As some of you may know, we spent the last month away from Luxembourg, in the Cretan wilderness. But excitingly so, as soon as we came back, we were greeted with lots of surprises and new things. Strawberries on our patio garden, news about a local sustainable grocery shop nearby us, and…the opening of a really cool, almost “too good to be true” restaurant, in the heart of the city.
Meet “Beet”. A restaurant serving “conscious food” as written in their baseline. I found out about them on Facebook, and the pictures of their beautiful interiors were truly eye candy. That was all I saw, as they had apparently just opened. What are they all about? And so, what type of food do they serve? David and I (along with our lovely intern Nadine) had to grab this opportunity and meet them in person!
This exciting new place was brought to life by Pit, Frank, and Nico, three young folks with a passion for good food.
Tell us a little bit about this new adventure:
Pit: Frank and I studied economics & management together in Innsbruck, and on the side, I was working at this gastronomic vegetarian restaurant called “Chez Nico”. So I was getting quite inspired by that and Nico, the owner, had been my mentor, as he already worked for 20 years in the business. The three of us then decided to open something in Luxembourg. The idea was to create something new, different to other places: a kitchen serving vegetarian food which is accessible and interesting to everyone (not just vegetarians). One of the pillars of our concept is to provide tasty food without too much fuss and not too many weird unknown ingredients, so that everybody can feel welcome. No tofu here besides inside the vegan mayo which we make ourselves. No seitan either. The patties, for example are made of only vegetables! . This is a place where you can come and have a good time, eat something healthier, mostly organic and consciously-sourced, local ingredients.
Our goal is to create a tasty, alternative kitchen, but for “everybody”. We want to prove that this food can be special, delicious and accessible as well as part of a social progress.
At the beginning, we weren’t even sure we were going to make it 100% vegetarian, but we just went for it, because it is definitely needed in Luxembourg. For a long time after that, we didn’t know if we wanted to even label it as vegetarian, as it tends to scare people away, (as we noticed at the previous restaurant we were working at).The effect of not really labelling it as such is very interesting. We’ve only been open for a few days now, and it seems that all sorts of people like to come, find out about our menu and have a nice homemade veggie burger they didn’t expect to be this tasty!
So do you consider yourselves as part of a new movement?
Frank: Yes, I think we’re at a point where we all need to start thinking about how to change the way we consume and where our food comes from. There are plenty of ways of doing that and more and more of us are forming new, more mindful habits. It’s not only about “not eating animals”, but about being conscious about what you eat, how you buy it, and how you connect with the origins of it. Every choice can influence something positive and it can be enjoyable, too. We feel like we are part of that.
How do you apply these principles in the sourcing of your ingredients and the way you decorate your interiors?
Pit: When it comes to the decoration for example, we wanted to follow the concept of doing something “differently”. We got involved with friends who have design studios and they helped us create the interior design and to come up with interesting, custom-made, furniture. On top of that, we generally tried to make sustainable decisions when it came to the materials: we only used european wood, regional materials, collaborated with Luxemburgish workers and we also did a bit of upcycling and DIY.
Pit showing me their awesome handmade mini benches made of reclaimed wood!
Pit: When it comes to the ingredients we use in our kitchen, we are doing our best to make the most conscious choices possible. We make our own pita breads, vegetable burger patties, vegan homemade dips and sauces, and our burger buns are completely vegan and made at a local bakery following our recipe. We get delicious cheese from local and small organic farms (for example Bio Baltes), and are trying to get our vegetables directly from a single source most of the time and our soft drinks might not be organic but they are regional. We always have to juggle around making the right decisions. We are also quite conscious about the waste we generate and try to purchase in a sustainable way, so that we can recycle as much as possible.
That sounds mindfully delicious!!! What is THE dish that you definitely suggest ordering at your place?
Pit: It’s hard to choose (laughs)! Our two big highlights are the falafels and the burgers. We also have really nice soups and salads that will change seasonally. I guess what you choose really will depend on your mood! Personally, when I’m hungover for example, I love to have the burger, it really gives you a little boost. But the falafels are also my favourites because they are served with our homemade pita bread which we make with kamut (ancient variety of wheat). This particular ingredient somehow gives them a really buttery, comforting taste.
How are people reacting to it?
Pit: We were a little afraid at the beginning, but now that we are open, there’s no way back and we’re ready for it. There are still some minor problems with service as we have just started, but the response is already incredible. Last saturday, on the Fête de la Musique, we practically sold out all of our food and there was almost nothing left! We are happy to see that people realize that we’re not there to educate them but to provide them delicious healthy food.
Frank: Yes, the way we want to appeal to people is like a passive, gentle and tasty renewing of the mind. We want people to say “We’re going to Beet”, not “We’re going to a vegetarian restaurant”, so that this concept can fit into normality and something that is accessible to everyone. So far, it’s working!
How do you see this unfolding in the future?
Pit: Well, our structure is made simple and can be really easily transplanted to another place. Of course, we’re not planning to take over MacDonalds (laughs) but we would definitely love to expand the concept further in the future and be able to provide our food to more people!
Find Beet on Facebook
Credits: Photography by David Mourato