And what is a restaurant festival when it's at home, then? Well, EAT! Brussels was a chance for restaurants in Brussels to show off and attract new customers, all collected together in the Bois de la Cambre, a forest park area (which includes a man-made lake complete with its own fancy restaurant, Chalet Robinson [warning: website plays music and may inspire feelings of extreme envy]).
|From top to bottom: Tibetan fried tasting plate; Indonesian chicken curry; Hungarian goulash.|
But there were some delicious delicious positives...
Babdar: lamb m'rouzia:
Fork-tender lamb, slow slow slow cooked so that the spices and meat are completely fused. There's a multi-layered taste - cumin, ras al hanout, a sweet burst from the raisins, crunch from the almonds, and the cous cous soaking up the gravy. Whilst I'm very glad that we shared the plates, as it meant we got more tastes, for this one there was a bit of a battle to keep the forkfuls even. We will definitely be heading to Babdar to see what else they've got to offer.
Strofila: baklava cigars (with champagne!)
I do love a good baklava. These had a touch more clove than I would usually go for, but they were full of pistacho and deliciously sticky from the honey, and tasted wonderful. Unfortunately, we could not do the planned taste test between these guys and O Liban (a Lebanese restaurant we've been meaning to go to) because they had run out! Oh woe. But there was champagne! We'd bought a pass which included a number of extras, such as water, coffee, and an Aperol Spritz (fizzy, bright orange, bitter, strangely compelling) and champagne. I felt that these little things added to the experience. I wouldn't have paid for a glass of champers on top of buying the food, but by getting this deal we ended up with a glass of something with every plate, AND to round it all off, SECOND PUDDING in the form of a scoop of salted caramel icecream from La Coupe which was absolutely gorgeous.
All in all, I really enjoyed myself. It was nice to wander around, choosing what we were going to spend our tokens on, looking at all the options available and planning future dinners out. Brussels seems to have a lot of festivals or special weeks (I'm keeping my eyes peeled for Chocolate Week coming round again) and it just feels festive and fun. And it gave me the gift of m'rouzia. NOM.