Traceability has become a much-used buzzword in recent years and many restaurants now make a big thing of their efforts in this regard.
But La Quincaillerie, a popular restaurant in Ixelles, has been pushing for this philosophy for many years.
In fact, if you’re looking for good quality cuisine that is also sourced in a particularly environment-friendly way, look no further than this beautiful brasserie, for years a feature of Brussels’ Châtelain neighbourhood.
It stands on the site of a former hardware shop, dating back to 1903, hence the countless drawers that adorn its walls. If you look closely, the bosses’ old office is located just behind the massive clock on the first floor. It was from here that he could observe the coming and goings of the workforce on the floor below.
Today, the comings and goings are of another kind: the flow of hungry diners who continue to make a beeline for this eatery. They include the many international expats who live in this part of the city.
A sign of its enduring popularity is that even a traditional quiet night such as Sunday can be heaving.
The fact that it has a pleasant terrace where people recently have been able to eat while also enjoying the glorious weather is one reason for such a busy trade.
But the main reason is quite simple: it offers top quality traditional brasserie-style cuisine at quite reasonable prices.
A sign of this came last year when the restaurant was shortlisted in the first “best Brussels’ prawn croquettes” competition.
A key aim of the owner is to ensure that the delightful dishes are sourced in a way that respects the environment. For example, the juicy chicken is sourced not from a battery-farm type place but the restaurant’s very own farm, Le Devant, located in Bresse, France which prides itself on its free range conditions.
Unlike so many such places, this is where animals are reared free and live a stress-free existence. Little wonder that, along with seafood (some of it displayed on a counter at the entrance) it is the chicken that is a clear customer favourite here.
Worth noting that the farm also provides pork and lamb for the restaurant.
A good way to start a meal here is by sampling another of its “DIY” products: an artisanal beer that – along with a sparkling wine – is made specially for the restaurant.
Look out also for items on the menu marked with the letter P. This indicates that the dish belongs to the “Pleasures” label, in other words, those that are “based on clients, products used and the way they are cooked.”
The 245-seat La Quincaillerie is a “must-visit” Brussels restaurant and, judging by its still-high standards, it’s easy to see why. It offers a terrific choice of delicious and freshly-cooked meat, fish and other dishes, including jambon – a particularly hearty item – all served in a bustling yet relaxed ambience by a very knowledgeable staff.
You can choose from a la carte or a 3-course, €38 menu or 4 course option, priced €47.50.
Fish lovers will be in their element here as seafood is a house speciality.
The menu also boasts various bio-dynamic products,another indication of the owners’ green-friendly approach.
The wines come from sustainable crops and the restaurant even uses environment-friendly cleaning products. It even supports the “Sign for Life” climate action campaign.
The staff are friendly too, including Rosaria, who has worked here for years but still has bundles of enthusiasm. No surly/bad tempered waiters here!
Earlier this year, the restaurant celebrated its 30th anniversary. The furnishings and floor tiles are original, dating back to the days when it was a hardware store. While they have not been in charge quite so long it is still owned by the same Gent-born family as three decades ago and, in the ever-changing horeca trade, that is saying something!