Introducing: Carrefour Simply You Box

At the end of 2016, Carrefour launched their own meal box called Simply You Box.

Offering a similar concept to Smartmat & HelloFresh – a cardboard box filled with 3 different recipe cards plus the fresh ingredients to make these recipes. Each week, the Simply You Box offers 9 different recipes from which you can pick/choose which 3 meals you would like to cook. Just like the other recipe/fresh food boxes offered by competitors, they too promise that meals can be ready within 30minutes and are easy to follow.

Turkey schnitzel with roasted baby potatoes and salad (10 April 2017 menu)

What you need to know:

  1. Choose 3 recipes out of the 9 menus that offered
    • 3 vegetarian, 3 traditional & 3 family friendly
    • Menu’s change weekly
    • View 4 weeks worth of menu’s online
  2. Number of people to feed: Currently options are only 2 people or 4 people?
    • 40€ for 2people = 6.67€ per meal per person
    • 60€ for 4 people = 5.00€ per meal per person
  3. Collect on a Monday from your nearest Carrefour Drive pick-up point (available all over Belgium). They are investigating delivery options for the future!
  4. Payment via debit/credit card online
  5. Order by midnight on Monday to collect the following Monday

I got the opportunity to test out one of the boxes (2people) and can say that the whole process was very EASY – especially the collection at the Carrefour Drive pick up point in Auderghem where Carrefour staff were super helpful and took at total of 5minutes!

As you can see from the box above – the quantities were GENEROUS for 2people! (A whole packet of linguine for 2people for one recipe! Obviously, splitting their pre-existing packaging for this concept doesn’t make sense – but it means that not only is the concept pretty cost effective at 6,67€ per person per meal but that you might be adding to your store cupboard as well!)

Coming back to value for money => how does this stack against the competition?? Pretty well considering that HelloFresh is 34€ for 2 people for 3 meals = 5.67€ per person/per meal and Smartmat Original Box is 59€ for 2 people for 3meals = 9.83€ per person/per meal. So Simply You Box is only just more expensive than HelloFresh but definitely cheaper than Smartmat Original box.

creamy risotto with roasted pumpkin & mascarpone (10th April 2017 menu)

Additional Comments

  • Positive:
    • Easy to follow simple recipes (each card is printed recto-verso, so Dutch on one side and French on the other side – but even with that – the recipes were so easy, that you didn’t really need to pore over each line of instruction)
    • Fresh ingredients were exactly that… FRESH
    • Excellent quality/price ratio;
    • Pretty balanced nutrition (IMHO… that I could see – although I am not a nutritionist, I am sure that they are consulting with one and having carbs/protein/vegetables etc in each menu seems pretty level headed to me)
  • Negative: finding something negative to say was really difficult as this is a great concept that is executed professionally!
    • Having to collect box on a Monday (looking forward to delivery options becoming available);
    • Website & recipes only available in Dutch/French

Website: www.simplyYouBox.be

PROMOCODE: Use unique code WHIMNTSYB before 31/05/2017 and you will get a discount of 10€ when you purchase a Simply You Box of min 40€

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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.

coco 4

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.

coco 5

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!

coco 2

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)

coco 3

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!)

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.

Ballekes 7

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!)

Ballekes 6

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

ballekes 2

  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€

Ballekes 2

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!!)

Ballekes 3

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…)

Ballekes 8

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

Ballekes 5

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….

chez wawa 6

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.

chez wawa 1

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!

chez wawa 7

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! 🙂

chez wawa 3

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

chez wawa 4

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!

chez wawa 5

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

chez wawa 2

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).

classico 1

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

classico 3

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

classico 2

classico 4

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

classico 5

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)

classico 6

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…

classico 7

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

 

Portuguese cuisine at Pessoa

One of the benefits of being on maternity leave is that I can FINALLY get out and try out some local spots for lunch!

HIM and a Portuguese friend often head down to Flagey to a little Portuguese tavern/restaurant during the week for a bite of lunch… the spot is called PESSOA – and I had been itching to try it out as well.

Looking for fine dining? This isn’t it…

Looking for down-to-earth Portuguese food in a relaxed atmosphere? This is the place…

HIM ordered pork escalope’s

pessoa 3

while Sas went for Portuguese steak – served with a side portion of black-eyed beans that were so delicious that she asked for a second portion! (Which was happily provided)

pessoa 1

and of course – I decided that cordon bleu was what I felt like – served with frites and a mushroom sauce. Fancy cuisine it was not… Comfort food – it was! (And enough frites to make me happy!)

pessoa 2

thereafter – a little bit of Portuguese sweets were in order… Gateaux Marie… Mmmm

pessoa 4

Would I return? Absolutely! Prices are really good (mains are about 12-15euro’s each….)

PESSOA

address: Chaussee de Boondael 4, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 474 33 2346

website

email: pessoa2@hotmail.be

Bagels at APDM

Our lovely group from pre-natal met up again recently… this time we descended upon APDM (Au Pays Des Merveilles) in Ixelles for bagels….

Can you just imagine? 6 pregnant ladies with trailing spouses… catching up over 3hours – eating, drinking and laughing? Well – that was us!

bagels 1

Staff wise – our lovely waitress took no time at all to get us settled and started taking drinks orders and continued to pay us loads of attention (switching deftly from French to English and back again when needed!)

We ordered a whole range of bagels… from the vegetarian suggestion of the day to the bacon & eggs option… to chicken & guacamole (mine) to bacon cheese & burger meatballs….

bagels 7 bagels 5 bagels 4 bagels 3

We even had a few plates of pancakes doing the rounds – as well as a version of French toast.

bagels 6

All washed down with glasses of juice, cups of coffee….

Would I go back? Yes – all in all – the bagels were tasty & super filling (which is something when you talk to a pregnant woman :)) – and service was good. What more can you ask for when looking for a spot for breakfast/brunch?

APDM (Au Pays Des Merveilles)

address: Avenue Louis Lepoutre 6, 1050, Ixelles, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 345 4244

email: apdmbagel@gmail.com

website: http://aupaysdesmerveilles.be

Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 10h00-15h30 (closed Tuesday); Sat-Sun: 10h00-17h30

Sunday Brunch at La Fabrique in Brussels

Those of us who don’t disappear from Brussels during the summer holiday period of July & August are often left with a gaping hole, closed restaurants and limited offerings. Which is exactly what happened to us this past Sunday!

We drove past 2 or 3 of our “go to” Sunday lunch venues and arrived at our last resort to see that they have closed up shop permanently… but THANKFULLY – we then saw La Fabrique was open (and full of people sitting on the sidewalk soaking up the summer sunshine) offering a Sunday brunch.

La Fabrique 3

They had actually been closed for most of July – so it was pure luck that we found them having recently re-opened after their holiday!

La Fabrique 2

For 25€ per person – it was an all you can eat buffet of salads, breads, cheeses, charcuterie, fruit salad, omelets & crepes made while you wait, a few hot dishes (a chicken curry that HIM gave 2 thumbs up for being well spiced without being spicy) and of course – a table dedicated to those of us with a sweet tooth.

La Fabrique 7 La Fabrique 6 La Fabrique 5 La Fabrique 11

The price does not include drinks – but we opted for lemonades & freshly squeezed health juices (4€), followed by coffee and our final bill was just over 90euros, which sounds like a lot when you first think about it – BUT let me tell you that if you are someone who enjoys a leisurely breakfast/lunch with healthy & tasty options – you walk out really full! HIM ate a plate of the salads, then a plate of chicken curry & rice AND a slice of cheesecake… now do the maths of ordering a starter, main & dessert somewhere else…. without the instant gratification of helping yourself and eating within minutes of arriving and being able to take more (or less) of the things you really want.

I started off with a little bit of each of the salads (soooo good)

I started off with a spoonful of each of the salads (soooo good)

Then moved onto a slice of cheesecake, with a spoonful of apple & rhubarb crumble and a smidgen of chocolate torte

Then moved onto a slice of cheesecake, with a spoonful of apple & rhubarb crumble and a smidgen of chocolate torte (you can see HIM’s plate with chicken curry & rice and more salad in the background)

while M opted for a "made while you wait" crépe

while M opted for a “made while you wait” crêpe smothered in home-made salted caramel sauce

Please note that there is nothing else served on a Sunday – except brunch – so don’t think you can come in and order off their normal menu… not on a Sunday anyway!

Would we go back again? Yes, Yes, Yes…. in a heartbeat. Those salads were so fresh and tasty… THAT cheesecake has me drooling (I would even go as far as to say that it was definitely one of the BEST I have ever eaten) and the service was sufficient (plates were cleared quickly and efficiently and buffet dishes were replenished often!). Price wise – I think that it might be on the up spectrum of pricing for Brunch – but after enjoying everything so much – I wouldn’t complain about paying it again!

I only wish that my little growing bump was not restricting my food intake so much (I can only eat a certain amount at each sitting before the growing bump pushes against my stomach telling me to stop eating!)… but as soon as she is out… I am going back … for 2nd & 3rd rounds and turning Brunch into a full day affair 🙂

La Fabrique

Facebook

Address: 122 Rue Américaine, Ixelles, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

Telephone: +32 2 537 56 36

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 08h30-17h00; Saturdays & Sundays 11h00-16h00

Introducing… Smartmat

I recently got the opportunity to test out another food box delivery company… this time SMARTMAT (I also attended their launch party – which you can read about here)

smartmat-logo

As already mentioned – The concept is pretty simple – Smartmat helps you & your family to eat healthy & tasty food by supplying the ingredients and recipes to your home each week. That’s right – they do the shopping, provide the meal planners and deliver directly to your home… so all you have to do is the actual cooking (and eating of course).

They offer formula’s for 1, 2 or 4 people for 3, 4 or 5 meals… even offering Vegetarian, Quick/Easy & breakfast choices.

The meals are at least 25% organic, have no unnecessary additives or preservatives and focus on providing sustainable fish and local meat choices to create varied, healthy & original recipes.

Cost wise – they are little bit more expensive than FreshBox but when you calculate how much you spend on eating out… it still works out cheaper (in my opinion) plus it takes all the hassle out of creating menu plans and shopping, etc!

  • cost for 4 meals for 1 person = 49euros
  • cost for 4 meals for 2 people = 65euros
  • cost for 3 meals for 4 people = 75euros
  • cost for 5 meals for 4 people = 109euros

Once you sign up – you receive your delivery date – but your delivery time is only confirmed 4days beforehand and ta-da… the box is delivered.

The box that I received to review contained 4 meals for 2 people – a fish dish, a poultry dish & a meat dish – plus a punnet of strawberries (and recipe card) to make some cocktails!

smartmat 2

Portion sizes were very generous and the meat dish (hot dogs) was actually enough for 2 meals rather than 1 (I only did 2 of the 4 hot dog rolls and used the 2nd avo for another salad later on)!

smartmat 3

Plus I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed making (and eating) these….

smartmat 4

Additional comments:

  1. Negative: The menu/recipes did not match the images printed next to them (oops :))
  2. Positive: Website is available in both Dutch & French
  3. Positive: The website provides 3weeks of menu’s – last week, current week and the following week

Would I make use of this again? Most probably – the contents of the box were super fresh, healthy and more than generous – plus there was a good ratio of fruit/vegetables, protein and carbs – giving the impression that it was a truly balanced diet. And of course – the ease of not having to think about what to cook, grocery shop, etc… makes life so much easier… leaving you time to do the things that you truly enjoy (like eat :))

Disclosure: I feel it is very important to disclose that I did not pay for this box – but I do promise that this a 100% accurate review of my experience & I was not reimbursed for writing this.

Introducing: Hello Fresh Box

Last week, I spoke about attending a SMARTMAT event (read about it here) as well as testing out FLAVOUR DELIVERED (read about it here) – I was also recently given the opportunity to test out a food box delivery from a company called Hello Fresh.

HelloFresh

The concept is pretty similar – you can order a box of ingredients, which are delivered along with recipe cards – taking the hassle out of meal planning and grocery shopping. Which means that the only thing that you need to do is get into the kitchen and cook (and obviously eat!).

Firstly – you select what type of food box delivery you want – Original (Meat/Fish – which is what I got to test), Vegetarian or a humble (but yummy) Fruit box.

Secondly – you select the number of people you wish to feed (from an 1-6 people) and then you decide on whether you want ingredients for 3 meals or 5 meals! Prices are pretty reasonable… in my opinion, especially when you consider what eating out costs!

  • cost for 3 meals for 1 person = 36euros
  • cost for 3 meals for 2 people = 43euros
  • cost for 3 meals for 3 people = 53euros
  • cost for 5 meals for 1 person = 46euros
  • cost for 5 meals for 2 people = 53euros
  • cost for 5 meals for 3 people = 73euros

And finally – indicate the day & time slot that works best for you – keeping in mind that deliveries are only done on Monday & Tuesday evenings between 16h30 & 22h30.

Now onto the box itself………

hello fresh box

Mine arrived with ingredients for 2 people for 3 meals – a fish dish, a chicken dish & a vegetarian dish:

hello fresh box inside

I can honestly say that the cost difference for 1 person to 2 persons makes getting the 2ppl box much more economical… and lets be honest, if you are going to spend 30-40minutes cooking dinner for yourself – it is always nice to have some leftovers for the next days lunch or the freezer, right? And I also believe that 3 meals is sufficient for my lifestyle – my rationale behind this statement is that I don’t have time to cook 5 weeknights in a row… I am often out at least 2-3nights a week and our weekends are more “ad hoc” with regards to cooking or going out… plus we like the choice of last minute planning on the weekend.

In terms of meal planning – the menu’s are set for each week – so you don’t have any choice in mixing & matching meals from other weeks – but what it does do is give you the opportunity to make something that you ordinarily wouldn’t have thought of!

As you can see from below – I made each of the 3 meals… and although the protein offerings were on the smaller side – the veg & carbs were plentiful!

hello fresh box meals

Comments about their website –

  1. Positive: you can see what menu’s are available for the following weeks
  2. Negative: The Belgian website is only available in Dutch…

Would I make use of this again? I would definitely consider it – with the upcoming birth of our daughter – I am pretty sure that domestic chores like meal planning & grocery shopping are going to be pretty low on my list of things to do and if there are opportunities to ease daily life… then this is going to be one of them!

Hello Fresh is currently available in both Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, UK, US & Australia (although each country has a somewhat different offering)

Disclosure: I feel it is very important to disclose that I did not pay for this box – but I do promise that this a 100% accurate review of my experience & I was not reimbursed for writing this.