Bozar Restaurant – Craftsmanship
Bozar Restaurant is a unique restaurant located in the heart of Brussels in Belgium. It is the restaurant of Chef Karen Torosyan and the place where he shares his vision on gastronomy with the world. Bozar is located inside the Bozar art center, the famous center for Fine Arts in Brussels. The central train station is located only a few minutes away by foot, making the restaurant very reachable from locations all over Europe. Bozar Restaurant is housed at the ground floor of the building and chef Torosyan took part in the whole building renovation and restoration project.
At his restaurant, tradition and innovation of Franco-Belgian classics go hand in hand, and this aspect is also underlined in the interior. Referring to a traditional brasserie, the interior is bright and spacious, with plenty of natural daylight coming in through the big windows. Lots of wood is combined with red and purple colours and tables are covered with leather tablecloths. The ensemble is elegant and timeless and reminds us of the better brasseries in Paris. At the left side of the restaurant, there is a big open kitchen and the tables just in front offer a great view of the chefs at work. It is a good idea to reserve one of these ‘chef tables’. Underneath the restaurant, however, there is an even bigger kitchen where all preparations of the chef’s unique dishes are done.
Chef Karen Torosyan is one of the most remarkable chefs in Belgium – if not Europe. Karen originally hails from Armenia and arrived in Belgium at the age of 18. He finished his hospitality studies at INFOBO and gained experience in various types of restaurants such as Michelin starred Bruneau and Chalet de la Forêt. It was at these restaurants that Karen discovered the real French cooking and the need of structure and hard work in the kitchen. At the famous La Paix restaurant of Chef David Martin, Karen also learnt the business aspects of running a restaurant. It was under the wings of Chef David Martin that Karen got the opportunity to go his own way with the start of Bozar Brasserie. After a few years he became fully independent and quickly gained name and fame in the culinary world.
What makes Karen truly unique is his total devotion of creating perfect dishes and bringing a selection of great French classic dishes back to life. In a time where chefs often try to do more and combine more flavours, Karen does just the opposite. He chooses to work on a limited selection of dishes but only serves them once they are truly perfect. With this approach, the chef caught the attention of the sector and was awarded best Belgian brasserie in the Gault&Millau guide in 2013. In 2015, Karen Torosyan was crowned world champion ‘Pâté en croûte’, one of the dishes that illustrate his quest for perfecting French classics. The first Michelin star followed in 2015.
Ingredient quality is the first and most important step for Karen Torosyan. Whether it is a duck that is served with a leather pendant which marks the number and traceability, “Allaiton de l'Aveyron” lamb, pistachios from Sicily or even the coffee that accompanies the mignardises: every and each ingredient has to be the best Karen can possibly find. Most products also arrive in their entirety in the restaurant, such as the eel or even the lamb. This gives Karen control over the quality and the freedom to cut and use the product how he wants. With the bones and intestines, brilliant sauces or side dishes are made.
It is quite a challenge to select some of Karen’s best and most typical dishes. Every dish that the chef creates is after all refined to perfection. The most labour-intensive dishes have to be ordered at least one day in advance as they just take that much time to prepare. Famous examples here are the “Pithiviers” of duck of Challans by Gérard Burgaud with goose foie gras, or the pigeon in seed crust. The latter is a stunning dish where Karen combines a layer of Mont Royal pigeon, a layer of goose foie gras, and a layer of in-house smoked eel, served in a crust of grains on which the pigeons feed. A perfectly prepared Beef Wellington is on the menu, too, and combines Simmental beef tenderloin with Paris mushrooms and a powerful sauce. This is a dish that is only served to a group of 6 to 10 persons. Desserts also deserve a special mention. The bitter chocolate pie, completed at the table with two royal scoops of brilliant vanilla and pistachio ice cream, definitely is one of the best we ever tasted. But other classic desserts, such as the Mille Feuille with vanilla from Tahiti (order 24 hours in advance), the baba au rhum or the Paris-Brest are all worth a try. The restaurant offers a very interesting changing à la carte menu, a tasting menu in 3 or 5 courses with an unbeatable price-quality ratio, and the famous classic and signature preparations that have to be ordered in advance. Service is discreet yet professional, and the wine list offers some interesting classic references.
Karen Torosyan maybe is one of the most promising chefs in Europe. Originally coming from Armenia, Karen became a figurehead of the French cuisine and in particular of some classic evergreen preparations that you just cannot eat at other places (at least not from this quality). His ‘croûtes’ (preparations in crusts), like the ‘Pithivier’, the ‘pigeon en croute’ and the ‘paté en croûte’, gained a celebrity status in the culinary world. However, it is the level of quality in each and every preparation that makes Bozar stand out. Whether it is the shrimp croquette that is served as an appetiser, the eel in a green sauce or the sublime chocolate pie: Karen serves perfection and nothing but perfection.
Bozar scored 88 points of 100 points in our rating system. View our Top 60 of the world. Back to the reviews.
By Sven & Frank
Rue Baron Horta 3
Phone: + 32 2 503.00.00
one of the world's best chocolate pies
inside the kitchen