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) & Gérald 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 Chaussée 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€ 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€)… and it didn’t disappoint! Almond Dacquoise, passion fruit cream & caramel crust… it was like eating a Crème 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€) 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€) and sometimes you paid 12 tokens (12€) 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€)).

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€ – 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€, or you can buy a box of 6 for 20€ or a box of 9 for 30€. They even offer a delivery service (for a fee)

Wondering about the name? C(hloé) 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€

  • 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€

  • 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 – pork/beef, chicken or bio veggie
  2. Select your style – 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€

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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 🙂

#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! 🙂

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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€)

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I opted for the Taco’s… with poultry (chicken), black beans, sour cream, shredded lettuce, grated cheese (9.25€) and guacamole (extra 1.25€) – 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€)

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Our total meal was about 28€ 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€ a glass)

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Food wise – HIM ordered the Butternut Risotto (on the specials menu for 27€)

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and I got the Chicken Supreme with a piece of deep fried polenta & some vegetables (25€ Suprême de volaille fermière, polenta croquante et légumes glacés)

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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€ 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 🙂

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

 

Why you should join the Belgian Meatball revolution with BALLEKES

Ever had a dream?

Imagine that you could turn that wonderful dream into a reality and actually make it your job… Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

I know that we all sit and day-dream how we would open up our own little business doing x or y (sometimes linked to big lottery values :))… the kind of business that our hearts are into… our passion & love!

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!

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Which is why I really think you should be doing your little bit to support the Belgian meatball revolution with Ballekes!

Before we even talk about the meatballs… I do want to point out that you don’t need to live in Brussels (or Belgium)… just imagine how donating a few euros could help a team reach their dream. If you do live in Brussels (or Belgium) – think about how your help could fill your belly 🙂 – a worthy investment in my eyes!!

So what money do they need? After working on an abandoned building, gutting it and starting from scratch – Florence & Thibault still need 25.000€ to finalise the renovations of the shop – this includes the carpentry (counters/benches/tables, etc) as well as lights & the floor!! All very necessary items don’t you think???

How can you help? Their crowdfunding project is live (as of Friday 15th January) and with just over a month to go – they offer a range of donation packages including:

  • 5€ => toast your name with a beer in their THANK YOU VIDEO
  • 10€ => 5 fried apero croquettes on your 1st visit (either Shrimp or Cheese)
  • 24€ (excl. shipping) => your 1st meal OR t-shirt OR cap OR name on the wall of fame
  • 49€ (excl. shipping) => t-shirt OR cap PLUS bottle opener, Ballekes “pils” glass & your name on the wall of fame
  • 99€ => Crowdfunder card with 10% discount for life PLUS your name on the wall of fame
  • 149€ => invitation to the VIP opening, t-shirt OR cap PLUS bottle opener, 2 glasses, your name on the wall of fame AND the crowdfunder card
  • 249€ => name engraved on a table for two, 2 invitations to the VIP opening, 2 t-shirts/caps/bottle openers, 4 glasses, your name on the wall of fame AND 2 Crowdfunder cards

all the way up to 4.999€ which gets you Ballekes for life… meatballs every day for every meal…. 🙂

Otherwise you can also contribute your own chosen amount – find more details here

More about the Ballekes restaurant & menu concept => consider a simple counter ordering system with the option to customize your choices and enjoy your meal in a cosy atmosphere!

The counter ordering system will be simple

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  1. Select your protein – pork/beef, chicken or bio veggie
  2. Select your style – with a Belgian sauce; with baguette or the healthy salad option
  3. and finally… select your sides & extra’s

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Sounds good, eh?

I know that you think that Brussels probably has enough food options… but I think that this option is an absolute winner of an idea!

AND LOCATION wise is perfect… close to Chatelain, Avenue Louise, St Gilles & Uccle

Chaussee de Charleroi 174, 1060 Brussels (Open 7/7)

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What are you waiting for?

#Jointhebelgianmeatballrevolution

We love Mellow (Frozen Yoghurt and Pancakes)

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to Mellow for a pancake brunch – and even better, I could bring along my mommabear who is visiting from South Africa!

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Started by 2 sisters, Noémie & Margaux in 2013 with a little pink Boule foodtruck… offering delicious Froyo (Frozen yogurt) – it quickly became popular and soon a little shop was opened in the heart of the European Institution.

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So popular… with a growing menu….

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Not just froyo’s, but smoothies, coffee, cake or freshly squeezed juices… and now also including pancakes!

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And not just any pancakes… but a selection of flavoured pancakes… as well as Pancake Sandwiches! Fillings change according to availability of local produce – but you are sure to find a fish, meat or vegetarian offering! And we were lucky enough to try all three at this bloggers brunch!!

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Fish – cream cheese with chives, fresh baby spinach and smoked trout (mom’s favourite)

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Meat – Tartiflette (reblochon cheese, bacon and onion)

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Vegetarian – fresh pear, goats cheese, honey and walnuts (my favourite)

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And of course, no visit would be complete without tasting some froyo…..

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Lets be honest – it doesn’t matter the season… it is always frozen yogurt time!!

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So what are you waiting for??? Go and visit – they also offer a fantastic Sunday brunch in their little sitting area beyond the counter… (14-18euro’s depending on how pancake hungry you are… pricing that we consider to be very reasonable, especially since it includes beverages!)

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An enormous thank you the Mellow Sisters for sharing your delicious pancakes with us!

Mellow

address: Place de Londres 10, Ixelles, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

website: http://www.welovemellow.com

CHYL in Brussels

When CHYL announced via instagram that they their bio café was now open on a Tuesday for lunch (previously only open as of Wednesday through to the weekend)… I knew that HIM and I were going to finally get a chance to check them out… so we bundled little miss up, put her in the stroller and headed over via the Flagey lakes to be there at 12noon on a Tuesday.

CHYL stands for Change Your Lifestyle…  offering seasonal foods in their café, with focus on natural, raw and cooked healthy food. Plus if you are a vegetarian or a vegan – this place has a wide range of offerings aimed at you! A green spot in the centre of the city!

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Obviously, eating out with a stroller is not an easy task… for us, other patrons and of course the restaurant… so we always try to make sure that the restaurant is ok with taking us and giving us a table that would provide the least amount of hassle to them and to other patrons. Something that CHYL very kindly did when we arrived there without a reservation (I must point out that we were one of the first people to arrive so it was easy to allocate us one of the empty tables!)

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Décor wise… they are following the trend of hanging plants and funky lights (as seen at places like Knees to Chin, King Kong, etc) and sitting area tables are simple with funky cushions on bench seats… but the real fun part is the seating area near the entrance which gave me a Moroccan feel… think couches seating area made of packing crates and low tables…

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I ordered the Detox juice (cucumber, apple and mint) while HIM went for the homemade lemonade – both of which were around 4-5€. (The Detox juice was DELICIOUS…)

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We both ordered from the “Daily specials” chalkboard… with HIM going for a cheeseburger (14€) served with House frites (a combination of normal potato & sweet potato) & a salad.

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and I opted for the “assorted salads” with chicken (17€) – I absolutely loved the quinoa mix, the violet mashed potato and the chicken (even if it was a small protein portion) – the rest of the salad mix was “nice” but didn’t wow me.

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Would I go back? Possibly, I have a friend (Sas) who is a fan of the healthy bio options, so I would return with her – but I know that this kind of cuisine is not HIM’s favourite… so he probably wouldn’t go back with me. I would however, love to go back just to spend time in their shop!!!

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CHYL

address: rue de Belle Vue 62, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 648 3476

website

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday: 12h00-15h00; Saturday-Sunday:10h30-17h00