This mini restaurant in the city center of Brussels has four tables, no written menu and around six dishes to choose from... The description sounds very basic, but if you go, you will understand why everyone likes Mémé Café. The food is amazing, carefully presented and the interior design which pays tribute to the chef's grandmother, is truly original.
As mentioned earlier, the place is really small and by that I mean 'really small'. The average living room is probably larger than the entire seating area of Mémé Café. You'll understand why it is essential to make a reservation beforehand. The walls are decorated with all kinds of items that belonged to the chef's grandmother (his 'mémé'), such as pots and pans, spice containers, herbs... The name on the restaurant's façade is displayed in big Scrabble letters, and personally I really love this reference, because Scrabble was also my grandmother's favourite game.
As you can tell from the interior design, Béchir (the chef) attaches great importance to his ancestors and their roots, which trace back to Tunisia. Next to all kinds of items that belonged to his grandmother, a branch of dried espelette pepper decorates the store window. Espelette pepper is a typical Tunesian spice that Béchir uses to season his dishes with. He describes his Mediterranean style beautifully as 'cuisine du coeur, d'amour et de soleil', which translates as food from the heart and the sun.
Every morning, Béchir goes to the market where he buys fresh produce such as fish, meat and vegetables. Based on what he finds, he'll conjure up the menu of the day. That's why there is no fixed menu. Once you have arrived and installled at your table, Béchir will welcome you and personally explain what's on the menu today. Generally, you'll be able to choose between meat and fish. It might be somewhat unsettling that the price isn't displayed anywhere, but expect to pay around 15,50 to 17 euros for a starter and 17,50 to 24 euros for a main dish.
In the three years that Mémé Café exists, it has proven itself a recommendable address that attracts many customers. Despite its succes, there are no plans to move to a bigger location, because Béchir highly values maintaining personal contact with his customers. Whenever he can, Béchir will come over to check if everybody is happy and to chitchat a bit. He will not always have a lot of time, as he's running the restaurant alone with his Colombian assistant. (It would also be impossible to fit more staff into the small open kitchen.) Because of the small crew, you might have to wait a while for your meal to be ready, but the open kitchen enables you to watch how your food is prepared in front of your eyes, which makes the wait more enjoyable.
As a fan of original interior designs, I would recommend you check out this small beautiful place and let it take you back to your childhood time when you spent your days at your grandmother's place. Do you recognise any items that she had as well? Did her cuisine match (or excel) Béchir's dishes? One thing is for sure, Mémé Café immediately presents you with a topic to open a conversation with!