Eight years ago, three friends transformed an old pita place into this modern eatery with a view. It forms the perfect partnership with Het Groot Genoegen, the same owners’ long-standing (and clearly popular) café next door.
The atmosphere is relaxed yet professional, with friendly, attentive servers hustling about. My dining companion and I are immediately welcomed with a bowl of marinated green olives, which we polish off before ordering a half-litre carafe of wine. Normally one wouldn’t expect too much from a house wine, but this deep red Vilcun Merlot from Chile has a pleasantly soft, round and fruity character.
The wine inspires us to order a bruschetta starter. Three thick slices of toast arrive covered in a mixture of chopped tomato, green olive, fresh basil and olive oil, while balsamic syrup and shredded cheese add a tasty touch. Unfortunately, the whole construction is unstable and a roll of Ganda ham teetering on top makes it even more of a challenge to eat.
For a restaurant with a name meaning plenty of pasta, there’s a surprising amount of variety to be had. Suggestions range from carrot-and-courgette-stuffed rabbit to sea bass in cauliflower cream sauce, while the fixed menu items include lamb brochette, sole fillet, osso bucco, different kinds of steak (tuna, Argentinean beef, horse) and more.
But vegetarians need not stay away. There are also eight full meal salads, plus a number of meatless pasta dishes like penne with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil in a creamy tomato sauce, four-cheese penne or my companion’s final choice: pasta pesto. Heaps of linguine, seductively laid out across the plate, are all dolled up with diced tomato and a couple of thinly sliced courgette roll-ups. The pasta, perfectly al dente, mingles with fresh, garlic-powered basil pesto, roasted pine nuts and paper-thin shavings of fresh parmesan. Next to this, an extra side of the bright green pesto offers flavour reinforcement.
On the other side of the table, meanwhile, I’m searching for my lasagne under loads of tomato sauce. Once found, the hearty chunk of pasta proves to be quite a treat with its alternating layers of juicy tomato, melted mozzarella and Ganda ham. The salty dry-cured ham nicely offsets the rich, sweetish (and overabundant) sauce.
We both swear we couldn’t eat another bite, but change our minds with one peek at the desserts. I have a weak spot for the duo of white and dark chocolate mousse and my companion for the profiteroles. So we compromise by sharing an order of homemade speculoos tiramisu. Again, the proportion is generous and the presentation classy.
After settling the €60 bill, we toddle over to the adjoining café for a much-needed digestif.
Gemeenteplein 12, Dilbeek; 02.466.93.04
Tues-Fri 11.30-14.00 & 18.00-22.00; Sat 18.00-22.00
Copious, Italian-inspired dishes at reasonable prices
Contact Bite at firstname.lastname@example.org