Published on April 16th, 2018 | by Tony Mallett0
A new ‘meating’ place in Brussels – that’s Carnivore
Our ever-hungry food writer Martin Banks heads to downtown Brussels to meet the meat…
The clue as to what diners can expect at this excellent new restaurant is in the name: Carnivore.
It is a meat lovers’ paradise with some truly delicious offerings, including steak from various countries, including Ireland, Germany, Austria and France.
But there is rather more to Carnivore than meat. One of the most popular dishes on the menu happens to be a veggie option (a skewer of vegetables).It can also ‘tailor make’ vegetarian (and even vegan) plates, according to customer preference.
But the real attraction still has to be its meats and they, like the other dishes, are extremely good.
Recommendations include the black Angus Irish fillet and Simmenthal rib-eye from Germany, both mouth-watering.
For carnivores out there, that’s not all.You may also be tempted by the giant chicken skewer, prepared with mint, lemon and chives, or the grilled lamb chops,seasoned with thyme and garlic.
Two side dishes are included with the mains, plus (for a small supplement) other accompaniments such as giant prawns or a slice of foie gras.
It’s little wonder that this delightful restaurant, a relative newcomer to the city’s Place St Catherine, has taken off in such a short space of time.
Actually, it is hard to imagine the transformation that’s taken place here in not time at all. Back in March 2017, what is now a classy place to eat was little more than an empty space.
The go-ahead couple who took it over, Sumiko Duncan and Robin Ghanno, set about the onerous task of turning it into a restaurant.
Having done a fair bit of work themselves, the job was completed within six months or so. It allowed Carnivore to open last September, just ahead of the Christmas trade, always a boon for restaurants in this part of Brussels.
The décor is a nice blend of the ‘industrial’ – iron products were used on some of the fixtures such as handrails – and modern and contemporary. It all lends itself to a particularly relaxing, informal and intimate ambience with the very impressive wine cellar (containing a particularly excellent range of quality wines) at the centrepiece of everything.
Sumiko says: “We started from scratch and took a bit of a chance with a few things, but I’m glad we did because the customer feedback on the décor and food)has been very positive.”
It has attracted a nice blend of clientele, including local celebrities and foreign dignitaries in addition to locals, expats and international guests.
One of the big attractions is the lunch special which, at just €15.90, is a total bargain and the like of which you are unlikely to find anywhere else in this city. For that price, you are treated to a three-course meal with a choice from four starters, four mains and four desserts.
Starters include oysters-on-ice and duck rillettes, while mains offerings include beef skewer, and grilled chicken fillet. It’s available from noon to 15.00, Monday to Saturday.
Also worth pointing out is that Sumiko, Robin, and their hard-working team try hard to speed the service for those customers who visit during their lunch break.
At Carnivore there’s also a variety of group menus available for lunch and dinner at different prices, and everything from birthday parties to business groups are happily accommodated.
Anyone interested in a group booking is asked to send an email to the restaurant at [email protected] or submit a query via the website allowing the staff to customise the experience.
Its meteoric success has been achieved with little or no formal publicity (aside from a Facebook mention and website). As is so often the best, news about both the top-notch food and service available here has spread by word-of-mouth.
The very pleasant and welcoming Sumiko and Robin – who also own a long-standing and popular fish restaurant nearby – are not ones to take anything for granted. Hence they are, with one eye on the summer, currently fine-tuning the menu with the aim being to add a few Belgian classics.
Like Brussels, Carnivore is a microcosm of various nationalities: Sumiko is from the US, Robin was born in Sweden, while the head chef hails from Albania.
Sumiko, after stints back Stateside and also some time in Lisbon, returned to Brussels because she appreciates the quality of life here.
It’s lucky she did – otherwise there may never have been Carnivore!
Quai aux Briques 18
02 502 6951