Published on February 22nd, 2018 | by Tony Mallett0
Top-end hotel dining…and don’t forget your BIB!
Over the years hotel food has acquired a (perhaps unfair) negative reputation but there are always some exceptions to the rule and, happily, this is one such place, writes Martin Banks.
Bistro 1865 is part of a hotel that has existed on the present site since 1865 (hence its name) and its reputation has been recognised by no less an authority than the Michelin Guide.
The restaurant has been a recipient of the prestigious BIB Gourmand label, awarded each year to a select band of eating establishments.
A gourmet BIB is not a star. The gourmet BIB represents, for Michelin, an excellent quality-price ratio with quality cuisine. A gourmet BIB is also not a pre-entry for the star (even if some BIBs become starred) either: it’s a distinct distinction.
This is the third year in a row that Bistro 1865 has been honoured with this label, a good reflection of the effort that goes into ensuring that diners are offered excellent food at affordable prices.
Diners will also notice that on the card some of the dishes are marked with the label “Sou Schmaacht Letzebuerg”. For the uninitiated, this is a national label which, this time, reflects the emphasis on local products used in the kitchen.
It is allocated only to those establishments proven to showcase good, regional products.
The dishes marked with this label (and there are quite a few of them) are all guaranteed to contain a minimum of 70% local ingredients.
Good examples of this commendable policy are the veg and fruit, including asparagus, strawberries, beetroot and carrots which are in the main sourced from the same local supplier, Legulux, a nearby farm cooperative which tries to keep everything “local.”
Credit for this must go to the owners, Tim Eitjes and his wife Isabelle Winkin, whose mission is to ensure that only the freshest and most seasonal of local ingredients goes into the cooking.
Tim hails from the Netherlands while his Luxembourg-born wife is the fifth generation of the same family to own a hotel/restaurant on the current site (look out for some smashing photos from a bygone age on the walls).
The couple love to travel the world and this is reflected on the menu in, for example, the lovely duck breast. The flavours used in the preparation were inspired by something Tim and Isabelle ate while holidaying in Borneo.
Another example is “Tim’s red curry” which is his own recipe and includes fresh Thai products, directly imported from Bangkok. Again, the inspiration for this came while the couple were on their travels.
These “souvenir of our travels” dishes are highly recommended but there’s plenty more on the card that is also sure to delight.
The trout, for instance, is delicious and served with grey shrimps, mash and veg (not surprisingly it is locally sourced).
The aforementioned duck breast is also a favourite. This is smoked, roasted in the oven and served with pelt risotto, which is an alternative to the traditional Italian version but just as tasty.
You’ll also find a great selection of steaks and pork cooked in a variety of ways while recommended starters include the tarte tatin of goat’s cheese and a particularly tasty version of black pudding.
There’s also a separate menu consisting entirely of tajine couscous dishes (Isabelle is particularly fond of Moroccan and Arabian food) which is not only popular with clients here but also something of a rarity in these parts.
Diners should also note the availability of ocal beers and a very good wine list.
As Tim points out, there is no pretention here to the vagaries of “fine dining”. On the contrary, the aim, he adds, is to offer “good, honest food at reasonable prices”.
On this score, there is no doubt that the couple succeed very well indeed.
This cosy 40-seater restaurant is part of the Hotel des Nations (located opposite the local train station) and attracts a nice mix of hotel residents and non-residents. Note that on Friday and Saturday there are usually two sittings.
If you get the chance to visit, do so – you won’t be disappointed.
Rue de la Gare,