Over the next week I’m going to be to-ing and fro-ing between Belgium, England and France, eating out quite often. I thought it would be interesting to compare the restaurants.
My significant other and I started today by walking up posh Avenue Louise in Brussels and getting the passenger lift down to the Marolles district, where we’d booked for lunch at the Ploegmans. It is in walking distance of the Gare du Midi, from where our separate trains would leave.
Headlines: I had moules marinières and snails. They were disappointing, both were flabby. The broth for the mussels was mostly celery and didn’t leave a good taste, the sauce with the snails was salty.
It’s a pity because the place feels good inside (old mirrors, tiled floor, wood) and is usually booked up. We’ve been planning to come back for a while. There was only one white wine by the glass, and it was anodyne. Decent crispy mid-thickness chips, though. The best thing was the hoppy bottled Taras Boulba beer, from the Brasserie de la Senne – though it is not as good as the Delta IPA from the Brussels Beer Project, where a friend of ours works.
Music: 70s Anglo (plus A Tatons by the Belgian singer Axelle Red, who is Flemish but sings in French).
Menu: in French and Flemish (steak tartare: Américain minute, salade, frites / Américain minute, sla, frietjes). My French didn’t work so well: when I wanted wine I got water, when I wanted bread I got offered wine.
Crispy bread on the table without asking for it, butter came with it in a nice little dish but would have been even better cold.
Service quick and friendly.
Dog: welcomed with pleasure, and sat happily under our table tearing up a napkin.
Napkins: paper (luckily).
Water: bottled, in 25 cl bottles, still and sparkling.
Bill: €78 for two, I tipped to €85.
Pepper: in a mill.