Bierbuik/Bloemeke (Lille)

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After Le Vert Mont and Bloempot, Florent Ladeyn has expanded his Nord-based family with a new spot: a 2.0 take on an estaminet (a kind of seedy café/bar), with a pink terrazzo counter and big tables, where everything is homemade. Going by the name of Bierbuik (“beer belly” in Flemish), the place takes a two-in-one approach. The upstairs café, Bloemeke (“little flower”), offers a set menu (€25) cooked over the wood fire – broth with caramelized onions, pickled onions, pea shoots and croutons, served with a slice of bread smoked on the grill; an intensely flavorful rabbit thigh with grilled rabbit breast and a full-bodied jus; and a zucchini cake with lemon thyme sorbet and verbena whipped cream for dessert… Meanwhile on the ground floor, the beer flows freely and is paired with some Ch’ti finger food. A few examples: crispy leek whites with Choron sauce; falafel made with lentils from Leffrinckoucke alongside a wild garlic yogurt sauce; a barbecued veal liver skewer intensified by horseradish; duck sausage with beetroot ketchup; a generous serving of fries with a Maroilles cheese cream; before chicory soft serve ice cream and beer caramel. // M.F.

FEELING THIRSTY? There are forty-some beers at very reasonable prices, available by the bottle or on tap, including three of which that are brewed in house: Love Aged, a lovage-infused pilsner (€2.50 for 250 ml), Ned Flanders, a thyme-infused red ale (€3) and the Cherry-Chérie, a pale ale (€7 for 500 ml).

PRICE: Snacks €1.50 to €8, set menu €25 (appetizer, main, dessert, drink), upstairs at both lunch and dinner.

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