Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘meat’

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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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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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… )

hardrock 003 hardrock 009 hardrock 012 hardrock 013

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!

hardrock 017 hardrock 018

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.
hardrock 005 hardrock 016thumb

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!

hardrock 008 hardrock 011

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.

hardrock 021
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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No troubles brewing at the Brassins

Posted by rachelinbxl on September 13, 2010

I take real delight in the beer restaurants in Brussels. I like beer with my food, and they are a good location to take visiting friends. It’s a good way for each of us to try a different beer, some traditional Belgian food (some cooked with beer) and they are generally not overpriced.
For the visit of a Swedish friend, I tried Les Brassins for the first time. They do not make their own beer, but have a reputation for producing good Belgian fare and have a good choice of beer. They are also near the cinema near Toison d’Or where we hoped to catch a movie.
Firstly, the walk there from Stephanie was an eye-opener. The street is very small and very deserted. I thought I must have taken a wrong turn. I’m not sure I’d want to walk there alone at night!
We were one of the first people there; I had reserved and we could choose our table. Within half an hour though (before 8pm) it was packed. It has a very bar/cafe feeling. It’s cosy, but not chic or overly comfy. We were seated on wooden chairs. The fixed menu is basic, but the suggestions of the day were extensive. We stuck to the basics to check the quality!
1 order of stoofvlees/carbonnade/beef stewed in beer, one Brassins Burger, 1 serving of fries and 1 serving of stoemp (belgian mashed potato mixed with a vegetable… the special of the day was with peppers – red, yellow and green).


The beef stew was plentiful and in lots of beer sauce. The meat was tender and of high quality. We both agreed that the sauce could have done with a little more ‘kick’. Beer makes a sauce quite sweet, and this was other lacking mustard, pepper, or some spices. I added a bit of pepper, and enjoyed it with the stoemp. The stoemp was excellent. The best version I have ever tried. The fries were also good, and the sizes of both portions were perfect (we finished them and almost regretted it). The burger was a normal burger really. Good for 12 euros.

We tried 2 of their beers of the month (maya and st idesbald). And then my friend had a Breslienne ice cream. The ice cream is artisanal and was very good. They also serve Illy coffee.
Total cost: 46 euros for 2 meals, 4 beers, a dessert and a coffee. A very good price. The service was friendly, prompt, but not overbearing. The place was busy, perhaps even bustling. Not a place to sit for hours, but a good place to enjoy a meal.
The only draw back is that they do not brew their own beer, and the street is slightly daunting alone! They offer cheap lunch menus also. Shame it’s too far from where I work.

Les Brassins
36 Rue Keyenveld
1050 Brussels (Ixelles)

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

Posted in Bang for your Buck, Brew in Bruxelles, Feeling Carnivorous?, Frite Off! | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bite Me in Stockholm

Posted by spacemonkey99 on July 20, 2010

If you ever have the chance to go to Stockholm, order some reindeer!  It has a gamey taste – tender and excellent!

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