We have been planning to go to Quartier Libre for quite a while now: This tapas restaurant is on Rue Lebroussart, just off Place Flagey and offers a lunch special: 3 dishes/tapas for 10 Euro.
Before you go – some advice: Make sure to have time on your hands. And also: Take some after dinner mints with you. This place doesn’t go easy on the garlic!
So how does it work? You sit down at one of the tables – we reserved, but there didn’t seem to be any need to reserve, as only four tables were taken. Then you take one of the papers from a little bucket and tick your choices.
The choices of the day are up on a board, so you have to stand up and choose from there. There definitely is a lot of interesting stuff on the menu.
Note: Don’t think usual Spanish Tapas here. You won’t find Chorizo or Serrano. Instead the menu offered salmon, risotto, shitaki-mushrooms in a litte pastry parcel, lamb-meatballs, cucumber salad with wasabi and lots more.
And this leads me to a very crucial point: In order for this concept to work, you have to make wise choices! Try to think when ordering whether the dishes actually match. My shitaki-parcel for example did not go with the aubergine. So I ate one thing after another and unfortunately when I got to my fish it was cold. So what was the food like? The ingredients definitely seemed fresh and they also were presented nicely.
However, it seemed as if the two cooks in the open-style kitchen at the back had to catch the fish first and slaughter a lamb. For the three tiny tapas-plates we waited a good thirty minutes. (What happens in this place, when it is full?) It would have been warmly welcomed, if they had served some bread or olives during the wait. (Instead of bringing the bread with the meal.) The waitress on duty seemed a bit disinterested: she was folding serviettes on one of the tables, chatting to somebody she seemed to know.
When the food did come, we did enjoy the sight. And the dishes did fill us (depends again on what you choose). However, a lot of the tapas were very rich and creamy (i.e. the sauce to go with my Dorade, or the risotto.) I have eaten better.
If you can’t cope with garlic, this isn’t the place for you. If you are looking for a reasonable lunch deal – then go here. If you are looking for real, authentic Spanish Tapas go to Tapas Locas instead.
Quartier Libre, Rue Lesbroussart 16, Brussels // No Website