Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Fancy a cuppa?

Posted by rachelinbxl on July 29, 2013

Finding a good brew in Brussels when one means tea rather than beer is a challenge. Once a year, tea amateurs Eric and Adeline de Vrij set up a Tea Garage in Brussels where one can go and taste fantastic Japanese and Taiwanese tea made really well.
Eric worked previously at Tea Smith in London Spitalfields – a great place to try when you are travelling. Their collection is built up from many sources, and I tried a Japanese Puerh called Rosecha that he found in Budapest!

Other than that, it’s make it yourself… but where can you buy it?

L’Heure Bleu. Avenue des Arts 12, 1210 Brussels (Metro Madou)
Nong Cha. Dansaertstr 4, 1000 Brussels (Bourse)
Eden, rue du Page 27, 1050 Brussels
Tea and Eat, place Stephanie, 1000 Brussels (Betjeman and Barton teas)
Septieme Tasse, rue Bailli
Maison du The, Rue du Postillon, 1180 Uccle
Do you have any other good tea recommendations in Brussels? Let me know!

Tea Garage
Drinks: A (they do offer homemade biscuits, but I won’t pay that for shortbread!)
Atmosphere: B (well, its a garage, but all customers are into tea and easy to chat to!)
Service: A
Price: B+
Languages: French, English

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Bite Me Update

Posted by rachelinbxl on July 8, 2013

A common problem with a blog is going back to check old posts are still relevant. Has the cuisine got better/worse? Has the price/quality ratio changed? Is the restaurant even still there?
Well, this weekend I wanted to go back to this cafe: Ethiopian Coffee and it isn’t there. However, I am told it has just moved to Place St Jean, Brussels centre. Can anyone confirm this?

Also, while in the Marolles, I stopped by the stock up on beers at ‘Au nom de la biere’, mentioned in this post on burger and beer. The shop is rented from the hotel next to the public swimming pool on Place de Jeu de Balles, and they want the space back. So they are closing down and beer is 30-50% reduced. I got a 3 Fonteinen Schaerbeekse Kriek 75cl bottle for 16 euros… so anyone wanting to try hard to find bottles… get over to the Marolles before 25 July! Stop by for mussels and the Bal National on 21 July even! The shop is open on Sundays.

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Wine and dine in the Marolles

Posted by rachelinbxl on June 29, 2013

This Bite Me Brussels contributor is a big fan of beer and wine, as well as good food. Of course, this is also due to the delightful way wine and beer can complement food. I joined a Meetup group that goes wine tasting twice a month, and my first attendance was a delightful discovery.
I already like the Marolles area of Brussels, below the Palais de Justice, really just two parallel streets of antique shops, the giant flea market and vintage shops that spring up around it, endless brunch possibilities and it’s open on Sundays. What’s not to like?
But I have never been there in the evening during the week.
So, Wednesday evening in the Marolles, this Meetup took 20 wine fans to the relatively new ‘Studio 126’. This opened in March 2013 and is run by a lovely Belgian-English-Italian couple. He is an oenologist and makes his own wine (in italy). He takes care of the wine side of the shop. She is an interior designer, hence the lovely wall painting, and takes care of the ‘knick-knacks’ side of the shop.

Our oenologist and the lovely interior design of Studio 126

Our oenologist and the lovely interior design of Studio 126

The wine selection is modest, but well chosen for variety and price range. It is not exclusively Italian, but does concentrate on Italian wines.
There offer tasting by the glass on a selection of bottles (price varies according to the price of the bottle). They also have Italian charcuterie and cheeses to go with the wines (all excellent in their own right, and hard to get hold of in Belgium).
So.. one can drop by for some excellent council in Italian grape varieties, styles, regions and flavours… taste a glass … try some Italian treats, and maybe buy a bottle for later.
Every other Friday evening, they serve an Italian aperitif, with a dish and a glass of wine at a fixed price. They also offer 3 small tables during the weekend and serve pasta or risotto, again with wine. The offerings are typically Italian, so you might want to call and check if you don’t want to try squid or intestines.

In short, I went to a wine tasting and discovered a place that I want to go for a Friday night apero, or a Sunday meal! Guests are welcomed as friends and the mix of wine and interior design makes for a lovely setting to discover some sunshine in a glass. Really necessary this June in Belgium!

My favourite of those sampled

My favourite of those sampled

Studio 126
Rue Blaes 126, 1000 Bruxelles (in the Marolles area)

Food: not yet tested
Wine: excellent
Atmosphere: A
Service: A  very friendly and knowledgeable
Price: B
Languages: French, Italian, English, a little Dutch

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Thai food AND massage

Posted by rachelinbxl on June 6, 2013

Well, this post is about gettin the best of both worlds – a Thai massage and thai food – prepared by your masseuse no less!

I discovered Luang Pak Dee spa at the Thai festival held out in Stoekel last year. They had stands from many Thai restaurants across Brussels and cooking demonstrations from chefs. It was a meltingly hot day and we were tired from the trek out there, so we stripped off to test one of the many Thai massage stands. For the same price, the 3 of us got very different massages, but we were all impressed, so I booked for a friend and I to test a full 1 hr massage. The spa is very near the Grand Place, in a somewhat seedy street near the Casino. Inside, you are transported to Thailand with magnificent furniture and decoration. They speak all languages, but none well. The guy upstairs seemed confused that I had booked and had to get someone on the phone. Shortly afterwards, 2 women came running up the street wearing not enough clothes for such a cold day. He took us downstairs to get changed into the supplied massage clothing. I chose traditional Thai massage that is a mix of pressure point and almost chiropractic manipulation and stretching. If you choose aromatherapy with oil, I imagine the massage is conducted without clothing.

In Thai massage, your masseuse gets on the table with you and pulls you into various positions. Neither of them spoke English or French, so we communicated in sign language when she needed me to turn over, to lace my fingers, to resist or go with her motion. The pressure point massage is tough. They really go for it… I almost screamed a few times, but came out feeling like I was walking on new legs! My friend had a similar experience. I prefer focus on the neck and shoulders, where I tend to keep my stress, but I let them do their thing – and they do focus more on the legs, without ignoring any part – they do your head, face, back, arms and hands.

For me, the major advantage of this spa is that it is open on a Sunday. It is 50 euros for a 1hour Thai massage and the reason this is making it onto a restaurant review blog… is that they also run a Thai restaurant nearby. It’s called Thai Talks and is more of a snack bar than a long relaxing sit down dinner…. and our meals were prepared by our masseuses. They clearly had been summoned from there when we arrived and they left before we were dressed… so I am moved to wonder who was cooking during our 1 hour massage – as I saw noone else working there.

I have no photos of our food, as I did not take a camera with me for a massage! I chose the typical Phad Thai noodles – served with 2 giant prawns, chicken, peanut and tamarind. This was delicious, if a little sweet from the tamarind. Not too spicy, and a good serving size. The noodles were well prepared; in short I really liked it. My friend took the red curry with mixed seafood and this was nicely spiced. The seafood came from the freezer (we could watch the preparation, so we know)… but they were good quality. We hesitated on drinks, so our waitress recommended ‘Thai Ice Tea’. This is homemade with longan fruit. It is sweet, with a prune-like flavour. I found it refreshing with the meal and very pleasant. The whole thing was very good value (we paid 30 euros for the two of us). The service was very much ‘leave you to it’. Given the basic language skills, this was optimal.. we were in the back room and could chat comfortably while they chatted to each other (it was quiet time.. we were alone in the resto). We did not wait long if we needed anything, but they didn’t come on check on us. I prefer this sort of service in a snack bar anyway!

It’s not a big place; nor overly comfy. The chairs were basic and the toilet was down a spiral staircase through the kitchen.
I was just amused that you can get authentic Thai massage and cuisine from the same woman in 2 short hours, near the grand place, for a good price. So, I recommend it to you, dear readers.. if you fancy a massage or a thai snack!

Luang Pak Dee
22 rue Duquesnoy, 1000 Bruxelles

English and French spoken at reception, masseuses use ‘sign language!’

Thai Talks
Rue des Pierres 51, 1000 Bruxelles

Food: B
Atmosphere: B
Service: A Very friendly
Price: A
Languages: English of some sort,…?

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Ce soir on dine a Marrakech

Posted by rachelinbxl on April 18, 2013

Ce soir on dine a Marrakech (tonight we dine in Marrakech) is one of those restaurants that is so near by that I never get around to going. Ave Brugmann is not a concentration of restaurants, so you have to choose to go to this one. I finally made it with 2 work colleagues. which means the photos are lower quality (it is strange to be photographing a colleague’s dinner so I didn’t like to try a few times to get a picture without steam)!
The decor is very Moroccan – possibly more so than IN Morocco. The tables are large round ones on metal legs, with the trays on them for tea and so on. The chairs around the walls are laced with cushions in bright colours, and those Moroccan lamps hang everywhere.
The owner is clearly Moroccan and the welcome is thus warm. They immediately brought olives and the menu. It was a hard choice.

The restaurantTray tables

In the end I went for chicken with preserved lemon and olives – a reliable favourite dish. My colleagues chose lamb with mixed vegetables (shown on the left) and lamb with apricots (too far away to photograph). We ordered couscous to go with these. All of them were tasty.  Dried fruit goes well with lamb, but does make the tajine sweet. I prefer green olives to the violet variety, but these are more tangy and go well with the lemon. All of us felt there was a lot of meat (and bones – be careful). The service was attentive, but not overly so.

Lamb and vegetablesChicken and preserved lemon

I’d have loved to try sweets, but we didn’t have space for anything more than mint tea. but this was served traditionally and was excellent. I’m only giving it a B on price because it is not the best value for money Moroccan I have tried in Belgium. It’s also not the widest choice, nor the highest flavour rating.. but it’s good… and if you are in the area it is worth stopping in to Dine in Marrakech.

Mint Tea

Ce soir on dine a Marrakech
Ave Brugmann 408,
1180 Uccle

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

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