confused as a small bowl of Miso soup was indeed taken to another table next to ours instead of the salad, as happened to my at my previous visits (and therefore already included in the price). Mmm.
  • About the latter, while the portions were quite big and the sushi fresh and tasty, I still had the impression the bill is not very cheap.

In conclusion: Am Clubhaus Op der Spora is a great location for having sushi or traditional French cuisine. It is located in the lovely Bambesch, surrounded by the green, there is a kids playground nearby and during summer they offer a sunny terrace. The sushi boats are traditional but very tasty and, while the place is not cheap, it is recommended for a celebration or a special meeting with friends. And they are open on Sundays!

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people: Linda & David

Wednesday is the day of our Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people interviews. Today we meet a lovely and sparkling couple, Linda and David. They are working in their own creative business and are involved in a very inspiring project. Discover more below.

As we normally start, I will ask both of you to introduce yourself: we would like to know who you are, where you live and what you do.
Linda: Do you want me to go first?
David: Go, Ladies first 🙂
Linda: All right. My name is Linda, I am half Greek and half Luxembourgish, I was born here in Luxembourg. I studied graphic design in Brussels and as soon as I came back, I started to experiment a lot with creativity and actually ended up working as a free lance, without really expecting it to happen. In the meantime, I had a very short experience having a job in an advertisement agency, but I didn’t really like it and I definitely preferred being self-employed. It was not easy, but when you learn to love it, nothing can compare with the joys and freedom of working for yourself. So, since then I was on that route and David also joined at some point…
David: My name is David Mourato, I am Portuguese, I was born in Luxembourg and I also did my studies in Luxembourg. Right after school, I went to work in small agencies where I spent around 8 – 9 years and at a certain point I was really fed up and thought I really had to find something else to do. So when Linda went free-lance, it made me think a lot about it.
Linda: This is where our path crossed.
David: Indeed. It happened quite fast from then on. I quit my job and became freelance as well. It was exciting. Although we quickly realized we actually ended up doing the same things, both of us were doing graphic design and creative projects, only in separate entities. This created some tension between us but it served as a lesson. We made the most of it, gave up our egos and decided to work together instead. So a couple of months later, we started Kinlake, our creative business.

And this is actually how Kinlake started.
Linda: Yes, it was really cool, because we realized that now, working together, we can do so many more things than separately. Each of us brought their own personal skills to the table, additionally to their graphic design background. I do illustration and hand lettering, and David has an affinity for photography and videography as well. So our creativity feels limitless and this make us feel stronger. When you team up together, you can do more things.

Basically how would you define Kinlake?
Linda: If we’d have to sum it up in just a few words, it would be our creative studio & our lifestyle blog. Kinlake represents our synergy and the creativity that we apply on a day to day basis. For us, being creative every single day is vital, and it translates in many ways, on a professional basis and on a personal basis.

So in details, which services Kinlake offers as a creative studio?
Linda: We do all sorts of things that can give a business, a blogger or any type of project an interesting and creative visual aspect: brand styling and graphic design, web-design, some handmade and personalized work such as illustrations or hand-lettering, and many more. We also do photography, and videography, like short documentaries. We just really like to create interesting material that tells a story and that makes a brand or project feel compelling.

And which is your ideal client at Kinlake?
Linda: We are really lucky because most of the time the people that come to us are actually our ideal clients! I think we have done a good job communicating about our philosophy. So the people who come to us also come for this particular reason. And often they are the right people for us. We love to work with start-ups, bloggers, people who make something by themselves – all these people inspire us creatively. Some people who come to work with us have actually embarked on a wild adventure of starting their own business or blog, and this is very exciting creatively: it allows us to start something very personal, from scratch, like a design or brand styling that is really going to fit perfectly with what they want to pursue. This allows us to also provide a bit of framework, such as useful tips & skills that can help someone to reach specific goals such as growing their audience or communicating a message.

What has been your favorite project so far?
Linda: That’s a hard question!
David: It always depends on the circumstances. Some projects are harder, some projects are easier, some are exciting from the beginning, and some make you more proud towards the end. Every project has a different story. It’s like relationships, each of it is unique. But I guess it’s fair to say that the best projects come from working with people who trust us and are eager to work with us!

What are the next projects you are working on?
Linda: We have been working on an e-shop called Afrolia , that is going to be launched by a very stylish woman of African origins. She is really cool and had been working very hard to launch this exciting startup. We like the concept of this project and she trusted us to work on her e-shop even if it was our first. We also designed her brand identity.
David: We are working on a series of video-documentaries for a magazine launched from the ecological party in Luxembourg, featuring local initiatives that work in a collaborative way. This project has allowed us to expand our videography skills even further.
Linda: We have also been working for some more projects, such as designing for new upcoming small businesses or bloggers.

So, to conclude about Kinlake: why people should come to you? Which competitive advantages are you giving to people if they are coming to you instead of to another agency?
Linda: We are pretty happy about the way we do things; We like the personal aspect behind it. This is from our perspective the most important thing: people who work with us, work directly with us and meet us in person. We are a small business and a friendly one: People can come into our home or meet us in a coffee shop, everything is casual as long as we “click” with someone – we don’t separate so much the business aspect and the personal aspect – they are very blended and I think people really appreciate that. We work with people as if they were our friends – of course there is a business transaction behind, but we try to give much more than that at the end.

Now, let’s mention also the other project you are involved, Orla Collective.
Linda: Orla Collective  is something that comes from our interest about living more ecologically. We became interested in a healthy lifestyle and greener choices. Living a happier lifestyle closer to our roots, without materialism. That inspired us a lot and we thought: are there people like that in Luxembourg? For sure there must be. The idea was to begin a blog – but was pointless doing it alone. I really feel that the more people are involved in a project, the more it can become a movement to spread the word. So we started out Orla Collective with this blog platform which is open for anybody to contribute. It works pretty well: Some people write about yoga, some people share healthy recipes, some people write about DYI. Just mindful living, in general. The idea is to accept anyone who is at least a bit interested in it and to make it as open and fun as possible.
David: The idea is to create a collaborative movement where everyone is welcome. It is about all the small things each and every of us does and to share these small things to make a better world.

So when did Orla Collective start and what does it include beside the blog?
Linda: We started in summer 2014. So now it has been a bit more than one year. At first we only had the blog, but six months later we did our first work-shop – we thought it would be cool to take the community from being online to offline and have people meet each other through those similar interests, in real life, though fun activities. We also organize brunches in collaboration with the girls from Ready, for example. Lots of new friendships are born this way, as the community truly comes together.

What are the next events that will be organized by Orla Collective?
Linda: Next event is a work-shop about DYI Christmas gifts – December 2nd. Then we will have a Christmas brunch on December 13th at Ready. You can have a look at our Orla Collective facebook page if you want to see more!

Moving ahead to your life in Luxembourg then, what is the place you love most in Luxembourg?
David: Well, because we live in Esch, our favourite place around here is the Ellergronn, in the nature.
Linda: Yes, this has a particular significance for us, it is the place where we go when we need to reinvent ourselves and refueled. Esch used to be the center of mining and metal industry – but surprisingly there is a lot of beautiful nature around. It is not as breathtaking like in the Haute Sure but it has its charm, actually because of the mining industry this all area is called Terre Rouges which means the red rocks, so when you walk in the forest you see the ground is red and you can feel the history of this place. That’s our feel good place.

And then what’s your favorite restaurant?
David:
I really like Mamacita. I think the quality of the food is nice, they are generous, it’s cool. I also really like the Mesa Tai Ji in Esch. The Beet restaurant in town and Amapura restaurant in the Station area in Luxembourg city are excellent for having yummy plant based food.
Linda: There are also a lot of nice Italian restaurants – there we would just take our parents. More cozy settings, like Notaro.
David: The truth is, though, that we don’t really go to restaurants that much anymore. We actually really like to cook at our place and experiment with food in our own kitchen.
Linda: The only place you can always find us is Ready coffee shop. It is not a restaurant – but the quality of a humble sandwich from this place is often better than an entire dish at a restaurant. When things are done with love, you can feel it.

And about nightlife, you have a favorite place where you go?
David: I guess that for the past 7 years, our nightlife is pretty scarce, we only have a few drinks with friends once in a while, with no real preference when it comes to the place really.
Linda: It is not to say we are not party animals, but going out at night isn’t really our thing, we actually prefer to invite people over at our place and party over here!

And what else you like about Luxembourg life?
Linda:
I personally like the fact that is small enough to make some good connections and it gives some more exposure to people trying to create their own business. You don’t get lost socially like in a big city.
David: I really like the fact we are really in the center of Europe, everything is well connected and close.

And what would you change or improve about Luxembourg?
Linda: It’s a small country, so things are a little bit behind, but at the same time there is the possibility to achieve things faster, because the people that are here tend to be well-inspired to make things happen. People can absorb inspirations from their travels, take them back here and create something. There are so many opportunities and space for new things to happen. Things like pressed fresh juices, food trucks.. that were not existing in Luxembourg until two years ago, are now growing fast, if done well. Lots of new business ideas can take advantage of that. It’s like planting a seed in very fertile soil!

Last question now: what is the best adjective for you to describe Luxembourg?
Linda: I would say fertile – here there will be a lot of opportunities for ideas to grow fast!

If you want to learn more about Linda and David and about their business and their projects, follow Kinlake and Orla Collective pages and meet them at next events at Ready.

Restaurant MAHO, Luxembourg: an amiable dinner in a lovely atmosphere

Some weeks ago I was celebrating four years with my husband, so, on Monday, as it was long time we didn’t have a dinner date, we decided to have a special night.
I have a list of the restaurants I am going to visit in the next month, but unfortunately no one of them was open so I decided to use one of the suggestions received during my interviews. One of the thing I personally love about my “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people” series is that is giving me the opportunity to learn about new restaurants or the confidence to try something out of my comfort zone. So finally we booked at MAHO – that was mentioned as her favorite restaurant in Luxembourg by @fashion_lawyer.

I have been to the premises of MAHO several years ago, when it was still Les Jardins du President, and really like the settings. We were warmly welcomed at the entrance and accompanied to our table on the veranda. The atmosphere was very sophisticated and romantic, with very dim lights (even too dim – hence the bad quality pictures).
We were served water and started with a glass of champagne. We received a small platter of appetizer, followed by a fish terrine as amuse-bouche.
I had salmon fume as starter and beef filet with truffle as main, while hubby had canard terrine with foie gras as starter and entrecote as main.
My starter was fine in average: the salmon was orgasmic, a butter melting in my mouth, but the plat itself was a bit disjointed – I did not like very much the salad and the avocado wasabi sauce haven’t seen any wasabi but has a very strong taste of lemon.
My main course was classically good: the meat was outstanding, perfectly cooked. I loved the al dente green vegetables and the truffle pure’ was yummy – I would have eaten a bigger portion indeed. The only unfavorable point was the wine sauce on the meat – too sweetish for my taste.
My husband on the other side enjoyed very much his plat – he said that it was the best entrecote he had ever had in Luxembourg, and I know how picky he is normally  – only point he had was that the plat was super hot and the salad, for this reason, was really dried out, and should have been taken in a small pot.

Find the pictures of our dinner, followed by my general impressions as usual.

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Things I loved about MAHO:

Perfect service – present, discreet, smiling. We really felt pampered.
Excellent ingredients – raw materials were great and above all the meat was extremely enjoyable.
Cozy settings – great place for a dinner date and I cannot wait to come back during summer to enjoy the outside garden.
Smokers’ room – to avoid the cold temperature outside, a nice room with fireplace is available for smokers.

Things I loved a bit less:

Too noisy – there were couple of business dinner tables that enjoyed fairly much the booze and talked at very loud volume. Considering the size of the room and the fact tables are pretty close, a big bite of romance disappeared. What a pity.
– What about the WOW factor?  Our dinner was not cheap one. Two starters, two main courses, two glass of champagne and 2 glass of wines took us around 170 Euro. It was Monday night and I had to drive, so we did not feel having a bottle of wine, but in case we would, our final bill would have overpassed 200 euro.
If you follow my reviews, you see I am definitely fine spending this money for a special date, but I reserve this attention to a place that is not only good, but outstanding. While our dinner was good and the material uses were excellent, I don’t have that feeling of saying “wow, this dish is amazing”. It was fine, really fine, but not amazing.
Indeed, I have to say that my husband felt in love with his entrecote and therefore I will definitely come back to check some more exotic dish.

What to do – Bonnevoie

I had great feedbacks from the first post of the series “What to do”, so I decided to publish another post sooner than expected. Thank you also for all the lovely comments you left and for sharing my article! I am going to try all the places in the Station area you suggested very fast! As Ruxandra said in her comment, having a good recommendation will help you trying a spot you maybe passed in front hundreds of time but never get a chance to stop, giving you more confidence!

Today we go ahead visiting Bonnevoie area. I know Bonnevoie is not considered by many as a fashion area of the city, but having lived there for 9 years, I learned to love it deeply and I find really difficult considering moving out!

Once again, please comment with your favorite spots around the area!

Where to go when you want to pamper
Bubbles Hairdresser
I am really jealous about my hair. I used to have long hair for more than half of my life and even now that I got a shorter cut for couple of years, I tend to use great products and to be really careful about cuts and coloring. Ca va sans dire, I think I have changed at least a dozen of hairdressers in Luxembourg, as I was never satisfied. Since Rosario moved his shop, Bubbles Haidresser,  to Bonnevoie, I have been a loyal client and I have recommended it also to friends.
I tend to go there during the week, when they are less busy and they can give you all the necessary attention. After years of going out from the hairdresser looking at the mirror and saying: “What the f*ck have they done?” now finally for me it is the time to giggle: “Beautiful me”.

Where to go when you want a relaxed after-work
Bouneweger Stuff
I started to go to the Bouneweger Stuff when it was not yet mainstream (I also cooked there for their event “Chef for one night”!)  and I honestly sometimes find annoying when, above all during summer, it is so packed. But at the end, being just few steps from my apartment, I find it the perfect place when you want to have a chat with a friend without the urge of dressing up like you go to the city center. And the Joslette (not sure  I am writing the name correctly, but it is Pimm’s plus Ginger Ale) is one of the best cocktail ever!
Why not
If Bouneweger Stuff is too packed, I walked few blocks down to the “Why Not” cafe’. They also have a sunny lovely terrace – even bigger -, fairly priced drinks and friendly environment, kind of place you like to go when you want to meet someone, have some booze and fun, without any stress. Check out their page, as they have also pretty good live music nights.

Where to go when you want to get inked
Absolut Ink
To come back to the earlier discussion, your tattooist is like your hairdresser. You should trust him and when you find the good one you must not change it. This was my case, after several tattoos around, when I started hanging out at Christophe’s Absolut Ink – I already wrote an article about his shop here. Pass by to this bright and spacious studio for your tattoos, piercings, shopping some unique accessories as bags or watches, or for one of the music event they organize from time to time (next one, in collaboration with Luxuriant, will be on September 26th).

Where to go when you need to shop for a vegan dinner
Mullebutz
Not only vegan, but also gluten-free, lacto-free and bio products, together with fresh fruit and vegetables. Definitely not cheap and not for your daily shopping if you are on a budget, but for sure a reference point for specific food products. I love the vegan mushroom pate’, the dried fruits, the kamut pasta and the miso soups.

Where to go when you want some “pizza al taglio”
Pastificio La Modenese
“Pizza al taglio” is an institution in Italy. In a simplistic way, it is like the normal pizza, but squared and small, and you normally eat it between proper meals, as a snack. There are tons of shops in Italy and you can ask to take it away in a box – great to eat on the couch with a Pepsi Max watching Geordie Shore 🙂
Well, I didn’t know there were any “pizza al taglio” shop in Luxembourg before finding out my husband was having breakfast at “La Modenese” with some pizza salami and not at the next Fisher. The pizza is really Italian, great taste, very greasy. They have also home made lasagna and regional products. You can have lunch on spot.
Just a small note: they close at 6 pm.

Where to go when you want to take a friend out on a budget
L’Atelier del Gusto
Located in the heart of Bonnevoie, this truly Italian grocery shop offers several regional products (including Birra Moretti, ‘nduja and burrata) and a tiny restaurant, informal and familiar, where to eat based on the daily suggestions. You can have a mixed ham & cheese platter or try one of the lovely pasta Angela, the chef, is preparing.
Check out the event calendar: for big appetites and empty wallets, the Panzerotti night is amazing!

Bonus Track: Where to go for a nice dinner
I talked about on the blog about my favorite fish place, La Gambahere and here. And I had also some words about Matese, a Carpini chain restaurant, just behind the Station, great when you are too lazy to cook, and recommended also La Veranda, an authentic Italian, here.
At the middle of my personal ranking in Bonnevoie, I would put the “Bay of Bengala”, brother of the Royal Bengala in Merl. The food is excellent, one of the best Indian in town, but the service and the attitude of the manager/waiters sucks, really, so much I find annoying going there and prefer to order their delivery at home – I shared this view with my sister and another friend who went to this place, so I think something needs to be changed, as it is a pity for such good restaurant!
La Bonne Auberge“, at the roundabout, is a fairly good place: the menu is very long and normally when they do too many things, I don’t like it, but here almost everything is good quality: I tried the pizza (tiny and fair enough taste), the fish and the meat (good quality, high substance) even if the reason for me to suggest this place is definitely the “Picanha” night, where, for a reasonable price, you will be served with meat, chips, beans, rice, banana, all night long. Bonus point: they have one of the best waiters I have been served by in Luxembourg!
Another nice spot is Le Puits Magique, which propose traditional Portuguese food, with a limited choice, in a familiar environment.
You won’t find anything too posh in Bonnevoie, I am sorry – this is gonna be the next chapter (Clausen!)