Going to Brussels?

We recently spent four days in Brussels and there were only two watering holes to write home about. But these were exceptional and superior waterning holes!

The first place was La Belle Maraichére, located near the Brussels old fish market in the Sinte Kathelijneplaats (Number 11A).

The outside is most off-putting – run down and in need of paint work – but once you go through the scruffy portals, it is a palace, and you will find only locals eating there as the seedy exterior is there to put off tourists and politicians. The upstairs part of the restaurant is smaller but more intimate even though it has those huge old-fashioned high ceilings.

Although owned by Flems, the style is most decidedly French, as is the cuisine. The wine list is extensive and is in two parts. The first is for fairly high priced wines and the other is for very highly priced fine wines.

This is a fish restaurant and was the best place we have eaten in, whether in Belgium or France, over the years. The flesh just fell off the bones and apart from being lovely and tender, extremely well cooked and with beautiful spices, it was of the best quality.

Telephone numbers Vox +32-2-512.97.59 and Fax +32-2-513.76.91

The Delirium café is in the Impasse de la Fidelité (Number 4A but it is a very short cul-de-sac) right in the centre of Brussels, close to the Grande Place.

A lovely basement bar which is very cheerful. Almost empty at lunchtime, with a beautiful Flemish manageress who was most helpful.

With 2,004 beers, (next year it will be 2,005) we found it easier to ask her to choose.

Say something like “I want a Belgian lager, and not a wheat beer, size 25cl, preferably not more than 5% proof.” or 7% or 10% or higher than 12% – yes they do have them!!!

Or as I did, “Please may I have a South African lager, in a 330ml bottle, with a minimum of 5% alcohol” – she brought me four!

Or “I would like a Danish beer, 330cl, at around 7% proof”. I am sure you get the message. She will then go out and return with three or four for you to choose.

Can’t do that in the evenings as it gets pretty crowded. But if you do your research at Lunchtime, it won’t be a problem. They do have a menu of beers and genevers, these are, as you can imagine, huge books and take a lot of ploughing through!

By the way, if you think 2,004 beers are a lot, they also have up to 80 guest beers at any one time. They have British beers, but what a waste to drink those at this cafe!

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza. The restaurant was very nice, but not nice enough to write about on my blog. But we were very comfortable there and they did the usual four star three choice breakfast. A full “English” cooked breakfast, a plate of cold meats and cheese or a fruit salad – lots of things to choose from each choice. I confess, I had all three, each day!


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