FYI, there’s a generous new meat-lover in the neighborhood! After studying cinema, Limburg-native Bjorn Boonen traded in film reels for a sharp set of knives. First at Ceria, then under Christophe Hardiquest, before a stint on the butcher’s block with Jack O’Shea. What came next? In 2018, he got his hands on a former butcher’s shop in the Marolles neighborhood, Spek & Boonen, where he works with whole animals who spend their lives in pasture (he runs a certified free-range butchery), raised by farmers who share his radical values of respecting livestock. In the window display: organic Ardennes lamb and PQA pork, Irish Black Angus steak from the Bantry Bay farm or Challans Label Rouge poultry. And served by weight, “noble” cuts of meat and all the other, less prized cuts – brains, tongue, liver. When it comes to charcuterie, everything is homemade using traditional techniques, like the NY-style pastrami or the more local “Mort-tôt” sausage. And don’t overlook the exceptional choucroute made by father Boonen, which bubbles away in earthenware jugs. // Alba Nebbioli
The hidden gem: The dry-aged Black Angus ground beef, the best kept secret for making the best (smash) burger in the country (€19.95/kg)… and the beef fat (€4.50 a box) for the best fries!
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