Category Archives: Food Reviews – Brussels

Fundraising for Japan – A Success, And Yes, We Have A Winner!

Thanks to your generous donations, The Pleasure Monger’s fundraising event for Japan was a success! We may have fell short of the £2000 target, but we did raise a whopping £1510, which amounts to 76% of our target! To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone would donate when I organised this, but a number of you did; the funds that we’ve raised together are so much more than I could ever give on my own. I’m grateful for your support and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The fundraising page that I’ve set up on JustGiving will run till 2016, so please continue to drop a pound or two to help the victims of the earthquake in Japan. I’m sure everyone knows that the people in Japan are still suffering from the aftermath. For people like us who can’t be there to deliver aid, we can help in other ways. Yesterday evening, I was just thinking how wonderful it would be if everyone who stops by this blog could give a pound or spare some change; we could very well raise £20000 in a month! And then we have other bloggers who are trying their best to raise funds (read the updates at the bottom of this post for more details on how you can get involved), bloggers who are way more popular, prolific and well-known than I am, and if every reader of theirs give a pound for every post they read, they could raise so much more. That £1 makes such little difference to us, but for the victims, every penny counts and the success of the fundraiser thus far proves that we can pool our resources together and make a HUGE difference. So please continue to give, within your means, to any of the avenues that are most accessible to you.

Now, let’s realise the promise I made. When I organised the fundraiser, I said that I would pledge a USD100 Amazon gift card to one lucky donor so long as he/she donates before 31 March 2011 (GMT2359h). So today, I used the random integer generator on to pick a winner and the gift card goes to…….


I’ll be in touch in the next few minutes with an Amazon email containing the gift card. Congratulations and thank you for your donation!




Fundraising for Japan

Dear readers,

In light of the recent events that hit Japan, I have started a fundraising page on JustGiving to raise some money for the disaster relief efforts. My nominated charity is ShelterBox, which is rallying resources to help the people in Japan. Temporary shelters are getting increasingly overcrowded right now, and if you’ve read the news, many have died in the bitter cold. The Japanese authorities are requesting ShelterBox to deliver emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies to the north of Japan. Thousands of boxes of such supplies are either in Japan or ready to be mobilised now, and we can help to deliver to the needs of the homeless in Japan. Please, let’s not leave them out in the freezing temperatures, and let’s work to give them a home and some warmth, literally and figuratively.

Anyone can donate, you only need a debit or credit card to do so. I can’t make a difference on my own, so instead of donating the money directly to charity, I am pledging a USD100 Amazon gift card to this fundraising event. I will randomly select the gift card recipient (using from the list of people who donate on my fundraising page before 31 March 2011 (2359h GMT). By giving a little incentive, I hope that this will boost numbers a little and make the event worthwhile.  The gift card can be used on and I will email it to you before 10 April 2011. I will also announce the winner on this blog.

Please note that whilst I am not allowed to publicise this gift card raffle on my JustGiving page (as I am bound by terms and conditions), anyone who donates on my page, with a valid email address, will be eligible for this raffle. In order for me to contact you, please make sure you make your email address available to me on the JustGiving fundraising page.

Thank you for your help. Please also spread the word around, the success of this fundraising event relies on our collective effort.

Updated: I would also like to bring your attention to other avenues of donation. Some of my food blogger friends have set up an initiative called Bento4Japan, they have very generously put up some bento-related items up for auction on eBay. Please visit this site and start bidding! Or you can visit meemalee’s kitchen to have a look, she has written a nice summary of how you can help the people in Japan. Chika of the very beautiful blog, She Who Eats, is also giving away sakura ingredients to raise funds for Japan.

P/S: The fundraising page will be active till 2016, but only donors who contributed to this page before 31 March 2011 (2359h GMT) will be considered for the raffle. I am doing this because I am trying to encourage as many people to donate soon as the relief efforts are ongoing and urgently needed – WE HAVE A WINNER!


Looking Good at Belga Queen, Brussels

[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.

Belga Queen

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.

Belga Queen

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…..

Check out my food and travel adventures in Brussels!

Belga Queen is located at:

Rue Fossé aux Loups 32, 1000 Brussels

Snacking on Dessert in Brussels

Belgian waffle with hazelnut ice cream

Hello peeps! I’m going away for a month, so I’ll be posting less frequently since I have ahem, work to do and fun to indulge in. I’m leaving you with a closeup of a really awesome Belgian waffle I had in Brussels. The waffle vans were EVERYWHERE, and waffles are so very cheap. If there’s one thing I will always remember about Brussels, it would be smell of it. Nothing smells better than Brussels, really.

I had mine with hazelnut ice cream, one of my favourite flavours in the world. Of course this wasn’t the only one I had. They were slightly crispy and buttery on the outside, light on the inside, I ate them without ice cream most of the time because these waffles pack a punch, people in Brussels really do know what goes into the world’s best waffles! These waffles give real meaning to the phrase ‘Simplicity is the Best’! I never had anything that could compare to this outside of Belgium.

So if you stop by, make you sure pack a couple into your eating itinerary, screw the meals and snack on dessert instead!

Sexy Cakes by Pierre Marcolini

Pierre Marcolini

I met a very sexy stranger in Brussels, and my husband wasn’t upset at all. In fact, he was very, very happy that I was so very, very delighted to have had more than an encounter with this very, very sexy stranger. Oh gosh, if there’s anything such as a perfect being, it would be this.

Pierre Marcolini

And this is all thanks to Pierre Marcolini, one of the top chocolatiers in the world.

Just look, LOOK, at how seductive this stranger is. Painted a glossy, scarlet red, enrobed in a chocolate corset, topped with the most immaculate macaron shell and a smooth dollop of mousse, and crowned with distinguished gold. It’s screaming for you to take it all off, to pull the robes apart, to see and taste what’s under that mysterious sexy exterior. And yet, you stop, because you can’t bear to ruin anything this perfect, you just can’t bear to touch it.

Oh but forbidden fruits are meant to be eaten, rules are meant to be broken, so they say. Take it apart, and you’ll find something that couldn’t be more decadent, complex and magnetic. Chocolate, custard, cream, macaron, everything you’ve always wanted in a catch. I present to you, the sexiest pastry in the world.

Check out my food and travel adventures in Brussels!

Pierre Marcolini is located at:

Rue des Minimes, 1
Place du Grand Sablon – 1000 Bruxelles

*Updated: This post is featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

Dinner at Aux Armes de Bruxelles

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?

Aux Armes de Bruxelles

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?

Aux Armes de Bruxelles

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.

Aux Armes de Bruxelles

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.

Check out my food and travel adventures in Brussels!

Aux Armes de Bruxelles is located at:

Rue des Bouchers,13