[Serious backlog here, I wanted to write about this before we went back to Singapore, and we made the trip to Brussels in early May……oh well, here we are then.]
We had some really unsatisfying meals in Brussels and we did not plan for any sort of Michelin star excitement during this family trip. Aside from the delicious galore of Belgian chocolates, frites and waffles, I seriously thought our trip was shat, foodwise.
Thanks to hubs and his ever so prolific food documentary-watching skills, he thought he remembered The Hairy Bikers rave about a certain restaurant called Belga Queen. A quick and desperate phonecall to the restaurant later, it suddenly dawned on us that our trip might just be saved by our last dinner in Brussels.
Helmed by Antoine Pinto, Belga Queen is supposedly famous for its steak tartare, or so The Hairy Bikers said. And steak tartare, it was………..not. We’ve had steak tartare at Printemps not too long ago in Paris, and gee, delicious as it was, we just weren’t ready for another round of raw beef.
All seven of us ordered with the recommendations of the very good-looking waiters at Belga Queen. They weren’t my type (yes, seriously), but a good number did look like they belonged to the likes of dark-haired, brooding models. Before you get too excited though, I didn’t spot a single waitress….
There were hits and misses, but suffice to say, some of the nicer dishes nailed it for me. Perhaps this was because I was starved of edible food during our stay n Brussels, or perhaps they were really quite good. But oh well, if I were to return to Brussels, I would pay a visit to Belga Queen again.
Of note are two appetisers that we had. These weren’t cheap (going at about €22 per dish for starters) but they were served in portions so huge that they could have passed off as mains. In fact, I couldn’t finish my main course of Belgian Charolais tenderloin (which wasn’t very good) after cleaning out my starter.
I had the puff pastry with grey shrimps, served with fried monkfish cheeks, pan-fried duck liver in a mushroom sauce. This was a beautiful, flavoursome dish, although the monkfish cheeks could have been made redundant as they were a little out of place. The mushroom sauce was buttery and earthy, the tiny grey shrimps were sweet. I devoured huge spoonfuls of the crispy puff pastry with the shrimps soaked in the creamy mushroom sauce. Absolutely comforting. Add a thick sliver of perfectly pan-fried creamy duck liver (not goose, but still it was fantastic!) to the equation? I was on cloud nine.
The other appetiser that caught my attention was the oxtail and duck liver with Madeira in aspic served with a side of cress bouquet. M had this dish and I have to say that the madeira-infused jelly was bursting with juicy flavours. Excellent stuff. I’ve never had aspic (well, except for some really delicious carp jelly in Warsaw a few years ago, which isn’t the same thing), and admittedly, I was a little intimidated. Cold, wobbly starters don’t sit very well with me, but this was delicious on the rye bread.
M’s aunt had the pan-fried veal chops – I stole a bite and it was excellent too. Having had wonderful steak at NYC’s Peter Luger and JW Steakhouse in London, I left less than impressed with the tenderloin I ordered. The frites that came with it however, were excellent, except that I was too stuffed to fit everything in. Pity.
The meal was generally quite nice with some dishes really well-executed and others that are lacklustre, but if I were to return to Brussels for a holiday again, I’ll try my best to order the steak tartare recommended by The Hairy Bikers ……or maybe not, because I’m in love with the puff pastry appetiser I had…..
Belga Queen is located at:
Rue Fossé aux Loups 32, 1000 Brussels