Comme Chez Soi

place Rouppe 23, Brussels, Belgium

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Chef interview

Lionel Rigolet is the head chef at Comme Chez Soi, the iconic restaurant in Brussels with a history dating back to 1926.

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This is a long established restaurant, originally opening in 1926. It has a cramped but pretty Belle Epoque dining room, serving just 36 covers. A starter of two different terrines, one goose liver and one duck liver, was simple yet succeeded. The texture of both was silky, with the duck liver terrine in particular have stunning depth of flavour, with a few capers lurking in the terrine to add a little bite. My wife's lobster salad was also superb (20/20). My fillet of beef with truffles was cooked carefully, the black truffle slices adding an extra flavour to the good quality beef, which was served with a few potatoes, a pool of the cooking juices and some excellent flageolet beans on the side (18/20).

Cheese was in excellent condition, and had a couple of Belgian cheeses as well as the usual French ones such as a perfect Brie de Meaux. A chocolate soufflé was stunning both in taste and lightness, though the addition of a few slices of pear at the bottom of the soufflé dish seemed unnecessary. Coffee and nibbles were also excellent. A solid 3 star place on my visit, though in 2007 Michelin demoted it to two stars.  Service was attentive.

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User comments

  • allan eimert

    To base a valuation on not being received in style when arriving a day early to study the whine list seems a little "off the wall" to me. The place is a restaurant not a public library. get a life Charlie !

  • Charlie

    Based on my only visit in September 2002 , this restaurant is probably the worst 3 or 2 star restaurants I have ever eated in. I won't bother to describe the food , but mention one event here : when I go one night earlier around 20:00 to study the wine list in advance ( I always try to do that ) , I was shown into a room in back of the kitchen to read it since the front rooms are packed for dinner service . There is someone already there listening eagerly to a football game on a radio. Guess who ? The chef Mr. Wynants it is. He apparently does not need to oversee the kitchen.

  • Michael Lindsay

    Having read the reviews we eagerly anticipated a visit to Comme Chez Soi, even though it had recently been relegated to 2 star status by Michelin. We were both surprised about the small size of the dinning room, with very small tables tightly squeezed which meant little privacy and a rather vocal neighbour could have been considered intrusive. We were, however, both happy to put this down to an unusual quirkiness that so many great restaurants possess. Having ordered the seven course taster menu we were somewhat disappointed to find that not only were there no recommended matched wines but that it was not possible to order wines by the glass. The wine list was unfortunately very heavily weighted in favour of expensive wines, which may explain why they would only offer bottles. It is difficult to write about the first 3 courses (all seafood based) - prawns and carpaccio of sole, sea bass fillet and then John Dory with mixed king crab and crustacea coulis - because whilst they were all competent dishes, nothing stood out in any way. Excellent ingredients, well cooked but nothing resembling a spark of excitement. The next dish (Light jelly of poultry with truffle and goose liver) on the other hand is worthy of note. It was very possibly the worst dish I have ever been served in a Michelin rated establishment. At this point I feel that I should say it was the only plate that showed any imagination, so credit where credit is due. It was served in a ceramic egg with the goose liver pressed down to the bottom third. There was then a grey warm slime sitting on top that did have a strong poultry flavours but looked very unappealing. For the main we both ordered the suckling pig, which moved back to the good quality and well cooked but boring style, before the waiting staff decided that we would both prefer the crusty reblochon instead of the cheese selection (we had not been asked which option we wanted). Before the food arrived we did explain that we would like one cheese selection and this was swiftly corrected. When the cheese did arrive the reblochon was reasonable, accompanied by an enjoyable sweet raspberry sauce. Although we were again both disappointed to be presented with a pre-selected plate of cheese. Maybe this is just me but I have grown accustomed to being offered a range from which to make a choice. The trilogy of sweets again lacked imagination although were perfectly adequate, which summed up the overall evening. If I had not read a review before going I would have said that it was a very strong one star restaurant that was happy where it was and concentrated on delivering consistent food and had no desire to strive for a second or third star (this is no bad thing and there are some great places that fall into this category). There was no single element - service (apart from possibly the top-hatted and remarkably elegant doorman), food, wine, size or decor that gave the impression of offering a total dining experience. My overall opinion that it would be the perfect place to take a client who you wanted to impress while ensuring that there attention was focused on you and not the surroundings or food. I recommend true “foodies” skip this and go straight to Hoff Van Cleve where they truly understand the concept of an all-round eating experience.

  • sman

    The demotion is said to be a standard practice in the event of a chef change, to give a new chef the chance of "earning" his own star. Thus the demotion was widely reported as being a standatd operating procedure and should not be seen as a reflection of lacking or lesser food.

  • Richard Hartung

    While reading Michelin, reviews I noticed that Comme Chez Soi has been reduced to only two Michelin stars! This is unbelievable as I feel it is truly one of the best restaurants ever. I have been fortunate to have discovered Comme Chez Soi in 2004 and each trip to Brussels, I make it a point to visit and ENJOY! The food, service and decor are all superb. The entire restaurant is a giant, friendly, hospitable family where each patron is given fantastic attention. I truly disagree with the 2 stars!!!

  • Alex Chambers

    A ridiculous demotion in my opinion. On a recent visit there was not a weak note amongst any of our selections, with both the crispy langoustines and zander fillet as good as I have found anywhere. Combined with some of the friendliest service I have come across at this level, the decision simply baffles me. If, as rumoured, the star has been removed due to a chef change, Michelin need to take a stern look at themselves; Pierre Wynants has been in semi-retirement for the last three years, so to punish Laurence and Lionel Rigolet simply because the succession has been finalised beggars belief. Here's hoping the decision is reversed in the near future.