Big things are happening over on Rue Royale! Already firmly established in the Vieux-Lille neighborhood with her restaurant Le Présentoir, corkscrew enthusiast Arianne Laurent spotted a golden opportunity to draw in the neighborhood’s wine-loving crowd when she took over this former medical office. Lined up in the old-fashioned china cabinet and on the long shelves are 160 bottles of low-intervention wine: Les Blémonts, a chénas from the Domaine Saint Cyr (€23) or Attraction, a Jura chardonnay from Le Cabaret des Oiseaux (€34), popped open in house for a €15 corkage fee in addition to the bottle price (€20 for bottles over €45). And for all those who want to keep their Dry January going a little longer, she’s got an IPA Bico Bello from the Brussels Beer Project (€6.90 for 330 ml) or a Beÿcha Rooïbos kombucha from the Fermenterÿ (€5.50 for 330 ml). Plus, there are shared plates that you can knock back at the counter or while seated around the imposing communal table: split-pea hummus, mortadella from Emilia-Romagna, Touraine cheeses, toasts topped with various preparations (pulled pork and celery kimchi the day we went)… not to mention the legendary chocolate mousse from Le Présentoir, topped with smoked salt and toasted almonds. // John Mason
THE BULLET-PROOF BOTTLE: Champ d’Aubert, a Jura chardonnay from Valentin Morel (€35).
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