Vilain Restaurant (Charleroi)

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How sweet it is to be villainous at Vilain! In their opulent 1920s space (an original glass ceiling, terrazzo tile floors, a luxurious garden), youngsters Antoine Château (ex-Garage à Manger and Winery Brugmann in Brussels) and Margaux Balériaux advocate for peasant cuisine and a love of carefully-sourced ingredients. What should you expect, exactly? Diabolically good small plates and clean wines! Shared the night we went: a spellbinding pea hummus topped with feta and pickles; dry-aged Holstein beef carpaccio, smoked and then hand-sliced thin; swordfish mi-cuit with chimichurri that had us practically licking the bowl clean; Machiavellian pajeons (small Korean crepes) with cauliflower and peanut sauce; and a wickedly good Breton shortbread with pear, plus thyme sorbet – made with herbs collected from around the house. The ultimate devilish treat? Burger night, one Wednesday a month! And for those who like to indulge in carnal pleasures without prying eyes, the house also boasts a hidden dining room that seats four to eight guests. // Monica Noli

FEELING THIRSTY? Around 30 organic or natural red and white wines, like a Venetian pinot grigio produced by Savian (€6 a glass), a biodynamic Namur chardonnay from the Domaine La Falize (€79 a bottle) or a Cheverny from the Domaine Tessier – where Antoine grew up – at €33. Along with a beer of the month and Belgian Gouden Carolus whisky (€9 a glass).
PRICE: Small plates €9-25, cheese plate €12, desserts €8-9.

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