Bikette: burger queen

© Saskia Vanderstichele
| The pocket-sized burger joint Bikette opened in the middle of a lockdown, but the owner and her team have pulled out all the stops to make it a success.
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A little place on Malibranstraat/Rue Malibran makes farm-fresh burgers that will blow your mind. Its name is Bikette. Simple and satisfying.

The restaurant owners who have it all figured out are the ones who concentrate all their energy on one product instead of spreading themselves too thin with long-winded menus. A stone's throw from Flagey, a pocket-sized burger joint is showing how it is done. Bikette is run by Léa Bernstein, a young woman from the north of France who trained at the famous Vatel school in Paris. Rather than getting a job in the hotel or catering sector, she decided to open her own business in Brussels…in the middle of a lockdown. By choosing burgers, she chose a competitive niche, but she has pulled out all the stops to make it a success.

The first significant choice she made was to have just three burgers on the menu: the Classic (€10), the Veg'ette (€12) and the Kid (€8). These serve as a base that can be augmented with a choice of different cheeses (Cheddar, Biquette, Maroilles, Reblochon, tomme, and blue cheese, all genuine farmhouse products), or with a slice of bacon (€1). Another decision, which makes all the difference, was to make the brioche-type buns on site. In addition to being delicious, they help the owner to improve her margins.

When we paid the place a visit to try it out, we were lucky to be able to sit on the little urban terrasse, where the window ledge serves as a bench. Inside or outside, the only real advantage to eating on the premises is being served by the delightfully friendly staff. We decided to sink our teeth into both the Classic burger and the vegetarian version. We are pleased to say they were both more than satisfactory. The Veg'ette contained a beautiful combination of lamb's lettuce, a generous amount of ketchup, gherkin, and fresh goat's cheese. We loved the meat substitute, a patty consisting of pea and wheat proteins, making it a nourishing snack.

However, the meat version, Irish Black Angus beef supplied directly by a butcher in Bosvoorde/Boitsfort, was rather more succulent. The buns were exceptional, giving both burgers a delightful texture. We recommend accompanying them with some chips (€2, or €3 with melted cheese), which are small but local and beautifully crunchy because they are cooked twice (initially cooked at a low temperature). Thanks to a neat set-up, you can also enjoy a draught version of a beer made by Brussels Beer Project (€3 for a Grosse Bertha).

rue Malibranstraat 10, Elsene/Ixelles, 0492-54.39.84, Facebook: biketteburger, di/ma/Tu > za/sa/Sa 12 > 14 & 18 > 21.00

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