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Brussels Report, including Bruges and Antwerp


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Brussels Report, including Bruges and Antwerp

rrems | Sep 29, 2009 10:21 AM

My partner and I just spent 3 days in Brussels. We arrived on Saturday afternoon, too late for a serious lunch, so on our hosts’ recommendations, we went to Noord Zee for a snack. It is a fish market where you can chose a piece of fish and they will cook it for you and you eat at a stand-up counter on the sidewalk. We had grilled shrimp and grilled sole fillets which come with tartar sauce and a bit of frisee and tomato, and bread. With a glass each of white wine, we paid 19 euros. Delicious.

For dinner we went to Viva M’Boma, which specialized in organ meats. We had calf’s brains served cold with tartar sauce, poached lamb’s tongue with salad, pot au feu of beef cheek, oxtail and marrow, and braised veal cheeks in a brown sauce with pearl onions, mushrooms and potatoes. We skipped dessert as this does not appear to be a strong point. With a bottle of the house red wine, a Chilean merlot, the bill came to 85 euros. It was a very good value. The ambience is very lively and it attracts a fashionable clientele.

On Sunday we took a train trip to Bruge and had lunch at Den Dyver. This was exceptional, with a 3-course menu and an appropriate beer pairing for each dish. The price for the menu and beer pairings is 56 euros. After aperitifs of the house beer and canapés served in the beautiful garden, we had the following:

Crayfish en papillote with kohlrabi, grapefruit and vanilla
Game pate with fig marmalade and nut bread
Baked brill with tomato cream, potatoes with rosemary, green beans and fennel
Fillet of young wild boar with shallot sauce, mashed potato and cabbage mixture topped with mascarpone
Tiramisu with pear, topped with coffee granite (Best tiramisu we have ever had!)

Coffee and petit fours were served in the garden. The beer pairings were just wonderful. The restaurant is gorgeous, with high wood ceilings, and brick and wood walls.

Sunday dinner was at Bruneau, which is in a somewhat out-of-the-way part of Brussels. The menu de saison is a good deal at 55 euros, as this is a Michelin 2-star, and their other menus are in the stratosphere. No choices, just 3 courses based on the day’s market. After canapés and amuses, we were served crab sandwiched between 2 slices of artichoke heart and topped with salmon mousse, noisettes of veal with truffles, a potato croquette flavored with truffle, a spiced apple, and a sauce of veal reduction. For dessert we had baked sliced mango with mango ice cream, and a small crème brulee. It was a great meal, but beware, the aperitifs, kir au vin blanc, were 12 euros each, and the coffees and petit fours were 9 each. The ambience and service are top-notch, as one would expect in an establishment of this caliber.

Monday we took a train to Antwerp. After walking around checking menus at a number of eligible restaurants, we chose De Reddende Engel, largely based on the fact that partridge was on the menu. We had rabbit rillettes with foie gras emulsion and onion marmalade, hake with fennel and tomato in a broth, roasted partridge with a potato stuffed with a mushroom and bread crumb mixture, a bombe with armagnac and raisin filling, and orange ice cream with caramel sauce. All ice creams are home-made. The 4-course menu was 33.50 euros. Everything was delicious. The atmosphere is lovely and the chef, who is from Marseille and also specializes in boulliabaise, is very friendly and welcoming.

Back to Brussels, and dinner at L’Idiot du Village. Very charming, cozy atmosphere and unusual decorating touches. Again the food was more French than Belgian, but it was very good. We had red and yellow tomatoes with anchovies and arugula, a sort of pot-au-feu of oxtail, roast chicken with roesti potatoes, mixed vegetables and a green salad, strawberries with ice cream topped with caramelized grapefruit peel. The tomatoes and strawberries were delicious. The menu is all a la carte and we spent about 125 euros including wine and water.

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