Le 203

Le 203 Restaurant (Brussels)

© Myriam Baya

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At this ground floor, dual-aspect spot that stretches out from street to courtyard, there are two people running the show: South African chef Richard Schaffer, who performs culinary theatrics from behind his kitchen counter, and his French wife, Mathilde Hatte, popping open bottles in the brick-walled dining room with 60s-style furnishings. Everyone loves Le 203, including Angèle. But why? Well, because the cuisine is creative but not showy, carefully sourced (Carlos & Fils meats, fish from the North Sea, Biotiful vegetables) and modestly priced. The menu? Two starters, two mains and a dessert at lunch, plus two extra choices in the evening. That day at lunch, we had: a tonic, tangy, plant-based starter featuring roasted celery, red meat radish and caper pesto, smoked paprika and toasted pumpkin seeds; marinated veal hanger so tender that the knife with the 203 logo is almost rendered unnecessary, accessorized with fennel and red onion shavings, pickled mustard seeds and butternut squash purée; and a slightly bitter chocolate mousse and coulis under a shower of pistachios, to finish on a high note. // Ringo de Balmalon

FEELING THIRSTY? Some striking, natural Franco-Italian bottles: a Loire Chenin from Mosse (€45), Ograde, an orange wine from the Skerk estate in Veneto (€54), Octobre, a Côtes-Catalanes red from Les Foulards Rouges (€38), Coste di Moro, a Montepulciano from the Lunaria estate in Abruzzo (€39)… and wines of the day served by the glass from €6.50 to €7.

PRICE: À la carte €30-33 (lunch) and €34-47 (dinner).

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