Every year, I make my new year’s resolutions. And every year one of them is to eat better and healthier, and to stop poisoning my body with lactose to which I am very intolerant. And every year my resolutions fail, largely because I like eating out a lot and there are almost no restaurants to cater for both my wishes and my needs.
This year, things are looking better, as some organic food restaurants are slowly emerging in Brussels. The most noteworthy of these is YAG*. A relatively new canteen which serves seasonal organic food. The dishes are gluten and lactose free and the drinks are healthy and biological.I went there on a Saturday with a friend. The place was full and we were lucky to have made a reservation!
The decoration is simple and minimalistic. A long row of perfectly square wooden tables with black wooden chairs. A few colourful cushions on the benches provide a welcome break to the dark colours of the furniture and lovely small plants fill the restaurant with life.
The menu is different every day, but since it is the weekend my friend and I opt for the brunch.
One of the owners explains to us that the brunch consists of a series of small dishes and we are given a choice between a cold or warm brunch with a meat, fish or vegetarian menu. We both go for the warm fish brunch.
We do not have to wait long for the first dish to arrive. It is a kind of a baked grain thing with 2 sauces on the side. We are not sure what we are eating because we decided not to read the menu, but we are both happy at this stage. This is followed by a kind of miso soup with fresh mushrooms and spring opinions and two different types of salads, one cous-cous based, and the other one fennel based. The salads were fresh, crunchy, and the combination of ingredients was superb.
Once we finished eating these, the warm dishes arrived immediately. These were, baked salmon on a bed of foam, boiled carrots with spinach on the side, and mushed pumpkin. Everything comes in different dishes drizzled with olive oil and beautifully garnished. Everything is cooked to perfection.
This was one the most perfectly conjured, pleasing meals I’ve eaten. There was an intense sense of well-being and goodness in every bite. We ate this enormous meal but still felt light and full of energy after, which for me, is the cornerstone of a good meal. I ate all the dishes that were presented to me without having to worry about my lactose intolerance or about the quality of ingredients.
And this made me very relaxed during the meal and enhanced its enjoyment. After all these culinary delights, and a glass of perfectly chilled organics white wine, we were rather nervous to ask for the bill. To our surprise, the delicious brunch cost only 25 euro per person and the wine 5 euro per glass!
The owners, Candice Fallon and Coralie Rutten, and all of their staff are very gentle presences in the restaurant. hey all wore trainers and made absolutely no sound in moving around, serving or clearing the tables. You just sense their presence when dishes appear and disappear from your table and when they explain with a soft voice what you are being served.
And again, this enhances the enjoyment of the meal. There are no distractions. You don’t need to think of, worry about or observe anything else. You just eat the good things that are given to you.
The slogan of YAG* is “You Are What You Eat-You Are Great”. Great slogan. But in the case of YAG*, it is not just a slogan. It’s a lifestyle choice. You eat well, in a way that is respectful to your body and the environment, you feel great! So YAG* seems to be the initials of You Are Great, which is very cool.
If I were to have one criticism about the restaurant is that it is only open for lunch. I wish it were open all evenings or transform itself into an evening rather than a lunch place. In any case, the décor, the light, the whole ambiance, feel more or an evening rather than a lunch place.
The big question however is: is it a lesbian-friendly place. And the answer is yes. It is not a lesbian place, but it is a restaurant that is quite popular with gay women. At the same time, the name of the restaurant is also the word GAY written in reverse…and that’s where the tip, for the purposes of this blog, lies…
Even if it hadn't been a lesbian-friendly place, I would have suggested a take over, just so that the name is not wasted…but thankfully, that won’t be necessary!
YAG*, Rue Washington 59, 1050 Brussels, facebook