Monday, March 16, 2009

Brussels' Vegetarian Classics

Generally I strive to cover the places that don't turn up when you Google "Vegetarian" and "Brussels". That said, no vegetarian Brussels-based blog could possibly be complete without a visit to Dolma. Google "Vegetarian" and "Brussels" and just about everyone will send you there. With good reason.

Dolma is a fantabulous vegetarian restaurant right near Place Flagey. They offer a buffet at lunchtime and in the evenings, and every time I go, it's both different and delicious. It's all you can eat (except for the desserts). They also have a very small menu for those who wish to order a la carte, but that's hardly the point.

Round one, I hit the soup-and-salad table. A hot vegetarian soup, crisp vegetables, a couple of kinds of lettuce, something marinated, some fruit salad. If you're there at lunchtime, a hefty serving from that table could be enough to send a veggie home smiling. But there's more!

Round two: the hot stuff. First, the bain-marie, generally with two kinds of rice (white and brown), some stewed vegetables, maybe some protein. Then we move on to a whole selection of vegetarian goodness. Last week - just as a sampling - this meant: lasagne "bolognese"; beautifully spiced grilled aubergines; courgettes and peppers with a yogurt sauce (which was also delish with the aubergines); and a veggie quiche. The bain-marie featured green beans and pumpkin in a coconut milk sauce, and marinated mushrooms.

Round three: this is where I go back for more of the stuff that was particularly good in round two. Yum.

Round four: dessert. Sadly, this is by far Dolma's weakpoint. A lot of their desserts seem to be vegan, and mastering the vegan cake without sacrificing flavor is a challenge for anyone. There are usually offerings in the chocolate, fruit, and creamy departments, but I've rarely had anything worth writing home about. Thankfully by that point in the meal, I'm too full to care.

Love Dolma enough to take it home with you? Sure you do. Walk next door and you'll find their shop, full of exciting bio products that you won't find in your local GB.

Don't fancy the whole buffet-surprise thing? Check out Tsampa, Dolma's sister restaurant (plus shop!) off Rue du Bailli, where you have a much better selection in ordering off the menu. I used to eat there all the time until they started closing at 7pm; the shop stays open until 8pm these days. This makes them more of a lunchtime affair, or a really early dinner, I guess. Plus they do take-away.

Both Tsampa and Dolma are heavy on the Tibetan flag-decor (apparently the original owners were Lamas), and both have a homey feel, with lots of wood panelling.

Good food in a comforting atmosphere, and you can eat everything in the place... what could be better than that?

Chaussée d'Ixelles 329
1050 Ixelles
Tel. 02 649 89 81 (Reservations not required but not a bad idea either)
Open Tues-Sat for lunch and dinner
Lunch will run you 15 Eur; Dinner at 18

Rue de Livourne 109
1050 Ixelles
Tel. 02 647 03 67
Open Mon-Fri from 12-7pm


Andey said...

I love vegetarian dishes! I really think that you should put these recipes up on Raw people, since other people like us enjoy finding healthy alternatives.

Sharon said...

Thanks, Andey. Since I'm more focused on restaurants here, I don't know how much interest the Raw People people would have. Feel free to point them in my direction in any case, particularly if they are ever travelling in Belgium!