Tested: Eneko restaurant, Basque cuisine is displayed in Brussels

Jan Scheidtweiler moves into the Eneko Basque restaurant at the Radisson hotel in Brussels: Basque cuisine in the atrium of a hotel.

When you wear three stars, the world is at your feet. A brewery in Dubai? His own dinner service? Everything is possible ! The Spanish chef Eneko Atxa has also seized the opportunities offered by the fame of his cuisine. Since winning a third Michelin star in 2012 for his restaurant Azurmendi, near Bilbao, Atxa has built a global empire: from London to Tokyo, the chef runs eight other restaurants.

One of these eight establishments opened its doors this spring at the Radisson hotel in the center of Brussels. The space that once hosted Yves Mattagne’s famous Sea Grill on the ground floor of the enormous atrium now serves as the setting for the Atxa Culinary Theatre. It is not a warm place, because the space lacks privacy. However, you can sit comfortably, especially on the velvet benches which, like blue waves, undulate in the restaurant.

©Frédéric Raevens

As he has already done for his similar restaurants in Lisbon and Seville, the chef has developed a brasserie concept in Brussels combining Basque products and simple preparations. He serves, for example, mussels with a spicy tomato sauce (14 euros) or turbot seared on the charcoal grill (price of the day) and served with txakoli, a Basque wine.

For lunch, all these good things are unfortunately unavailable: the menu is reduced to less than half the number of dishes offered in the evening. Except for a mundane bowl of salted nuts, Eneko Basque doesn’t serve tastings either.

Then, luckily, the sky cleared up. The vegetarian tartare, which only costs 7 euros, turns out to be excellent: crispy bread and a beetroot sorbet placed on fine, well-seasoned beetroot cubes. The seafood marinated in vinaigrette (12 euros) is also tasty, although the bowl could have contained a little more than a mussel and two large prawns cut in half.

The tasty piece of beef from the Basque Txogitxu selection (27 euros) is, on the other hand, a generous main course. Although the menu specifies that the meat is grilled over charcoal, the aromas of fire and smoke are unfortunately not noticeable.

And the dessert? The walnut ice cream served with a chocolate Basque cake (10 euros) is also typical and correct. The Eneko Basque is not the ideal place in terms of setting and atmosphere, but offers quality dishes with Basque flavors.

Address
Basque Eneko | Rue Fossé aux Loups 47, 1000 Brussels | Phone. 02/227.31.06 | www.enekoatxabrussels.com | closed sunday and monday
Addition
157 euros for two
Sommelier
Good list of Spanish and Basque wines. Including a white from the Azurmendi estate. From 35 to 175 euros per bottle. Ten Spanish wines by the glass, from 6 to 12 euros
decibels
The atrium was deserted and ultra quiet on this weekday lunchtime.
We go back ?
This quality cuisine at a reasonable price is worth the meal, but here, people come more for business meetings than for conviviality.

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