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In pictures: Take a look inside Wolf, Brussels' vast new food market
A new 3,000m² food market looks set to be a major game-changer for central Brussels - including 17 restaurants, an organic supermarket, on-site microbrewery and bean to bar chocolate-maker.
"Our ambition is to put this food market on the map and make it the best in the world," says Thierry Goor, founder of Wolf, which opens on 14 December.
Other than the food, two of the major assets of Wolf are the building and the design work that went into the conversion. Originally the headquarters for the CGER bank, Wolf has kept the original meticulous detailing, such as the 500m² glass ceiling created by the artisans at Val Saint Lambert, and the seven-metre-wide wide bronze and blue green enamel front door, plus upcycled materials such as the tables around the bar which are made from bowling alley lanes or the antique baking moulds decorating the front of the counters.
Also reused were many of the elements that were removed during the conversion, such as the marble facing on the bank counters, which became part of the bar, and the original office furniture and accessories that now decorate the Chill Room - a comfortable, calming space beyond the dining area which includes a "Harmony Sphere" in which you can completely relax for 21 minutes.
The Food Hub is an all-organic market with zero waste. Products are offered in bulk and the philosophy of the market is to create a short food chain which is resilient, socially aware, ecological and economically sustainable. All the price tags take transparency to new heights - they describe how much of the price goes to the food producers, to VAT, to the cost of transport and to the store itself.
The 17 restaurants will take visitors around the world - but most of the businesses are Brussels-based and this was a conscious choice, with the hope of featuring start-ups and novice chefs in the future.
The restaurants include:
- Hanoi Station serving Northern Vietnamese cuisine
- Idea, which is offering traditional and updated Greek food
- Les Super Filles du Tram - basic and not-so-basic burgers as well as traditional and sweet potato chips
- Knees to Chin - many types of Asian spring rolls
- Toukoul To Go, which has taken its Ethiopian cuisine and tweaked it to give it a street corner vibe
- Bollyfood Stories - Mumbai street food
- Dierendonck - the star butcher who offers his Red Flemish beef in various dishes but also bacon cooked on hay and marrow bones
- My Tannour, which offers authentic Syrian food with the tannours or clay ovens to cook the breads and a cast iron wood burning oven to cook the meats
- Le Comptoir du Crabe, which offers prawn croquettes, fish and chips, fresh oysters, mussels and lobster depending on the season
- La Table du Marché, where chef Henri Depiesse will exclusively use the products being sold at the Food Hub, cooking and serving them in a greenhouse
- La Piola, voted among the 50 best pizzerias in Europe
- Gaufres and Waffles, which highlights the Brussels Waffle, which is lighter than the more common Liège variety and can accommodate any number of the toppings which chef Yves Mattagne has thought up
- Les Filles, whose menu changes daily to accommodate fresh local products
- Tapero, for cheese and cold cuts plates, organic wine and sourdough bread
- Poke Club, offering sushi, gyoza, sashimi and poke
- Vincent Denis, who was voted best chef Belgium in 2014, creating desserts to order
- Jus - fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs made into juice to order
The Belvas chocolaterie is a bean-to-bar operation, which means they are roasting their beans and making the chocolate on site for the freshest possible product.
The chocolate-makers are in direct contact with their suppliers in Ivory Coast, the Dominican Republic and Peru, going so far as to pay the suppliers bonuses so that they can invest in their communities and send their children to school.
The micro-brewery will be producing two beers on site, with additional beers by Jo Van Aert from Belgoo brewery. Everything is open and operating except the Food Hub which will open on 11 January.
Wolf, Rue Fossé aux Loups 50, Brussels
Open seven days a week 8.00-23.00 (except Christmas Day)