Large Soif, the little-known address where to find good wine and eat well

At the age when my favorite menu consisted of fish sticks, mashed spinach and cooked onions (I have always had particular tastes), Dominique Aubry revolutionized the Brussels culinary scene with his restaurant Les amis du cep. Carlo remembers it like it was yesterday: No, but I swear to you that at the time, the unique menu was unheard of. It looks like me explaining to her youngest daughter, who is my beloved goddaughter, that I grew up without a mobile phone. Next month, if she’s wise, I’ll explain to her what a polyphonic ringtone is and how to rewind a tape with a pencil.

The video of the day :

The place

So off we go for a summit meeting between veterans of the Brussels hospitality industry: Carlo also ran a restaurant; it was when he wore floral polo shirts. Twenty years that they haven’t seen each other, it’s cute the reunion. After many lives, Dominique became a wine importer. The restaurants representing 95% of his turnover, he found himself very deprived when the covid came. He becomes a wine merchant, but keeps a corner of the store for fun. His toy? A large old wooden table in which a competition cooker nestles. On request, he organizes tables d’hôtes. And that’s exactly what we came to do.
He opens a bottle of German Riesling, Lanius-Knab: That’s magnificent… Feel that! No natural wine at his house, but when it’s well done and not stuffed with chemicals, it can be drunk (says the girl who sipped half the bottle of white).

On the plates

As a first starter, an egg yolk “cooked” in vinegar and soy sauce, mashed celeriac and roasted celery, sprigs of celery. Nothing is lost, everything is recovered. As in the carpaccio of scallops with avruga caviar (therefore herring) and perfect scallops with truffles and wild trout eggs. The perfect is made with the least photogenic of them and the feet that we usually throw away. And since Dominique heard me go into raptures over the products from the Beaujolais oil mill, which he sells, he adds a little vinegar to the calamansi, a citrus fruit, on the carpaccio. That’s sublime. Besides, don’t leave without buying him a bottle, I drink it from the neck (but I’ve always had particular tastes).
This is followed by pan-fried and deglazed gnocchi with Chardonnay vinegar, vitello tonnato style mayonnaise (exquisite and sauced to the last drop). Then, puff pastry of Mechelen coucou stuffed with caramelized butternut, asparagus au gratin with aged parmesan, homemade veal jus. It all looks huge, but the portions are just right, there’s still room for the potato rösti with foie gras.

Our visit to Large Soif in pictures:


It’s the noise of the Santenay 2015 from Olivier Leflaive, which Dominique uncorks. Adjusted to my tastes (I don’t like tannin and aging in new barrels), it almost manages to reconcile me with traditional wines. For dessert, an airy floating island with truffles and blood orange. Carlo laughs kindly at his habit of putting truffles everywhere, a bit old-fashioned for his taste. Personally, I never say no to a bit of overpriced mushrooms, except when it’s in blood sausage because, at some point, you have to stop making blood sausage out of anything and respect a little bit of this charcuterie which , until proven otherwise, has done you no harm.

Benjamin Laborie, the chef of La Ligne Rouge (a highly recommended restaurant), passed by and came to take the rickshaw with us. The men talk about diet while I eat the equivalent of a cheese wheel (must not leave it lying on the table). Dominique has opened a gem, a 1982 Pedro Ximenez, which tastes almost like walnut wine. I’m still drooling. I would have stayed there until noon, chatting and drinking stuff. I’ll have to come back to do that upstairs, where you can drink your bottle bought at the store, with terrace for when it stops snowing in the spring.

The 5-course menu is €75 with 1/2 bottle of wine per person; if you have the drink, you can consume the store at cellar prices. Dominique opens the table d’hôtes from 6 people (but hey, if there are 5, it’s not the end of the world) and the closing at 9 (large maximum).

The address? 31 rue du Try Bara, 1380 Lasne, 0472.72.26.83

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