Mousel's Cantine is famous for being "authentically" Luxembourgish
Photo: Happy Dayz
Up for hearty fare during winter? Mousel’s Cantine might just be the ticket. Duncan Roberts weighs in for a restaurant review.
I arrive at Mousel’s Cantine at 9:30 in the evening, replenished by perhaps one too many beers at a nearby after-work drink.
For some inexplicable reason, it is a first visit to the establishment for several years. We are a lively group, a mix of Luxembourgers, French, Belgians, Americans and a couple of Brits. But the waiting staff take everything in their stride, and show us, without fuss, to a back room where we can dine in almost complete privacy. Drinks are ordered, with the majority at our table plumping for the brasserie’s renowned Clausel “Gezwickelt”--an unfiltered beer that is refreshing without being overpowering, and a great accompaniment for the type of food we are about to dive into.
The Cantine is famous for being “authentically” Luxembourgish. That means the menu is heavy on meat, and especially pork in all its varieties. There are sausages, pig’s trotters braised in beer, pork filet mignon, and those Luxembourg staples of “mixed” ham (meaning raw and cooked) with chips and salad or Judd mat Gaardebounen (smoked pork shoulder and beans).
I thought I was porked out having just returned from England, where I had enjoyed a favourite at my local village pub of pork belly with black pudding and scallops, and a dish of Asian marinated pork chops in Manchester’s famous Mackie Mayor. But seeing it on the menu, I cannot resist going for the brasserie’s pièce de résistance, the Schwéngshax.
The pork knuckle comes with cabbage and some nicely sautéed potatoes. However, they are all but forgotten as the knife crunches through the thick crisp crackling to reveal succulent dark pork meat and unleash a rich, slightly smoky aroma.
There are hearty shouts for more beer, which arrives with good haste. Others on our table try the bouchée à la reine, the cordon-bleu crème champignons and even an entrecôte, which all look passable if rather uninspired compared to the mighty shiny glaze of the Schwéngshax.
Offers of dessert are rebuffed with the groans of overstuffed bellies, though a digestif--I plump for a framboise eau-de-vie--provides welcome respite.
The bill is surprisingly reasonable and the walk up the hill into town is the perfect postprandial exercise.
It may be several years before I enter the old place again, but for simple but hearty winter fare in jovial company, Mousel’s Cantine is just the ticket.