City wanderings - and a pilgrimage to some of the best eating and drinking spots in Brussels. Or maybe not eating or drinking - ah, oh well.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Le Dolma

40 years is a long time.  But that is how long Le Dolma veggie restaurant and adjoining organic shop have been open.   And 38 years here, in this location at the tattier of the two tatty ends of Chaussée d'Ixelles, incongruously situated near a shisha bar, a plumbers and high-end hifi shop.  I must have trudged past it numerous times in the last 56 months.  I have ventured into the shop, but I'd never tried the restaurant before until now.  It must have been the curtains at the window that deterred me.  Plus there's a bar at the front where nobody ever seems to be eating or drinking and you can't see in very far.  What does one do in here?  They claim it is a restaurant.

But I did enter, and then I discovered Dolma's speciality: the all-you-can-cram-in vegetarian buffet!  It's been available since 1997 and is now the most popular thing they do, concocted by a team each day and including a choice of around 12 different starters and main dishes, including a soup and other side dishes.  The week's menu is available online so you can pick your preferred day in advance.  Some of the dishes are vegan.  This week Tuesday and Wednesday win out for me.  
Actually there are plenty of customers, but they're all cocooned away in a extension at the back with the Friday-Saturday piano, talking not too loudly, drinking things that are good for them, eating wholesomely and fully- and rounding it all off with a chocolate slice or apple pie.  I relish the feeling of serenity; warm yellow walls, pine and Tibetan influences just a few strides from noisy Place Flagey.  Regulars at a neighbouring table advise us to just go and attack the buffet rather than wait.  We do.  And then we go back again. Now, stomach tightly packed with every variety of bean, pulse, rice and grain, I rue my earlier expressed desire for "a light, healthy meal".   But nobody stops you returning, not even my dining partner-in-crime, watching me with amused eyes while I scan others' plates for more of that delicious tofu something- or-other, the feta frittata or that sweet potato puree.  This is serious refuelling that unfolds in serene stages.  At dessert, some kind of restraint is required, in the form of a polite notice asking us to eat just the one slice.  I take mine and as I slowly chew on cinnamony apples, I watch the other guests do the same.
I wasn't expecting to overdo it with vegetarian food.  But then, if I could cook like this, I would eat vegetarian more often. It's nothing complicated, certainly - just simple and delicious, and my digestive system approves.  I cannot eat another bean.

Fascinating fact: I tried Tibetan meditation in Brussels last year.

Le Dolma is open Tuesday to Saturday 12:00- 14:00 and 19:00 - 21:30 (although the buffet closes at 22:00)

The buffet costs 18 euro at lunch-time and 22 euro in the evening (not including drinks)
For reservations call 02 649 89 81

Chaussée d'Ixelles, 329
1050 Ixelles

No comments:

Post a Comment