Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mountain of Light, Mountain of Food

It was Tuesday and just about the only fresh thing left in our fridge was a bulb of fennel, which frightened Gidon more than he would like to admit. So we were off to our favorite Indian restaurant in town, which also happens to be our favorite restaurant within a 5-minute walk of our home: Kohinoor.

You should know that I’ve never been to India. I think the closest I’ve come is about 6,000 miles away, which still leaves a bit of a schlep between me and a fresh samosa. In fact, the best Indian meal that I have never had is going to be served to me at a dinner date later this month with our friends the Benskys, who spent several years in India with the American Foreign Service. If you know anything about Indian food, you may not even want to read this entry.

But given the dozen or so Indian restaurants that I’ve eaten in over the years, the few that I’ve visited in Brussels have, in short, sucked. (Everyone keeps sending me to Mumtaz in Matonge but I really was not impressed.) So I was delighted when I found Kohinoor as I was running errands a couple of years ago (has it really been that long?) and now the waiter practically calls our order down to the kitchen before we’ve even sat down.

The name Kohinoor (as I have just learned from my good friend Google) means 'Mountain of Light' and refers to a diamond from India once known as the largest diamond in the world. The stone itself is currently housed in the Tower of London. Brussels's Kohinoor may not make diamond-quality food, but I can vouch for its yumminess.
As with most Indian restaurants, vegetarian options are plentiful. We usually take the vegetarian fixed menu for 2 – Vegetable Samosas, Onion Bhaji, Alou Sag, Vegetable Bhaji, Baigan Bhaji, Raita, Pilao Rice, Nan, Tea or Coffee, all for 35 Euros. Gidon, my resident coffee snob, warns against their coffee, but they have a lovely jasmine tea. They also top their mango lassis with some shredded coconut which is a nice touch. I’ve been a bit disappointed with their Palak Paneer, which is my all-time (again, uneducated) favorite Indian dish, but not enough to stop me from ordering it. I love their lentil soup, which is heavily flavored with lemon, and last night we tried the Vegetable Korma which was creamy and coconuty, if a little over-potatoed. We’re lucky we live within walking distance – downhill no less – so we can roll ourselves home when we’re done. But then again, who goes to an Indian restaurant for a light meal?

Last night was one of those spectacularly sunny evenings where it’s as bright as mid-afternoon when we were just finishing our meal. All in all, a great evening to sit in their unbelieveably quiet garden and just relax and stuff ourselves at the end of a long day. I suggest you do the same.

Rue Vanderkindere 232
1180 Uccle
Tel. : 02.347.31.42
Open all the time except Sundays at lunchtime (we’ve even gone on New Years Day – take that, Belgium!). Also, they do take-away with a 10% discount.


Simon said...

I'd agree that Mumtaz is nothing special. Have you tried Les Feux de Bengale on Rue des Eperroniers, just around the corner from Grand Place?

Sharon said...

Don't know that one, but obviously now I'll have to try it...!

Andreea said...

and it seems we're practically neighbours too :)
(i used to go to the shamrock - not an indian name, but a great little place just off st gery)

Aurore said...

I plan to go to Kohinoor very soon! I'm not living far from there, and I'm curious. I love indian cuisine so much and there's no indian restaurant in my neighborhood, except Kohinoor... Very impatient to try it! :-)

Sharon said...

Cool, hope you enjoy it, Aurore. Let me know what you think!