Antoine and Milan opened St Kilda, named after an Australian beach Milan loves, five years ago. For a long time the place was a restaurateur (they catered for events, the cinema). Since last year it has become a real restaurant, with 24 seats, a menu that changes every month and a bit of a wait before being able to reserve a place. It was after seeing so many tantalizing photos on Instagram that I decided to drag Carlo there. Sometimes he has a little problem with my passion for natural wine bars and the fact that I obviously intend to travel the country with this type of establishment, but if I occasionally treat him to a classic brasserie, he follows me without batting an eye. And after our experience in St Kilda, I feel he won’t even pretend to grumble next time I suggest a place like this.
In video, these food tips to age better:
On the corner of an avenue, where you don’t expect to find a restaurant, in a neighborhood where you meet more dog owners for an evening pee than revelers, this pearl, then. And in the dining room, Antoine, a kind, smiling and benevolent giant. He explains the concept to us: a list of undercooked little things as an aperitif and then dishes to share. The wine list is short (the cider list is impressive) but well studied. We asked him for a very light red wine, he brought us a bottle of Le Jeau (€38), a blend of Grolleau and Cabernet Franc, 12.5 degrees of fruit and balance. Instead of olives, a blend of roasted buckwheat and pumpkin seeds with soy, addictive. To munch on we take the plate of 12-month Emiliano ham (€15), dark and thin as tissue paper, and a hummus of black chickpeas, marinated peppers and green sauce (€10), served with fried corn tortillas. In the kitchen it’s Milan. And his hummus completely blows our mind.
In the picture, our menu:
On the plate
As for the second courses, we start with cashew and pumpkin butter, yoghurt and paratha sauce, a sort of puff pastry bread of Indian origin (€15). We know butter chicken, an ultra-classic Indian dish. There, it’s the base of the sauce (garlic, onions, ginger, spices, tomatoes, cream and butter and then hops mixed in), with cashews, spread on a small crispy pan, with blanched blue squash slices. The dish will bring me my first fantastic! of the meal. There will be many more. The homemade ricotta, grated with raw and cooked yellow chard, walnut kernels, anchovies and bay oil (€15) is to cry. I am amazed by the magic of the kitchen, by the chutzpah of these assemblers who play Frankenstein by gluing things a priori not exactly intended for marriage.
Behind the apparent simplicity of this dish, there is genius! Careful, Antoine makes sure the pace of the dishes suits us, he asks us if we want to take a break before the next ones. At the end come raw scallops, cucumbers, jalapenos, calamansi vinegar and fried quinoa (€20), with a freshness and acidity that contrast completely with the Brussels mushrooms, shiitake cream and candied egg yolk (€16) , whose broth is drunk directly from the bowl and the shock waves of umami make us cringe several minutes after we finish eating.
I want to come back to this cider menu that tempted me… Antoine recommends the Serps Futur Primitu, a surprising hoppy Catalan cider with a dash of gueuze (€25). We sip it with a silly smile. We slightly exceeded the recommended portion sizes but still had dessert: a scoop of corn ice cream, quickly fried in a tempura batter and served with dulce de leche (€12). It’s totally evil, regressive while being new to the flavor register. Perfect !
With all the codes of trendy places (natural wines, plates to share, influences from world cuisine), Antoine and Milan have created a place that has inherited none of their flaws. St Kilda is an oasis of peace and gastronomy that leaves you speechless.
So it has to be said that it’s not cheap. But first there are quality, and therefore expensive, products. A lot of work also on each dish, even on the “beastly” hummus. And then, in a context where the prices of everything have exploded and where the horeca, after two years of covid, is starting to falter again, I must admit that we are less ready to take offense. Long live St Kilda. And don’t be like us, go by public transport!
The address? 44 avenue Coghen, 1180 Brussels. Online booking: stkildabxl.be
Don’t miss out on more lifestyle news sosoir.lesoir.be and sign up now for our themed newsletters by clicking here.