Hau restaurant (Brussels)

© Hau

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Open wide, both eyes and your mouth! Perched on the upper floor of a large, bourgeois barrack in a sleepy neighborhood, Hau, a suave spot ran by Van Hau Nguyen for the past 20 years, looks like the dining room of the Titanic. Fireplaces, woodwork, parquet floors, carpets, paintings galore: everything exudes the audacity and luxury of another time. As for the set menu, it’s dictated by the chef’s inspirations as he reinvents his Vietnamese origins with genuine contemporality. That evening, among the 11 finger-licking courses: super soft scampi ravioli in a mussel and shellfish broth that was like the open sea; drool-worthy lemongrass chicken feet; five-spice beef so tender you’d almost be afraid to hurt it; crispy pork with sesame sauce; and a snappy calamansi sorbet with a ginger and coconut foam. Before being rapped on the knuckles by a famous Parisian mainstay, Hau had named his liner La Tour d’Argent. With good reason! // Toni Negroni

FEELING THIRSTY? A vast, clean cellar at affordable prices, featuring options like the Brandstatt 2009, an Alsatian white from Jean-François Otter (€43 a bottle) or the rare Chaudenay Elements Gamay from Julien Courtois and Heidi Kuka (€51).

PRICE: Menu €50.

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