Brussels: La Meilleure Jeunesse, a place to celebrate your best moments
My favourite restaurants are the ones where I imagine myself celebrating all of life’s occasions. Like a reunion dinner with friends, after a long absence from Brussels. And boy, La Meilleure Jeunesse spoiled me.
It’s the type of establishment where you could impress someone on a first date, linger around till the wee hours of the night with a large group of friends, or take your picky parents for dinner. Looking around I happily noticed that this was exactly what was going on around me. At the table next to us a group of girls were celebrating a birthday, while at a tucked away table a couple of men were seemingly on a date.
La Meilleure Jeunesse always rises to the occasion. With its eclectic wall decoration, dim lights, and a beautiful patio overlooking the Abbaye de la Cambre it's one of Brussels' "hidden" gems.
Ultimately though, the food is what makes La Meilleure Jeunesse even more special. The menu is seasonal and changes every month. When our reservation was confirmed (and I strongly recommend to book in advance as it gets crowded even on weekdays) I obviously checked their website to assess my options; everything looked delicious so couldn't make my mind beforehand. Thankfully the friendly waitress started us off with homebaked bread, which came with two spreads, a tuna-based one and a cream cheese/truffle fluffy one.
The winner of the night was their 36,5EUR menu, which included an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert. I chose the slow cooked egg with a creamy espuma and artichokes (they're in season so I had to) to start with. If the waiter hadn't taken my plate I would have broken all savoir vivre rules and licked the plate - that's how good it was. My friends both got the sea bream tartare. It arrived under a fuming glass which gave it a nice smokey aftertaste.
I picked meat for my piece de resistance - my friend Viktoria had been raving about their entrecote. My menu had a rump steak served with a peppery butter and a side of delicate fresh greens and homemade fries (we were in Brussels after all).
I was so excited about the fries that I almost didn't leave any room for dessert. I'm very glad I did. We shared a bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and a rhubarb sauce, a sample of the restaurant's desserts which included a lava cake, a lemon curd with a slightly salty crumble, as well as a white chocolate cream with mango, pineapple and passion fruit topped with an almond crunch.
At the end of the meal the only word to describe my mood was "content". Maybe it was the cosy vibe, the delicious food or the amazing company - or rather the combination of the three. It also kind of left me wishing I could find more excuses to fly to Brussels to toast to the small or big joys of youth at La Meilleure Jeunesse.
* Kudos to Viktoria for discovering this gem and sharing the secret.