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Park Side Brasserie

The Park Side Brasserie was set up to fill a gap in the EU neighbourhood where there were plenty of good places to eat, but few gourmet restaurants where besuited power-lunchers could impress their guests with creative cooking in appropriately swish surroundings.

A year on, Park Side does what it says on the box. On a warm rentrée lunchtime, the sober black, brown and white interior and the terrace overlooking Cinquantenaire Park were packed with euro-types exercising their expense accounts. Bustling waiters in black aprons shuttled trays from the kitchen hatch past the horseshoe-shaped bar and a striking bubble-glass lighting feature. Chef Donald Loriaux aims for food that is sophisticated but not over-elaborate, letting his excellent ingredients do all the talking. Seasonal additions meant artichoke specials in early September, including a salad that combined warm ravioli with buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and artichoke caviar.

The cuisine is inventive Franco-Belge with Mediterranean touches: chicken waterzooi; cod gratin with North Sea grey shrimps; black and white pudding served with caramelised apple purée. Good fish can be a rarity in Brussels, but the cod served braised in lemon and bay involved a magnificent chunk of gleaming white flesh with sauce vierge providing some minimalist tang. The wine selection is temptingly displayed in a floor-to-ceiling glass vault and, for those who want to tipple but still work after lunch, there’s a range available by the glass. For afters, they rustle up classy takes on old favourites like chocolate mousse, crème brûlée or a monumental Grand Marnier frozen soufflé. Just right for a posh lunch or after work dinner, but at around €60 a head, make sure you can afford the time away from the office to enjoy it.

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24 Avenue de la Joyeuse Entrée, 1000 Brussels, Tel 02.238.08.08, www.restoparkside.be