I don’t spend much time in fine dining places these days, but when a brasserie with a Michelin star caught my eye I thought I’d give it a look.
Called Bozar Brasserie, it’s part of Brussels’ multi-arts complex Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. The brasserie’s name is a homophone for the Beaux-Arts bit.
The first thing that struck me upon arrival was the expansive open kitchen. This provides a fantastic opportunity to ‘chef watch’. I enjoyed it muchly and it was great to see chef Karen Torosyan at work.
The rest of the interior blended elegance with utility and comfort. There was a real sense of a space well-designed for diners and staff alike.
I’d made a brief scan of the menu online when booking and had settled on their tasting menu with paired wines.
Proceedings began with three excellent snacks – beef tartare in a crisp basket, a potato and herring croquette, followed by an exceptional choux bun filled with parmesan cream. These were very promising openers.
Excellent bread followed – an individual little round loaf served in a wooden bowl. Beautifully soft butter accompanied it. I had to show considerable restraint not to eat it all before the next course arrived.
First up was an oyster served with caviar and watercress. It was accompanied by a herb waffle. This was delicate and imaginative stuff with fresh, clean flavours. The texture of the waffle, matching crisp with soft, was sublime.
Next we had a dish where translation completely fell down. There was salmon, a little white fish fillet, and I think vitello (veal) was mentioned in relation to the mousse. Whatever it was it was beautifully judged and extremely impressive in its balance and elegance.
The dish to follow was simplicity itself with two roasted scallops. The accompanying sauces again fell foul of translation difficulties, but the main flavour had a satisfying light bitterness along the lines of coffee. The scallops were as well cooked as I’ve ever been served.
I was a little underwhelmed when French farmed chicken was announced as the main course, particularly given my recent run-ins with poultry. I shouldn’t have let doubt creep in as it was comfortably the best piece of chicken I’ve had in a restaurant. The accompanying mushroom millefeuille brought further elegance while the seasonal vegetables brought a solid sense of locality, rooting things in the simple brasserie style that remains at the heart of this extraordinary place.
The dessert of chocolate cake was a refined version but struck me as just a little below the standard of the rest of the dishes. The exquisite petit fours restored things with the cookies excellent and the lime meringues just wonderful.
So overall, Bozar Brasserie served me one of the best best meals on all quests. It will certainly be the outstanding meal of 2017 – barring an unplanned trip to somewhere similarly starry in the next few weeks – and will live long in the memory. Next time you’re in Brussels I’d urge you to go here. It’s a place of incredible charm with dishes of great verve and passion. It will definitely bring me back to the city for another visit soon.
Blythe scores Bozar Brasserie
5/5 for food
4.5/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4.5/5 for service
giving an overall 18.5/20
I ate: beef tartare and herring croquette snacks; choux bun with parmesan cream; oyster, caviar, watercress; white fish, salmon roll, veal mousse; roasted scallops; chicken, seasonal vegetables; chocolate tarte; petits fours
I drank: vins (Rey Santo Verdejo, Bianco di Morgante Nero D’Avola, Chablis, Cote du Rhone grenache)
I wore: action footwear
Total bill: €157
Address: Rue Baron Horta 3, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium