Cooks and Eats went on tour last weekend, to the unofficial capital of Europe, Brussels! We wanted to sample some of the culinary delights on offer, as Belgium is famed for waffles, chocolate, mussels, beer and fries. That sounded pretty good to us!
This was supposed to be a short post, but it turns out we ate too many tasty things and I want to talk about them all..
Here are some of our faves:
Manneken Frites / Fritland – these are two of the on-every-street options for the famed fries with a variety of sauces. It’s hard to choose sauces to go on the humble chip when there are so many on offer. Most places have around 10 sauces, including usual suspects plus more interesting ones like traditional Belgian Andalouse. I went for the old classic chips and mayo and it was GOOD.
Peck 47 – a top choice for brunch, gets really busy and serves super-duper poached eggs in a variety of dishes plus juices in hipster jars. That hollandaise sauce though. Delish.
De Noordzee – stumbled across this heaving fish-market-esque place on a corner. People were bustling everywhere shouting out orders for really fresh seafood and of course glasses of wine, then standing around and eating their treats. Slightly manic and a lot of fun. We had kibbeling (deep-fried fish we first came across at food markets in Holland), seafood soup, crusty bread and white wine. The guys that run this place are good for a laugh too.
Delirium Café – one of the most famous bars in Brussels, and a pretty big deal. They hold the World Record for the most beers available, with over 3000 to be sampled. They have something for everyone. I don’t like beer particularly, but tried a couple of the fruity, wheat beers as I asked for what would be best for a cider drinker. What can I say, I’m a West Country girl.
Waffles – as with the fries, there are waffles EVERYWHERE. Belgian waffles are different from your usual waffle, which are generally Leige waffles. Belgian waffles are made with a different batter which makes them lighter, so make sure to order a proper Belgian one! They’re tastier, fluffier, and don’t have that slightly stale texture that waffles often do. Loads of toppings available, for me it always has to be Nutella and banana. Brad went for the more traditional light dusting of icing sugar.
Balls & Glory – Specialises in meatballs, done their way. There are three of these in Belgium and have a casual restaurant vibe, similar to a GBK type place. You choose your meatball, sauce and side and soon arrives a thing that looks like a big scotch egg. Except there’s no egg, and it’s filled with meat and sauce, like a Kiev. Served with mashed potato with vegetables in (called “stoemp” and is traditional in Brussels) and two gorgey sauces. Proper comfort food.
L’Huîtrière – higher-end seafood restaurant, with outside tables (and very efficient heaters!). They do a 25euro set menu, which seemed pretty usual in central Brussels. Their mussels and oysters were delicious, and they also did a very good steak.
Food markets – there are a lot of food markets around, especially on Sundays. We visited Midi di Marche, which had the hugest selection of fruit & vegetables I’ve ever seen, plus stalls serving olives, cannoli, Turkish treats, and amazing Moroccan pancakes (cue more Nutella). Marché de Boitsfort also came highly recommended by Belgian Friend Lucy, but we didn’t manage make it to that one. Sorry Lucy, next time!
Food wasn’t cheap (beer is pretty reasonable though) but was definitely worth a visit. I miss waffles.