New Confucius, Strassen, Luxembourg

Have you ever noted the strange relationship you have with the restaurants in your neighborhood? When I was living in Bonnevoie, I almost tried all the restaurant in my area. I had some favorites and to some I did not any any further chance after couple of strong delusions.

For the short time I was at the hedge between Belair and Strassen, it was quite different. As the area was not very lively, I have always tried to move “downtown” when I could. And there were couple of restaurants I passed in front each and every day but I tried probably just at the very end of my stay. One of these, for sure, was New Confucius, located on a corner of Route D’Arlon. I actually had dinner there several years ago, but it was those kind of dinner that you remind more for the quantity of alcohol you drank than for the food. The surprising thing, for me, was that, whatever day of the week, whatever time, New Confucius was always packed when I passed in front.

So, couple of days before moving, I told M. that would have been the case to have a dinner there before leaving the flat.

We got there on a week night without reservation and the main room was almost full and the side smaller rooms were fully booked.

I had a Chinese beer while M. had a coke to start with while we analyzed the menu. The offer is huge, from starters to meat to fish.. there is really too much!

Instead of going a la carte, we opted for one of the set menu, specifically the one for 33 Eur. We had both the Wan Tan soup (with Chinese ravioli), followed by a mix of starters, including steamed dim sum, nems and fried chicken. As main, I went for the Pekin roasted duck (that was the only reason because I wanted the menu for 33 Eur instead of the one for 23!) while M. had Shrimps with spicy sauce. We concluded both with Dame Blanche and Chinese Sake (this one not included in the menu).

Find the pictures of our dinner followed by my final impressions about New Confucius.


What I liked about New Confucius
:

  • The location is nice and in the main room you have lots of space between tables. If you are having a celebration, you can also reserve in the separated rooms. This will keep the noise away from the other diners and will ensure a very cozy atmosphere. A special mention for me goes to the restrooms upstairs: while generally the whole restaurants have a great attention to details and precious decoration, the restrooms are out of a Chinese Michelin star restaurant in a European capital, amazing!
  • The food was a bit a hit and a miss. The soup was good – but not amazing, a bit too salty for my taste. The starters, above all the fried one, were very cheap and with totally no flavor. The dim sum were fairly good, as well as the duck, that was served in two ways, and the shrimps M. ordered were tasty too.
  • The restaurant offers a huge choice if you have picky friends: from vegetarian, to fried dishes, to steamed one. And the set menus are a very good and affordable for a budget dinner out.

What I liked a bit less about New Confucius:

  • While service was generally polite (the one who seemed to be the owner was lovely!), it was very fast, too much. The menu has a lot of food included and the waiters were removing our dishes as soon as our chopsticks were down and already taking the following courses. At the dim sum we felt already stuffed and we were able to eat only few bites out of the main course – that we asked anyway to take away. You should give your clients the time to eat and drink in a relaxed way. I suppose there is a way in the middle between ignoring a table without drinks and asking if I want a refill as soon as I serve myself my last half of beer.
  • As said, set menu are pretty cheap (23 and 33 eur), but watch out about drinks and extra, the bill can easily add-up and becoming not cheap anymore – with two beers, some water and sake you got to slightly more than 100 Eur.

 

In conclusion: New Confucius is a nice Chinese restaurant in Belair/Strassen. It offers separate dining rooms for celebrations, set menu also for dinner for small price and food portions are generous. Not the best Chinese restaurant in town, but definitely a fair one if you look for big portions and small price.

Ginko Sushi, Strassen, Luxembourg

Sundays’re calling sushi during summer time, so last Sunday, after a small walk in town and a drink at Go Ten, with a couple of friends we decided to book a table at Ginko Sushi in Strassen. We called the restaurant and, as the weather was really nice, we requested for a table on the terrace. The lady on the phone was very nice as she told us that the terrace at Ginko is directly on the street but they have a better terrace in the restaurant just next door – Le Zai – and she would have booked for us there.

Indeed Le Zai and Ginko are in the same parking lot and shared the same owner. As atmosphere, I have to say Le Zai looks definitely better but you can order Ginko menu as well there.

The terrace was lovely – with all these red lamps around – but the interior design was also impressive. We received all the menus – the one from Le Zai, the one for Ginko as well as the seasonal menu – and ordered a first round of drinks – Asahi beers and Diet Coke.

The decision concerning food takes quite long time, but we managed to get to a conclusion. All of us ordered three type of rolls (I had rolls with foie gras, rolls with lobster and dragon fruit and rolls with sea bass and avocado) and I ordered as well a miso soup (yes, soups are addictive for me, more or less like chips).

Our order was anticipated by a small starter of the house – two nems veggie rolls.

To conclude the dinner, M. ordered a sake while K. and I went for Chinese tea.

Pictures – Impressions are next.

What I liked about Ginko Sushi / Le Zai:

  • The atmosphere is lovely – the terrace is very nice as well as the interior design, perfect for a girls night out, family dinner, romantic date, even a business meeting. Details and decorations are just perfectly in place without being cheesy.
  • Service is great – but not formal: even if we took some time to order, the lady waited patiently for us. She was really available to reply to our questions and to explain dishes.
  • The figs / foie gras rolls were to die for and the lobster rolls were pretty good, would ordered both again. I also like the fact we had several “freebies”, like the tasty rolls at the beginning and the fried vegetables to accompany the sushi – bit melted but still good.
  • Price is fair: we did not drink much (only M. had beers, while me and K during the dinner had water and coke and tea) but still, having sushi, we spent “only” 34 eur each, not much in terms of Luxembourg standards.

What I liked a bit less about Ginko / Le Zai:

  • There is too much choice on the sushi menu for me. While this might be a nice thing for some, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed in terms of decision, above all as the mixed platter were very simple while out of the composed menus you have much more choice. Again, points of view.
  • I also did not like much my sea bass / avocado roll: the lady came saying they did not have more sea bass, so she proposed to change it with tuna (actually mine was half tuna and half salmon) and I did not think it was a good choice. Also M. pointed out he did not enjoy at all his California sushi as the tempura was icy cold – so feedbacks on the food were quite mixed.

In conclusion: the location and the service at Ginko / Le Zai are really nice and the final bill came out fair. The sushi menu is very extensive – too much for my taste – but still pretty good. Looking forward to come back and try as well the Chinese alternative.

 

L’Entracte, Strassen, Luxembourg

On Monday night we visited to the newly-opened Christmas market at the Grund. The space is really limited compared to the one in the very city center, half a dozen stands, but the atmosphere is really cozy, calmer and more relaxed. I really like the Christmas Market in town, but during pick-hours it might be a bit frustrating having a walk around 🙂

After couple of hot wines, we wanted to have some typical food but the temperature was definitely not helping, being still with office clothes, so we decided to change the plans and move to a warmer place. We fancied some cheese dish similar to the ones you can have at the market, but apparently on Monday night it was pretty difficult to find a place open (Edelweiss in Bridel and the Swiss Chalet at Sobogusto are closed).

At the end we decided to try L’Entracte restaurant in Strassen. I was at the one in the city center couple of years ago and it was an horrible experience, the ugliest tourist trap I’ve found myself in in ages.

The restaurant in Strassen is located on the main Route D’Arlon, just a block before Belle Etoile mall. The decorations are informal but cozy and the atmosphere at the entrance was nice.

After a brief wait, we were allocated on a nice table on the back room – the restaurant at 9 pm was almost empty, only a big table in our same room – and handled the menu.

We went straight to the traditional raclette and a bottle of Montepulciano, that unfortunately was not available, so we moved to a South-West French wine.

Some pictures of our dinner and my personal impressions.

What I liked about L’Entracte:

  • The raclette was OMG: cheese was super nice, melting perfectly and the sides were pretty good as well – we had potatoes, mixed cold cuts, salad and bread – and well presented. The quantity is fair and the quality of the food was definitely premium.
  • The menu offers several appealing choices, including cheese fondue (also with mushrooms), mixed raclette, pierrade and a good choice of meat dishes.
  • Except for the quite long wait at the entrance, the service was nice. Our waitress came to check on us couple of times to see if we were fine and we were left finishing our dinner even if we were the last clients and it was closing time. As we had only raclette,coffee and wine, we were offered on the bill a bottle of water we took.

What I liked less about L’Entracte:

  • As said, the food was good and the portion fair, but still I had the impression we slightly overpaid our dish. The traditional raclette was 29 euro per person (and you can order for a minimum of 2) as well as the fondue, couple of euro more than most of other places in Luxembourg, located in fancier settings. On the wine list as well, cheapest wines were starting around 30 euro and there was no “house wine” option. Having a full dinner, with starter or dessert, a more decent wine compared to the one we took and some further drinks, will bring the bill to an amount not very aligned to the kind of location.

In conclusion: Our raclette dinner at L’Entracte in Strassen was a bit pricey but nice. I will definitely come back to try as well as the fondue, as the cheese was delicious and the service lovely. As the restaurant is quite big and informal, I would definitely recommend it for friends gathering and office dinners.