Flamingo (© Saskia Vanderstichele)
After being split into two parts, the Flamingo has redecorated, acquiring new plumage inspired by Latin America, burgers, and the world of biking.
Before checking out a new place by Frédéric Nicolay, we always find ourselves asking the same question. Will this man, who has left his mark on countless establishments in Brussels, succeed in surprising us once again? The Flamingo, his flagship store on Lakensestraat/rue de Laeken, was in decline for quite some time. This can be attributed to its unmanageable size – a problem that was resolved by signing a portion of the space over to Wim Ballieu’s Balls & Glory – coupled with a neighbourhood that is considered difficult, chiefly due to prostitution.
Nicolay decided to breathe some life back into these undoubtedly grim surroundings by performing an extensive decorative transformation. It is evident from the exterior with its leafy perimeter provided by six imposing trees, including a very pretty beech. Beyond this urban forest, another symbolic boundary delineates the space: all around, the windows are covered with curious hessian drapery. To pass through it is to penetrate a rather unique space.
Repeated trips to Brazil have clearly provided the aesthetic inspiration for the man who relaunched Vedett beer. The backlit bottles of Abelha cachaça, the chalk drawings of exotic plants, and the Jorge Ben-style music all help to set the scene. The effect is completed with a few touches: a vectorised image of a toucan above the bar and some exotic birds attached to the light fixtures.
These surroundings are offset by second-hand furniture – tables, long benches, etc. – reminiscent of the designer Christophe Gevers. Along with this atmosphere unlike any other, the team from Kumiko, who have joined forces with Nicolay, offer cocktails which are made quickly and made well – such as the Bunga Bunga Caipirinha (€9) – and the usual burgers (from €6.50 to €10), also available in fish and falafel versions.
In the future, there will also be concerts – “bands rather than DJs”, to be clear – and on Saturdays, a great initiative called the “biking repair cafe”. Anyone can drop in to fix up their bike, or have it customised using the “swirling” technique – transfer of images by water – by Olivier Robberechts.
ma/lu/Mo > do/je/Th: 08.00 > 01.00
vr/ve/Fr: 08.00 > 02.00
za/sa/Sa: 10.00 > 02.00
zo/di/Su: 10.00 > 23.00