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Tag Archives: tapas

Brussels- where to eat….

6 Feb
Shane in a Joyce pod at the Parlamentarium (Visitor center showcasing all the great and good of the EU = A euro-sceptics idea of hell.)

Shane in a Joyce pod at the Parlamentarium (Visitor center showcasing all the great and good of the EU = A euro-sceptics idea of hell.)

In November, I found myself traveling back to Brussels to visit my friend Shane, more commonly known as my accomplice in dining. The trip was arranged only a few days in advance- so Shane unfortunately had to work for most of it. The cheek. This left me to explore Brussels by myself. That’s a nice way of saying I got lost a bit. On the plus I found some nice spots that I think are worth mentioning. You can read my previous Brussels food guide here. And for those of you hoping to visit Bruges, there you go.

Frites. Let’s get this one out there from the off. Here’s a little known fact. Brussels is powered significantly by the leftover oil from the frites making process. That’s a lie, it’s not. Nearly every corner you turn, there are frites stands. Shane, the brave soul that he is, is endeavouring to try out as many as he can. I mentioned a good few in my last post but as the weather was a little cooler, one was less inclined to eat outside. I did try one that was really good. Fritland. Judging by the reviews on that website, other people would agree.

Noordzee on a fresh Sunday afternoon

Noordzee on a fresh Sunday afternoon

We ventured back to Noordzee, which despite the cooler temperature was as busy as we had seen it mid summer. Be mindful of the opening hours, it certainly wasn’t open every time I walked by. Again the food was very tasty and it was still lovely to stand out in the adjoining square with some seafood. Tapas style portions- worth a visit. We also returned to Barbeton– this time for a coffee- lovely cosy spot. These two establishments are quite close to each other.

The first evening, after the frites and the food at Noordzee, we decided ( in our infinite wisdom) to stop and have some tapas before dinner. Infinitely wise.

photo 4-2

We ventured into Como Como. Now one of two things happened to this restaurant. Either it was formerly a sushi joint and they decided to keep the conveyor. Or some bright spark thought it was a novel way to serve tapas. Either way I won’t argue as Shane, his better half and I all enjoyed ourselves. Initially there was quite a limp selection whizzing by, but soon there was a great variety of meat, fish and vegetable tapas all whirling by. They were cranked out at quite a rate- no match for us though! The staff were very friendly too, and made for a very pleasant pre dinner amuse bouche.

Dinner was had in the excellent Les Brassins. I had the Carbonnades flamandes. A stew, slow cooked, with a wonderful sweetness owing to the Belgian beer it was cooked in. What wasn’t excellent? The staff. But thankfully they ignored us once we ignored them. It’s a relaxed enough place so staff/diner interaction isn’t massive.

A wonderful burger was had by all in Les Super Filles du Tram. Cool restaurant, staff were energetic and the burgers were very tasty.

Now all this wandering and eating requires little pick-me-ups from time to time. Exki are your friend in this regard. A nice chain of cafes. They do good food, nice cakes and good coffee. Throw in free wifi and you are onto a winner. Pleasant spots located all over  the city to while away a few minutes or hours.

Another spot for the coffee lovers amongst you is Corica. In brief, long counter, lots of coffees. Apparently 27 different Arabica blends according to their website. They also have Kopi Luwak. I didn’t try it. (Actually if anyone has- please comment below and tell me what it was like?)

 

I have a feeling I will be going back to Brussels again (Take note Shane).

 

Have you any tips or favourite places you like to eat? Where must I try? Any suggestions welcome below.

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Doha food guide

24 Apr

I have just returned from a trip to Doha, Qatar’s capital. It is a truly astonishing place.  It is an intriguing blend of cultures.  While parts of the city hark back to its Arab history, it is developing into a metropolis that would rival many a capital city. I could write on for some time about this remarkable country and its phenomenal growth in recent years- but we would be here for hours. Let’s talk about the food.

There is a huge variety of cuisines available to sample. In the new hotels that stud the city, you can sample any cuisine you may choose from Greek to Chinese. More tradition fare is available in the local restaurants where you can enjoy delicious grilled meats, wonderful flat-breads and delicious hummus. A local favourite is this local lemon-mint drink. It consists of  lemon juice, sugar syrup, blended with mint and sometimes ice. It is insanely refreshing and cuts through the ever-present heat.

On this trip I ate in Mykonos. A Greek restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel. The zucchini/courgette balls were the highlight of the meal. They were falafel type creatures made from shredded courgette.They were delicate and fragrant and maintained an impressive crunch after cooking.

Another evening we made our way to The Cellar in the Oryx Rotana hotel. This is a tapas/wine bar and was thronged on the night we ate there. The food was very strong throughout. We had an assortment of dishes at the table. The highlights were aubergine grilled and served with the sweetest sliced onion salad I have ever eaten, lamb chops chargrilled, grilled prawns and patatas bravas came with a delicious, creamy aioli.

What I would recommend to any traveller to Doha is a visit to Souq Waqif.It is a traditional middle-eastern souq that offers an array of spices and foods that would delight anyone with even the slightest culinary inclination. The pungent smell of spices permeates the warm air, as does the smoke from hundreds of Hookah pipes.

Stocking up on spices is always a high priority whenever I visit the Souq. As you can see the prices are very agreeable ( 5 Qatari Riyals (ish) to the Euro.) In addition the spices are all superbly fresh and give a tremendous bang for your buck. Saffron is €8 for 5 grams for example. The shop fronts are guarded by sacks after sack of flower petals and pulses. Other shops sell every variation of pot and pan you could wish for, some so big you could comfortably bathe in.

I will be back to Doha, and I look forward to sampling more of the great food this city has to offer.

My question to you is: Where is the most impressive market you have been to? What are your memories of it?

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