Our recent trip to Brussels (Jul 07) revealed a new favorite in Beer Cuisine in Brussels.
Formerly, we were taken with t'Spinnekopte, owned by Jean Rodriguez, author of Cuisine Facile a la Biere. But on this trip the place seemed a little tired, and the beer list was surprisingly restricted (they had almost no regional beers that were on their list, other than ones that the owner brewed)
Restobieres however was absolutely devine. Prix Fixe menus around 20 Euro, a decent beer list (i.e. not just interbrew corporate selection) and great cuisine.
They are located down by the south train station (confusingly also called Midi). On Sundays (or atleast on this particular Sunday) there was a huge market stretching out from the station with food and clothing and housewares (yes socks, but no porn that I saw though).
The olive cart was gorgeous. Griffin got some of the plumpest blackberries we have ever seen. Almost the size of a quarter. We also got to try some sliced cheval deli meat (horse) from a butcher cart and mustard cheese which was a nice foil for the horse. Not sure what the horse tasted like. My first bite had a bit of an iodine quality, but later slices were more like a cross between proscutto and roast beef.
Closer to Restobieres is the flea market, and as you can tell by the decor of the restaurant, this must be a very interesting market to get to pick through every week. The owner has assembled a lovely collection of meat grinders, coffee mills, and old beer bottles.
Our first round of beer included a light and refreshing Watou Wit. (I was parched from the walk on this hot day). Thomas got the Greut Lawanitj from Slaghmulder.
We got one 18E meal and one 22E I think. Each comes with a starter and dessert.
For starters we got this Shrimp in Cream Sauce with a crayfish looking creature on top (I thought it was just listed as Shrimp with Garlic) and a pate au fois gras avec Abbaye du Rocs. Both were delicious.
For our next beer, the owner recommended this tripel was very nice (and allows you to drink for a good cause: the beer is contract brewed for the Oud Beersel brothers -- proceeds will help get them back in the game).
For our main courses, we had the pair of Boudin (one black and one white). Also, Lapin with prunes in Rodenbach. Both came with mashed root vegetables with an extra dose of bacon. (why not?)
Again, both dishes were excellent and cooked perfectly. Look at the char on that white boudin! (The black was also perfectly cooked, you just can't see it as well).
Here is another view of the meal, also showing my Gordon Finest Scotch Highland Ale in its signature thistle glass. This scotch was dark, sweet, roasty, malty, and strong. Everything I love in a beer. A scotch belgian doppelbock. Yum.
And an inside view of the fluffy light and tasty Boudin.
Finally, the perfect ending: Kriek Saboyans and Mousse au Chocolat avec Hercule Stout
This is head and shoulders the best Biercuisine in Brussels. The beer list may not be extensive enough to warrant the full entry in Tim Webb's Good Beer Guide to Belgium (our travel guide, highly recommended for beer travelers), but it is quite thoughtful and well selected. The owner, Alain Fayt, was the most gregarious/ebullient of the beer cafe owners we have met by far. Restobieres is not to be missed!
Other notes on Brussels:
Delerium was a nice addition to the beer scene, and has an EXTENSIVE list. Not the quietest place though. And don't go on Thursdays when they have live music and charge a 25% surcharge on all beers. We returned on Sunday and it was much saner. Good selection of cheeses as well. We had a nice washed rind cheese: Mardesous Faggotin, which had a nice (but not overpowering) funk.
BeerMania was worth the trek to the outside of the ring (not much of a trek really). The owner is a bit taciturn but there is a very nice selection of bottles with the bonus ability to taste beers on premises in cafe area at rear of store. Cheese and sausage plates also available.
Bier Circus, like on our last trip, was unexpectedly closed. They are now closed Mon and Sun. We may never drink in this bar. 57 Rue de L'Enseigment.
Poechenellekelder, 5 Rue de Chene, was tauted to be new and improved. We agree that they had a better selection than on our last visit in 2003, but I prefer the catacomb vibe at the nearby Porte Noire, 67 Rue des Alexiens (which is unfortunately closed on Sundays)
Trivia to remember: 2 people can ride on a single pass on weekends in Brussels. We walked most places but even 2 rides make a day pass worth it. And any street map you have will invariably be in a different language than the street signs.
Also, if you are going soon, we got a great online rate at the Thon for 60E per night (not per person).
32 Rue de Renards
174 Chaussee de Wavre, Ixelles
4a Impasse de la Fidelite
1 Place due Jardin au Fleurs