Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for June, 2009

A Bozar Breakfast: Bleah

Posted by Pi on June 25, 2009

bozar

We went there for one of the regular 11AM Sunday concerts some while ago, and, amazingly, breakfast comes with the ticket.  How often do you get free perks in Brussels?

I don’t know what I was expecting, but of course they only served disappointing pain au chocolat and croissants, plus mediocre coffee and juice.  Clearly the arts at this “Center for Fine Arts” don’t include the culinary.

I was so hungry that morning that I hoarded about five of the pastries from the buffet line into our breadbasket before my friend told me we were only supposed to take two at most.  Oops.  Nobody said anything, and by that point my indignation with the place took over anyway, so I had no shame in bringing them all back to the table to eat.  I did hope that nobody was staring at our mound of croissants for two people.

The pastries were actually pretty bad, considering we’re in Brussels — they were sort of hard with an old, suspicious-tasting chocolate — but my pride stopped me from putting them down after the first one.  I would apologize for taking extra, but the windowless geriatric atmosphere of the cafeteria maybe served as penance enough.

Aside from that, the pianist was pretty good!  She must not have eaten the breakfast.

Bozar
Rue Ravensteinstraat 23, 1000 Brussels

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Ice cream slut

Posted by Pi on June 22, 2009

That’s right, I’ll eat it anywhere, anytime.

For your viewing pleasure, pictured below is some extra-sweet dulce-de-leche ice cream over a thick Liege-style waffle, from the Häagen-Dazs novelty ice cream shop in the touristy city center.

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Here’s a beautiful scoop of the cookies ‘n’ creme:

hg2

Don’t you love the desserts in Brussels?

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Much food for your money

Posted by spacemonkey99 on June 19, 2009

Post-Antwerp 10 mile race, which apparently is one of the races with the highest attendance in Belgium with 25,000 runners, we discovered a place where you get so much food for your money. For once we couldn’t actually eat it all. Unfortunately, all I can tell you for now is that it is in the center of Antwerp, very close to the train station. The waitress kindly humoured our post-race smelly selves and let us feast.

The 1/2 grilled chicken came with a side of potatoes and a huge salad. The meat platter was a meat-fest and the vol-au-vent was good. The table full of food cost us less than 15 euros a person with a large bottle of water.

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

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Best bowl of ramen noodles

Posted by Pi on June 17, 2009

yamato1

Okay, so I haven’t actually tried the ramen from every single place possible in Belgium.  But this ain’t Japan, folks.  Ramen stands are not like the kebab shops.  So if you’ve found one bowl of delicious noodles around here that stands out above all the rest so far, then you can safely bet that you’ve found the best in Brussels, at least for now.

Such is the case for the miso katsu ramen (9 euros) at tiny Yamato off St. Boniface.  The homemade noodles are a little chewier and denser than at other places, and consequently they carry flavor really well.  The miso broth with bean sprouts and green onions is flavored richly without being too salty, and the small portion of fried battered pork on top finishes the whole creation.

Yes, you might think it strange to pay that much for post-work snack food.  And… you’d be right.  But sometimes when you’ve got a craving, you have to give in.  It’s all about the textured long noodles, about the meat, about the cold Asahi.  It’s about sitting at the bar jam-packed side-by-side with everyone else waiting for the same thing; about smelling the spring onions and the gyoza in the air.  The chefs toil in front of you to bring you what you order.  You sit on the waiting chairs in the back for half an hour just to get a seat.  You see the steam from the miso broth rise from the center of the bar to heat the whole place up, while the cold Brussels rain falls outside the plate windows behind you.  Then a seat opens up, and now you’re hungry and ready to order ramen in Europe.

No, this is not exactly like Japan.  Maybe that’s why we like it.

Yamato
Rue Francart 11 (St. Boniface), Brussels

Food: B+
Atmosphere: C
Charm: A
Price: B+
Languages: French, Japanese?

yamoto2

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Make it a Thursday night

Posted by spacemonkey99 on June 14, 2009

Over the last three years I have watched the evolution of one of my favorite eateries. The first time I went to El Vergel, I remember thinking the food was great and it was cheap relative to the quality and amount you received. Then about a year later I was a bit annoyed at the obvious and quite large prices increases (over 2 euros on some dishes) that appeared practically overnight. This was attributed to the price of meat going up (that vicious cycle of increasing grain costs due to fuel costs blah blah). Of course it didn’t have anything to do with the hordes of Eurocrats that flock there every lunch from the European Parliament and Commission and the ING and other bankers in the area, all of whom obviously have money to spend.

That said, the food is still delicious, and they still make a hell of a margarita if you happen to drop by on a Thursday night (the only night of the week that they stay open for dinner). Top of the list are the chicken and beef tacos (7.10 and 7.50 euros respectively) and the chicken salad (9.30 euros). The daily special is usually a meat and potato/rice/plantain type dish and almost always great (~10 euros). Sometimes it is packed for lunch and the service can be quite slow, but generally friendly. The best time to go is Thursday evening when there are less customers and you can enjoy your meal in some peace. The cheesecake (3.70 euros) is probably the best in town.

El Vergel, Rue du Trone 39, 1050 Elsene

Food: A
Atmosphere: A/B ~ depends if its for lunch or on a Thursday night
Service: A/B ~ depends if its for lunch or on a Thursday night
Price: B
Languages: French, English, Spanish

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