Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘American’

Not such a cool bun

Posted by rachelinbxl on April 6, 2013

Well…. I finally made it out to Cool Bun. It was for a friend’s birthday. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it! I certainly didn’t need a burger after the Hard Rock overdose… but I did feel the need to check out the last in the competition.
So, Cool Bun near Place Stephanie. Well, the service is good. The decor is a little boring, but not bad. The toilets weren’t up to much, but were at least clean. My difficulty was finding it. I thought it was closer to Place Stephanie, but you actually need to go up past Mig’s World Wines (a favourite wine shop of mine on Chaussee de Charleroi – but this isn’t a wine blog)….
Saturday lunchtime it is open till 15:00, which fits well with the generally late shift of my habits on Saturday. It was even quite busy up till the kitchen closed.
The 2 waitresses were welcoming and even a bit fast to try and take our orders. In fact we both opted for the Apple Jack Burger, since the special I wanted to try with echalottes fried in Westmalle and mushrooms was off the menu. We both went for ‘a point’ – I don’t like meat too bloody, especially a burger. This burger includes onion rings, oven-dried tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and BBQ sauce (with a choice of spicy or plain). I took spicy and it wasn’t really spicy.
The onion rings weren’t a highlight for me. They weren’t bad.. but not outstanding. The fries were a mixed bunch. My dining companion actually got a fairly decent plate of chips, I got little crispy bits of potato. We realised later on that he preferred the crunchy bits and we could swap so I could have something resembling potato…. but I still have to give their fries the thumbs down. This is Belgium. We have standards.
The homemade bread was good, and I liked the little salad that comes with the burger. The meat was good, not over seasoned, and cooked as requested. I still prefer Ellis Gourmet Burger and Les Super Filles du Tram/ Houstiplou. My last gripe would be the prices here. The apple jack is one of the cheapest burgers at 15 euros (includes fries, not the case at Ellis). The specials are at about 20-22 euros. This is over my limit for a burger. The wines and bio beers are not overpriced, but not cheap either, and I thought the wine selection by the glass was a bit poor. I chose a beer.

Cool Bun

Apple Jack Burger

All in all, not a place to avoid: I encourage bio, friendly restos near the centre… but not an outstanding burger.

Cool Bun
Rue Berckmans 34
1060 Saint-Gilles (near Place Stephanie)

Food: B-
Atmosphere: B
Service: A- Friendly but card reader broken so I had to wait while my friend went out for cash
Price: C
Languages: English, French

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Posted in Brew in Bruxelles, Feeling Carnivorous?, Frite Off! | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Burger wars rock on

Posted by rachelinbxl on March 22, 2013

There have been a few blogs on the best burger in Brussels (see Ultimate Burger Guide or Burger Wars) and I myself added tests of Houtsiplou and Burger Republic. Since then I have tried Ellis Gourmet Burger at St. Catherine and was pleasantly surprised by the decor, the speedy service and the burger quality.
I am not generally a big burger fan, so my tests have not included the recommended Cool Bun (yet). It’s taken me 3 years to try 4 burger joints. I could not resist, however, an invitation, to try ALL the Legendary Burgers at the recently opened Hard Rock Cafe on the Grand Place. This is my first ‘blog perk’ – an invitation for a foodie who reviews in English and an opportunity for them to therefore get free publicity.
Win – win really!
So, I grabbed a couple of friends and took them out for a feast on me. We tried all 7 burgers.  Luckily they made mini versions, or we might have died trying to accomplish a mission impossible.

For the record – the list was:
Legendary 10 Oz – burger with bacon, cheddar and a fried onion ring,
SOB burger – Chipotle spiced patty, Jack cheese. guacamole and grilled onions, served with a homemade salsa
Hickory BBQ Bacon – burger with BBQ sauce, caramelised onions, bacon, cheddar
Big Cheese – you can choose American, Jack. Cheddar or Swiss but we couldn’t in the mini
Red, White and Blue Burger – burger with spicy Wayne sauce and cajun seasoning topped with a fried onion ring and swiss blue cheese.
Mushroom and Swiss – smothered with mushrooms sauteed in garlic and red and white wine and topped with swiss cheese.
California – ranch dressing, cucumber, guacamole and Jack.

ALL the above burgers came in a bun made with potato flakes to ensure the bread isn’t sweet or salty, and served with lettuce, tomato and pickles inside.

I debated long and hard on which order to present these burgers in – the order tasted; my order of preference; or the order of votes that we took at the end from everyone present at this tasting. In the end I choose to eliminate a few from detailed descriptions. The original ‘legendary’ is a burger, the Big Cheese suffered the most in miniaturisation I think (there was only one slice of cheese in our version, which can hardly be called cheesy at all), and the Hickory BBQ was not to my taste (this patty was the most chargrilled, but I don’t like BBQ sauce… )

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From the left we have the legendary, the Hickory BBQ, the Red, White and Blue and its accompanying Wayne Sauce.

The Red, White and Blue was a popular vote. The sauce is spicy – i tried it separately first and was wary of putting it on the burger, but I had faith in our Venezuelan/Portuguese chef (Miguel came to explain each of the burgers to us) and tried it. The blue cheese actually damps out some of the spice, and the combination really works. I enjoyed this a lot. I’m not such a fan of coated onion rings as simple fried onion, which is perhaps why this didn’t get the top vote. I also think a regular portion with that much blue cheese might knock me for 6!

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Here we see the Mushrooms and Swiss and the California without the top bun on. The mushroom and swiss also suffered in shrinking. The mushrooms, as Miguel carefully explained, are fried in garlic and both red and white wines. They have a great taste, but not many fit in a mini bun. As a result, this burger was dry and I didn’t think the big one would be.

The california was our maitre d’s favourite. A Spaniard, who gave us an interesting introduction to Hard Rock over a banana flavoured cocktail, said he was sad it was the last on the tasting list, as we wouldn’t be able to appreciate it. However, 4 people voted for this as their favourite. The ranch dressing was the major reason, though the homemade guacamole and cucumber made this the most moist of the burgers. I liked it a lot. It would have come second.
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Here I show the fries, made with skin on, and a tray of mini Mushrooms and Swiss burgers. The fries were a very pleasant surprise, but perhaps because my expectations were low. I was expecting American fries – stick thin and full of mash. These were not Belgian frites  (they are only fried once, for sure), but they are fresh-cut real potatoes, with the skin left on. A special secret seasoning is added to the frying (Miguel said he can’t even reproduce these at home, so secret is the mix). The result has a slightly breadcrumb taste, but on a real potato base – a bit like thin potato wedges. This said, the first 2 plates we devoured were much better than the third offering, where the oil had gotten too hot and the chips were dry. Mind you – it was better that we stopped by then!

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We got to see the real portion size. The far left is the SOB (this stands for South of the Border, not anything ruder) with accompanying salsa, and the Original legendary. On the right, the big Cheese, which is done more justice in real size.

The SOB was my favourite. I loved the slight kick that the chipotle gave the patty and the homemade salsa was brilliant. We identified at least tomatoes, fried onion and coriander but I’m sure there are more ingredients. Adding this to the burger made it even more moist and juicy. For me this was a clear winner, however it only got 2 votes in the final. Hickory got 3, Legendary 1 and Big Cheese 0 (confirming that this should be eaten BIG). Mushrooms and Swiss also got 0, perhaps because of the size, or perhaps the in-between nature. People either preferred an original burger, or a special/ spicy one.

All in all I enjoyed the burgers, but didn’t think there was a huge variety. They are all the same price (currently 15.25 €), which includes fries. This makes them a tiny bit more than Ellis (but the portions are larger) but cheaper than Cool Bun. I must add that the location on the Grand Place is worth a great deal – and of course the traditional Hard Rock decor with souvenirs from various stars. There is a vegetarian burger on the menu, that also offers  salads and sandwiches, but the burgers are clearly the stars. In fact the veggie burger is the only veggie offering I can find at first glance.

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Dessert at Hard Rock Cafe Brussels

The dessert was a bonus surprise and everyone present groaned when he said there was a little extra. Once we got the little mini portions of chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, however, there was silence as we all kept testing. This was excellent and really finished off the ‘meal’ of 7 mini burgers, too many fries, and a cocktail and a beer. I had a wonderful evening.

One can guarantee that this restaurant will speak English (and French), and be busy most of the time. As we left, I saw that it was very busy downstairs – a big change from when we had arrived. The shop is of course also popular, with the traditional T-shirt sales. I may well be back to test the bigger version of the small samples – when I feel I can stomach another burger – which might not be for a while!

Hard Rock Cafe,  or their facebook page,
Grand Place 12A, Brussels!

Food: B
Atmosphere: B – though an A for America. It’s just not very Belgian
Service: A Very friendly
Price: B
Languages: English, French

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Rachelbxl

Posted by rachelinbxl on July 18, 2010

My name is Rachel, so when I learned of a new bagel place in Brussels called Rachel’s Bagels, I thought I should check it out. Just outside Anneesens tram station, in Koolmarktstraat, Rachel’s is a small cafe with a pleasant terrace. On Saturday and Sunday they do a brunch for 18 euros.
I photographed the buffet, and the selection was fairly decent. You also get one fresh hot bagel, fresh pressed orange juice and tea of the day or coffee.

brunch buffet

Brunch buffet

This runs pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday, and at 3pm on Sunday it wasn’t very crowded… so if you are hungry enough it would be a good spot to check out near the centre.
We weren’t that hungry though, so we tried one bagel each:

Nina


Nina is a spicy tuna (ginger and curry) with coleslaw bagel. Served with salad and nachos, as are all their bagels. I didn’t ask if something other than sesame bagels was available. The tuna was good, but the combo was a challenge to eat. I wasn’t sure that nachos complemented the meal, but they were good nachos.

Justin BLT

Justin BLT


Justin – or The BLT was well supplied with salad and had crispy bacon. My friend was pleased.
The fresh OJ was good, and the tea of the day was moonwalker (a green tea with jasmine, rhubarb and red fruits) which was very pleasant.
The guy running this bagel bar named it after his Grandmother. He was very sweet. According to their menu they won the prize for the best pastrami bagel in Brussels recently. I wasn’t sure how much competition there was for that award as I can’t think of any other places to get one… but they were pretty good bagels. My only quibble would be the price. 5 euros is the minimum for a bagel to takeaway, and the eat-in club bagel (3 layers, it did look impressive) runs to over 10 euros. Tea of the day in a mug was 1.5 euros, but a pot of a different tea would set you back 3.6 euros. 4 plain bagels to take away costs 6 euros. It’s not break-the-bank expensive, but its not the cheapest snack in town! It is ‘different’ though, and has a nice atmosphere.

Overall, a nice place for brunch in the centre. Would go back to try their muffins or cheesecake and another one of their interesting teas, but it won’t be a regular address for me…. I just really like the name!
Their domain name is even really similar to my wordpress login!

Rachel’s Bagels
Rue du marche au Charbon 100
1000 Brussels

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

Posted in Break your fast, Chill Corner, Drop By | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard (once) but do they come back?

Posted by spacemonkey99 on April 28, 2010

I wrote the below post a week or two ago, and after returning to this place for a Sunday afternoon snack, I have to review it and add some comments.  I mention below that the service could do with some improvement as it never polite to tell customers that they should “hurry up”.  Well, the level of rudeness went up a notch today when the waiter told us we hadn’t ordered much at all (c’est pas grande chose).  I think it took me a moment to register how rude this was, by which time he had already left. Two of us weren’t eating, but had ordered milkshakes. I wasn’t allowed to order a side of fries (which apparently can only be ordered if you order a main dish).  The other waiter who was clearing dishes, insisted we had to order with our own waiter (he couldn’t even pass along the message that we wanted the bill).  Since I work in a customer-oriented industry myself, I can only say this type of treatment is completely inappropriate.  You don’t take out your frustration/tiredness/negative emotions on your customers – who are paying!  I don’t care if this place were a Michelin star, top-notch place (which it isn’t): I WON’T BE GOING BACK.  I regret that I even spent 5 euros on a milkshake there today.

Previous post:

Ah milkshakes and burgers, the classics of the American diner.  And that is exactly what you get at the Balmoral Milk Bar, in Place Brugmann.   With Grease playing in the background (including French subtitles), the cozy diner with the bright pink seats is packed on a Sunday around lunchtime.  Part of the attraction is surely the kids play corner in the back.   The other part must be the yummy chocolate milkshakes (the red berries and yogurt is also excellent).  The country club sandwich (10 euros) and the burgers (11 euros) are good: delicious, hearty and good sized-portions with quality ingredients.  The burgers are served with American-style potato wedges which are a definite crowd-pleaser.  Not recommended are the chilli-con-carne which lacked carne (we also got ours minus the cheese and onions mentioned on the menu and had to ask the waitress about the omission).  The fajitas are also recommended (choice of chicken, beef or mixed meat with sides including delicious, fresh guacamole ~17 euros).  The cheesecake (4 euros) was also very good: light and fluffy.  The only problem was that it tasted more like a lime key pie than a cheesecake.  All in all, I would definitely go back.  The downside of going on a Sunday is that it was so packed that the waitress asked us to hurry up with our dessert order as our table was reserved after us.  It’s never nice to be rushed through a course, even if its only dessert.

Balmoral Milk Bar

Place G. Brugmann 21

1050 Ixelles

Food: A-/B+
Atmosphere: B+

Service: F (downgraded from C/B-)

Price: A
Languages: French, English

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Loud and proud in Place Lux

Posted by Pi on November 9, 2009

Can’t beat a classic meal at Fat Boys!  I haven’t run across another place in Brussels with as consistently great burgers.  Accompanied by fries, wings, and a beer, how can you go wrong at this rare and rough sports bar in the city?

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The expat English-American atmosphere lends to the flavor.

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Fat Boys
Place du Luxembourg 5, Brussels

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

Posted in Brew in Bruxelles, Home Sweet Home, Hot List, Pretty Pictures | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »