Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Beer, with beer and beer

Posted by rachelinbxl on April 20, 2010

OK, I am adding to the second post about Restobieres with a third! This is a Brussels institution for me and a common recommendation to visitors, though I do not often indulge myself. I did, however, last week, with colleagues. Firstly – Restobieres has moved. Oh, it’s still rue des Renards, but instead of the tall, thin building they had with rooms on the second floor and a strange toilet in the basement, they are now in a large, one-storey installation on the other side of the road! It is bright, with a glass door hiding the beer fridges and perhaps a summer courtyard. The walls are still adorned with the strange decorations (like the collection of asparagus shaped plates). Apparently there is space upstairs where the owner wants to install a games room and bar (interesting!). They have also updated the menu (though the faithful favourites are still there). The cheese dish was a HUGE disappointment. Gone the huge chunks of extra stinky local specialties – we were given tiny pieces of unidentified cheese (a blue, a soft and a hard rind), admittedly served more delicately with appel sirop, nuts and pine nuts… but still – I prefer local quality rather than presentation.

The beer selection is still decent and the service as carefree as always. So, still a place I would recommend to tourists, but less to locals who can find better food and then a good bar for a decent beer selection. I leave my 2010 review below as a memory of better food, if not a better locale.

 

Pieguybxl has already posted about restobieres, but I felt a follow up was required when my brother had an impromptu weekend in Brussels – taking the long way back to London from Zurich since there were no planes, but trains were running.
This little place in rue des renards in the Marolles area is cute. Their policy is everything with beer.
We hadn’t booked, and on a Saturday night this was a bad idea. The last table for 3 was outside on the terrace, which given the weather was fine by us, but which did involve cars squeezing past us every few minutes. THe people on the road side can’t exactly sit back and relax. And of course the guy at the table next to us started smoking a cigar just as we were half way through our main dish. Lovely. Still, if you can’t smoke outside, where can you smoke these days?

We tried the stoemp (Belgian sausage with mashed potatoes that come with bits of other veggies in them, and generally also lardons), the carbonnade (Belgian beef stew always made with beer, also served with lumpy mash) and the salmon with kriek (a cherry beer). We also tried a few of their brews.

XX biter, Abbaye des Rocs (Blond), Buffalo (Stout)

These were the first three beers, and I liked them all. THe waitress was very knowledgeable and by giving her the names of a few well-known beers I liked, she identified the special beers I might enjoy. We were all impressed! The XX is indeed bitter, a little like Bink. The blond from Abbaye des Rocs was full-bodied like a leffe blond or triple karmeliet, but with more flavour. The Buffalo was the biggest surprise – I don’t normally enjoy stout, but here was a thick black beer with a slight caramel flavour – like Rochefort trappist beers. Yummm. Rather rich to have with dinner, but delicious.

The beef stew – very tender meat in a rich sauce with the slight fruit and acidity of Rodenbach. Excellent!

The stoemp in onion gravy with Chouffe. Really really good. The mashed potato with cabbage was a little watery, but not bad at all.

The salmon with kriek. And 3 rather pathetic small potatoes. But the fish was excellent, really melt in the mouth, and with plenty of very tasty cherry beer sauce! The prawns were rather a wasted addition to the plate, however.
Overall the first course was really good, but we were not entirely satisfied with the portions. The prices are fair, but you can get more stoemp for 10 euros elsewhere. It may not be as good, of course.
Still, we were tempted by ‘dessert’. The orders for waffles with cherries and kriek beer were already backing up, so it was chocolate mousse or the cheese platter. We all went for the cheese. With hindsight, 2 to share between the 3 of us would have been enough. It didn’t help that by this point everyone who had reserved had arrived and the waiters were rushed off their feet. We had to remind them for the bread, for our second round of beers, and really chase them for the bill at the end.

The cheeses were worth it though. Not all of them are made with beer, 2 are. But the others need beer to be able to digest the strength of them. especially the Vieux Lille. I must find a place to buy it for my dad. Wikipedia, in French, says this . You can click on English, but it isn’t as detailed. Anyway, its a pungent but fantastic cheese. In fact, I’d go back there in the afternoon just for cheese and a beer!

Abbaye des Rocs (brune), Hercule, La Divine

La Divine is an amber beer that was pleasant, but not as outstanding as their other offerings. I also found Hercule a disappointment compared to Buffalo – though it is certainly more drinkable than Guiness. The Abbaye des Rocs brune was an excellent brown beer; this is a brewery to remember.
I ventured inside to use the facilities and discovered they have an upstairs and a guy who ‘entertains’ the people inside also. It’s small, but definitely a place to go back to.
Once we had chased down the bill, we were pleasantly surprised there also. 25 euros per person for a main course, 2 beers and a cheese plate is really very reasonable in the centre of Brussels. Next time, I’ll reserve a table though.

Restobieres
Rue des Renards
Les Marolles, Bruxelles

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

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One Response to “Beer, with beer and beer”

  1. pieguybxl said

    I really want to taste the salmon — it’s on my list of what to get the next time I go back there… sounds like I should still take it!

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