Think of some of the great double acts – Laurel and Hardy, fish and chips, peaches and cream.
Well, there’s an Italian equivalent – lasagne and tiramisu – and that’s also the name of a small “chain” of eateries in Brussels.
The name was born out of a the simplest of events: a school fancy fair attended by the owners, Simona Ferretti and her husband Jose d’Alessandro.
Parents at an international school in Brussels were asked to produce a dish typical of their homeland and, being from Italy, the pair couldn’t think of anything more obvious – or much simpler to make than lasagne and tiramisu.
When they later launched the first restaurant they also opted for this pairing for the name, “Lasagne Tiramisu“.
There are now three of these in Brussels, at Schuman, in the heart of the EU Quarter (the first to open); in Ixelles, close to place Chatelain, and (most recently) in the City 2 shopping complex on Brussels’ rue Neuve.
Each serves lasagne, not your common lasagne found in so many places but something rather more inventive and creative. There are, in fact, no less than 100 different recipes, or varieties, of lasagne served here.
The choice changes every day (so you could go every day and sample a different one each time!) and the very pleasant wines are also regularly rotated.
You can start with a lovely plate of that other great Italian culinary tradition, antipasta, which comes complete with a good selection of Italian cheeses and speciality meats.
If lasagne is not your thing, fear not: the menu also boasts an equally nice choice of very tasty -and sizeable – salads (also regularly updated) and you can round things off with one of the lovely tiramisus available (there are 100 varieties of these too). Simona is such an expert when it comes to tiramisu she recently judged the “World Cup” in tiramisu!
Whatever your choice of dish, it can all be washed down by either a glass of Italian wine or Italian beer.
Wherever possible, the owners try to source products and ingredients used in the cooking from Italy and you can be assured that the food served here is genuinely authentic. Italy’s wonderful regional cuisine is also well represented with, for instance, pistaches de Sicile and noisettes du Piemont.
Given the passion for food shared by Simona and Jose that should not come as a surprise.
They recall the time when, while working in the United States, they were often disappointed at the way some Italian food, including lasagne, was “interpreted” when eating out.
“The quality was often poor and a pale shadow of what it should be,” recalls Simona.
At their three eateries they have endeavoured to put that right.
The business represents something of a dream come true for both. Having led busy working lives, which took them to different countries in the past, they settled in Belgium a few years ago with the goal of showing folk here what lasagne should really taste like.
Jose, a lawyer by profession, says both he and Simona are “very proud” of their homeland’s great culinary heritage. The good news for lovers of lasagne (also available as a takeaway) is that you need no longer put up with inferior versions.
Opening times at each of the restaurants differ so it is best to check the website for details. At busy times, it might also be best to book ahead.