Don’t look for the eternal reference to “mamma” in the name of this restaurant. The allusion is elsewhere, and above all, the Italians know from time to time not to permanently refer to their mother. No, here we are talking about sourdough, and pizza dough. Leaven is said lievito madre, pasta madre is there to evoke the specialty of this atypical pizzeria, sourdough pizzas. This restaurant, located in the slightly under construction area of Place Rouppe, had a bit of a tormented start.
Located on the ground floor of the Hotel La Grande Cloche, a beautiful address tastefully and daringly taken over by the hotel entrepreneur Fabian Henrion, this restaurant had a great start, with a team that had left Bologna to develop this concept in Brussels. Alas, the Italian team quickly felt nostalgic for the country and returned to the arches of the city of San Petronio, while success was there.
The video of the day :
The good fairies who looked into the cradle of this project (Jean Van Roy from the Cantillon brewery, Jean Hummler from Moeder Lambic and Noé Leloup, all lovers of quality fermented products, it seems harmless, but it is the key to this address) spat into each other’s hands to relaunch the project with an almost new team, apart from one of the pizzaioli, who remained in Belgium and guaranteed the know-how. I had discovered the address with enthusiasm in 2019, I was looking forward to taking Florence there (and my daughters for the occasion) to see if even “without the Italians from the start”, it would continue to hold water. Pasta Madre, I seem to insist on quoting the name of this address, but the fermentation processes are at the heart of the process here. And we know that the magic of bread and beer is precisely the fruit of fermentation, this process perfectly explained for more than 150 years by Louis Pasteur and which, however, is still so difﬁcult to master as soon as we want make quality.
What do we eat there?
At the start, the menu was a bit all over the place, sometimes with prawn croquettes, but in the meantime, the team has refocused the restaurant on the initial pitch, namely fermentation, in the glass and in the plate. You can have fun with a antipasto de bufala and salame (mozzarella and sausage, €10) or crudo and stracciatella (cured ham and creamy mozzarella, €11), but we prefer to go straight to the pizzas. The menu offers suggested pizzas, vegetarian, traditional and gourmet pizzas. Two words on the concept of “gourmet pizza”. It has been a real fashion, trend, even Italian passion for ten years. The gourmet pizza, the name of which I will say right away is about as annoying as the concept of bistronomy, it is a pizza which must be perfect in its dough and its rise, the same for cooking, and garnished with noble, even audacious ingredients, and above all served in cut-up portions so that everyone can taste them, even if it means scrolling through several pizzas at the table, for “tasting”.
In short, we shared pizzas! Divine Porcello (€16), taken from the “gourmet” list, for Florence, with a magnificent Italian cooked ham, barely melted mozzarella, layered straight from the oven and basil oil; Paccatelle (€14) for Giulia, composed mainly of these pacatelle, tomato fillets from Vesuvius (and mozzarella, of course), Amatriciana (€15), taken from the list of traditional ones, for me: tomato, pancetta, pecorino romano as in the romaine sauce of the same name, a real gourmet and surprisingly light pizza that you dig in to the end. And finally a Culatello for Chiara (a gourmet at €16). Gourmet pizzas really take a turn that takes us away from the usual world of pizza, and especially Neapolitan pizzas which have developed terribly in recent years in Belgium. This is particularly the case with this Culatello, whose dough is well cooked, delicious in taste, and literally serves as a support for a filling that is almost all put down afterwards. The noble culatello (the cream of the ham) cannot be destroyed by cooking, the same for the stracciatella, and you can feel the light and sweet blessing of a last-minute lemon zest fizzle.
In the glasses? Florence is at the height of the quivering usually caused by wild yeasts. We tap into the “Belgian spritz” to start (Venetian Select and Cantillon bitters) and continue with an honest plain Valpolicella at €32. The list of craft beers on tap is perfect and you can have fun with great vintages of Cantillon beers available in 75 cl bottles. We will come back with Jules de Flo, very fond of the genre. A dessert for four? An excellent Birramisù at €6, which you destroy in ten seconds.
In pictures, discover our menu:
In conclusion, I find a Pasta Madre that is still just as coherent, even if less sophisticated, the service is a little overwhelmed, but we know that nowadays it’s a constant encountered almost everywhere, the pizzas may seem expensive, but in the end, (very) eating well for four for less than 150 €, it becomes very rare andlast but not leastwe can never say it enough, but properly fermented products, craft beers and sourdough pizzas, are digested with the same grace as a heron flying over the ponds of Ixelles.
The address? 10 place Rouppe, 1000 Brussels. No reservation. Take-out and delivery. T. 04126.96.36.199, pastamadre.be
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