Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘spicy’

African sunshine

Posted by rachelinbxl on August 11, 2013

One of my favourite places to eat in the summer is the Matonge. This area, near St Boniface, is full of life, character(s). warmth. good food and cheap beer. Their spicy chicken wings get your fingers sticky and you can smell Africa even the next day. The terraces are heated. You share long tables with other diners and everyone is enjoying themselves. Once Brussels jazz kicks off, I have to go to the Matonge for my dose. My boyfriend would go every week if he could.
I won’t pick out one particular restaurant, as “rue de la longue vie” has many and they intermingle. They all serve chicken with onions or peanut sauce, mafe and spicy dip. They also all have tilapia (a fish that is fantastic grilled), goat, plantains, rice. samosas (vegetarian or not) and giant bottles of jupiler served at the table with tiny little glasses. The tables out on the terraces have boxes of tissues to clean your fingers and bowls of insanely hot red chili sauce.
The food is not haute cuisine… and one cannot really go and sit there alone and expect to be left alone.. but everyone is friendly, the food is never bad (though the plantains have been very dry on occasion). Food is cheap. the company is good and you come home feeling warmer just for having been there. Try a mixed plate that features samosas, chicken wings, plantains, rice and peanut sauce (at last testing not very peanutty)….

Tilapia,  plaintain and some leaves

Tilapia, plaintain and some leaves


Their opening hours are indiscernible. Whenever the weather suits eating on a terrace… and they are busy from 12 noon through to 12 midnight!
 

Anywhere in the Matonge, especially Rue de la Longue Vie
1050 Ixelles
Food: B (varies down to C if you are unlucky)
Atmosphere: A
Service: B Friendly but disinterested.. but that’s OK!
Price: A
Languages: English  and French, or a sort of mix

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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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No black peppers in this Thai

Posted by rachelinbxl on April 17, 2011

This post has been chilling in my draft section for a very long time. I fell behind on posts recently, what with winter and work. We tried this thai restaurant in 2010. I’ve always wanted to go and eat there since a wine tasting held by the excellent wine shop Mig’s World Wines 2 doors up made use of the Thai restaurant and they had free snacks on offer that were very tasty. I finally made it 2 years later.
The staff were very welcoming – we were the first customers to arrive that evening, since we were waiting for it to open. They seated us at the back next to the balcony where a black pepper plant was growing. These peppers are so hot I don’t think you can eat them – it was funny to see it growing outside in Belgium. We were 5 people and we ordered a variety of food. The problem with not posting this earlier is that I don’t remember the names of what we ordered. What I can say is that I tested all the dishes and, whilst not as spicy as I am sure it would be in Thailand, the blend of spices was very good and the result was really excellent. We all had enough to eat and enjoyed the atmosphere. The wine was also pleasant! Sorry not to be able to give more details, but let this serve to whet your appetite. There are plenty of good Thai places near the Bourse, but this one at Stephanie is worth it if you are in the area. Definitely 20 times better than either the Wasabi sushi place or the new ‘Sushis’ takeaway further up Chaussee de Charleroi that both serve very mediocre sushi.

Comptoir Thai
39 Chausee de Charleroi (near Stephanie)
Brussels

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

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