Archive for the ‘Brussels’ Category

IN’T SPINNEKOPKE

05/03/2007

We were looking for somewhere really Belgian to eat. I had gorged myself the night before on mussels from another restaurant and I wanted to try something else. This place we had walked past 100 times and we eyed it with curiosity – it looks a bit foreboding and a bit other worldly. Always like it is shut, even though there are people coming in and out.

What this place I’nt Spinnekopke is, is one hell of an awesome restaurant! It ticks all the boxes for a being Belgian [if you gloss over the fact the Head Chef boss man is actually Spanish – but he has been living in Brussels for well over 30 years…]: big fat men with round cheeks in aprons like sheets, tall skinny bumbling waiters, low ceilings and red checked table cloths, a hideously shockingly extensive beer menu and a dinner menu that features beer as an ingredient in every dish. The place is also kind of kooky with merry-go-round horses in the window and strange pictures on the wall.

ADVICE: You have to make a booking. Or you are told you have a strict time to eat the food and then get out… We didn’t make a booking and we made every single second in there count! Admittedly they were practically pulling the table cloth out from under us before we finished BUT man we felt good in a kind of rosy too much good food feeling.

We started off eating the hors doeuvres the waiter suggested [he was the tall skinny guy I was telling you about before – he was an old dude who told us it was his first night on the job so we had to forgive his mistakes. Moments later he tripped on my foot.] Only two out of four of us were game enough to eat it. They were four little pieces of toast with some cheesy stuff that looked like lard on it. I also had a drink that I think was champagne and kriek… but I can’t really remember now… I know that sounds like it was gross – but it really wasn’t! I didn’t know what beer to have to I asked the waiter to surprise me. Uselessly I don’t remember what that was either but I loved it.

The waiter kept telling us he could explain things in English – “English no problem for me!” – but we had navigated the menu pretty well. One of us had chicken cooked in beer, I had rabbit in a lambic casserole, another had steak with a beer sauce. And another had mussels in wine. If you are vegetarian you will have to be brave and order off menu. And the waiter kept joking along. He made some crack that ended up with my exhusband telling him “Easy! She’s my wife!” and the waiter replied “Oh I’m sorry – really I’m a bit chicken on the side.”

Then the desserts – they were like our main dishes incredible but we were all in heaven over my ex’s dessert that had THE MOST INCREDIBLE CHOCOLATE SAUCE EVER.

In’t Spinnekopke 1 Place Jardin Aux Fleurs 1000 Bruxelles

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GREENWICH BAR

05/03/2007

With so many beer bars in Brussels to choose from there are going to be plenty of people who say “Why did you choose this one?” It doesn’t look so great with big heavy velvet curtains concealing most of the view into the bar. Once inside it is just like a really big hall with wooden tables and quite brightly lit. At some table people play chess. Apparently Magritte used to play chess here though.

I walked past this place a few times and always wanted to go in. I don’t believe that the beer menu is exceptional or anything like that – though like in ALL Belgian places you still get the fancy glasses. There are all kinds of people just hanging out. The coffee is good, the beer is cheap and no music. It is just a nice place to hang out in.

I went there with three American friends, one of whom spoke French with a great American accent. As he ordered beer in French the waitress asked [with the most screwed up look of agony on her face] if he was American. My friend said how he is from LA. Then the waitress went on to tell us she visited the States regularly and could speak English. Actually looking back I can’t remember how much of the conversation was French or English – I think it was a mix of Franglaise.

Anyway – this place has an amazing secret – the most beautiful old toilets I ever saw! At the back of the hall is the door which leads down to this lovely space. The stairs are all old marble and worn down where each person has trod. The tiling is old and broken but really I found it so old and pretty. Above the stairs was the biggest cobweb I ever saw too. The cubicles were tiny and I had to stoop to stand inside.

While in Brussels, when you get sick of all the frites and Trappist ales and blah blah and just want to go for a drink and a talk, go here. And remember to take a pee!

GREENWICH BAR Kartuizersstraat / Rue Des Chartreux 7, Brussels, 1000 Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)25 11 41 67