Piadi – Italian Food House, Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

Last week I went back to basics and came back after long time to have dinner in Bonnevoie. If you missed the previous episodes, I have lived in Bonnevoie for about 10 years and probably my first posts on the blog were very centred on that area, a bit like now they are focused around Place de Paris ūüôā

Piadi – Italian Food House is another one of those places which have been on my list for long time, so a quiet night of the week while I was not feeling cooking seemed the perfect night to try it.

We got there at 7 pm (yes, I know.. “eating with the chicks” as we say in Italian) and got to choose our table as the restaurant was basically still empty. The location is very nice: just few steps from the central station, with bright windows on the first roundabout in Bonnevoie. Not fancy, but definitely colorful, those kind of places were you feel like smiling as soon as you got in.

We were informed there was a special tasting night (“Pasta lovers”) and, if we wanted, we could have had three small portions of pasta for 19 Euro.
We decided to eat a la carte a as you know I am not very past oriented.

We started with a Negroni and a glass of white, together with a platter of cheese and cold cut, accompanied by piadina and gnocco fritto – a typical specialty from Emilia Romagna. We were not sure about portions, so we hold on the main order, but, after the starter, we were definitely still hungry: I went for a dish of passatelli with pesto and clams (another pasta specialty from Emilia Romagna) and E. for a piadina with Italian sausage, onions and bell peppers.

We spent 84 Euro for: 2 glasses of wine, 1 Negroni, 1 bottle of water, 1 starter to share, 1 piadina, 1 passatelli, 1 espresso, 2 digestif. 42 Euro each.

Pictures of the dinner followed by my general impressions of Piadi – Italian Food House.

What I liked about Piadi – Italian Food House:

  • As anticipated, I liked the place and the general feeling the place is giving you. It is very relaxed and friendly and the nice service is definitely completing this feeling. It is a place you can go straight from work for a quick drink accompanied by Italian antipasti, you can have an informal date or you can meet up with your friends. Probably the colors of the place are making me thinking you cannot be sad among those walls and you will definitely link that dinner to happy circumstances.

  • Food was good: we were given more piadina and gnocco fritto with the starter once we finished them, the squaquerone cheese which is included in the antipasti platter was my personal highlight and I liked very very much the passatelli – more than the piadina honestly. The menu is pretty various as well: a nice choice a la carte as well as suggestions of the day which are going from starters to main – they had rabbit that day that I love, but I was not feeling very much for that, next time. It is definitely a place where you can have dinner (or lunch) with pasta lovers, vegetarian or picky eaters.

  • As said, service was very kind and my bonus point goes definitely to the Negroni I had. Most of bars and restaurants are recently serving Negroni -which is my favorite Italian cocktail – and even if I have found really good versions around – and some interesting relook -, the one I had at Piadi’ was the one to me which tasted closer to the one I have in Italy.

What I liked a bit less about Piadi – Italian Food House:

  • Once again, another place where I cannot find something to dislike, we had a very happy evening and I would probably come back. There was only one small “discomfort” regarding to the price of some items, if we want to call it like that. The shared platter has two size (a small and a bigger one) and we ordered the big (21 Eur). We were feeling to have only that but as said we were still hungry after – I feel that compared to other places I had the mixed starter, the portion size is slightly misaligned with the price, but it is not a big issue, you just have to know you can/need to eat something else after. Same for the “digestifs”, rarely seen a shot glass priced 5 Eur, so I will probably not order it next time.

To know: together with the a la carte dinner, Piadi is also organizing various interesting tasting nights, all oriented around typical products you rarely get to eat somewhere else (like “Tigella night”) and Sunday brunches. To be informed about these events, follow them on their Facebook page.

In conclusion: Piadi – Italian Food House is an informal Italian place, focused on authentic Italian products from Emilia Romagna, located in the heart of Bonnevoie. You need definitely to try gnocco fritto but next to that you can have other very tasty dishes – and delicious cocktails. It is the perfect place for a night out with friends or an easy going date.

Kay, the new restaurant of Casino Luxembourg, City Centre

As promised on Monday, we got another “new place” on the radar which we tried this week. Kay, the new restaurant of the Casino Luxembourg, open its door last Thursday. The idea, this time, compared to the previous catering experiences at Casino, is to have a “real” restaurant, which is kind of independent from the museum – hence the entrance on Boulevard Roosevelt which allowed the access also in the evening.

The restaurant, from the press communication, proposes a creative Peruvian cuisine about natural ingredients. Ca va sans dire, I was very curious to try it and I booked a table with A. for Monday night.

The welcome was extremely kind. It was Monday and the weather was everything but nice, so the restaurant looks pretty empty. The décor has not significantly changed compared to before Рat least for what I can remember Рand table are left pretty minimal and naked. This completes a bright look of the main room, with the huge windows on the bridge, which should definitely give a suggestive view during less rainy evenings.

Our jackets and umbrellas were taken to the wardrobe and we were accommodated to our table.
First of all, we were given the cocktail list, which is pretty original – starting from cocktails’ names – and has alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices. We decided to go classic and ordered a pisco sour.

Together with two slices of tasty bread, we were given and presented the menu card: 6 choices for cold starters and around the same number for hot starters (meat, fish and vegan). Three choices for main: burger (beef or vegetarian), T-Bone and duck. We were explained in details the concept behind the dishes and the accent on natural elements – fermentation, probiotics, tastes.

We ordered 4 starters to share, 2 cold and 2 hot: the marinated nikkei, the “surprise dish” (osez! was the description), the vegan tiradito and roast-beef/peanuts butter potatoes balls. Three dishes out of the starter menu were not available (including octopus and razor clams), so we were offered a mini portion of clams to try.

We concluded with dessert: I had the Pan Comido (bread ice cream, honey, coffee, dates cake and tomatoes) while Angela had Ying and Yang, with chocolate and ginger sorbet.

The total bill reads 101 Euro which included: two cocktails, 4 starters to share, 1 bottle of water and 2 dessert (50 Euro each roughly). Pictures of the dinner followed by my impressions of Kay Restaurant.

What I liked about Kay Restaurant:

  • The concept behind and the idea of cuisine, for what we tried, is very interesting: in particular, I liked very much the marinated Nikkei and both desserts were surprisingly innovative and tasty.
  • The explanation of the dishes is made in details and the lady who is taking main care of the service is extremely sweet and polite.
  • I like the idea of having dinner in a museum and I am sure during sunny days the view would be amazing as well.

What I liked a bit less about Kay Restaurant:

  • Not all the dishes convinced us: the razor clams we tasted missed something and the vegan ceviche was a dish to forget. What confused me most, was the menu: while the starter section is well assorted, the mains look totally out of the contest and are very limited regarding choice – only one vegetarian dish, not even one fish one. The Pisco as well was not memorable.
  • While the main lady was very professional, the rest of the service was a bit shy and not very attentive. The restaurant was empty so small mistakes were immediately corrected, but we had the impression if the restaurant was full, the issues would have been more.
  • Finally: we felt we slightly overpaid for our dinner and this is my main blocking point to come back. It was Monday night, so a cocktail was fine for us and we were feeling sharing, so we had only two starters. But we made a quick calculation that with a main course (30 – 38 Eur) and a bottle of wine, the bill would have been scandalously higher for the feeling we had about the dinner.

In conclusion: the new Kay restaurant proposes a creative Peruvian kitchen in a very special atmosphere, the one of the Casino Luxembourg museum, in the city center. The restaurant has recently opened, so has definitely room for improvement service wise and in regards to the variety of the choices of the menu. I would definitely recommend it for a night out dinner or an after-shopping lunch with your girlfriends. Be careful: it might not be the place for you if you are on a budget.

The new “Rotisserie Ardennaise”

I am very excited as in the forthcoming weeks I put finally down a bit of planning and scheduled several visits to restaurants I have never been before. I have indeed realized I became a bit boring recently in my food choices and was going more to usual places where I feel “at home”, instead of being adventurous as I used to be in the past. Time for a change.

Last Friday night I booked at the new Rotisserie Ardennaise. The restaurant, you might remember, used to be one of my favorite when I was still living in Belair and has been now acquired by Come a La Maison group, so I was very curious to try it and see if and how it changed.

You can easily book online – I love places where you can book online! -.

We got there at 8 pm and the place was almost very packed. We were accommodated in the side room – honestly at the beginning I was a bit pissed, as it is definitely less charming, but soon I realized it is also less noisy than the main one.

The menu is mainly around meat, with three areas of choice: rotisserie (with chicken, pork, sausages to mention few), outstanding meat (as they call them, including beef filet, entrecote, burger..) and main dishes (where you have also couple of fish dishes, but no vegetarian options). Few starters are also in the menu and you have a great selection of sides (from truffle potatoes to aubergine parmigiana – one choice included in the price of your main together with the salad).

We started with a glass of champagne rose and one of wine to kick off the night, the chef welcome consisted in a chicken nuggets with ketchup sauce, both home made.
To follow, I had T√™te de Veau Croustillante while E. had burrata salad. As main I had Pigeonneau et Sa R√ītie, while E. had half chicken roasted. I had truffle potatoes as side, while he had seasonal vegetables (Brussel sprouts and potatoes).

Our final bill read 235 Eur, of which 119 Eur for the one, a bottle of St. Estephe – so around 50 Euro each excluding the wine. Pictures of the dinner followed by my impressions about Rotisserie Ardennaise.

What I loved about Rotisserie Ardennaise:

  • I like very much the place. I used to like it also in the previous version, which was very much old fashion. They keep the spirit of the old place but made it a bit more modern, with this very strong liberty accent which to me it is making it extremely chic (yes, you know I am not a fan of minimal places, so this is encountering my taste more).

  • Food was delicious: we understood our dinner was going to be very tasty from the amuse bouche. Generally I pretty much dislike everything which is proposed as amuse bouche in restaurants, this time it was extremely good. The burrata salad, prepared with almonds and strawberry, was the best starter and my pigeon was to die for. Pigeon is one of my favorite dish and I tend to be extremely critical – this one was amazing, and was accompanied by beans with bacon and his juice.

  • When we got the bill, we the price – if we took off the wine – was extremely fair. The wine list includes several choices for limited price (around 30 Eur) and pigeon was the most expensive item on the list. Therefore you can get out with a definitely cheaper bill – for a very nice dinner.

What I liked a bit less about Rotisserie Ardennaise:

  • We had a very pleasant night and I would definitely come back. It happened very often that in the questions I received through my Instagram page, people are asking about meat restaurants in Luxembourg and usually I am very much in difficulties about what to reply, as so far there was not a place with a strong meat menu that I liked. Rotisserie Ardennaise is definitely now this place and even if they have been open just for one week, I was incredibly surprised about how good the food is. Hopefully they keep it up.

  • If we need to find something to improve, it would be definitely the service: while ma√ģtre de salle was extremely competent, polite and present, the rest of the staff was a bit confused and out of the contest – one waitress was going around for our small rooms with dishes asking to whom they belong. The place is new, so it is totally understandable and I am sure they will improve.

  • Also, for my taste, the wine list has either extremely expensive wines or cheap ones – I would have personally preferred to have a better choice in the middle price range, but again, this is a personal point.

 

To conclude: I was impressed by Rotisserie Ardennaise. To me it can clear become quickly the best meat restaurant in Luxembourg city. The place is very fancy, food is delicious and the price is fair. Definitely recommended: perfect for a dinner date, a family gathering or a night out with friends.

A coffee with… Remy Manso

Sitting in a quiet restaurant off the station for a dinner-briefing, Corie asked me:  РWhat about Remy Manso for next interview?
– Who? -,¬†I replied –¬†clear signal I have moved to Luxembourg only¬†very recently.
РHe is the owner of numerous and interesting restaurants in Luxembourg. It manages at least a dozen, mostly Latin, including El Barrio.
– I love El Barrio. – I suddenly replied,¬†after that name caught my attention ¬†– So, of course I’m in -.
I followed up Corie’s contact with Remy and took an appointment with him – guess where? –¬†at El Barrio, which, at 11 am, had a surreal calm atmosphere – if you have been there in the night, you will definitely understand what I mean.
After few minutes¬†into our talk, I’ve found out that there could not have been a better chance to meet Remy, since he just opened his thirteenth place. Yes, you read that correctly. Piri Piri is number 13 restaurant of Manso Group. And it is a Portuguese restaurant, that aims to become the top of its genre in the city – but we will get there later.

Angela: I am so pleased to meet you, Remy, I cannot hide that I imagined you to be older. How can you be so young and have all this responsibilities? And managing so many restaurants and being so relaxed?
Remy: I work in a structured way, starting at 8.30 am with reservations and finishing at midnight after going around all the premises, or almost. I try to be present here and there every day, except one: Sunday, that¬†for me means football… (laughing) …And then I surrounded myself with trusted collaborators, without¬†them I would never have arrived here. You need to invest in¬†reliable people, the best ones and I have chosen them among my old friends.¬†We grew up and evolved together. It’s not only me¬†to succeed in¬†the business, but the whole team.
A: Do you give me a few names of your children?
R:¬†D√§iwelskichen, Batucada, Chimi Churri, Manso, JFK, The Game Utopolis, The Game Downtown, Toro Toro, El Barrio, El Gato, Boca Loca¬†in Echternach, Gringo’s and Piri Piri, the latest born.

A: Wow! So many! So we can talk about the plans for the future in a while.¬†Now I’m curious to know how you started. Can you tell me¬†more about your takeoff?
R: After school, I went to work with my father, who is no longer there. I learned a lot from him because he was a self-made man, really starting from nothing. He arrived in Luxembourg from Portugal in 1982 and in the evening, after work, he slept in the car. I owe him everything. I started out as a dishwasher, then as a cook and then, together, we managed Daiwelskichen and Batucada, both of which still exist. Growing up without skipping steps is very important. Only in this way can you learn to know how to really manager your business. There are many people who come from a completely different background and want to open a restaurant. They believe that it is enough to put their banner outside the door to make millions. It does not work like this. I have the notion of reality. I study the market and try to understand it, without ever believing I have fully understood it.

A: On the other hand, how do you choose what and where to open?
R: Here we are neither in Paris nor in Milan or New York. The population is limited and you have to study the territory and the public well before opening a gastronomic point of any kind. The people of Luxembourg invest a lot of their free time in the gastronomic circuits or in the cocktail bars, but, even if it is high-handed, they do not like to be fooled. The Luxemburgish do not give a second chance. So I open a new place only after doing an X-ray to the market. At that point, if I decide to start a new adventure I choose the best, point to quality, adequate and valuable interior design and I pay attention to the quality / price ratio. I do not mean to be a perfect owner, but I always work very honestly and this allowed me to get to the number 13 ūüôā

A: Yes! Quite right! You mentioned that with the new entry you are at a peak of 13. Tell me about the newborn!
R: It’s called Piri Piri and it’s a bomb. The kitchen, for the first time for my group, is Portuguese, like my homeland, but far from the one already proposed here in the city. Our culture is melancholic and evokes calm and sadness. This is why I have always preferred to open local Brazilian, Argentinian, Mexican and Spanish. I like to dance and also mojitos¬†ūüôā But it was time to do something to pay homage to my father, who would have wished to open a restaurant with the flavors of his land. I also wanted to do something for the Portuguese community that is very large here. With my partners we had a lot of fun choosing the pottery and furniture, and I tested all the dishes. It is a restaurant completely different from what is already there in Luxembourg. Beautiful inside, with attention to the smallest details, with a traditional touch, but with a modern, refined and very rich design. Even the cuisine¬†has its roots¬†in Portugal, the flavors are authentic, but pervaded by a new twist. Some hints? The cod ceviche for example.

A: What does Piri Piri mean?
R: (Laughing). It’s a curious name, isn’t it? It is a spicy pepper typical of Portuguese cuisine. I chose it because it is very evocative.

A: Good luck then! So now we got a bit on the personal side. How can you be sure you differentiate one place to the other and you just don’t “copy paste”? I want to say: out of 14 restaurants, it takes imagination to avoid the same concept from happening again, doesn’t it?
R: Since working with my father, we have always¬†chosen to address to an audience that loves the “Latin fiesta“. And so from the local Brazilian, to Argentine meat, passing through Mexican cuisine, without forgetting the Mediterranean area, one thing is certain, in my restaurants there is always a common factor that is the caliente style and typical of the Latin culture, but with an always different menu. I choose some detail that differentiates them, so that each place has its own identity. And where the food proposal looks similar, it is the location to be different – in the city and out-of-town for example. Said that, I believe that El Barrio is the strongest of all, is the “maison m√®re” because here everything has been done to perfection, just thinking about the fact¬†that we have chairs¬†for 400 Euro each, we have 20 people only in the kitchen and we have a¬†kind of¬†meat that is the top: the wagyu beef. Maybe I will seem arrogant, but I think there is nothing better in the city for quality / price ratio. I must also add that a great job had been done before I arrived, when it was still La Boqueria. I’ve always been fascinated by this place, in fact I wanted to direct it many years ago, but I was too young and they did not take me seriously. Better like this! Now I’m more mature and able to manage it.

A: Tell me the truth Remy, do you have a place in your heart among all?
R: Yes, Manso Restaurant¬†occupies a special place. That’s where I put more about myself! The concept and the menu talk about me. Before and during the opening, in every place of the Mediterranean in which I went on holiday, I identified dishes that excite me most and put them in paper. Some dishes are Spanish, some Italian, some still Greek, and Portuguese and French are not lacking. But this choice was a mixed blessing! Do you know why? The “Mediterranean Cuisine” category is too vast and does not allow the Manso to have a well-defined identity. Usually the identity makes it the nationality of origin of the gastronomic proposal or the main ingredient of the menu. This is missing at the Manso. In the eyes of the public you can eat anything and everything, which is equivalent to nothing precise. So if at lunch I have a good customer basis mainly due to the offices nearby, in the evening we are penalized because people choose¬†to go there¬†they know exactly what to expect.

A: Oh, I’m sorry. Do you have a plan B?
R: Of course! Despite being in my heart, I will soon say goodbye to it!

A: Ah no, it was your favorite! And then will they become 12 again?
R: Noooo! Not at all! They will always be 13 because¬†Manso Restaurant¬†will turn into something else. And here’s the news for the year 2019 ūüėČ

A: Are you telling me that you have another opening in mind when you just opened Piri Piri?
R: Yes, yes. And yes, this will be an absolute novelty because for the first time I will be completely different from my kind to open a restaurant serving Greek cuisine. On the other hand, half of my members are Greeks. And we want to do it well! In the best way. We will also go to Greece to get ideas, so we will gain in authenticity and ideas.

A: Fantastic Remy. And when do you intend to open it?
R: We will start work in January.
A: Wow. I’m afraid that if we stay here to talk a little bit, you can make me a program of openings until 2030 …
R: Hahah no. I do not intend to reach 20, but creativity and the desire to do are certainly not lacking.

A: Thank you for your time Remy. It was a true pleasure meeting you.

I greet my interlocutor, but before going he shows me something that I adore. A nice piece of wagyu beef comes out of the kitchen to finish immortalized straight in my hands. Ok, I do not know what to put on my 2019 to try list first: Piri Piri or wagyu here at El Barrio. What would you say?

Pictures: Giacomo Salvemini (instagram.com/slv)