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When I first heard of the term “living food”, I was puzzled (read: frightened). Was this about the growing European trend of eating insects and the like? Turns out I was totally wrong! While my palette is not adventurous enough for the aforementioned treats (not yet anyway), a visit to Tan proved that I’m actually a fan of living food, i.e. a cooking method whereby ingredients are prepared at low temperatures or retained raw to preserve all their nutritious value (vitamins, enzymes and minerals) that are otherwise destroyed. Interesting, right?

Tan can be found in Chatelain, where the famous farmers’ market takes place on Wednesdays, not too far from La Piola and El Vasco. The ground floor is a grocery shop where you can shop organic and bio foodie products that are also used to prepare the meals at the restaurant on the first floor. It’s a bit smaller than Farm but has great stuff, including seasonal veggies, natural wine, virgin olive oil, my favourite cookies, homemade gluten-free bread and natural body care products. The restaurant is open both for dinner and lunch and I was lucky enough to book a meal at 50% off from La Fourchette. While the à la carte options can be a bit expensive, the lunch set menu is a real bargain with a starter and a main dish (vegetarian or not) – no surprise it immediately became one of my favourite healthy lunch spots in Brussels!

This time my partner in crime and I had non-vegetarian dishes. All dishes were presented beautifully, had interesting textures and were absolutely delicious. The highlights for me were the beef tartare with sun-dried tomatoes, mashed avocado, arugula with olive oil and truffle-flavoured balsamic cream – very light and fresh, if tartare is  your cup of tea of course! I would also recommend the lamb rump steak which came with steamed vegetables and an amazing cream of Portobello mushrooms, green pepper and almonds. The flavours were so rich and decadent that I would never guess they were so healthy, which made the whole experience even more special. As we were treating ourselves to a guilt-free meal, we shared a pot of tea (no coffee here!) and a raw chocolate tart with raspberry sauce which was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

If you have dietary restrictions (gluten or lactose free) or are simply looking for a restaurant with interesting food combinations, put Tan on your list. Take your time (everything is prepared on the spot, so don’t expect a super quick meal) and make sure to book in advance as there are not too many tables. Keep an eye for warm days too, as a lovely terrace to soak up the sun. If you try Tan and love it as much as I did, share with me your photos on Instagram or Facebook with the #seemybrussels hashtag – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Address: Rue de l’Aqueduc 95, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 5378787
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Sandy (@smarksthespots)