Life in (and around) Brussels…

Random tips on things to do and places to go in Brussels and beyond


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West End creperie

UPDATE 2016: CLOSED

This is another of the top 10 new restaurants identified by LeVif Weekend. I went to West End creperie after having lunch at Piccola Store, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality and reasonable prices of this fairly genuine creperie (I found it to be the best I have tried in Brussels so far.)

The ingredients are fresh, the service is friendly and fast (we had our crepes in about 10 minutes), and the prices will allow you to have a whole meal (savory and sweet crepe and a drink) for about EUR 15 per person, which is not bad for the area.

West End (rue Americaine, 91; Tel: +32 2 538 21 30) is open for lunch on weekdays (special lunch menu available) from 12:00h to 15:00h and dinner 18:30h to 22:00h, all day on Saturday from 12:00h to 22:00h, and 12:00h to 16:00h on Sunday. Closed on Monday.

 

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TakeEatEasy: Food delivery in Brussels

Update July 2016: TakeEatEasy shut down its operations despite the fact that they were great and expanding. But you can still order delivery via Deliveroo. 

Even though the sun has come out in Brussels and the weather seems nicer this year than ever before, there are still those cold, rainy days (regardless of the time of year…) when one does not feel like going out for dinner or even doing a quick run to the supermarket or local restaurant for food.

Image by TakeEatEasy

Image by TakeEatEasy

That’s when food delivery options come in really handy. I had tried Resto-in back when it was called RestoPresto, but it failed to be that “presto” a few times and I found the delivery charges to be fairly high, so I stopped using it.

Then TakeEatEasy came along, and I have used it already several times in only a few weeks, and am happy enough with the service to want to write about it. The highlights:

  • You enter your address and the system lists the restaurants that deliver to your area, along with photos of each dish per restaurant
  • You pick the time of delivery (usually at least 1-1.5 hours from the time you place the order)
  • Delivery is a very reasonable EUR 3.50 with a minimum EUR 20.00 order
  • Pay by credit card online and get an sms confirmation
  • Wait for your order to be delivered – and yes, every time I ordered, they were on time!
  • If you get new members, they get EUR 10 off and you get EUR 10 credit for your next order
  • I tried 3-4 places (Super Filles du Tram, Momo, and a couple of Italian restaurants) and they were all good.

You can get EUR 10 off on your first order using this link (coupon code 5CSEGR). Enjoy!

 

 


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Piccola Store

Le Vif recently published its top 10 new restaurants list, so I decided to check out a few…

Piccola Store, housed in the old Neptune (which I unfortunately never made it to) on rue Lesbroussart 48, close to Place Flagey, was my first stop.

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Piccola Store’s corner location on rue Lesbroussart

In a nutshell: Nice food, but on the pricey side (EUR 15 for a simple pasta dish), and not for those with a big appetite… Casual, relaxed atmosphere.

What happened next: Granted it wasn’t a huge meal… but I was still really hungry, so I went on to tick off another of Le Vif’s top 10 new spots. I took a look to see what was nearby and ended up going to West End for some authentic crepes… More about that soon…

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Friendly, simple interior

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Complimentary starter

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Spaghetti alle vongole, al dente

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Rigatoni, bolognese sauce

 

 


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Top 5 Sunday brunch list

UPDATE 2017: The Sofitel brunch only takes place now on special occasions (e.g., Mother’s Day) . Aux pays des merveilles is now a different restaurant. 

I have spent the last few months trying brunch spots around Ixelles and here is my list so far:

Photo credit: Gaudron

Photo credit: Gaudron

1. Sofitel Crystal Lounge – Expensive at 49 euros, but you will not leave hungry. This is really a brunch in the true sense of the word, as they serve hot dishes, including fish and seafood, which makes it a real meal and best value despite the price.

2. Cafe de la Presse – Good brunch with generous portions and a good variety of hot and cold dishes. The only downside is the somewhat chaotic service and that it is hard to get a table. It is also a bit loud, so not great if you have a big group and want to chat.

3. Chez Franz – Nice terrace and friendly service at a much more reasonable price than other brunch spots in this neighborhood, ranging from EUR 6 for a basic brunch (hot beverage, juice, bread and jam and other spreads) to EUR 18 for a large brunch (basic brunch, plus riz au lit, eggs, cold meats, cheese, pain perdu). My personal favorite is the oriental brunch for EUR 15 which includes a fantastic hummus, tabouleh, spiced chicken with onions, and carrots, in addition to the beverages. Nice atmosphere and very friendly service. Arrive early, as no reservations are accepted. A plus is that they also have brunch on Saturdays, not just Sundays. Available 10h to 16h.

Chez Franz

Chez Franz

4. Au pays des merveilles – This is not as much of a brunch place, but they have great-value bagels and the service is always so nice that it deserves being on the list.

5. Gaudron – I really have mixed feelings about this place. The quality of the food is sometimes great, other times nothing outstanding. The service can be a put off, but this is somewhat of an institution and their fresh juice cocktails are fantastic. Somehow, I am still drawn to it and would go more often if it were a bit more affordable. It is in the top five because the quality of the food is pretty decent.

Also tried but did not make it to the top five: Ici (nice, but on the pricey side), Pain Quotidien, Workshop Cafe.

Agree? Disagree? Have other suggestions? Please share!


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The best croissant quest

By no means do I consider my quest for Brussels’ best croissant to be over, but here is a list of preliminary results, as I feel comfortable enough with the quality of the two croissants that top my list so far.

Top choices:

  • Charli Boulangerie – crispy, perfect sweet-salty balance
  • La Fleur du Pain (place Flagey) – crispy and great taste

Worth mentioning:

  • Yasushi Sasaki, which I have reviewed for its amazing cakes here

Are there any other croissants in Brussels I should try? Leave a comment or send me a suggestion via Twitter!

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The Easter egg lowdown

Eastereggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a nutshell: Corne Port Royal wins for best value. Best taste goes to Godiva, although Corne Port Royal follows closely.

Shopping tips:

  • Avoid the touristy Sablon area and go to Place Stephanie, which has all the chocolate makers (Leonidas is in metro Louise and Galerie Louise) and nicer service, including often a free praline sample with any purchase.
  • Chocolate description leaflets at the end of this post!

After some serious taste testing (involving all flavors and several rounds, just to make sure…), here’s my lowdown on some of the main Easter eggs available this season:

1. Leonidas

  • Most affordable option (less than half price of Godiva and Neuhaus) and 14 different flavors (3 white, 6 milk, 5 dark). EUR 24 per kilo.
  • Good option for milk chocolate lovers. The dark chocolate is however, not as smooth and tasty as that of the other brands. White chocolate is good.
  • Best option for indiscriminate, high-consumption eating (i.e., kids, non-targeted gift giving)
  • Buying tip: Get the bright pink “Pop” Easter egg, which has sparking sugar – fun to eat! You won’t find this from any of the other producers reviewed here.

2. Corne Port Royal

  • 10 different flavors (2 white, 4 milk, 4 dark – some of them are the same, but milk vs. dark chocolate variations) at a mid- to high-range EUR 54 per kilo.
  • The chocolate quality is very good (dark, milk and white): better than Leonidas, and close to Godiva (and for my personal taste, better than Neuhaus)
  • Best option overall
  • Buying tip: The packaged options do not all have the same price by weight. My recommendation is the 10-egg long box, which looks great, and is one of the best values at 5 euros (Neuhaus has the same, but with 11 eggs, and it sells for 9 euros…).

3. Godiva

  • Loved the chocolate (dark chocolate in particular) and the 9 different flavors (1 white, 3 milk, 5 dark), which are a good mix of traditional and original (e.g., coffee ganache, speculoos mousse, hazelnut praline, dark chocolate ganache, raspeberry mousse)
  • Great presentation and gift options
  • But… I can’t afford to have too many of them, as they’re pretty pricey at EUR 63 per kilo
  • Best option for dark chocolate lovers, and probably my preferred option overall if price were not an issue
  • Neuhaus and Godiva have similar price points. For regular pralines, I think Neuhaus is better, but Godiva beats Neuhaus by far when it comes to Easter eggs and hot chocolate.

4. Neuhaus

  • 16 different flavors with some nice packaging options at EUR 60 per kilo
  • Many of the eggs have a creamy filling, which I personally do not like
  • Best option if you like creamy fillings
  • Ok, but not worth the high price. Their regular pralines are a better choice than their Easter eggs.

Chocolate descriptive leaflets:

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Godiva-descrip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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