Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘beef’

All you can eat Curry

Posted by rachelinbxl on April 15, 2012

I have posted in the past about my difficulty to find satisfactory curry in the ‘Gourmet Capital of Europe’.  See Desperately seeking curry and Indian Welcome.  I had been meaning to try Sawad and Anarkali for a while. This post is about the latter, which was easier to get for for a few friends who decided to join me for curry.

I hear they used to serve a la carte.  It is now exclusively a buffet restauarant. The lunchtime buffet is just 12 euros, and in the evenings it is 18 euros. There is a reduced selection available mid-week for a bit less, I believe, but we were there on a Friday. The 18 euro buffet price includes a dessert and a tea or coffee… beers are 3-4 euros extra, as are lassis. I had a beer, so I can’t comment on the quality of the lassi.
The service was a little patchy. I arrived first of the party and since we hadn’t reserved I went inside to squat a table for 4. The waiter brought me poppadoms and a plate with various dips and chutneys, but didn’t ask if I wanted a drink. 2 more guests arrived and he was still nowhere in sight. The fourth arrived and she hardly got her coat off before he wanted to know what we wanted to drink!

One friend almost immediately spilled his beer over the table, the poppadoms and the chutneys. The waiter could only supply serviettes to clear up the mess, but was decent enough to supply a spare beer. He did not clear away the beer soaked napkins or plates until the end of the meal, however.
While we were on our first tour of the buffet, 4 legs of chicken appeared at the table (no idea which one this was, it was slightly spiced grilled meat). A naan appeared shortly afterwards. It was an excellent naan, hot, buttery and fluffy… but getting another proved to be impossible. Good thing there was plenty of other things to try.
I tested the lady’s fingers (okra): OK, not too spicy.. I’m still not an okra fan
The chicken with mango and pistachio was in a creamy coconut sauce. Tasty, but only in small quantities.
The tikka masala chicken was made with tandoori chicken (breast roasted in a very red marinade. The sauce was a bit liquid and not balanced enough on the various spices for my taste).
The lamb vindaloo was my first attempt at the spiciest curry on the menu. It was spicy. The first mouthful felt fine, the second was still flavourful (though no way to detect the cardamoms that were floating in the sauce and were listed as a prime ingredient), the third mouthful was with lots of sauce.. and I suffered afterwards. Burning lips and throat. Thanks goodness for rice, naan and beers!
The pilau rice with cardamoms was fair, but I was trying to restrict the starch intake to be able to test the curries
The daal was pleasant, not very spicy. The chana (chick pea) curry was also good, with bay leaves. I enjoyed the cold chick pea salad more though – more coriander.
The mixed vegetable curry was not too spicy, but the vegetables were inevitably a little overcooked. The vegetable samosa was a highlight for me. I couldn’t find the pakora/bhajis that were on the menu, which is probably good as I adore those and would probably have truly overeaten!
As it was, after 2 visits to the buffet, we were all sated and couldn’t contemplate trying any more, though there were still flavours left to explore (after the vindaloo, not much was registering though).

We didn’t wait long for him to come and ask if we wanted dessert. I ordered kulfi, and one of the party tried simple ice cream. We all took chai; I checked it was made with milk, but forgot to ask if it was masala chai (spiced) or plain. It turned out to be plain, and made without sugar, rather unusually.. but quite pleasantly less rich after all the food. The kulfi was good.. cardamom and pistachio and a bright green colour. The chocolate ice cream came drowned in cream and with little pieces of the candy that you find in the Indian digestive spices chewing kit – which came with the bill and that I enjoyed. This was the first time I have been served that in Belgium.

All in all, for 21 euros, I felt that the choice and the quality was satisfactory. Next time I am craving curry I may just stick to one flavour! But next time, I may have to test Ashok’s (see below).

I never know how to photograph buffets. Does one walk along, opening each bronze coloured bain marie and photographing the content? Or does one take a picture of a mixed plate and try to identify the mixed content? This time, despite having my camera with me, I opted not to take pictures. Buffets are eaten with the taste buds, not the eyes. No plate with a mix of curries looks appealing. So excuse the lack of photos on this blog.

Anarkali
Rue Longue-Vie 33 – 1050 Brussels
Food: B
Atmosphere: C
Service: B-
Price: B+
Languages: French, English

Cycling back from the japanese supermarket Tagawa today, I went past Ashok’s, which I hadn’t heard of. Another to put on my list of places to test! Perhaps Brussels will make it to a good curry this Brusselicious year!

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Uccle Punch

Posted by rachelinbxl on April 1, 2012

A guignol is a sort of puppet, a punch character of punch and judy fame. The waitress who welcomed me to this restaurant in a rather out of the way part of uccle reminded me of a puppet show in that she was tiny, but with a large mouth, loud voice and plenty of witty repartee!!
i headed the wrong direction to use the toilets and she informed the chef i was here to make desserts and do the washing up. She asked me if i wanted a drink while i waited for my friend and i answered that i would give him 5 minutes. She came back with “but not 6 right, because then he missed his chance”
But either way the resto is a place with character, and a huge choice of dishes, even before the suggestions.
I went for a risotto with shrimps and mushrooms, which was salty but tasty, with large pre-peeled prawns in it, and my friend for the traditional onglet a l’echalottes, with croquette potatoes.

The meat was definitely only just medium for the cuisson, but the sauce was tasty.
The pinot noir half bottle was overpriced, and rather mediocre. Perhaps a glass of the house red would have been a better budgetary choice. The beer selection is not wide, so wine is definitely more tempting.

For dessert i opted for the tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream, which my friendly judy waitress offered as tarte flambee. I grinned and acquiesced. I wasnt expecting to pay 3 euro extra for the calvados or equivalent that she poured, rather belatedly over the thin pastry and barely caramelised apples, making my ice cream melt rather precipitously. Unimpressed with dessert. My friend’s moelleux au chocolat was ok, but not amazing. Not dark enough in cocoa, perhaps. We didn’t leave a tip.

Le Guignol, Uccle

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

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Kung Fu Noodles

Posted by rachelinbxl on February 25, 2012

There is a cheap eatery right in the heart of Brussels, that is NOT fries! It’s called Au Bon Bol and it’s down the street to the right of The Meridian hotel opposite the Bourse. Just before the giant Asian supermarket (worth a look in if you want to try and prepare this at home). You can often see them preparing the noodles in the window, stretching, spinning and bouncing them into shape. These are tossed, briefly, into hot water and then served in a steaming bowl of broth, topped with either pork, beef, vegetables or prawns. They can also be made spicy, but there is Sriracha sauce on the tables, so you can also choose your own level of pain (I mean spice).

However, last time I tried to go there the small, cramped, of uncertain health and safety standards, eatery was closed for refurbishment. There was a sign on the door saying ‘Kung Fu’ served the same noodles. Well, this is on the square of the Bourse itself.  Next to the Cirio (almost).  Certainly next to the Grand Cafe. I hadn’t noticed this place before, so maybe it’s a new branch. It is quite clean and spacy inside, compared to the ‘original’ and serves the same quick bowl of noodles.

Shown here is the veggie version – which is more generous on veggies than the meat version is on meat. It’s also the cheapest at 10 euros. This is an entire meal! You can choose to go with chopsticks or cutlery. Serviettes are on the tables, the toilets are quite decent and the service is efficient, if not exactly friendly.

My friend tried the stir fried noodles with chicken, which were more generous with chicken, but slightly more expensive. Still decent value for money near the Bourse though… really! Fresh, hand made noodles, open almost all day, you can get chinese beer, or tea, or soft drinks. A good place for a warm up snack, a sit down and a toilet stop.

Au Bon Bol, Paul Devauxstraat / Kung Fu, Rue de la Bourse

Bourse, 1000 Bruxelles

Food: B
Atmosphere: B
Service: C
Price: A
Languages: French, Chinese

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I’m singing in the snow

Posted by rachelinbxl on January 16, 2012

Le fou chantant on ave de fre in uccle is well hidden from passers-by. It is set back from the street down a small path that could almost be a driveway for cars, but isn’t. to note at this point: it doesn’t offer parking for clients which, given its rather off the beaten track, is rather a disadvantage. I found it thanks to a fan of the establishment who hosted his birthday party there. He booked the entire restaurant so i cannot comment on usual lay out or clientele. It was the day of snow in brussels, dec 2011, and getting down the drive was perilous. But i digress.
The crazy singing man is so-called because the focus of the cozy room with its mezzanine is a grand piano, where an expert comes to sing old favourites (mainly french language). There are song books on the tables and diners are encouraged to sing along. Dinner and karaoke. A few great classics by the likes of the beatles and elvis have made the list, but otherwise you can go observe the massacre of Jean-Jacques Goldman, Johnny Halliday etc.
The food is based around a grill. The open fire heats BBQ style grill prangs and the meat is high quality. We started with oysters, then a plate of foie gras. Neither of these is really my favourite, but the pate was good, served with onion jam and bread.

Foie gras

Foie gras


The piece de resistance is the steak, however. They came round to ask how you want it cooked and I would advise against saying anything darker than saignant-bloody. This is the third grade after bleu and rouge. I had never even heard this first, i think it means raw!!
I took bloody and enjoyed all but the very centre of my very thick slab. Had i had a thinner piece i think I could have eaten it all. It came with caramelised witloof, which is one of my pet hates in Belgian cuisine, and the ubiquitous fries. The witloof was actually edible, with sauce. 3 different sauces were on the table, of which the pepper cream sauce was my favourite, but the bearnaise was ok too. The tartare was too much like garlic mayonnaise for me. The wine was a robust french offering that went well with the meat.

Singing started in the middle of the main course. Dancing started once we could safely stand after all that food and only paused when dessert arrived. By this point i was not at all hungry but tested it out of gourmandise. It was a chocolate mousse cake on a wafer base with a fruit coulis. delicious, and luckily small. But I shouldn’t have indulged!!
Since this was a private party i cannot comment on the price of a normal meal in the resto, though I have read mixed reviews on that front. However, if you are looking for a sing along grill, look no further! A great time was had by all…

Le Fou Chantant
Av. de Fré 176
1180 Uccle

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

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Les super filles du tram

Posted by rachelinbxl on July 29, 2011

So after all that ‘chic’ eating during the Resto Days, it was about time to go Back to Basics. I realise that burgers are not the most basic food item, especially in Brussels, but fries are included in this meal!!
Les super filles du tram near Place Flagey is by no means like McDonalds, but it is a burger joint.  I’m not sure where the name comes from, but the walls are decorated with super-hero images, on the Brussels landscape. It’s kind of funky, but not the comfiest of seats, and the tables are fairly tightly packed. I had heard the service was slow, but we had a very swift experience at 7pm on a Friday! The restaurant was fairly empty.

Big Joe

Big Joe

They do have things on the menu that are NOT burgers, and they do have vegetarian options (the veggie burger sounded really good), but we stuck to traditional and had a burger each. Next time I might have to try one of the fish burgers… I had Big Joe, because it had bacon as well as the burger, and cheese! It was a good burger (well cooked, but not overdone – the ‘medium’ that I asked for really). The bacon was not as good as in the UK, but one cannot expect that. There wasn’t a lot of salad, and they had not overdone the sauce (ketchup and mayo are available). I was especially impressed with the fries – which were really really good (and the level is high in Belgium!). I liked the flower pot method of serving them too!

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

My friend had the Mushroom Burger, which is not vegetarian but also the 100% beef patty, but with LOTS of mushroom sauce – almost too much really! They also have Chouffe on tap – which is a bonus! So beer, fries and a burger. Total of 16 euros each, which is more than McDonalds of course, but fair for how full I felt and the quality of the food. Of course a meal for two for less than 30 euros would also be good and that’s the reason this doesn’t get an A-rating.
We didn’t stay for dessert as there are good ice creams nearby, and Cafe Belga for mint tea etc….
Maybe another time. The salads on the table next to us looked tasty too, so perhaps another visit is on the cards.

Les Super Filles du Tram
22, Lesbroussart 1050 Elsene

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

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