June 05 2010
I’d arrived in Brussels feeling frazzled after a 14-hour train journey from Milan following a London flight cancellation during the first volcanic ash drama. My equilibrium was restored, however, when I discovered Malte – an unconventional restaurant/bar hidden in a quiet side-street in the city centre.
Step inside a rambling 19th-century house and you enter an Oriental fairytale of Moroccan lanterns, vintage ceramics, portraits of odalisques, huge chandeliers and hubble-bubble pipes; haunting music (by Belgian band Vaya Con Dios, I was told) adds to the intimate, restful ambience.
Served at non-matching wooden tables and chairs, or out on a small back terrace in summer, the menu is as varied as the décor (French, Italian, Thai, Senegalese, vegetarian). A set lunch menu – 10 dishes at €10 each – includes coffee and delicious fresh bread. Three à la carte courses with wine costs around €35-€40 per person. Soothingly atmospheric, Le Malte’s dreamy languor goes beyond the gentle, unhurried service. A perfect place to reduce stress levels or to pass time while waiting for a Eurostar train.