Thursday, August 20, 2009

European quarter lunchtime therapy

I keep myself busy between a few jobs, but when I'm wearing my paralegal hat, that means I'm off to the European Quarter, where the low point of every day is finding lunch. The only things that aren't overpriced are the sandwiches, and boy, do I get sick of sandwiches. Will someone please open a salad bar in this neck of the woods? I don't care if it's overpriced, I will be your most loyal customer.

I try to keep my spending within reason, but on the occasions when I want a nicer, sit-down lunch, I'm still traumatized by the lack of vegetarian options. However, my friend John recently pointed me to Quarter Libre, which is not a bad find.

This place is all about choice: 16 small dishes are on offer each day; you take a little piece of paper and choose the four you want which are delivered in small tapas portions on a platter. I've been twice now - the first time, I had all four, plus a dessert, and wasn't completely full. This week I went and couldn't even finish my platter. Both times the platters cost a borderline-outrageous 14 EUR (prices are standard - no variation based on what you order). To be fair, virtually all prices in this area are borderline outrageous.

I've had a few lovely items here - a recent visit featured a pesto pasta, a carrot-basil gazpacho, a slice of eggplant wrapped around ricotta, and a nicely dressed avocado salad. Warning however: on my first visit, I ordered a feuilletine du brie, which should have been brie in phyllo dough (in my book) but they snuck some bacon in. So for the true veggie-wary, you want want to ask a few questions before ordering.

The decor is all wood, with soft lighting, and there's a lovely patio in the back for soaking up the warm, sunny weather (while we've got it). If you aren't scandalized by the price tag (in which case you probably pack a lunch from home if you work in this area!), I definitely recommend it.

Quartier Libre
Rue de Treves 44
1050 Ixelles
Open for weekday lunch only

NB: Their business card states that their website in, but that brought up nothing on today's attempt. However, Google leads me to believe that they may maintain a second location on Rue Lesbroussart. No promises.


Denis Libouton said...

hey, there is actually a salad bar near Schuman, it's on rue archim├Ęde 51. It's called midi sur mesure, and it's actually quite good!

Sharon said...

Hi Denis, Yep, I know that one. In fact, I posted on them!
Not close enough to my office, though (I'm awfully lazy).
Thanks for the tip nonetheless.