Brussels by Crozes-Hermitage is a webmag featuring people, reports and stories where wine is the common thread. It is dedicated to Crozes-Hermitage and to Brussels, a city where wine is synonymous with relaxed, shared moments. You could say they were birds of a feather. In fact, there are many bridges between the French appellation and the Belgian capital, as you will find out along our travels through a city where the vibrancy of life triumphs over everything else.

Alex Visorek
Belgian humour(ist)

Between trips from Paris to Brussels and back, the whirlwind humorist welcomed us to his home in Ixelles. We discovered a passionate wine enthusiast.

You have now secured recognition with daily programmes on the French radio station France Inter…

I have been working with France Inter for a few years now and it’s still a great pleasure. The programme I host with Charline Vanhoenacker is a resounding success, but it’s also extremely stressful for Charline and myself!

Let’s talk about your engagement with wine.

To start with, there are similarities between humorists and wine enthusiasts in that they both involve creating the right setting.

Before you tell a joke, it’s a bit like the run-up to tasting wine. To fully savour it, you need to create the right atmosphere, get people in the mood…

What is your favourite wine bar?

In Brussels, the number of good quality bistros means there is no lack of choice. If you take La Mirabelle, near the cemetery in Ixelles, the venue is top quality and it stays open quite late. You can enjoy dishes like steak and chips with béarnaise sauce. In fact, I think they have at least one Crozes-Hermitage on the wine list, if not several!

Fabrizio Bucella

« Syrah from Crozes-Hermitage has this ability to provide pleasure »

It has been nearly three years since sommelier Maxim de Muynck joined L’Air du Temps, Sang Hoon Degeimbre’s two-star restaurant and a location that really gets those creative juices flowing.

Why did you decide to join the chef at L’Air du Temps?

“I love Sang Hoon Degeimbre’s cuisine which is inspired by the plant kingdom. Floral accents, fruity notes and mineral scents fuse on the plate and take on a dimension that is akin to the balance in wine. The texture, freshness, aromas, length, fat and indulgent flavours are arranged harmoniously and recall the framework of a red wine and the tension of a white. Finding a suitable bottle that will be enjoyed by all is a pretty tall order”.

Your wine list features several Crozes-Hermitage. What is it about them that appeals to you?

“I have six Crozes-Hermitage on the wine list. It’s an appellation I like. The tannins are refined, the acidity is great but so are the roundness, aroma, flavour and this lightness and faintly razor-sharp finish”.

In terms of food pairings, which matches do you prefer?

“Syrah from Crozes-Hermitage has this ability to provide pleasure, to offer an indulgent experience yet at the same time retain a dynamic character and restrained energy which, once again, are a good match for Sang’s recipes. One pairing I find easy to suggest is a mouth-filling white with fresh pineapple, foie gras and smoked eel – it is a pairing that revolves around sharing and conversation with a sensitively-chosen turn of phrase. When a wine is tense, I would opt for scallop nibbles macerated in dongchimi, lacto-fermented recipes such as sauerkraut, pureed Jerusalem artichoke and lemon meringue.


Marc Vanhellemont

Art and wine, a marriage made in indulgence

In a city that has unquestionably got back its appetite for art, both the eyes and the tastebuds are in for a treat as the pendulum starts to swing between the two.

Could you call it a local tradition? Probably not. As you visit the city’s museums, it seems quite obvious that wine and art have not always made natural bedfellows. At least not here. There is the odd veiled reference, which may be admirable from a pictorial perspective but is certainly not a bundle of laughs visually speaking. In both versions of The Temptation of St Anthony, Jérôme Bosch’s imbibers are quite troubling whilst Ensor’s drunks are downright sinister.

The excitement over modern art that is gripping Brussels, the proliferation of art centres and galleries, the success of the major fairs and the emergence of young artists may well cause a sea change.

One example is the creation of a master’s degree in food design at the Royal Academy of Arts. But bistros and concept stores are really where a new style of conviviality is burgeoning, where creativity and indulgence form the perfect combination. A social lubricant that has the ability to keep a low profile, wine stands its ground here but without blowing its own trumpet. It won’t be long before some fashion guru recognises the trend and magnifies it. Before the female bloggers or pocket-sized maps of arty wine bars spot it too, here are a few tips.

Marc Médevielle

Le Damoiselle

The atmosphere is deliberately off-beat, helping you chill before you sink your teeth into some Ardèche cold meats served with one of the finest wines from the intuitively stocked wine cellar.

Rue de Lombardie 28, 1060 Saint-Gilles

NN 70

A “Belgattitude” exuding festive airs and colourful combinations in a venue that opens onto the street, punctuated by a mini wine bar to get your thoughts straight.

Rue Léon Lepage 47, 1000 Bruxelles

Pepete et Ronron

Revolving around natural wines and a delicatessen, this wine bar owes its meteoric success to its tranquil, minimalist décor with its striking light wood and a string of red stools adding a dash of colour.

Rue Léon Lepage 53, 1000 Bruxelles

John & Rose

Fashionable, maybe, but not in the least bit snobbish, here patrons can savour slices of organic bread and ultra fresh salads every day from 11 am onwards whilst at the same time enjoying some wonderful exhibitions.

Rue de Flandre 80-84, 1000 Bruxelles

Bistro du Canal

A cool place to hang out, right at the end of Dansaert street overlooking the Brussels-Charleroi canal. The specials board is pretty tempting too.

Rue Dansaert 208, 1000 Bruxelles

Museum Brasserie

Nestled amongst the royal museums of Fine Arts, the brasserie is home to the artwork by Pierre Alechinsky which adds a touch of vibrancy to a fairly austere décor.

Place Royale 3, 1000 Bruxelles


Many people consider this to be the best brasserie in the capital. Has a slight tendency to favour specialities from South-West France, owner Jean-Michel Hamon’s home region.

Avenue Louis Lepoutre 1, 1050 Ixelles

Wine Bar Sablon Marolles

This is the city’s most intimate and timeless wine bar which has a delicatessen next door. Both classic and indulgent, the wine list is an ode to terroir-driven wines and an invitation to keep coming back.

Rue Haute 198, 1000 Bruxelles

Studio 126

An amazing selection of over one hundred wines which young winemaker Massimo Coletti, a fan of biodynamic wines, strives to mix twice a month during comparative tastings that throw up some surprising affinities.

Rue Blaes 126, 1000 Bruxelles

The increasingly popular gastropubs

Not everyone waited for the latest Paris fashion to arrive and had been expecting this to happen for a long time – gastropubs are gaining traction and becoming a social phenomenon.

Take a bistro/pub atmosphere with a blackboard menu and wine by the glass. Add some simple, local, fresh and inventive cuisine. Season with a selection of wines focusing on artisanal bottlings, independent producers and natural wines and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a gastropub.

The formula, which came from France, is catching on in Brussels – and who’s complaining? City dwellers are increasingly savouring some cool dishes concocted by laid-back chefs in the Ixelles district or rue de Flandre, the location for some of the most exciting venues at the moment. A Mecca for lovers of quality products, gastropubs now belong to the collective heritage of Brussels dwellers.

Fabrizio Bucella

“Cooking has become a religion in Belgium.

La Canne en ville

The Châtelain neighbourhood is home to a former Brussels butcher’s shop, established thirty years ago. The atmosphere hasn’t changed – there are still the white and two-tone tiles on the walls, the original tiles on the floor and the vintage photos and posters. Chef Christian Schmit serves inventive and creative French cuisine and the cellar includes some lovely French, Italian and Spanish wines that pair seamlessly with the array of dishes on the menu.



What better location for this gastropub than the very popular rue de Flandre with its string of trendy bars and restaurants? The venue was opened in 2004 by Sven and David. Clearly focusing on simple, no-frills foods, it has successfully become one of the city’s best value-for-money eateries. Patrons can try out a great range of very affordable dishes and tap into a wine list that doesn’t rack up a huge bill on their credit cards.


Le Selecto

Chef Olivier Morland, formerly with the Le Pain et le Vin restaurant, is in charge at this chic, low-key setting in the heart of the Le Châtelain district. He works alongside sommelier Jérôme Bellin, who came from A bout de soufre. The menu changes regularly and is presented like a newspaper with three different prices. The wine list focuses primarily on artisanal, natural and organic wines, including some lovely Crozes-Hermitage.


Café des Spores

In the heart of the Saint-Gilles district, Café des Spores does real justice to mushrooms, from the starter through to dessert! On the menu are green asparagus with poached egg and fresh morel mushrooms, juicy pork loin accompanied with girolle, oyster and shiitake mushrooms, and tiramisu with porcini mushrooms. Chef Nicolas Scheidt ensures that a unique experience is had by all. A must is dining in the wine cellar which houses countless bottles, including some fine Crozes-Hermitage.



In the Le Châtelain district, this new burger restaurant is a real hit. Originally in the centre, near the area around the rue des Bouches, it then set up shop in Ixelles. The delicious breads and sauces are made on the premises. An absolute must is the range of chic hamburgers with truffle, and gluten-free bread – what else? All of this pairs harmoniously with a suitable selection of wines and lovely choice of craft beers.


Viva M’Boma

Another venue in the rue de Flandre, in the city’s historic and gourmet food centre, Viva M’Boma is totally off-beat – right down to its name, which means ‘Long live grandmother’ in Brussels dialect. The former tripe shop is unmistakably a restaurant but it feels more like eating in a kitchen. The menu features some real local specialities such as stoemp, carbonnade and meat balls in tomato or American sauce, not forgetting kidneys and veal liver. Booking is essential. Try the wine list too.


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