Picture the scene: you’re in the middle of the worst health pandemic in living memory and you are about to open a new business.
What’s more, that business is a restaurant and, arguably, the sector most impacted by that terrible health crisis is horeca.
That was the rather brutal dilemma facing Alexandre Cardoso and Hugues De Cuyper, the owners of “La Brasserie des Alexiens” in Brussels.
Bravely, the pair “took the plunge” and decided to press on with opening their new business. That was in September 2021 when tough coronavirus-related restrictions, including mask-wearing and numbers allowed to sit at tables, were still very much in place.
All credit, then, to Alexandre and Hugues for being courageous enough to press ahead with their ambitious plans. After a slightly rocky start the restaurant is now firmly established and proving a big hit with both locals and also tourists/visitors to Brussels.
That is largely down to the quality and affordability of the food it serves which is, in the main, good “old fashioned” brasserie-type fayre. But it’s also got something to do with the friendly service (not least from staff members like Julien and Jason), plus its wonderfully atmospheric setting.
The brasserie is quite close to the Grand Place and anyone looking for a good quality meal (at very reasonable cost) – something that may not always be the case in and around Brussels’s iconic square – should most certainly consider a visit to this place.
There are regularly changed “blackboard specials”, some of which will delight those looking for something other than traditional brasserie dishes, and a lovely main card featuring several Belgian classics.
These include customer favourites here like shrimp croquettes and smoke salmon (starters), vol au vent, steak, carbonades and Americain.
Other mains offerings include rognons de veau moutarde, jambonneau and lamb with some nice desserts such as crème brulee and tiramisu to round off a thoroughly enjoyable meal.
The card is usually changed according to the seasons twice per year with the next change due around April/May.
Guinea-born head chef Tofuss Savane is an excellent professional who’s very fond of brasserie cuisine.
The restaurant enjoys a broad appeal, from those Grand Place tourists in search of good value-for-money, homemade cuisine to local office workers and even visitors to a nearby hospital. It is particularly popular with groups as has tables located in the very centre of the restaurant that can accommodate up to 60 people (and special formulas for such group bookings).
The wine/drinks card is equally excellent, including a fine selection of beers almost all independent of the major industrial groups. It also features one wine, by a Belgian producer, whose motto is “love and passion” which could also easily apply to the love and passion invested in this resto.
The place, with its high old-fashioned ceilings and exposed brick walls, certainly has an appeal all of its own (including an outdoor space).
Alexandre is a graduate of the Ecole Hôtelière de Namur and has a particularly good pedigree, having worked in several gourmet addresses. He says, “Our creed is to practice a formula in which everyone feels good, where you can gather
Hugues, meantime, is a sommelier who graduated from the University of Wine of Suze-la-Rousse and, from the outset, has been responsible for the resto’s oenological aspect.
The two owners also have a gastronomic resto outside of the city centre (Etterbeek) but wanted to also provide a place that is convivial and welcoming and they have clearly hit the mark here.
Brasserie des Alexiens
Rue des Alexiens 63, Brussels
02 387 4769