It is possible to rediscover the joys of gastronomy at home. Màloma demonstrates just that. Could this be the swallow announcing the return of spring for restaurants?
Màloma, which opened on 1 March 2020, was one of the ethical and sustainable restaurants whose take-offs were hit by the pandemic. Rather than watch their budding dreams be destroyed, Georges Athanassopoulos (32) and Victor Deramay (30) drew on their vast talents in order to survive. They both earned their qualifications from the École Hôtelière de Namur in 2010 and have accumulated a great deal of experience: Sea Grill, De Pastorale, L'Air du Temps, Bon Bon, catering for events, and a palace in Switzerland, etc.
Last October, the duo took the lockdown by the horns and launched a project offering street food (pita bread with various fillings) as well as sourdough bread, cakes and pastries. It was a diverse selection that demonstrated the scope of their abilities. We hope we can take it as a sign of good things to come that they have now taken things to the next level, creating more elaborate menus with the aim of “putting the image of the restaurant back in the minds of customers.” We won't beat around the bush: the experience shook us, bringing back gastronomic sensations that we had forgotten since the hotels, cafes, and restaurants were ordered to close their doors. Màloma, a Greek name, refers to malolactic fermentation. It knocked us out in three rounds with a meal for €35.
The starter came out swinging: an egg cooked at 63 degrees Celsius served with a creamy roasted cauliflower sauce. A trout taramasalata provided a fishy bass note, which was offset by the “turf” element: little lardons of Guanciale, the dried pork cheek popular in Italy. Some little slices of raw radish gave an overall freshness to the dish and a crouton of sourdough bread provided some pleasing crunch.
This warm-up packed a punch, but the main course delivered an uppercut. To be honest, we thought the Duroc pork lard would be dry and flavourless after ten minutes in the oven. Quite the contrary: basted with miso, the meat was wonderfully tender. The flavour of a ginger-infused roasted carrot mousse and the fresh taste of tarragon on sautéed Brussels sprouts added subtle nuances to this meaty dish.
Finally, the dessert, a “freddo cappuccino”, was a knock-out, combining coffee, chocolate, cinnamon sponge cake, and tonka bean. So much talent! In conclusion, it is high time that the restaurants reopened. This one and all the others.
rue Josse Impensstraat 3, Schaarbeek/Schaerbeek, comptoir-maloma.squarespace.com
Orders must be placed before 12.00 on Thursday, new menu online every Friday.