Vida Sushi Lounge, Kirchberg, Luxembourg

As you have probably noted in my IG stories, I have been truly taking advantages of the re-opening of terraces and tried, as much as I could, and compatibly with work, to have lunch outside.

I was missing my favorite places, so I mostly started from them. This week, anyway, as I was at the office, I decided to be a bit more adventurous and tried new places in Kirchberg area. On Monday, I have been to Ela Greek Cuisine and yesterday at Vida Sushi Lounge.

The experience at Ela, while service was nice and dish presentation captivating, was not impressive – I missed a lot of authenticity and flavour. Food was definitely not bad, but also totally not memorable.

Said that, I don’t hide I was a bit biased to visit Vida yesterday, basically expecting a much similar experience.

I start saying we had the most wonderful service I had in Luxembourg in a long time – which should not be taken for granted. All the three persons who served us were wonderful, accommodating our requests, following up our meal and radiant. The terrace was not full, but I really hope the same attitude will be preserved when the place will be completely booked.

I went for a Japanese mule, a Moscow mule prepared with Sake – which was deliciously presented and was also extremely balanced – I had three, so I suppose this is a good sign and I would definitely recommend you the same drink.

Now coming to food: you have one page for sushi related items and one page for warm dishes, raw bar and salads. It is not extensive but has a wide choice even for people who are not into sushi.

We went there for sushi, so we basically ignored the second page but I would probably consider it next time.

Sushi – wise you have maki, nigiri, sashimi, chirashi and similar to be ordered as single portion (x1 or x6). Very classical with some limited fusion hypes. Next to that you can order combos – let’s say, by subject: combo nigiri, combo maki, combo veggie, etc.

We went for a combo maki, a combo tuna and a gourmet combo – which is normally composed by caviar, truffle, foie gras, red scampi, fancy pieces. The waiter informed us red scampi was not available. So we had instead maki rainbow.

Our order was more than enough for two and while I was tempted by a dessert, we decided to close only with Espresso.

Total bill read 183 euro – 5 cocktails, 2 espresso and 3 combo for a total of 62 pieces (121 euro for only the sushi in two people).

Now pictures and my impressions about Vida.

What I like about Vida:

  • As said, the service has been outstanding and I wish in more places you would feel so welcome.
  • The Japanese mule will be my go-to cocktail every time there, for sure. Great presentation, balance, taste. Just perfect.
  • Sushi was surprisingly good. It was very classic generally and, except the tuna nigiri which had definitely too much rice, was very pleasant to eat. I was surprisingly (I used it twice, right) impressed. My favorite one, which I would order again, was the California avocado, salmon and tobico which was included in the Gourmet mix. Everything was fresh and I was feeling great after lunch – you know, sometimes when you eat too much at lunch you have this sleepy / “need one liter of sparkling water” feeling, not this case.

What I liked a bit less about Vida:

  • I missed a “mixed mixed” combo. Something where you can really try a bit of everything without overordering different things. Maybe in different sizes. Vida’s combo are very much specific (personally I don’t want to eat only nigiri, or tuna, or maki.. and the Gourmet one was overpriced) so I would have difficulties ordering probably next time.
  • As per above, the place is not cheap. It is true, it is fresh fish and quality costs and you are also in Kirchberg, so I would not say we overpaid. We enjoyed the lunch. Still, this is not your place if you are very hungry or you just don’t want to cook tonight – and this is probably not their objective tho. I personally see it as the kind of place you go on a date or with your girlfriends before a night out, great cocktails, you share some dishes and you will probably contain the damage.

In conclusion: I honestly liked Vida. It is a very upscale fusion restaurant, with a London feeling and an exceptional service. Definitely recommended (currently) for a lunch date or a girls out lunch. Hopefully soon we can enjoy it also for dinner, as I am sure it will be mint.

Mani D’Oro, Gasperich, Luxembourg

We kicked off the week with a place which used to be (and I discovered it is still!) my favorite and we will continue today with a review of a brand new restaurant!

Mani D’Oro (translated: Golden Hands, an idiomatic expression used in Italian to define someone who is gifted in doing manual works) has been opened for less than one month on route d’Esch, just before getting to Cloche D’Or.

Their core is the preparation of fresh pasta: you can eat sur place or take it away, together with pizza, sandwiches and salads. As Mani D’Oro is open from Monday to Saturday, from 11 to 8 pm (Saturday till 3 pm), we decided to visit it for Saturday lunch, which, since I am getting old and I am not partying anymore all night long, has became a very pleasant ritual.

As said, Mani d’Oro is located on the main street and has a lovely terrace on the front side – I am already looking forward to summer apero, I know!
The décor and the atmosphere are sophisticated and refreshing: a big counter as soon as you get in, where you can order or pick up your take away, tall tables on one side and table booths on the others, with a line of chairs in front of the windows with the view on the outside – very much street food feeling. On the back of the booths, the kitchen and laboratory, with bright windows on the main room – so you can see all the preparations.

The menu has a choice of pasta to match: you choose your format and you choose the sauce (including several vegan and vegetarian options), plus pizza in three sizes, sandwiches and salads. Some daily suggestions are also available.

I ordered a pizza La Piccante (ventricina sausage and nduja sauce) in the smallest format while E. went for one of the daily suggestions (home made ravioli with porcini mushrooms and truffle).
We concluded with a tiramisu to share and we were offered two shots of limoncello.

Total bills reads 49 Euro, 24,5 Eur each (for 3 beers, 1 bottle of water, 1 portion of pizza, 1 portion of truffle pasta, 1 tiramisu, as said limoncello was offered).

Pictures of our lunch are followed, as usual, by my impressions about Mani d’Oro.

What I loved about Mani d’Oro:

  • I definitely loved the concept of the restaurant and the decorations: honestly lunch places I have tried so far are going in-between extremely cheap eatery and posh restaurants offering pricey lunch options. Mani d’Oro offers you a very affordable Italian experience in a captivating atmosphere. Also – the restaurant has a great selections of cocktails, Gin and other drinks, so it is not your usual lunchtime place.
  • I loved the pizza and I cannot wait to come back to try more of that: crunchy, not greasy at all, light in the dough and with first quality ingredients. The small portion (12 Euro for the topping I have chosen) was definitely more than enough for just one person and I have found myself imagining there sharing a large size with several friends and a Campari (or Aperol Spritz, depending what you like). E. also said his pasta was delicious, even if slightly smaller in size: the pasta with truffle is the most expensive one (20 Eur – and it is very reasonable as they came to shave the truffle at the table), but other pasta dishes are around 12 Eur, like salads, 6.5 Eur for sandwiches). Again, ingredients are top quality and you can definitely taste it.
  • Service was friendly, with detailed explanations and very present despite the place was very busy during Saturday lunch (better to book during peak hours). I also appreciate very much the take-away and delivery option. I am a fan of pizza al taglio (don’t blame me, I like it more than your typical round pizza) so I would definitely prefer ordering it at home to share with friends.

What I liked a bit less about Mani d’Oro:

  • At the moment, as the place is open until 8 pm during the week, it is perfect for lunch or late lunch, after-work or a very early dinner. If you fancy their dishes after 8 pm, you will need definitely to wait for next day.
In conclusion: I loved Mani d’Oro and as it is not far from where I live, it is going to be my place to go for Saturday lunch and after-work with friends. Their pizza is delicious and they offer a great selection of pasta, sandwiches and salads – together with drinks, also alcoholic – for a very fair price in a charming location. 

Al Grappolo, Gare, Luxembourg

A new week has started and the weather is very depressing, isn’t it? Personally I am a fan of the cold season, which I prefer much more than the hot one, but rain… I can’t really handle it. After a week of much work and some social gatherings, last week-end I just stayed in and cook for my friends.

But.. I have still couple of reviews to post about “new” places I have visited during the previous week-end. Al Grappolo, in rue Adolphe Fisher, is one of these places. It is not new, as it has been open for some time now, but for some reasons, even if I wanted so much to try, I never had the occasion. I heard a lot of great stuff about it, so I was very curious and excited.

First of all, book in advance as the place is very small. We got there around 8 pm and the place is pretty cozy, the atmosphere is calm and warm. Candlelights, white table cloths, an old fashion record player. We ordered a Campari spritz to kick off the night and then the owner came to our table to introduce us the menu. Indeed, there is not a fixed menu, but it is changing every day with some limited choices.

We chose two portions of porchetta (roasted pork) with gorgonzola to start. To follow, I had veal with mushrooms, L. calamarata (a kind of pasta) with squids and E. pasta with “nonna” ragu.

We had a bottle of primitivo during the dinner – which took ages to be chosen, so praise to the patient of the staff who supported our decision – and we concluded with some digestives.

Total bill read 210 Eur – two starters, three mains, 3 apero, bottle of wine (which was around 50 Eur) – 70 Euro each.

Pictures of the dinner – starter pic is ugly, but I was so hungry I forgot to make it before eating – followed by my impressions about Al Grappolo.

 

Things I liked about Al Grappolo:

  • My expectations about food probably were generally too high, we had a pleasant, tasty dinner, but I think what makes the place special is the combination between the good food, the amazing atmosphere and the bubbling service. Walking into the door, you are catapulted in an Alice in Wonderland’s hole, where Luxembourg grey sky is thousand years far, surrounded by this welcoming feeling you might have when you eat at someone’s place.
  • Next to the food, the choice of wine is incredible, wide and interesting. Personally speaking, I would choose not to go to a place which has decent food, if I don’t like the wine offer. At Al Grappolo, wine would be one of the first reason to have dinner for me.
  • Considering what we ate (and drank), I have found the bill quite fair compared to similar place, above all for how pleasant was our night.

What I liked a bit less about Al Grappolo:

  • Let’s be honest: the fact they don’t have a fixed menu and the choice is very limited, is ensuring that the products are always fresh and seasonal. At the same time, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The night we had dinner there was only one starter (pork), couple of meat pasta dishes, one fish pasta, one meat main course (the one I had) or grilled meat (for 2 people). I am very easy going in terms of food and I eat everything, so it was not an issue for me, but if you are with picky eaters, it might not be the right place.

 

In conclusion: Al Grappolo is a very cozy and warm Italian place located just off Place de Paris. It offers seasonal products and a very authentic cuisine, together with a great choice of wine. I would definitely recommend, especially for a night out with friends, when you want to be at restaurant all night and enjoy one glass more.

 

Urban City Luxembourg, a lunch in town

I usually tend to avoid writing a blog post about places which are very much known, but this time I really feel that Urban City needs a mention, as it started to fulfill recently a need it emerged I have after the lockdown. A place to have a nice, fairly priced and easy going lunch in town, but with a cool atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong: Luxembourg city center is definitely full of pleasant places for having lunch, but was missing for me a category in the middle, in-between a fancy, rather expensive lunch (Giallo, Um Plateau, to name few) as opposite at a daily lunch at the office (like at La Table du Pain).

I decided to write this review after being there couple of times, on Fridays I had off work – hence the beers 🙂

First time I had the falafel wrap – next to a classic burger for my companion of the day. Second time I had zucchini fries and avocado toast with poached eggs – while I well sold to my friend the falafel wrap I had the first time. To be honest there was a third time where I had a club sandwich, but I was too hungry to take a picture, so please use your imagination.

Here’s are the pictures of the lunch I had at Urban City, followed by my general impressions about the places and the food.

 

What I loved about having lunch at Urban City:

  • Food is to die for. The falafel wrap is to me probably the best dish they had on the menu, but having tried the burger, the sandwich and the toast, I can say that honestly everything I tried is really good, well seasoned, not greasy at all. Sauces and fries are also worth a mention.
  • Service is smiling and present – oh, what a pleasant surprise for such a crowded place! You never feel forgotten, dishes are coming quite fast and waiters/waitresses have even the time to share jokes with you – happened the last time, when we took huge time to decide what to order as I could already acknowledge everything is so good there.
  • I don’t have much to tell you more about the ambience compared to what you probably know already, but Urban City is definitely a cool place where you can go straight from the office, in your sweatpants after a walk around the city (or off your bed) or already dressed up for the night. What I want to add is that, even if so central, the price for the lunch is very fair: every time we spent around 50 Euro in two people (so 25 Eur each), including beers and coffee, euro more, euro less depending on the dishes. Probably it is not the place to have lunch every day, but it definitely well compares to other similar places.
    And don’t forget, kitchen is open non-stop, so you can enjoy your “lunch” at whatever time in the afternoon.

What I liked a bit less about having lunch at Urban City:

  • Not much honestly. Probably I recognize the fact that once it will be winter, having lunch inside will be less cool (for my taste) than being on the terrace, but still pretty good.
  • Finally, can you please cut the zucchini fries a bit smaller? Like actual fries? I think they will taste really better, but this is just a personal suggestion 🙂

In conclusion: I had to re-visit my motto of not having food where I normally have drinks. Urban City is the perfect place for a lunch in town: cool, easy going and fairly priced. Amazing and well presented dishes, including a wide choice for vegetarian. I am very much sure they are so well-known that they don’t need my blog post, still we had such nice time there recently I find impossible not to share.

Restaurant Peppermint, Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

I don’t know about you, but my memories related to eating at Asiatic restaurants are mostly related to my university years, where with 10 euro I could get Chinese dinner for couple of days and I was not complaining about the quality of the food received nor questioning about it contents. Since then, I have always considered certain kind of Asiatic restaurants most likely to be post hangover dinner or take away food rather than a fancy dinner location. Peppermint Restaurant definitely went over and beyond my – wrong – idea.

The restaurant is located in Bonnevoie, just a short walk from the train station. It has some bright windows on the street where – surprise! – you can see the kitchen. I feel it is a great presentation, something like saying “we have nothing to hide, look before you try”. While most of the restaurants show up their main interior décor on the street, they went for a totally different solution. The entrance hallway has pastel tones and you have this relaxed feeling while the waitress is guiding you to your table to be walked through a sensorial spa more than a restaurant.

The main restaurant room kept the same pastel, relaxed tones with lovely terrarium vases hanging from empty frames. An amazing idea I would definitely copy at my place. We visited Peppermint Restaurant on a Saturday night and the restaurant was busy but not packed, still maintaining a very zen aplomb and being everything but noisy.

We went for two soups as starter, followed by Lemongrass Chicken and Peppermint Praws. My Tamarind Soup Saigon Style has been so far the most incredible culinary highlight of 2019: a plain appearance compensated by an explosion of taste and different consistencies, finally concluded by a pleasant, prolonged spicy note.

Pictures of our dinner followed by my impressions.


What I liked about Peppermint Restaurant
:

  • The menu is not extensive but offers some very interesting dishes, travelling mainly between Malaysia and Vietnam. My suggestion would definitely go for the most exotic dishes on the menu: the restaurant offers as well very traditional items like Lemongrass Chicken, that are extremely good in their execution but “already seen”, while their special dishes, like the Peppermint Prawns or the Vietnamese Black Pepper Beef, will surprise your palate.
  • The wine card is unexpectedly competent for an Asian restaurants, with several great European labels. If you want to feel more local, Vietnamese beer is still the best option to accompany their spicy dishes.
  • Finally a positive note as well as in terms of service: smiles were not added up to the bill and our waiter was really keen explaining us in details dishes we had questions about.

What I liked a bit less about Peppermint Restaurant:

  • The service has been quite relaxed – meaning we waited a lot for the main dish to come – even if the place was not packed. Not a very negative point, but keep it in mind if you are in a hurry.

 

In conclusion: Peppermint restaurant is a great example about how to be surprised by a neighbor small restaurant, which, in this specific case, offers you an unforgettable atmosphere, a kind service and, above all, an amazing exotic food proposal. Recommended for a quiet girls night out or for a first exotic date.

 

This article has been adapted and published on Editus.lu.

Il Quadro Delizioso, Luxembourg City

There are some evenings in Luxembourg, when you want to go out for dinner but options are incredibly limited. You should always keep something up your sleeves: my emergency solution in this case is “Il Quadro Delizioso” in Gasperich. Apparently they are always open 🙂

We ended up there on Sunday night, after checking couple of other places that were closed: even if it was already almost 10 pm and there was only one table left eating, we were nicely accommodated.

I had a pizza with fresh mozzarella, Parma ham and arugula, while my friend went for a huge dish of pasta with sea food, including half lobster.

I concluded with a lovely espresso gourmand while he had a portion of black forest cake. We had a bottle of Pinot Gris with our dinner and we were offered a digestif at the end. Our total bill was 90 euro (two dishes, two desserts, water, bottle of wine and coffee).

After the pictures of our dinner, you can fin my impressions about Il Quadro Delizioso.

What I liked about Il Quadro Delizioso:

  • Service was on top: I have to say usually Italian places lack on the service side, in this case it was amazing how well we were treated. Even if we arrived late and we stayed there well past closing time, we never felt forced to leave or to hurry up. Our waitress was always smiling and checking if we were fine.
  • Food was good: my pizza was great, crunchy, perfect topping, fair size. Above all, I have to say I appreciated the desserts (both, as I tried as well M.’s one). I am not very much into sweets, but in this case I would highly recommend you go for it.
  • Bonus point: if you are into 70s Italian music like me, this is going to be the soundtrack of your evening at Il Quadro Delizioso.

What I liked a bit less about Il Quadro Delizioso:

  • Nothing I really dislike, our evening was definitely pleasant. You should anyway consider the place is very informal and in a quiet area.

In conclusion: Il Quadro Delizioso is the perfect place for those evenings you don’t want to cook or you want to have a chat with friends without much structure around. The Italian food they prepared is very food (pizza and cakes on top of it) and the service is one of the best I have found in Luxembourg so far.