New Year, Julio Cevicheria, Luxembourg

Well, let’s see how to start: first of all, happy new year! 2017 has been a great one for our blog – we have now a second editor, Jenni, who is helping me out with the events and interviews. We held our first blog party. We were part of the jury of Luxembourg Night Life Awards, we are writing for Easy-jet magazine and much more. Unfortunately, under the personal point of view, it was a pretty tough year for me and I realize the frequency of the posts were influenced by the ups and downs of my life. I hope 2018 will be a even better year for the blog but that we will be as well able to entertain you with more frequent updates!

So, before the end of the year, I moved in with bf and in my favorite area of the city – Place de Paris. You could have seen it coming 🙂 I happily realized there are more and more places opening in the neighborhood and the first one I tried was the brand new Julio Cevicheria. I was complaining with some friends already some months ago about the fact that an exotic and innovative cuisine that is the hype abroad did not yet have much space in the Luxembourg scenario. So, here we go, finally a new Peruvian restaurant in the city!

Since it opens, I have been to Julio Cevicheria three or four times, mainly for drinks, so I can tell you a bit more about my experience.

The place has a very low profile introduction on the street: just a steep staircase on the end part of Avenue de la Liberte toward the station. Downstairs, it is basically another story. A first main room with tall tables and armchairs separated by the bar on side and the dining room. Bright colors, naked tables, pictures on the walls. A separated VIP room – for private dining and parties – at the very end and, surprise, a lovely terrace on the back. The place is huge!

We actually went there just for a quick after-work but we decided then to eat as well something. We ordered Pisco Sour, the house cocktail, and I loved it (in fact I had four, LOL). We chose then Loaded potato with Beef, Nachos Peruanos, Fish and Octopus Chicharrones Tapa and Tapa Iberica (Ham & Cheese).

Everything was exceptionally good: I loved in particular the chicharrones with octopus, it was my favorite finger food of the night!

Some pictures of our informal dinner at Julio Cevicheria followed by my general impressions.


What I loved about Julio Cevicheria:

  • The place is amazing and it is already one of my new favorite. I adore the cocktails – last night I ordered as well a Mojito Passion Fruit and it is full of flavors! Pisco Sour is also perfect to combine with the finger food, that might be a bit greasy somehow.
  • The food is yummy: large choice, from finger food to salads, from vegetarian to fish, and several of the dishes have different size possible (for example for chicharrones you have tapas size, starter size and dish to share size). I particularly appreciate this formula as not always you might want to have a full dinner. As said before, the chicharrones with Octopus were my favorite bites so far, but I look forward to have also main courses that looked very tasty.
  • The service is great: Julio Cevicheria is just a place where you enter and you feel home and you are greeted, first or 10th visit, as you are one of the family. A plaudit to the great team, from the barman who are checking if you are fine with the taste of your drink during the night, to the lovely lady who is taking care of your dinner and introduced us to the Peruvian food.

What I liked a bit less about Julio Cevicheria:

  • I liked everything, without exceptions. If you want to be picky, the service is Mediterranean style, so at dinner time not the place if you are in a rush. Also, during the two times I have been there for dinner, some items on the menu were not available – but in fact it is because all ingredients are fresh and very requested items might get sold out over week-end.

To sum up: I have a new favorite place in town and it is Julio Cevicheria. It is the perfect location for a drink and some finger food or as well for a Peruvian dinner. The location is lovely and the service is one of the best I’ve ever had in town. It is strongly recommended for business outing, family celebrations and date nights.

 

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!

La P’tit Maison, Rollingergrund, Luxembourg

This is probably the first time since the blog has started that we are reviewing twice the same place without a change in the management nor in the chef brigade. But La P’tit Maison definitely needed an exception after our first review more than one year ago.

We actually ended up there quite randomly: at the very last night of a week of business meetings, after having already explored my favorite spots and with a limited choice due to vacations time, we decided to give La P’tit Maison a second chance. The first visit was not bad as a whole, but I was definitely not 100% convinced by the place.

We called for reservation at 5.30 pm and informed we had a guest who is allergic to gluten. We were replied nicely that it was not an issue.

We arrived there around 7.30 pm – the area is quite busy but the restaurant has a valet service for parking at the door – and accommodated on the terrace. The location is indeed lovely, both the terrace and the indoor rooms are perfectly decorated in style and you can feel like in a peaceful bubble, a corner of Marais in Luxembourg.

We ordered a glass of champagne as aperitif and we were offered black olives and summer truffle oil, together with their lovely homemade bread.

We were given our time to look at the menu – that is not really extensive but proposes several interesting choice, both on the meat and fish side.

I went for the pig foot stuffed with foie gras and truffle as starter and for the monkfish with ham and mushrooms. The other guests had the breaded egg with mushrooms and the mixed fish grillade as main.

We had a young Pouilly-Fuissé to accompany our dinner.

To conclude I had a platter of cheese, while my colleagues went for a Vacherin to share. Homemade madeleine were offered together with the coffee.

Some pictures – mainly of my dishes, as unfortunately being a business occasion I could not go around snapping others’ dishes 😛 – and then what was my idea of the dinner.

What I liked about La P’tit Maison:

  • I loved the food: both my dishes were tasty and delicious. It was very difficult to choose from the menu as all the options looked amazing. I particularly liked the fact kind of traditional choices (as beef filet or grilled fish) are combined with some more sophisticated alternatives (veal head or pig foot). As per last time, my dish taste was pretty strong and on the “salty” side, but this time I appreciated it more – better for dinner than for lunch, definitely.
  • I loved the atmosphere: the terrace is out from the pages of a fairy tale and the interior design is also accurate and warm. It is definitely the perfect place for a business dinner like ours or, as well, for a very romantic date.
  • I enjoyed the service: it was friendly but still formal, in particular the guy who helped us choosing the wine and explained the dishes was very professional. I appreciated the fact the chef came to our table at the end of the dinner to cheer us. I was also surprised by how flexible they were to accommodate our gluten-free guest. They basically told her she could have chosen whatever dish out of the menu and they would have done it gluten free for her. Only thing not available was the gluten-free bread – for that, you have to book in advance and specify it.

What I liked a bit less about La P’tit Maison:

We had the perfect moment and I was really happy to have given La P’tit Maison another try, as I loved dining there this time and I really looking forward to come back. Our visit did not have very big downsides, if only I have to find couple of points:

  • the young waiter was a bit clumsy, unbalanced while taking dishes at the table, had undone tie bow when we got there (adjusted it only afterwards) and was messing up our main courses. It was still fine, but if you are taking clients out maybe this is not the level of service you expect.
  • while the restaurant room is lovely, the restroom area was a bit overlooked. Nothing too bad, still you might expect something different from a place like that.
  • lastly, let’s face it, this is still a rather expensive place – but definitely the spent is worth for a special occasion.

 

In conclusion: my second time at La P’tit Maison was the perfect one. I loved the food, with its intense taste and rather unconventional choices mixed with classic dishes. This is a very recommended places to take your clients out or to impress your other half. Enjoy the cozy terrace until you can. Bonus point: the homemade bread is to die for.

 

 

 

 

 

The best secret terrace, La Grappe D’Or, Luxembourg City

I waited so much to publish this post that it is almost a throw-back, but I got some serious ethic dilemmas regarding if to share one of my favorite summer places. Read more below…

On the first real day of spring, I could not miss the opportunity to book at my favorite terrace in town. Actually, I have to say, this is one of the times writing a review was really difficult for me and took ages to publish – I was trying to force myself doing it but I actually did’t want to do it!!! The reason is because this restaurant is my very “secret summer place” and it is not too much famous… I read on Facebook forums a lot of questions and articles about the “best terrace” in Luxembourg and I have never mentioned it – because I am too afraid that, if it became popular, I will have to book too much in advance – not to mention I don’t really like crowded places..

Anyway – I made an exception for my partner in crime and we headed to La Grappe D’Or, in Dommeldange, for a special celebration – my new job, the real one 😛

As said, the restaurant is located off the beaten tracks of the usual restaurants in Luxembourg, hidden in a residential area up the hill in Dommeldange. The “winter” indoor part is not fancy at all (at least, not for me..), just too similar to several Portuguese old fashion restaurants you might find in town. Indeed the very reason for coming here is the amazing terrace, that offers you a spectacular view of the sunset over Luxembourg.

We arrived there around 8.30ish, just in time to enjoy it, and start our dinner with a glass of cava. The menu is Portuguese, offers both meat and fish – and some veggie choices as well – but personally once here I always ended up on fish.

I had a tuna carpaccio with truffle while M. went for a codfish and shrimps mixed starter. To follow, I had marinated codfish with shrimps while he went for “gambas flambe'”. We dined drinking one of my favorite Portuguese wines, Esporao Reserva, and concluded with a glass – or maybe two, as usual – of Portuguese grappa.

Enjoy the pictures of our dinner – while imagining already the special person you want to take there ❤ – followed by my general impressions of La Grappe D’Or.

 

What I loved about La Grappe D’Or:

  • Ca va sans dire, the view is the main reason to visit La Grappe D’Or. Be sure to reserve a table like ours, on the balcony – those internally have a less incredible view -. This is definitely one of the most romantic view you can find in Luxembourg city for me.
  • The service is very smart and friendly – that South-European style all smile and laugh and small jokes.
  • Even if you allow yourself to indulge, the total bill will never be scary. We had aperitif, two starters, two mains, one of the best wines on the card, coffee, digestif and the total bill read slightly more than 100 euro in total. Exceptionally fair.

 

What I liked a bit less about La Grappe D’Or:

  • Let’s be honest: would I come here to eat if the restaurant had not this incredible view? No, I won’t. But while the food is not exceptional – average quality, informal presentation, pretty strong tastes tending to cover the main ingredients (like the oil on my carpaccio or the sauce on the codfish) at the same time it is not that bad. Fair. Portions are reasonable, tastes leave a good memories on your palate and the choice is quite good. At the end the combination between an amazing view, a decent menu and quite cheap prices (in terms of Luxembourg standards) is a win win.

 

In conclusion: if you want to have a romantic date in Luxembourg with a reasonable budget and your other half does not have a Michelin star background, there is no better place of the lovely La Grappe D’Or, the best view in Luxembourg. I regret already sharing it with you – but now it is too late 😛

Lunch time at La P’tite Maison

When I arrived in Luxembourg, 10 years ago, the Theatre de l’Opera used to be one of my favorite restaurant and I link to it some of the most memorable moments of my first period in the Gran Duchy. After several years, and several different management’and names’ change, I came back to this stylish and cozy house in the Rollingerground that now takes inspiration by its location and it is called La P’tite Maison.

I heard already great things about it and wanted to try it since long time. We took the occasion for a lunch in town with Patricia. I got there around 12.30 pm and was taken to my table in the small side room. The décor is still sophisticated but classic. I love the unrefined parquet and the wooden ceiling. Tables are not wide, but still you don’t feel suffocated.

I waited for Patricia in front of a glass of cremant and, when she arrived, we went for a pissaladière Nicoise, a tasty tiny focaccia with onions and olives, as starter, followed by a cod with cherry tomato and olives for me and a beef filet with pepper for her. I paired my meal with a Chardonnay that was one of the best wine at the glass I honestly had recently.

What I liked about La P’tit Maison:

  • Place is very cozy, still one of my favorite in town for location and ambiance, either to meet your friends, either for a romantic break. I can definitely say this corner is very different from whatever restaurant in the city and decors are cared in details.
  • Food was still classic but not boring. Finally a place where the available choices for a business lunch are taken aside from the “standards” and the quality and taste of food came first – before the odd ingredients and the alternative presentation. Well done.
  • Service was definitely on point. Present but not stressful, I was offered a refill of my glass when Patricia joined – some other places would have asked: do you want another glass, Miss? And then we were given our time to lunch and chat, no rush.

Things I liked a bit less about La P’tit Maison:

  • I love strong tastes, but my fish dish was definitely too much on the garlic side, really. Happy I did not have any meeting or date in the afternoon 🙂
  • Our room, in a grey day, was very much dark. When we moved back to the entrance it seemed I just waked up. At lunch time and going toward the cold season, I appreciate a brighter atmosphere. It should be definitely better in the evening.
  • This is not a cheap place. While I did not feel we overpaid for what we had – aperitif, glass of wine, starter and main on the daily menu and coffee for a bit more than 50 euro each, I would include a visit for dinner under the high-end category.

In conclusion: The location of La P’tite Maison is one of my favorite in town, preserve the intimate aura of the original “small house”, evolving on a culinary journey through strong but classic tastes. I would definitely recommend it for a special occasion as a lovely and delicious alternative to the classic gastronomic places in the city.

Business Lunch at Amélys Restaurant, Le Royal Hotel, Luxembourg city

How blissful is to spend a lunch break in town during summer time? Since my office moved out of the city centre, I more and more appreciate this pleasure.

Last week, together with Patricia, we decided for a farewell in style before each other holidays, booking at the renewed Le Royal Hotel restaurant, Amélys. Since the great and advertised restoration that took place during the year, I was really curious to visit the new restaurant and, above all, to see their  new settings. We used to stop off at Le Royal in the past, for business meetings or after-work, but I was always a bit sceptic, due to its old fashion set-ups.

Indeed, when we entered the hall, it was extremely refreshing: seeing how the hotel has now a brand new imprinting. .The luxury signature that has always impregnated its wall stays, but has been met now by a trendy influence and a cool design – something that will not be past next year, but mix and shake, in the perfect combination, classical opulence and contemporary fashion.

We headed to the restaurant Amélys, that is now pleasantly bright. We were welcomed with a radiant smile and accommodated on the terrace – we learned in Luxembourg that when the sun shines, you have to take advantage of it!

We were handle the daily menu and the “a la carte” one and explained we could choose between the weekly proposal – in case you are in a hurry, they are available to prepare and serve you business lunch in one hour – or the classic menu. We decided to go with the suggestions and we started with a glass of Luxembourgish white wine, served at the table from the bottle.

The menu consists in a buffet of vegetarian (and fish) starter, one main dish and a dessert. You can choose only a main or a combination of the three.

From the starters buffet, I had an egg pot, a smoked fish gluten-free roll and an avocado and shrimps cocktail. Patricia had a gazpacho and a feta salad. We could (and wanted!) to take more – you can refill your dish how many times you want basically – but while standing at the buffet, we saw a lovely dessert passing by, so we decided to keep some space till the end of the lunch!

I continued then with the meat dish, an amazing beef steak prepared with artichokes and olives, while Patricia had the cod filet. I accompany my dish with a light red wine..

Finally, we had our dessert: a chocolate macaroon with ice-cream and a fruity cake and sorbet for Patricia. An espresso was the perfect conclusion of our lunch.

Find some pictures of our lunch followed by my usual impressions.

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What I loved about Amélys restaurant:

  • The food was superb: even classic choices like shrimp cocktails or the beef steak are prepared in a refined way, that makes them never boring. Portions are more than fair and the presentation is lovely.
  • The starters buffet is a very alternative concept: I was at the beginning a bit questioner, as I am not a fan of buffet. Indeed – you could have already noted it from the pictures – the Amélys idea of buffet is very far from everything you might have seen so far in Luxembourg: the stands are clean and refrigerate, the food choice is wide and has a great attention to dietary restrictions (vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options).
  • Service is a real five stars item here: from the welcome, to the wine, to the dishes explanations, everything is cared in details. As I was still finished my red wine, they proposed to wait to bring my dessert and when the sun went missing, they turned on the heating on the terrace only for us. All small attentions that are highly appreciated.
  • The price is more than reasonable for the service you get and for the quality of the food and you have several options, including a la carte one, for different budget.

What I liked a bit less about Amélys restaurant:

  • Our lunch was indeed perfect: we really enjoyed every single minutes. There would be nothing actually I will change , and I shared the same feeling with Patricia. I am really looking forward to visit Amélys again for dinner and for their Sunday brunch.

In conclusion: We had the perfect lunch time at Amélys restaurant: the new settings of Le Royal Hotel, refined environment, tasty and eclectic kitchen, enjoyable service. I definitely recommend it for business lunches and gathering with friends,

La Boqueria, Kirchberg, Luxembourg

I got back from Bangkok on Saturday morning after more than 20 hours travelling, considering layovers and plane changes. Even if I was pretty tired, I decided to overcome my jet-lag and above all I was so happy to be back – silly me – I wanted to go out!

After couple of drinks in town, Matteo and I headed to La Boqueria Luxembourg, the Spanish gastronomique restaurant that opened recently in Kirchberg. We booked throught their website, very easy and straight forward.

You can either choose to dine at the restaurant or at the tapas bar and we went for the bar, as we wanted something less formal.

We got there a bit later than expected, above all because there was no close parking to the area (valet service might be a great idea during winter!), but we were anyway welcomed nicely.

We went upstairs to the tapas bar, the location is huge compared to the usual Luxembourg city centre places, stylish and refined.

We skipped the aperitif – no coctktail maison were available, so went straight to the wine – and ordered three dishes of tapas to share.

We had a mixed platter of cold cuts pata negra, accompanied by toasted bread and tomato sauce (8.5/10). The charcuterie was extremely soft, far from commercial ones, tasty bread, fair portion and good presentation. The tomato sauce might have been a bit more generous, also in the taste.

Then we had bull’s tail ravioli (5/10). Very deluding dish, honestly. I am not sure if the chef forgot the salt or if, after the charcuterie, the taste in our mouths was gone, but the broth was watered down and the meat insipid. The homemade pastry of the ravioli was the only thing to save, but resembled more a Chinese dumpling than a Mediterranean ravioli.

We conclude with patatas bravas (9.5/10). A surprising dish, really. I have seen patatas bravas in most of the Spanish restaurant I have been, even abroad, and I have always had the same sad potatoes cut in quarters and overdone with commercial garlic sauce. This dish was presented in a very creative way, potatoes were amazing and the (home-made) sauce delicious. Only downside (here the missing half to 10): very greasy dish.

We concluded with a coffee (for the driver) and a yummy herbal Spanish digestif for me

After the pictures of the dinner, some general impressions about La Boqueria Luxembourg.

     
Things I loved about La Boqueria:

  • Service was truly good. Maybe because I had very bad expectations after having read several reviews online, I was surprised by the availability of the staff to explain dishes we have seen passing in front of us and we wanted to keep in mind for next time (mini burger and squid croquettes, in primis, take note). We felt well considered and never forgotten. Well done!
  • Cuisine is on a creative side that Spanish restaurant were missing in Luxembourg. I felt deluded only by the ravioli dish, that was probably a wrong choice on our side, but as said everything that was passing in front of us was looking extremely good. It remembered me pretty much the cuisine of my favourite Spanish place, Cambio de Tercio.
  • Fairly priced wine list – with wines, mainly Spanish, from 20 to 60 euro maximum. Considering the standard of the restaurant and the general prices in Luxembourg, a positive surprise.

Things I liked less about La Boqueria:

  • The ambience is refined and luxurious. But, to me, the tapas bar looked somehow more the bar in a lobby of a hotel than a restaurant. I think it would really help having just less bright lights, it would definitely improve the atmosphere.
  • The bill is coming not for having a daily dinner here: one bottle of Chardonnay (39 euro), three platter of tapas, one bottle of water, one espresso and one digestive were 100 Euro in total. Definitely not a place for those who want to satisfy their big appetite with a cheap meal. Whenever I find it a bit overpriced, I will definitely come back to try other dishes and I think the bill is in line with the service and the location proposed.

To sum up: La Boqueria Luxembourg is a very different Spanish place compared to those we have been used in Luxembourg. More on the luxury – and expensive – side, but with great creative ideas and a gentle service. Strongly recommended for romantic dates, girls night out and business dinners.