For any Lambic lover making the pilgrimage to Brussels, this quaint brasserie, is a must. If the name of the restaurant was not an indicator, it is unapologetically Belgian. The cuisine is true Belgian fare. Yes, it is cooked by young chefs and eaten by trendy patrons, however the food has not been internationalized, or dumbed down to simple beef stew and fries.
The beer list is simply perfect. As someone who has spent a healthy amount of time in the wine world, I am often dismayed at the low production level of how beer menus are still presented or thought up. They are either additions to a food menu, or are these huge behemoths taking up space by plastering low resolution images that the distributor provided. This menu mirrored what a nice wine bar would have, dividing the selection into styles that will make sense with the food pairings. To top it off there was essentially a Beer Sommelier. I do not know if this is what he would call himself, but he played this role effortlessly.
The first night in Brussels the squad went here without a reservation. We were in a large group and there was simply no way of accommodating us in the short time our hunger was hitting us. We left and got burger and fries baguette to quench our bellies.
Knowing we simply must go back, we made a reservation and returned another night. We were glad it was open since earlier that day was when the terrorist attack of 22 March 2016 happened. The city was gripped in pain, but also unity. Brussels is very much an international city and I saw the whole world come together at the Brussels Stock Exchange building.
Upon arrival, the ambience in this beer haven had not been touched. We chatted with the staff about how much of the city was closed. Some museums closed up shop and others did not. However, we still managed to visit many breweries that day and in the days following. The Sommelier had such a genuine Belgian attitude and was annoyed that people would close their businesses. Not out of a lack of empathy; in fact, far from it. A sentiment that I tend to hold. That by stopping, and damaging our lives, economy and habits, is exactly the intended outcome of the attack. We cannot let them have anything else. I will never forget the phone call I had when I called Cantillon to see if they would still be open on the day of the attack. The lady simply responded on the phone with “Well I came in this morning so we’re here”.
Back to the Beer & Food. We got the awesome Grand Cru from Cantillon. Rather than take the lambic and blend it to create a Geuze, for these batches they take exceptional barrel matured non-sparkling lambic and bottle it flat. They took this amazing artifact of proof that few get to try and presenting it to us in the format that we typically associate with drinking a Puligny-Montrachet. It worked wonders with the fish stew I had that I won’t try to remember the spelling of. Everything else I tried from my friends was exceptional and unique.
Rue du Lombard 25, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
+32 2 513 78 84
Mon-Thu 5–10:30PM Sat-Sun 12–10:30PM