Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for February, 2009

Soft, chewy center

Posted by Pi on February 26, 2009

I tried a dessert dish at the Häagen-Dazs cafe franchise by the Louise metro, ever packed with patrons even in the winter.  They gave me a macadamia nut and white and dark chocolate warm cookie plated with one scoop of coffee-flavored fudge ice cream, a second of vanilla-caramel ice cream, and a dollop of whipped cream with chocolate sauce (~9 euros), along with a small cup of requisite water.  I smelled the rich and sweet aroma of the confection.  My expectations were high.

That cookie confounded me with the strangest pleasurable experience.  I had expected a different flavor, perhaps because of memories of other treats from Hawaii to New York City, but it did not taste like any cookie I had before.  It reminded me of extra-rich vanilla cupcake rather than a cookie because of its flavor and its fluffiness in the center.  At the same time the gradually denser and crustier outer ring concentrated so much interestingly bright flavor into its textures that I could not stop myself from reflecting upon each morsel in my mouth.  It contained sweetness, nuttiness, crunchiness from the flecks of roasted and crushed nuts coating the outside, nostalgic vanilla, and a tinge of saltiness that completed the circle.  I wanted a cookie that I remembered and instead got one that created an entirely new memory.

As for the ice cream, I did not actually know one scoop was coffee-flavored when I ordered it, and I do not like like coffee and must recuse myself from judging it.  My friend ate that.  The vanilla ice cream was respectable, though nothing out of the ordinary.  The cold of it contrasted well with the warm, sizable cookie.

I must try the chocolate fondue there when I have money to spare and the place is not crowded like a stable.  Many queued to be seated, the place seemed extremely hectic, and the time to get our bill from the waitress annoyed us.  However, if I can stand higher prices, corporate marketing, and an uncharming atmosphere that belies corporate chic, then some of the treats here really can satisfy some of my cravings.

Häagen-Dazs
Louise metro

Food: A
Price: B
Service: C
Languages: French

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Bagel mania

Posted by spacemonkey99 on February 24, 2009

We checked out this small bagel place in St. Gilles. The waitress was a bit rude but the food made up for it. If you love bagels, check it out:

Salmon bagel with side salad

This place is perfect for a small lunch.  Just don’t go here starving.  The combination of bagel sandwich, salad, and drink (together ~4-8 euros) can be quite satisfying, and much more so than the run-of-the-mill Belgian lunch sandwiches you can find everywhere.  For the record, the roasted red pepper cream cheese with smoked salmon and cress went down very nicely.

Tuna bagel with side salad

By all accounts the tuna salad tasted great, too.  The cinnamon cream cheese became too overpowering after eating about half of it, but its uniqueness still holds some charm.  Considering that bagels are not standard fare in Brussels, this place is worth checking out when you’re in the neighborhood, especially at off-peak hours.

Au Pays Des Merveilles
Avenue Jean Volders 42

Food: A-
Price: A
Atmosphere: B
Service: B-
Languages: French

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Biteable

Posted by spacemonkey99 on February 22, 2009

In the trendy St. Boniface square sits this hugely popular brasserie (note: it was not possible to get a table for 8 earlier than 9pm on a Monday night for a same-day booking).  Belgo Belge is charming with good food. It has a warm, inviting atmosphere and it’s the type of place you can take your out-of-town friends to, have a birthday dinner, a coffee and a chat – and never be disappointed.  In fact, I have done all of the above!  Almost  all the classic Belgian dishes are recommended, as are the large variety of Belgian beers on the menu.  I took friends visiting from Melbourne, Australia there and they had a great time communicating with the French-only speaking waiter for beer recommendations.

The decor is simple and tasteful and the service on the better side compared to many other places in Brussels.  Just note not to order your steak “bien cuit” as their solution seems to be to cook it to the point of the meat being inedible.

Main dishes: A-

Prices: B

Service: B+

Atmosphere: A-

Languages: French

Belgo Belge, Rue de la Paix, 1050 Bruxelles

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Waiting for an excuse to go back

Posted by spacemonkey99 on February 21, 2009

There’s nothing that I love more than good food. Throw in a cozy place and a good price and I’m in heaven. I used to walk by this place, around the corner of my house, on the way to the DelHaize down the street, all the time. I would always smell the grilling meat and it would make my mouth water. The place seemed a bit small and dark so I would I pass by and wonder. Finally, I gathered the courage to venture into the dark interior, taking some intrepid friends with me.

The interior is small but made almost romantic due to the candlelight. When the place is packed, as it almost always is, its hard to hear over the din though, so I would hardly recommend it for a romantic dinner for two in spite of its initial appearance (unless you are up for an early dinner as it seems to pick up after 20.00). All of us tried meat dishes (10-20 euros), as Mi Tango is an Argentinian restaurant. Served with a side of salad and oven fresh grilled potatoes and a delicious Argentinian “specialty” sauce, I would definitely go back.

Mi Tango, Rue de Spa 31, 1000 Brussels

Food: A
Atmosphere: A-
Service: A
Languges: French, Spanish I would guess

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Classy Kosmopol

Posted by Pi on February 19, 2009

The average foreigner should discover fairly quickly that pastas and roasted meat dishes ubiquitously populate Belgian restaurants.  What can they do to differentiate them all? Well, for starters, don’t be awful.  Be very good and a little stylish, maybe. Kosmopol in Leuven passes that test.

The Mediterranean pasta (~15 euros) with shrimp, olives, dried tomatoes, a rich sauce earned a very firm rating of… “good”.  Okay, the food is good but possibly a little boring.  However, take into consideration the ambiance as well.  Atmosphere earns this place its points.  The wide spaces, clean bar setting in reds and blacks, and much better than average service adds value to the meal.  Maybe going for a drink might be better than for a meal.

Kosmopol
Martelarenplain 10, across from the station, Leuven

Food: B
Price: B
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Languages: Dutch, English

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