Restaurant review #52 – Little Asia is well known Asian restaurant in the center of Brussels. Owner and chef is Quyên Truong Thi, who is reportedly famous for participating in several TV-cooking programs (I say reportedly, because I never watch these shows myself! – the day they become vegan, I just might 😉 ).
The restaurant is just a 5 minutes walk from the stock market (La Bourse) and the concert hall Ancienne Belgique. Brussels is 100km from Bruges, and is the capital of Belgium.
Little Asia has a vegetarian menu standardly available, so I mailed them with the question whether we could get a vegan menu (explaining what we do and don’t eat), and if conformed, we would like to make a reservation. The reply was that this was no problem and that we should mention it again to the staff when ordering. We were there one a Friday for lunch, with two friends (non-vegans) and the place was soon packed (full house).
We asked the waitress about the use of eggs, dairy and oyster sauce or fish sauce and she said she would check with the kitchen. She came back and said they would use soy sauce for our dishes. Then for ordering, there was suddenly another waitress, so we had to repeat the questions (and were reassured that the dishes would not contain eggs nor dairy, nor fish sauce). We ordered a ‘vegetarian menu’ (45€) and again explicited we wanted it ‘végétalien’ (= French for vegan) but that word didn’t seem to sink in. Luckily the dishes themselves seemed to be ok.
We ordered some drinks, and were served a bowl of what seemed to be … prawn crackers (kroepoek). We asked the waitress what the crackers were made of, but never got a reply. For drinks, I had a fresh orange juice. Nicely served with a slice of orange, although some icecubes would have been nice to cool it. 6€ is pretty steep though for a fresh orange juice. A demi bottle (50cl) of sparkling water is 5€.
The appetizer that came with the drinks was really nice: a slice of a fried springroll with taugé and vegetables.
The starter was a nice assortment of several appetizers (a springroll, a deep fried mushroom, ..), with two sauces. Really good and nicely presented. So far so good, and we were really looking forward to the main dishes, as this all looked and tasted promising!
The two main dishes were a coconut curry with tofu and a rice dish with vegetables and tofu.
For dessert, we were offered the choice between a fried banana (without the icecream which it is normally served with) or a trio of sorbets. I asked repeatedly whether the batter of the baked banana did not contain any dairy nor eggs, but we were left in the dark. So we went for the sorbet.
In sum: we were a bit disappointed.
The appetizer and the starter were great and tasted and looked promising, but the main dishes were rather ‘plane’ and nothing out of the ordinary. We had hoped for something more exciting than rice with vegetables or just sorbets (especially since we had clearly indicated that we were vegan when making the reservation). Not bad, but nothing culinary exciting, nor worth the 45€ for a 3 course menu.
It was a bit confusing that we had several waitresses serving us (in French) and we had to repeat again and again that we did not want any dairy or eggs, and didn’t get an answer to some of our questions.
Seats were comfortable, but once the restaurant was full, it was really loud (acoustics).
Nice, but we’re in no hurry to go again.
Little Asia, location
02/502 88 36
See our lists of restaurants where vegans are welcome in the menu section of The Bruges vegan! List restaurants in Bruges and outside Bruges.
I love Thai and this ‘looks’ really really nice. I do like that fact that you guys are totally honest and open in your feedback of eateries though. Well done, Ned. 🙂
Thanks Ned, appreciate your nice comment. If it’s good, we’ll write about it, but if there are points to improve, we’ll also comment on them! I sometimes see blogs where every cookbook or every restaurant review is ‘fabulous’ and ‘great’ (and sometimes of course they are! 🙂 But overrating a restaurant just because they serve vegan or just because they have a good (vegan) name, doesn’t help and it will inevitably lead to disappointment. When people then visit based on all these positive reviews, to discover it’s not so ‘incredibly good’.
I couldn’t agree more guys. My wife and I have two or three favourites that we visit but if their standards drop for more than a couple of visits then we cut them loose. After all it’s not cheap and we’re paying to have something we probably couldn;t or wouldn;t cook at home so if it doesn’t impress then why not be honest about it. Keep up the good work 🙂
It seems to me you did not get much personal attention from the staff. Personal attention is that little bit extra I would expect from a restaurant which charges you 45 Euros for a 3-course menu. My experience with deserts in Asian restaurants is not positive. They have been serving the same old deserts for 30 years. Would it not be time for a change, Asian “chefs”? And 5 Euros for a 50 cl bottle of sparkling water is exaggerated. I will NOT visit this restaurant. Thank you for the review.
Indeed. I hear what you say about the desserts. Sorbet sorbet sorbet. Please!!
Take a look at the dessert we were served at Hortus in The Hague. It was a delight!
Ik denk dat thaise crackers geen schaaldieren bevatten. Ze lijken misschien op kroepoek maar zijn dat normaal niet zoals deze http://shop.delhaize.be/nl-be/Zoute-kruidenierswaren/Aperitief/Chips/Thaise-crackers/p/S2007112200026090000