Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Best Hot Chocolate Competition part 1

Posted by rachelinbxl on October 15, 2012

Of course, one of the things we are spoiled for choice on in Belgium is all things cocoa related!

I have my favourite chocolatiers – Zaabar and Blondeel are on the list. Zaabar for their chocolate bars of different cocoa origins, and Blondeel for their hot chocolates. There are others I must try – Wittamer is one I have often heard recommended. But I stick to St Catherine for this post.

The tea house has varied the selection in the past, but recently stuck to tried and tested – Venezuela – lower cocoa content but with chili powder and lemongrass flavour, Ghana (85% coca) with vanilla, cinnamon and aniseed (not strong), Madagascar (63% simple cocoa and milk), Safraan – more expensive 63% topped with frothed milk and real safran, and the 100% cocoa with mountain honey – that I love but that shouldn’t be considered as a drinking chocolate 😉

Madagascar Ghana – velvety smooth, vanilla undertones
Ghana Venezuela – more milky, with chili powder and lemongrass
The tea room The decor – Mayan?

If you go with  few people, try each! I’m also told their coffees are excellent. Their tea suffers from the typical Belgian problem of not being served hot enough in my British opinion. The Ghana is stronger on the cocoa content, and velvety smooth. The Venezuela was very hot on the chili to start with, with the lemongrass coming through more towards the bottom of the cup. This one is harder to taste the cocoa, it’s somewhat overpowered. The safran one was the biggest disappointment to me. It’s more expensive and much milkier. Maybe my palate is not refined enough, but I couldn’t taste the safran in this. My favourite remains the 100% – but I eat it with a spoon. It is not sweet, nor milky, despite being based on milk and chocolate. The honey adds a delightful wild flavour to the cocoa, but this is not a refreshing drink. It’s a medicinal pick me up filled with endorphins and feel-good factor!

They always put 2 chocolates beside your hot chocolate, as well as a glass of water that is much appreciated. One is their most famous praline based on florentine pieces – caramelised sugar with small nuts in it. You can ask to select chocolates from the counter for a small extra cost to enjoy with your drinks  (the price varies with who is serving!). They offer great flavours – including chili, wasabi, sea salt, earl grey, jasmine and rosemary. At 10 euros per 100g, you will only take away a few chocolates in a plastic bag unless you are on a splurge.

This place is often busy for the sit-down, but worth a visit! if it’s too packed, pop round the corner to Charli to test their pain au chocolat. I’ve since tested their beer and pumpkin seed bread and it is worth the trip!

Frederic Blondeel

Quai aux Briques 241000 Bruxelles
Drinks: A
Atmosphere: B
Service: A
Price: B+
Languages: French, Dutch, English

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Posted in Chill Corner, Products to Pilfer, Sweet Tooth, Tourist Traps | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sweet, creamy goodness at El Vergel

Posted by pieguybxl on November 25, 2009

One can understand the steady price inflation at El Vergel over the years because its food is so darn good.  Portion sizes might not satisfy everyone, but the flavors should.  Case in point: the El Vergel cheesecake.

Don’t ask me what’s so Latin American about this cheesecake, but I’m not complaining.  It boasts a smoother and creamier texture than some New York or Chicago cheesecakes, and there definitely is no air or puffiness to it.  It’s really rich, but miraculously at the same time it’s not too rich, and like gourmet Marcolini chocolates, the sweetness doesn’t overpower the senses or leave your mouth dry.  The crust also balances out the creaminess perfectly, with a strong biscuit-cookie taste and crumbly texture and just the tiniest, tiniest hint of saltiness.  This cheesecake in a word: fantastic.

The only complaint is that the individual slices are getting smaller at the restaurant!  Just buy a whole pie to avoid the trouble and cut yourself your own huge piece.

El Vergel
Rue du Trône 39, Ixelles

Cheesecake:  A
Languages: English, French, Spanish

Posted in Hot List, Pretty Pictures, Products to Pilfer, Sweet Tooth | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Make it a Thursday night

Posted by spacemonkey99 on June 14, 2009

Over the last three years I have watched the evolution of one of my favorite eateries. The first time I went to El Vergel, I remember thinking the food was great and it was cheap relative to the quality and amount you received. Then about a year later I was a bit annoyed at the obvious and quite large prices increases (over 2 euros on some dishes) that appeared practically overnight. This was attributed to the price of meat going up (that vicious cycle of increasing grain costs due to fuel costs blah blah). Of course it didn’t have anything to do with the hordes of Eurocrats that flock there every lunch from the European Parliament and Commission and the ING and other bankers in the area, all of whom obviously have money to spend.

That said, the food is still delicious, and they still make a hell of a margarita if you happen to drop by on a Thursday night (the only night of the week that they stay open for dinner). Top of the list are the chicken and beef tacos (7.10 and 7.50 euros respectively) and the chicken salad (9.30 euros). The daily special is usually a meat and potato/rice/plantain type dish and almost always great (~10 euros). Sometimes it is packed for lunch and the service can be quite slow, but generally friendly. The best time to go is Thursday evening when there are less customers and you can enjoy your meal in some peace. The cheesecake (3.70 euros) is probably the best in town.

El Vergel, Rue du Trone 39, 1050 Elsene

Food: A
Atmosphere: A/B ~ depends if its for lunch or on a Thursday night
Service: A/B ~ depends if its for lunch or on a Thursday night
Price: B
Languages: French, English, Spanish

Posted in Bang for your Buck, Chill Corner, Drop By, Get it to go, Home Sweet Home, Hot List | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ice cream with tea and sesame seed

Posted by pieguybxl on March 8, 2009

espacesushi3

I would visit this sushi place again just for the dessert!  Espace Sushi recently served up decent sushi and sashimi, but let’s forget that.  Really it was the unique and delicious dessert there that stood out to me.   Unusual twin scoops of ice cream graced the end of our meal:  one flavored with green tea, including little flecks of crispy dried tea leaves, and the other with roasted sesame seed.  For a tea fan, the green scoop tasted pretty good, with a distinct tea aroma and taste without being overpowering.  As for the other scoop? Absolutely stellar.  The rich nuttiness of the sesame came out subtly but strongly with each bite, and I wished I could take a pint home with me.  Both scoops were not nearly as sweet as standard ice creams, but they were still very smooth and creamy.  I don’t know where they got these flavors, or if the restaurant made it all themselves, but I liked it.

espacesushi2

The ice cream went perfectly with the simple but delicious green tea cakes.  Almost exotic, they were denser, cleaner, and much more subtle than the typical buttery cakes found elsewhere in Brussels, yet they still had a smooth texture and light sweetness to them.  Just like the ice cream, each moist bite had a distinct scent and flavor of green tea.  This restaurant apparently stayed true to the idea of sushi when it came to their desserts: keep the flavors and textures pure, uncommonly good, and exquisite.

Espace Sushi
Chaussée de Wavre 325

Atmosphere: A
Languages: French, English

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The chocolate cake was sumptuous

Posted by pieguybxl on January 31, 2009

Our picture does not do it justice:

chocolate cake

I tried l’Ultime Atome‘s chocolate cake (~5 euros) the other day, and it was extremely good.  The flavors and textures hit pleasure central somewhere between tasting like an American brownie and a smooth and rich Belgian chocolate mousse.  The vanilla sauce wasn’t even necessary.  I’d go for this again, for sure.

L’Ultime Atome
St. Boniface
Languages: French, English

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