review

'Otomat': The popular pizza chain finally hits Brussels

© Saskia Vanderstichele
Onze score

Following Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, and Leuven, Otomat has now arrived in Brussels. The concept, which consists of Belgian pizzas with dough made using brewer’s yeast, is worth checking out.

Since 2016, the north of the country has been enjoying Otomat pizzas, the success of which can no longer be in doubt. It was, therefore, high time that the formula came to Brussels. Even though we are not fans of places that are designed to be part of a chain, we must admit that the concept won us over.

We paid a visit one evening, barely a week after it opened, and everything was perfect. Of course, aesthetically, the setting feels like it was thought up by marketing gurus, who took care to draw attention to the beers from the Moortgat brewery. Old walls that have been painted white and covered in graffiti, a big 1950s style fridge with drinks, partitions that resemble wire mesh, tables made from old recycled floorboards, etc., in short, an urban atmosphere designed to attract hipsters.

Conviviality without cutlery

Anyway... We had scarcely walked in when the approach was explained to us. It is based on a combination of conviviality (ideally, you eat without cutlery here), sharing, and pizzas with dough made using Duvel brewer’s yeast, which gives it a highly addictive crunch. Lovers of the Neapolitan pizza, in other words, quite soft in the centre and more solid around the edges, are advised to give it a miss. The menu is divided into two parts. On one side are the versions with tomato sauce, on the other are the white pizzas, in other words, with a mozzarella base.

To get a clear idea, we opted for two different versions. The first was the “Sailorman”. For €13.50, we enjoyed a delicious and skilfully designed pizza with spinach, mozzarella, garlic, nutmeg and, best of all, plump anchovies. It was faultless and extremely flavoursome, especially the spinach, which was well-flavoured with garlic. Our other choice was vegan. We were very impressed. Beneath a garnish of young kale shoots, the “Mega Vega” (€13.90) included cooked Savoy cabbage and chestnut mushrooms that gave the pizza a roasted flavour. We particularly liked the crumbs of cauliflower to create the illusion of parmesan shavings. Genius!

After all that, sadly, it was not possible to try dessert, the “Triple Chocolate Pizza”, invented by the very rock ‘n’ roll chocolatier Dominique Persoone. Next time. Finally, we must mention the selection of beers written on a large board. We were glad to see that it offers some opportunities to explore new horizons: Orval, Brussels Beer Project, etc., though it could have done even better.

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