Calmos: chilled-out and bustling

© Saskia Vanderstichele
Onze score

Calmos is the name of a new bar in Sint-Gillis/Saint-Gilles that is bringing the crowds flocking. Even though you need sharp elbows to get a seat there, the place is worth a visit.

We can remember a time, not so long ago, when Moricharplein/Place Morichar had a dreadful reputation. As gentrification dictates, however, that page now seems to have turned. One sure sign is the opening of Calmos, a chilled-out bar that has wasted no time in building itself a loyal customer base. So, you're better off arriving early if you don't want to get stuck between the bar and the few stools along the windows. In other words, seats are prized in this bustling joint.

That said, there are objective reasons for its success. The main one is, without a doubt, its broad variety of both drinks and food. For example, wine-lovers will be amazed to be able to enjoy the excellent Hurluberlu by Sébastien David for just €4 a glass. This miracle is made possible by a tap that flows from Key-Kegs of the Loire Cabernet Franc wine, which is as drinkable as grape juice.

The snacks are equally impressive. A selection of small portions is listed on a large blackboard. Particularly memorable were the cured meats from Magerotte (€12), a producer that's well worth checking out, the organic tête de moine (€7), the beautifully fresh mackerel rillettes (€8), and, last but not least, a slightly more elaborate dish (Greek pasta with herbs, which cost €6 on our visit). Although the emphasis is on wine, with a very good selection of growers, from Marcel Lapierre to the unusual Michael Völker (a German who raises bats in order to fertilise his vineyard with their waste), beer-lovers are not left out, thanks to labels such as Dupont, Rulles, and Tilquin.

Another reason that Calmos is so successful is, undoubtedly, the place's atmosphere. With its attractive zinc and wooden furniture, it gives the impression of a bistro that has always been there.

All the same, we must mention one little drawback: the staff behind the bar were a bit overwhelmed. Unfortunately, a lot of pals stopped in, which meant that one anonymous customer struggled to get his glass filled. We didn't detect any malicious intent, just a failure to separate the personal and the professional that bothered us a bit.

rue de Taminesstraat 1, Sint-Gillis/Saint-Gilles, 0475-66.51.84,
Facebook: Calmos – Bistroquet & Vin en Vrac
ma/lu/Mo, wo/me/We, do/je/Th & zo/di/Su 17 > 23.00,
vr/ve/Fr & za/sa/Sa 17 > 0.00

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