Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for June, 2010

Finger food that fills

Posted by rachelinbxl on June 23, 2010

30 August 2011: Update

There are, in fact, two great Ethiopian restaurants that I know of in Belgium: Kokob (Brussels, details below) and the House of Lalibela (Leuven). The doro wat (chicken with egg and berbere sauce) is spicier in Brussels, and the selection is larger, but the Leuven restaurant is smaller, cosier and gives more ingera (both supply more on request)! I find the spinach dishes better in Leuven, and the portions may be slightly larger.  Both need reservation in advance.

House of Lalibela
Food: A
Atmosphere: A
Service: B
Price: B
Languages: English


23 June 2010: I read on trip advisor recently that the Kokob Ethiopian restaurant in the centre of Brussels is the 4th most popular resto. So perhaps this review is superfluous; but it’s a good restaurant, and I finally remembered to take my camera. So here goes.
The Kokob is a large Ethiopian restaurant just a few metres from Manneken Pis. It is very popular, and you MUST book, especially at weekends. The decor is interesting (check out the frame filled with dried orange slices) and the back of the restaurant is a lovely green. The smell is inviting and there are regular photo exhibitions and musical events to attract yet more people. I took 4 friends there, and we sampled a veggie mega mix.
You are welcomed with a cocktail of hibiscus, pineapple and rum (nonalcoholic available). At lunchtime they also bring a small snack of bulger wheat in a pleasant dressing.
There are pre-chosen menus for 1,2, 4 people. These are generally OK, but we wanted 100 % veggie (note for meat eaters, they use halal meat and do not serve pork). If you order a la carte, be warned that there must be a dish per person at the table, and they don’t count salads. It will automatically come with the house salad of plain fresh cheese, lettuce, tomato and cucumber and a small serving of the spicy spinach and cheese mix. All will be dollopped onto a huge serving tray covered with ingera (ethiopian pancakes) and you will be given another basket of strips of ingera to eat with. Everyone eats with their fingers from the same tray (or 2 trays if you are really a large group).
So, what is in the picture? their tofu with spinach (really good); a spicy spinach in tomato (good); lentils in a tomatoey sauce (not bad); the potato, cabbage and carrot dish (sweet, bland, but pleasant); an aubergine dish, and my personal favourite – the spicy cheese and spinach salad.
We did not take the veggie options of split peas and shalots (I found it far too liquid to eat with my fingers), nor the potato and beetroot (also rather bland and uninspiring).

Kokob veggie mix

It you take meat, we recommend the chicken berber, which is a very spicy sauce on one chicken drumstick, with a boiled egg. It is a typical ethiopian dish and they prepare it very well. Take fresh cheese to cool your mouth down!
The result is very filling. This is the first time we had space to even try a dessert (sugar and coffee tart). I was disappointed and wouldn’t bother again!

They have a large wine list, but we took beers. They also do hibiscus drinks, ginger, and fresh fruit juices. The real Ethiopian coffee is a treat, and we recommend it. They also have unusual teas (lavender infusion anyone?) The restaurant is loud at weekends (large open space full of people sharing food).. and the service can be a little slow… but they are very friendly and welcoming, so I still rate it very highly.
For a restaurant right near the centre, the price is right, the food is reliably good, exotically interesting and fun to share. Enjoy!

Kokob (watch out the site plays music)
Rue des Grands Carmes
1000 Bruxelles

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

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Blue Bamboo at the Bourse

Posted by rachelinbxl on June 7, 2010

In my ongoing search for a truly great Thai curry at affordable prices, I tested New Bamboo near the Bourse.
It is a mix of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, in a very pleasant setting. They have an outdoor terrace, but we chose to avoid the smokers and keep our food a bit warmer. We were very hungry, so had soup for starters as well as the mains and the jasmine tea. We even had ‘entertainment’ by way of the Police being called to deal with a woman on the terrace who refused to pay for her meal. We couldn’t quite follow the whole story without really obviously getting up to go and hear what was going on, so we’re not sure if the food was TOO spicy or not spicy enough…. but either way, she paid in the end….

So, this is the sweetcorn and chicken soup. A very corny tasting soup, creamy and not overly salted. I liked it, but preferred the pepper soup.
The pepper soup (not actually spicy, but a very rich taste). Also contained chicken and mushrooms. A very tasty soup, though I’m still not sure which pepper they mean.

I had the red curry. it was definitely not too spicy.. in fact I make it spicier myself. Eating with an Algerian friend, she asked for her Beef Tipan (see below) extra extra spicy. The guy clearly didn’t dare overdo it, but in comparison my curry was bland! Still, the mix of spices was very nice, and the creaminess of the coconut milk was still very obvious. There was definitely 2 different chicken breasts in the dish, however, as some pieces of chicken were incredibly chewy, whereas others were deliciously tender. I wasn’t sure that this was due to the candle heating device they use to keep the meal warm.

Chicken curry

Chicken curry

Served up with the rice.

This was the extra spicy Beef Tipan, which made my nose run. My friend loved it though. The waiter was very interested to know what she thought, and almost pleased when she said that next time she’d ask for it even spicier! Maybe they get bored catering to our sensitive taste buds. Anyway… I couldn’t really taste the other veggies in the dish, due to the chilis.. but she informed me that the mushrooms and peppers were delicious.
Beef dish (spicy!)

Beef Tipan

The jasmine tea was plentiful and served hot, so we were best pleased. The meal was also fairly cheap.. once I’ve tested the others I’ll give a final verdict.

New au Bamboo Fleur
Jules van praetstraat
Bruxelles Ville

Food: B+
Atmosphere: B-
Service: B
Price: A-
Languages: French, probably Vietnamese!

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