Brussels Catering Company : Maurice

HIM celebrated his 40th birthday this year… amazing, isn’t it, how he gets older each year¬†while I remain the same age? ūüôā

A more serious note – I wanted him to celebrate. As the most selfless and generous¬†person that¬†I know, I knew that he wouldn’t even think about wanting a birthday party. He hates having a fuss made of him and is definitely not someone who likes to be the centre of attention. Which was all the more reason for me to put together a surprise party for him!

But how was I going to organize something for 20+ people AND keep it a secret?? I tried a few restaurants, but I had to keep in mind that there would be a toddler (2 years old and a bit of an adventurer) plus an infant (<1 year) in the mix. Meaning that venues needed to be child-friendly and/or private function space. Eventually, I gave up on the idea of a late Sunday afternoon party at any establishment and decided to host it in our own apartment. This meant that everyone could be more relaxed, kick their shoes off and let their hair down.

But now I had to think about catering. How was I going to be able to cook for all these people without HIM suspecting? Plus I would be travelling for 3 days in Spain the week before. Not to mention having a little one around my legs on the days leading up to the party… ?!? Did I mention that I wanted this to be a surprise??

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Maurice came to the rescue! Sanne who started Breakfast Delivery in Brussels expanded her weekend breakfast offerings by also offering lunchtime catering (which a fair amount of businesses have jumped on board) and with this, she has also started¬†catering events… hence the new company name & logo.

We started off emailing ideas around, then she came over to the apartment¬†to do a site visit with her partner. They kindly also organized the ice, ’40’ Balloons and flowers¬†plus managed the¬†delivery/set up on the day. All I had to do was provide the plates, cutlery, glassware & drinks. This was the most stressfree event that I have ever hosted and trust me, I have hosted many many (many ….) parties.

Lets just say that HIM was truly surprised when he walked in … and in a good way! The food was delicious – and there was MORE than enough… in fact, everyone went home with a container for the next day!

maurice cake

For Apero => there was shrimp springrolls with mango dip, Bruchetta with brie, sundried tomatoes, rucola, nuts and honey.

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For the lunch buffet portion => there was salmon tartare with fresh herbs, chicken meatballs with zucchini, Pork cheek stew, Potato salad, Greek Couscous salad, Grilled zucchini & aubergine  lentil salad with spinach & feta, plus a Tomato and green bean salad

Maurice salads

Dessert buffet was the real show stopper => a 4 layer cake with cream and berries; lavender & lemon mini cakes; individual¬†panna cotta’s with raspberries and individual chocolate mousse pots¬†with blueberries. PLUS gorgeous cheese platters with grapes & bread.

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I highly recommend using them for your next catered event!

maurice cheese

Maurice

website: http://www.mauricebrussels.be

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Vini Divini at the Jam Hotel in Brussels

HIM and I have been attempting to regain some sort of adult social life now that Monkey is 2 years old. That means that on HIM’s nights off (basically only¬†Saturday’s), we try to go out for dinner (just the two of us) at least once¬†a month (or every 2nd month if our schedules are too busy). That requires a bit of planning… (i.e.¬†booking a babysitter, getting dressed up or at least as dressed up as 2 parents of a toddler can, finding a restaurant, etc)

An Italian Tapas¬†restaurant around the corner from us in St Gilles,¬†had recently opened up and I had tried to book a table using their online booking site, however they were full but offered to waitlist us and let us know on the day if something became available. Needless to say, we heard nothing barring a hang-up¬†telephone call in the early evening, where as soon as they heard me¬†anser in¬†English, they put the phone down. I am not saying it was them… just thinking coincidence ūüėČ .

ANYWAY¬†– I had walked past the JAM hotel on numerous occasions and was truly intrigued by their funky look plus having had followed them on instagram meant that I knew that they had 2 bars (one of which is on the roof with a view¬†AND a¬†swimming pool!).¬†I made a reservation at their restaurant called Vini Divini … but wasn’t holding our breath for a fabulous, knock-out¬†night out. I mean, who makes a reservation in their own city to go to a hotel restaurant???

But you know what….We loved it!

Jam hotel 1

The restaurant itself is fun, relaxed and unpretentious (no tablecloths). The staff were friendly and multi-lingual. And the Italian food offered although simple, was very tasty, with an open(ish) kitchen vibe, so you can watch the chefs at work!

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We arrived at 7.30pm when it was still quiet. Ordered a lovely bottle of wine and a Tomato/ Mozzarella salad to share. It arrived with a basket of delicious bread rolls.. which if this was a view of the pizza dough to follow … was pure¬†heaven!

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HIM then had the gnocchi with gorgonzola & walnuts, while I ordered a pizza with Salami and Ricotta.

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Our total bill was around 80euro’s and it would definitely be a place to revisit. By the time we left, it was full – mostly with big groups of young(er than us), hipster folk celebrating various birthdays/anniversaries/etc and I have it earmarked as a return-to &¬†“group” venue.

Vini Divini (Jam Hotel)

Opening hours: 12h00-14h00 & 19h00-22h30 (Monday-Friday); 19h00-22h30 (Saturday) and 12h00-16h00 (Sunday Brunch)

address: 132 Chaussee de Charleroi, 1060, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 537 1787

email: jam@vini-divini.eu or restaurant@jamhotel.be

website: http://www.vini-divini.eu/jam

Tapas Y Mas Restaurant, Brussels

Sandwiched between the university (ULB) different campus departments is Tapas Y Mas.

A reasonably priced & cheerful restaurant offering of hot & cold tapas (and delicious cocktails). A bright & airy front area leads to a more cosy eating environment in the back (perfect for dates… ask me, I should know!)

I wrote about them a while ago Рbut since they recently had an interior upgrade, making it more fresh & modern looking, I thought it was a great opportunity to re-write the post and update it with some better images!

The Tapas offered¬†is a mix and match of different European favourites ‚Äď all home-made and utterly delicious!¬†Tapas prices range¬†between 3.00‚ā¨ and 5.00‚ā¨ each.¬†I recommend ordering 3-4 plates per person and hopefully you are with a few people who like to share … giving you an even wider opportunity to taste more!

HIM always (and I do mean always) orders the same 4 dishes:

  • Mousakka (4.00‚ā¨)
  • Potato Tortilla (3.90‚ā¨)
  • Boulettes¬†de viande au curry et lait de coco (meatballs with a curry and coconut milk sauce 3.90‚ā¨)
  • Patatas Bravas √† l‚Äôail (Fried potatoes with garlic mayo: 3.80‚ā¨)

While I am inclined to order:

  • Poutine (fries with gravy & melted cheese: 5.00‚ā¨)
  • Scampis diaboliques (shrimps with tomato/chilli sauce: 4.00‚ā¨)
  • Something from their specials board… courgette & boursin or¬† a Spanish lentils dish or or or…

You can wash it all down with wine (by the glass or bottle), one of their cocktails or my personal favourite… Sangria (by the glass or the carafe… generally the latter where I am concerned).

Cost wise, you are looking at about 20-30‚ā¨ per person including drinks. The service is good (probably because we know the owners….) and it is conveniently located. We visit at least once every two months… so if you see us there, smile, nod and raise a glass!

Tapas Y mas!

address: 372 Chaussée de Boondael, 1050, Brussels
telephone: +32 2 640 0025
opening hours:¬†Tuesday ‚Äď Thursday: 18h30-23h00; Friday & Saturday: 18h30¬†‚Äď 00h00
www.tapasymas.be

Secret Gourmand…sweet and savoury tarts

As HIM works in the Chatelain area – he found this boutique shop a few months ago (as you can see from an earlier instagram post)

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BUT I recently got treated to a Secret Gourmand delivery… which sported not one, but TWO delicious sweet tarts!

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Started in¬†2009 by 2 pie loving visionaries, Philippe Collignon¬†(the pastry king) & G√©rald Evers (the entrepreneur)¬†in a workshop in the centre of Brussels¬†with only 6 oven plates, a mixer & 2 tables – but enough passion (& taste)¬†to get the ball rolling. In 2014, they moved the workshop to Chauss√©e de Waterloo and more pies were provided. In 2015, a 2nd shop was opened in Place du Chatelain (yippee yeah…), and half way through 2016… a THIRD shop was opened at St Xavier de Bue!

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Success comes to those who make it… and this team is making DELICIOUSNESS…

HIM & I both adored this Cherry & Pistachio cream Crumble (11-18‚ā¨ depending on size) – as we have ordered it ourselves before! A Cherry crumble with pistachio cream & shortbread crumb… with the pistachio cream¬†reminding me of marzipan…

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This was the first time that we tried the Passion Fruit tart (12-20‚ā¨)… and it didn’t disappoint! Almond Dacquoise, passion fruit cream & caramel crust…¬†it was like eating a Cr√®me Brule tart with passion fruit flavour. YUM

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These were so good – but my ultimate favourite of their’s must be the Chocolate peanut Tart (12-20‚ā¨) as it reminds me of Reese’s Pieces (not that I am American or anything…) with a shortbread crust, crunchy peanut butter vanilla mousse & chocolate ganache!

AND – they not only make sweet treats – but they also have a great selection of Savoury pies (aka Quiches)¬†as well. With interesting combinations like Salmon & Broccoli, Crab & Asparagus, Tartiflette (potatoes, cheese, etc) with truffles, and and and…

Share the love – pop into one of the 3 stores & get yourself one (you wont be sorry) or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or instagram

ENORMOUS thanks to the Secret Gourmand & the Claudia Lomma Teams for sending us these tarts to taste!

Secret Gourmand

Addresses:

  1. 887 Chaussée de Waterloo, Uccle: Mon-Sat: 10h00-18h00
  2. 49 Place du Chatelain, Ixelles: Tues-Sat: 11h00-19h00 & Sun: 11h00-15h00
  3. 72 Rue Xavier de Bue, Uccle: Mon-Sun: 10h30-18h30

website: http://www.secretgourmand.be

Disclaimer: Although no money changed hands for this post, we did get to enjoy these treats. All opinions & comments expressed are 100% our own & 100% honest

Eat! Brussels Drink! Bordeaux 2016 edition

That is right folks… today is the first day of Eat Brussels! Drink Bordeaux! 2016 edition – which is currently in its 5th year!

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Once again it is being held in Parc Royal (which was a huge hit with me last year… read 2015 review here) – this year however, the concept has changed (sad face :() but I have been assured that it will still be VERY tasty!

Previously – you bought a package with X number of tokens and each restaurant stand would have a selection of starters, main courses and desserts with their own price (set # of tokens) – sometimes you could get a hamburger for 10tokens (10‚ā¨) and sometimes you paid 12 tokens (12‚ā¨)¬†for a fancy-schmancy starter. While this year, the concept is simple – several dozen great Brussels chefs will take turns to offer you a signature dish from their restaurant each day (which is¬†at the set price of 9tokens (9‚ā¨)).

Therefore – if you buy a Solo Pass – you get 2x signature dishes along with your Wine Pass.

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Which brings me to my favourite part (and the part I had to miss last year because I was pregnant)… the Wine Pass for a mere 18‚ā¨ – you get an engraved wine glass, wine glass pouch (which is super handy as it hangs around your neck while you stand and eat), a tasting book for 11 wines (hallelujah!); 1 session at wine school & a Duvel beertasting! I know many people who purchased one of these and came back over the course of 2 or 3 days last year… so a REAL bargain indeed!

I know that I will be heading there on Saturday… will you?

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for more details – check out the website here (and don’t forget to pre-purchase your passes, although they can be bought on the day)

C O C O Donuts in Brussels

I had already been stalking checking out their Instagram and Facebook feeds for a while, drooling over their donuts and begging HIM to visit to fulfill my donut craving…

So finally… while Michelle of Very Hungry Explorer was visiting us in Brussels for a day… we finally made our way to Petit Sablon and settled down outside the shop on some outdoor furniture to devour their sugary goods and sip on their homemade lemonade.

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C O C O Donuts was started by 2 ladies, Chloé & Candice who thought up the idea while in Sydney, Australia. They make the most of organic & local ingredients and bake their donuts Tuesday to Sunday in their workshop.

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Salted caramel, chocolate and berry donuts for us

Offering conventional flavours like lemon, sugar & cinnamon, salted caramel, berries¬†or chocolate to more adventurous flavours like maple syrup & bacon, pistachio & white chocolate, oreo¬†or peanut butter & jam… there is something for everyone!

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We enjoyed them so much that we bought a box of 4 for HIM to take to work to share with his co-workers… (Image below:¬†top left in clockwise: pistachio & white chocolate, lemon, speculoos & crunchy chocolate)

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So yes – you can pop into the shop, sit down & enjoy the sugar rush right there and then, or you can purchase to take away (either in store or order in advance via their website, email or telephone). Cost for 1 donut is 3,50‚ā¨, or you can buy a box of 6 for 20‚ā¨ or a box of 9 for 30‚ā¨. They even offer a delivery service (for a fee)

Wondering about the name? C(hlo√©) O C(andice) O with the “O”‘s being Donuts… pretty clever, eh?

Visit them….

C O C O Donuts

address: rue de Sainte-Anne 36, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 498 57 43 16

email: cocodonutsbrussels@gmail.com

website: http://www.cocodonutsbrussels.com

Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 12h00-19h00 (or until they are sold out!)

Introducing… Breakfast Delivery Brussels

When people decide to pursue their love of food and start up their own business serving their local community – I am definitely one of the first people to stand up & help support (crowd funding, kiss kiss bank bank or whatever might make the most sense)

So when I saw a new concept in Brussels of having breakfast delivered to your front door… I thought the idea novel and quaint.

Don’t get me wrong – sometimes, the highlight of my weekend is going out with HIM and the monkey for breakfast/brunch somewhere… but sometimes, just sometimes¬†– you also want to laze about in your pj’s while still enjoying¬†freshly baked goods, soft boiled eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice and steaming hot cups of ** (whatever your heart fancies)… without actually having to go to the shops or even enter your kitchen.

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Which is where Breakfast Delivery Brussels comes in.

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A simple concept… either a Simple or Deluxe breakfast…

Simple 15‚ā¨

  • coffee/tea
  • orange juice
  • pistolet (a bread roll)
  • croissant or pain au chocolat
  • Jam & chocolate spread OR ham & cheese
  • Hard or soft boiled eggs with toasted bread soldiers

Deluxe 22.50‚ā¨

  • All the above
  • yoghurt with¬†granola & fruit OR chia-coconut pudding with fruit
  • Toast with Avocado & Salmon

you always have the option to add (for an extra euro): pistolet, croissant, pain au chocolat, jam/chocolate spread, ham & cheese. And you can make it extra special by including some bubbles too! Either in 35.7cl or a full 75cl bottle

I had supported the concept via Kiss Kiss Bank Bank – and therefore got 2x Deluxe breakfasts… (suppose to include a bottle of champers but I think that this must have been mislaid – but that really didn’t matter and a delicious pot of home made rhubarb & strawberry jam)

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What do you think? Pretty impressive eh?

There was SO MUCH food – that we ate off it for 2 days! I loved the yoghurt with home-made¬†granola & fruit (so much so – that I “stole” HIM’s for the next days breakfast) and the salmon/avo toast was left for the afternoon.

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Why we loved it:

  • Our delivery slot was 9-10am and I got a phone call at 8h50 to say that it would be delivered in 5minutes (which it was!)
  • Everything was fresh and tasty – even the coffee was still hot on delivery
  • So much food – real value for money!

Future improvement suggestions

  • Time slots should be in 30minute intervals… HIM starts at work at 11h00, so I would have preferred a 10am delivery time, but if I chanced it and took the 10h00-11h00 slot, I couldn’t be guaranteed that our food would arrive in time. Instead I took the 09h00-10h00 slot and it was delivered at 09h00 sharp.. which was actually too early
  • an option to add the yoghurt/granola/fruit parfait to the simple breakfast…

What you need to know:

  • Deliveries are only on Saturday & Sunday: 08h00-13h00
  • Deliveries only possible in a 4km radius from the Bourse Area
  • Payment: cash, bankcontact, bank transfer – but remember to put your proof of payment in email format
  • You can order in advance online or even phone/email on the day
  • the more you order, the cheaper it gets!

Would I use them again? DEFINITELY – but I would opt for the simple breakfast going forward! Show your support and order for this weekend!

BREAKFAST DELIVERY

email: info@breakfastdelivery.be

website: http://www.breakfastdelivery.be

phone: +32 493 06 78 24

Ballekes Restaurant (Brussels)

After having started a bistro (t’Bolleke) in Brussels serving traditional Belgian cuisine, it soon became apparent that the Ballekes that Francoise & Thibault were serving were an absolute hit… so the idea of providing a fast (but casual) restaurant with minimum service serving high quality Belgian meatballs, fries & beers was born! (you can read about their crowdfunding initiative in my earlier post here)

We finally got around to heading out to their newly opened shop *Ballekes* for lunch on one gloriously sunny Thursday.

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The interior is fantastic – clean, funky and lots of seating (plus enough space for us to park the stroller at the end of one of the bar tables – so they get a big thumbs up for us on that one!)

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They explained the concept to us – but all in all it was pretty simple

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  1. Select your protein ‚Äď pork/beef, chicken or bio veggie
  2. Select your style ‚Äď with¬†one of their 6 fantastic sauce; in a¬†baguette or the healthy salad option
  3. and finally… select your sides & extra’s

We all ordered their “special” – 2 meatballs, 1 style & 1 side for 13.50‚ā¨

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HIM & Sarah got 2 pork/beef meatballs – one in the tomato sauce & the other in the mushroom sauce – with frites & mayo (for him) & truffle mayo (for her). While I had one chicken meatball in mushroom sauce (my favourite) and one pork/beef meatball in tomato sauce with frites & truffle mayo (OMG … so GOOD!!)

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At first, I was worried that 2 balls and some frites wouldn’t be enough – but we were really full…¬† especially washed down with one of the beers from their awesome selection (don’t judge me… but HIM and I are currently on a cider kick…)

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But that still didn’t stop us from sharing a slice of their delicious carrot cake

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Would I go back? Absolutely… I am thinking it might be the perfect spot for some birthday lunch ūüôā

#Jointhebelgianmeatballrevolution

BALLEKES

address: Chaussee de Charleroi 174, 1060 Brussels

telephone: coming soon

open 7days a week

 

CHEZWaWa (Brussels)

A new kid on the block has opened….

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CHEZWaWa has moved into the Chatelain neighbourhood…offering locals a new style of farm-to-counter California-style Mexican dining called *Roll your own Way*. What they describe as Fresh, Fast, Flavorful & made-to-order… just as you like/want it.

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HIM took me there for lunch one Saturday… we arrived early (just after 12) to avoid having to fight for space at a table (especially as we were sporting our little miss in her stroller).

Space wise – you walk into a ground area for seating with 2 bar style seating tables on one side, some window facing counter seats and a long table on a *stage*. Then up a few steps (impossible with a stroller) to more table type seating and at the back is the order/counter section. Not the most practical of set ups – but as it was quiet – we had no issues as you need to start on the left hand side (where the entrance to the toilets is)¬†and then move right along the counter while they make up your meal to where the¬†cashier is. Meaning that if there is queue… you are 2 queues of people deep in a somewhat constrained environment.

The ceiling décor is awesome!

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The concept sounds pretty simple –

  1. Choose your base: Burrito (flour tortilla) or Naked Burrito (no tortilla but served in a bowl) or Taco (3 corn or flour) or Salad
  2. Choose your protein: This determines the price you pay: Poultry or shredded Pork or Beef or Spiced Tofu or grilled vegetables
  3. Choose your rice and beans (and/or): white rice or brown rice or/and pinto beans or black beans
  4. Choose your salsa: fresh or mild or medium or extra hot
  5. Add the extra’s: sour cream, shredded lettuce, grated cheese (free) or pay extra for guacamole, extra salsa/meat, grilled vegetables, chillies….

Sounds simple, eh? But the combinations are just too much and I struggled to decide… even when I had it right in my head – carrying out the order at the counter while they made it up for me while I stood there had me unsure… *Do you want rice in your taco’s?” he asked…. *Am I supposed to?* I responded… *Roll your own way… it is up to you* he said… and bam.. I was confused! ūüôā

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HIM went for a Shredded Pork Burrito with bacon rice, pinto beans, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, roasted peppers… but no sour cream (9‚ā¨)

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I opted for the Taco’s… with poultry (chicken), black beans, sour cream, shredded lettuce, grated cheese (9.25‚ā¨)¬†and guacamole (extra 1.25‚ā¨) – not the most lady-like food item to eat with your hands¬†– but OH MY WORD… delicious!

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We washed it down with a Mexican Beer (they range in price from 3.95-4.50‚ā¨)

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Our total meal was about 28‚ā¨ and we were both STUFFED (aka very full)… so this is a really great deal and is sure to do well with anyone wanting a fast, delicious and cheap meal!

Would we return? Absolutely… plus I see that they are on Deliveroo… so I can even get my fix delivered!!

CHEZWaWa

address: Rue Americaine 91, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 534 6330

website: http://www.chezwawa.com

Opening hours: Mon-Tues & Thurs: 12h00-22h00; Wed & Fri-Sat: 12h00-23h00 and Sun: 17h00-22h00

Classico Restaurant (Brussels)

Going out for a meal with a 6month old is really REALLY (did I mention *really*?) difficult!

Firstly, there are very few places in Brussels that have sufficient space between tables to allow for a pram/stroller and those that do aren’t always offering the food that I might want. (i.e. Ikea canteen restaurants are the perfect place for any new mum in Brussels – parking, sufficient space between tables and of course excellent changing rooms…). Secondly,¬†going out in the evening to a restaurant has proved to be tricky… since HIM works Monday-Friday evening and I am definitely not trekking out with all the baby paraphernalia by myself at night and weekends are normally jam packed with meeting¬†up with friends.¬†And finally, the whole baby routine thing that we are supposed to be doing… bath/feed/bed by 7.30pm…

BUT… HIM took me out for lunch one fine Saturday… and we decided that we would try the new place called *Classico* Brasserie which took over the same spot¬†where Lucy Chang in Ixelles used to be.

First impressions (at 12noon) was that the interior was smart and sleek with a fabulous bar seating area on one side (no picture) while maintaining the maximum amount of seating on the other side of the restaurant (i.e. spaces between tables was really tight – but we were there early and placed on the end of one section so that we could accommodate the stroller).

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The staff member we interacted with was knowledgeable about the menu and friendly with a very French air about him.

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Wines were tasty but on the pricey side… (7-9‚ā¨ a glass)

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Food wise – HIM ordered the¬†Butternut Risotto (on the specials menu for 27‚ā¨)

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and I got the Chicken Supreme with a piece of deep fried polenta & some vegetables (25‚ā¨ Supr√™me de volaille fermi√®re, polenta croquante et l√©gumes glac√©s)

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Both of our dishes were delicious… and we might have been tempted with dessert if Little Miss hadn’t decided that this was the perfect moment to start crying because she was tired but didn’t want to go to sleep… (within 5minutes of walking with her after leaving she was fast asleep…). So we had to quickly pay the bill and run…

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In total – our bill came to 80‚ā¨ for 2 glasses of wine, 2 main dishes and a bottle of water for 2 people. Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious and the atmosphere classy but I consider this to be on the upper side of pricey for a Saturday lunch… especially since I still had room for dessert after my main course ūüôā

Would we return? Maybe… for an *occasion* type dinner (anniversary, birthday, etc) – but it wouldn’t be my regular go-to-spot.

Classico Brasserie

address: 124 Rue Americaine, Ixelles, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 537 9039

website: http://www.classico-la-brasserie.com/

email: welcome@classico-la-brasserie.com

Opening hours: Tues-Sat: 12h00-15h00 & 19h00-23h00 and Sun: 12h00-15h00 & 19h00-22h00