Restaurant Mendo (Brussels)

© Mendo

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In the name of the noodles, and of the broth, and of the super sharp toppings, ramen! A mere hop, skip and a chopstick away from the church of the Holy Trinity sits the temple of Mendo – “care” or “attention” in Japanese. Two vital virtues that the chef (who perfected his art on the archipelago) applies when pulling out his homemade noodles by hand, before dunking them in smoking hot bowls of ramen soup, made in all kinds of versions. We plonk our bums on one of the ordinary-looking metal stools, before tsuru-tsuru-ing the Kurogoma, which is a pure umami bomb of flavor with its rich, free-range, corn-fed chicken broth from which golden noodles emerge, topped with pata negra chasu (a slice of roasted pork belly), marinated veg and half a jammy soft-boiled egg, all doused in a “secret sauce” with a black sesame, ginger and garlic base. What else? There’s the comforting vegetarian option featuring roasted pumpkin and mushrooms, to slurp up to your heart’s content before the “dessert” makes a late arrival, in the guise of some tasty gyozas delicately folded by hand like origami – these things take time, obviously! All the same, those with a sweet tooth will still prefer ordering a scoop of homemade matcha ice cream. // Joséphine Espe

FEELING THIRSTY? All things Japanese, of course! Either Ramune lemonade, like you’d down after an onsen (€4.50 for 200 ml), sakes (Kanbara junmai ginjo at €15 a glass) or umeshu plum liqueur (€5).

PRICE: Ramen €16.50 to €18.50 (€14,50 at lunch), gyoza €8.50 for four.

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