Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shanti time

How many times have I thought about trying Shanti, only to wuss out, thinking it was too far away when there are so many good restaurants just a stone’s throw away from home? This past weekend, we boldly headed all the way to the ULB area for a quiet dinner at this vegetarian (really pescetarian) restaurant.

The décor definitely deserves a comment: fresh blue walls, plants and candles everywhere. It’s eclectic and comfortable and really has a lovely ambiance.

I stayed veggie, starting with a truly delicious salad topped with melty chevre. The dressing balanced out the flavors well, and things were off to a good start. Gidon opted for fish patties that were crispy and satisfying.

We switched gears to Indian for our mains. The vegetarian version for me – dahl, mixed vegetables, rice, raita, chutney, a papadum, and a deep fried banana. The last point seemed out of place but I’m no expert on Indian banana consumption; as for the rest it was a nice Indian concoction but next time I will probably leave the Indian food for specialty Indian restaurants and try something different chez Shanti. Gidon had some tandoori fish that was very nicely spiced and worth another trip. His also came with a papadum, rice, and more of the same chutney, which disappointed us both although he got a little more worked up about it.

Shanti doubles as a bio store so we’ll have to time our next visit for when that is open. This was one of the few vegetarian venues in Brussels that we hadn’t tried yet (not sure there are any left, actually), so I’m pleased to say that it ranks with the other few out there – very well.

68 Ave Adolphe Buyl
1050 Ixelles
Tel. 02 649 40 96
Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner

Made to Mesure

On Fridays I work from home, and I’m ashamed to admit that I often forget or can’t be bothered to make lunch. For now I’m trying to make lunch dates to ensure that doesn’t happen, which gave me a good excuse to try out Midi Sur Mesure, a salad bar at Bascule that I’ve passed many times on the tram.

If you’ve ever been to New York City, you know these joints: start by choosing a type of lettuce or pasta as your base. Pick and choose the ingredients, which are priced individually, and top it all off with a choice of dressing. The guy behind the counter tosses it up in a big bowl, adds up your total, and poof! Lunch.

Of course, in New York, being as it is America, the portions are a wee bit bigger than what Midi Sur Mesure offered. Even though I got several toppings – rucola with boiled egg, parmesan, croutons, and mushrooms – I definitely wasn’t full at the end of it. And naturally those toppings start adding up before you notice it. This one cost me about 7 Euros; believe it or not, some things are actually cheaper in New York.

To their credit, the salad was fresh and tasty and I still love this concept, but isn’t there anyone who can bring the price down a notch so I can get a real meal? And my message to whoever achieves this challenge: franchise.

Midi Sur Mesure
Two locations:
51, rue Archimède, 1000 Brussels
13, avenue Legrand, 1000 Brussels
Monday-Friday, 11h30-15h. Delivery supposedly available but I’ve never tried.
(Thanks to Sarah for that scrummy salad photo!)