Sanzaru is a high culinary spot in Brussels, truly unique in its kind. It’s a temple of delicate Nikkei cuisine and a true haven of peace, overlooking the Woluwe Park.

The building in itself is a piece of art. An award-winning cubist house built in 1937 and refurbished in 2017 with a majestic copper counter and pastel-toned frescos by Belgian artists Marcin Sobolev and Arianna Musetta. Two distinct rooms with varying atmospheres; one looking onto the open kitchen, the other one more secluded: just you and the park views.

Chef Eric Van den Bergen has worked closely with Chef Lucas Felzine (UMA, Paris) to perfect his Nikkei cuisine, mastering the art of texture and reaching glorious and unexpected flavours.

Nikkei cuisine stems from the Japanese diaspora to Latin America and more specifically to Peru. In a nutshell, it uses Peruvian ancestral ingredients with Japanese techniques. I found the story behind what appears as one of the most successful cuisines to be pretty interesting.

In the late 19th century, a mixture of economic and social factors spurred the Japanese diaspora to the Americas, and Peru was often advertised as a paradise. Far from that…! Peru had just gained its independence and the social context was still ruthless, relying on slavery-like labor systems and brutal urban environments. The immigrants gathered in ghettos. But in their kitchens, those Japanese immigrants started cooking up what would become one of the most celebrated culinary cultures in the world: the Nikkei cuisine.

You can go to Sanzaru for their lunch menu (at 25€ for starter + main + side, it’s a steal!!!) or order à la carte. As a mise en bouche, try their tostaditas de salmon or their wild amaebi shrimp. Starters range from red tuna tiradito, ceviches to nikkei gyozas or veggie okonomyaki. And for mains, think elderflower-poached salmon or duck burger or grilled wagyu beef picanha. So hard to choose… They have a beautiful cocktail menu as well, with revisited pisco sours and interesting ingredients like wasabi, yuzu or infused purple corn! A bloody foodie gem and definitely on my top 3.

 

SANZARU, 292 Avenue de Tervueren, 1150 Wolwe-Saint-Pierre, T: +32 2 773 00 80, Open Tue-Sat 12-2pm and 7-10pm