review

Chez Noémie: the perfect formula for a nutritious lunch

© Saskia Vanderstichele
Onze score

Could it be the taste of vegetables that will raise people's spirits in these times? You will believe it once you visit Chez Noémie, a small and completely transparent neo-canteen in Schaarbeek/Schaerbeek.

Rarely has the month of January sapped our morale like the one just gone by. The reason being that, during several lunches, and in good-quality establishments too, we found ourselves completely alone. We cannot imagine how distressing it must be for restaurant owners to see their premises so deserted… Could the secret to reviving attendance lie in using more vegetables? If it seems impossible that it could be that simple, check out Chez Noémie, a place that excels, though not exclusively, in plant-based cuisine: it was the only visit in which we found the place full. A genuine miracle.

It must be said, with its charmingly bright decor – wood panelling with latticework, transparent globe lights, and a wall covered with plants – the place inspires confidence and peace of mind, as well as evoking the modesty and the aesthetic spirit of the Shakers. It is the brainchild of Noémie Allard, a young woman with a passion for both political science and food. Her blackboard offers quite a small selection: vegetable dish (€14), vegetable dish + meatballs (€15.50), meatballs with cherry sauce (€15), vegetarian couscous (€14.50), or burrata with pureed squash and toasted buckwheat (€14).

We tried the vegetable dish, which was generously proportioned and made with skill. Each vegetable was matched with a condiment that made its flavour pop, like the celeriac that assumed coffee notes with the addition of soy sauce and coconut as well as some beetroot, whose earthy flavour was masked by a bold strawberry jam. There was also some houmous with a beautiful texture, kale in raspberry vinegar syrup, Treviso salad with a peanut vinaigrette, pearl barley with fennel…

Altogether, it was the perfect formula for a nutritious, fresh, and light lunch. What's more, the majority of the products are organic, procured from suppliers such as the very well-respected cooperative Terroirist and others located in the neighbourhood (the butcher's just across the road or the beers from the Brasserie de la Mule for €5). Last but not least are the exquisite homemade desserts, such as the heavenly petits choux filled with hazelnut cream (€7).

CHEZ NOÉMIE
Dokter Dejaselaan 10 Avenue Docteur Dejase, Schaarbeek/Schaerbeek, 02-524.16.98, www.cheznoemie.be
ma/lu/Mo > vr/ve/Fr 12 > 15.00

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