Our first meal in Brussels was marred by a truly horrific bucket of stinky mussels. We were that close to throwing everything up. Thank goodness the other dishes were fine, but the service was soooo bad, that I can’t be bothered to devote any blog space to it. This worried us quite a bit. M and I HATE having bad meals and we were concerned that we were going to survive on chocolates and waffles for the rest of our stay, which would be perfect for a kiddo with a constantly sweet tooth, but hey, we’re all-round foodies okay?
As we trudged along one of the little streets behind Grand-Place, every eatery we saw looked even dodgier than the previous. I was starting to panick. M, however, tried to stay calm, and in an attempt to prevent me from throwing a full-fledged crazed woman hissy fit, he whisked me into that one restaurant that didn’t have their waiters standing out on the street, shouting for diners to come in. I was VERY skeptical. I mean, how do you know that a lack of beckoning waiters outside isn’t a marketing gimmick?! What if there was some conspiracy, some reverse psychology, you-know-I-know-that-you-know mumbo jumbo crap?
We were very careful though. We skipped any sort of mussels after our scare. And we picked on other dishes to start. I parroted the lady next to me and ordered shrimp croquettes, and we decided to have fresh oysters in place of mussels. Both of us ordered sole, in different sauces for mains, and we decided to skip dessert for now, in case the meal turned out really badly. Thank goodness for M’s choice though, because dinner was safe. It was good, the appetisers at least, and the main courses were safe.
The shrimp croquettes were absolutely divine. Piping hot, crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside. They were garnished with deep fried parsley and it was soooooo good. I could have had multiple portions of that for dinner and I would have been a very happy girl. The oysters were fresh and good enough to leave us wanting for more.
The main courses however were not very much to my liking. The pieces of sole were drenched in thick sauces and I guess, I like to taste fish instead of a sauce in a fish dish. It got a little too thick for me by the I got through 60% of the dish. This may sit better with people with a preference for sauces (the other diners seem to love their fish in sauce combos), at least I wasn’t feeing nauseous from anything!
We left very impressed with the service too. Prompt, friendly and helpful since we can’t read French or Flemish. And I was blown away by the shrimp croquettes.
I also have to mention that the place was fully booked at 10pm! We were very lucky to have gotten a place but we were very puzzled as to why it was so packed this late at night. Other restaurants were swatting flies. We returned to our hotel to check on the restaurant and found that this was one of the most highly recommended places in Brussels for consistently good food (what luck for M to choose this randomly!), and that one of their star dishes was……MUSSELS!!!
We smacked our heads real good for getting chickened out on mussels because of the terrible lunch we had. I actually screamed in the internet room when I found out. Hmmmph! Other recommendations include a dessert known as crêpes flambées, and I can attest to the popularity of this because 70-80% of the diners ordered this. Another smack on our heads for not trying the crêpes flambées. Oh well, we learn.
Aux Armes de Bruxelles is located at:
Rue des Bouchers,13