Being able to eat out now, especially without mask wearing and “social distancing”, after all the disruption and turmoil caused by the health pandemic is a real delight.
But it’s all the more pleasurable when you come across a place that can boast not just good food but an equally wonderful ambience and décor.
One such place exists: It’s called Le Petit Pont and it’s tucked away at the heart of a particularly bustling part of a Brussels suburb.
The exterior has something of a Swiss-chalet look to it. Very pleasing on the eye but not quite what you expect in such a built up area. Once inside, though, the transformation could not be more dramatic.
The best advice is to come ready to be pleasantly surprised – and don’t forget to take a good look round (and up).
The place is full of fascinating artefacts, ranging from spiral staircases to a couple of “lifts” that raise the food and drinks from the kitchen and bar, located below the eating level.
But that’s not all: there’s a huge collection of old memorabilia around the walls and even (and this is where it pays to look up) doors attached to the ceiling. The heavy wrought iron toilet doors come from a prison but arguably the most intriguing part of the décor is a framed black and white photo on the wall.
It transpires that the little girl on the photo, aged about six, was the self same person (now much, much older of course) who called into the restaurant for a meal a few months back. She recognised herself from the photo, little realising it was there, and told the owner her story. Sadly, she has since died but it just shows that there is always a story behind every photo.
Located in a magnificent former post office across two levels, the floor below the current rue du Doyenné is, in fact, the original level of the site of the forecourt.
Post-industrial style with beautiful exposed red bricks and decorated with beautiful old advertising plates. It has several different formulas with the price depending on the number of courses.
Summer is looming and it has a magnificent terrace, one of the most beautiful opportunities for relaxation in the area, but also with heating for those cooler evenings. On sunny days, it will be open every afternoon.
If the sometimes curious surroundings leave an impression on diners so too, for all the best possible reasons, so does the food that is served here.
It is, in the main, good classic Franco-Belgian cuisine revisited with authentic and comforting dishes, ranging from kidneys and lobster to sole and steak. All are brilliant.
The menu is refreshed every 6-8 weeks to give pride of place to the best seasonal products on the market. There’s also a lunch option at just €24.90 with a choice between 3 starters, 3 dishes and a dessert of the day (or €21 for a starter and mains) plus “suggestions” where you can choose between different dishes from the house.
It boasts over 80 whites, reds and bubbles. Alongside French wines, there are also Italian and Spanish wines.
It’s all served by excellent professionals (like French born Deborah), wearing elegant and stylish aprons.
It’s got a lovely terrace, ideal for a snack or aperitif as well as a full-blown meal and natural and biodynamic wines. There is also a large space downstairs, perfect for banquets and special events.
Quality, atmosphere and jovial staff are the 3 buzzwords here.
Le Petit Pont is at 114 rue du Doyenne, Uccle (02 346 4949 ; https://www.lepetitpont.be)