Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Farmers seafood?

Posted by rachelinbxl on September 3, 2010

Along St Catherine there are numerous seafood restaurants. I have tried a few, but almost always when we have meetings at work and need to take foreigners out for mussels, so I would categorise most of them as tourist traps where you pay over the odds for a bowl of mussels. However, for a friend’s leaving party he recommended Bij Den Boer (literally, at the Farmer’s Place) on St Catherine. I was intrigued, as it’s name implied it might not be a seafood joint.
It is. Mainly. They do serve a few meat dishes, but I wasn’t tempted to deviate from their specialties. I dared my first pot of moules with frites ever!
Once we had ordered, we got a free appetizer, which was a bowl of really fresh shrimps. They still ‘had their clothes on’, which put off a couple of diners, but the rest of us gaily peeled them.

Mise en bouche

Then the Piece de Resistance arrived: the mussels. At our table we had 4 pots of mussels and 2 of their fish dishes. The mussels were excellent. This does, of course, depend on the season, but I am told that this restaurant won’t serve mussels unless they are OK. They offer white wine, cream, garlic, provencale, cream and garlic or ‘house special’ versions of mussels. I chose cream and garlic.

So here are the moules and the frites. The sauce was not overbearing. In fact, I think they were cooked in just the cream, onion and leak as always, and it was the small extra pot of sauce that we got that had the garlic in. Either way, it was excellent and the fries were the equal of any of the good friet stands in Brussels. We also got bread (no point, we didn’t have room).

The Restaurant’s special cod was truly excellent. We didn’t ask exactly what it was, but the sauce clearly had basil in it. It served on a bed of creamy mashed potato and though it looked small in the huge bowl, it was a very decent serving. I couldn’t finish the whole pot of mussels, so my friend helped me out by transferring a few mussels into the remaining sauce, hence the picture of the mussel 6-pack next to the cod. None of us had space for dessert, however tempting the chocolate mousse, tarte tatin or creme brulee looked.
The place is welcoming, not too large and not too small. Bookings are a necessity and it was packed on a Thursday night, but the noise level was still very good. Service was slightly snobbish, but very efficient and very polite. Definitely one of the better restaurants I have tried in Brussels, though not the cheapest. It is a fair price-quality ratio. A bowl of mussels with all the trimmings is 22 euros. We had wine, so the total was 30 euros per person. You can get cheaper on the Quai, but I don’t think they’d be as good 😉
Next time work is offering to pay for dinner, I’ll recommend the seafood from these farmers!

Bij Den Boer
Quai aux Briques 60
1000 Brussels

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


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