La Quincaillerie

La Quincaillerie

(I am back. Prague. Ah-mazing. However before normal cooking resumes, I am catching up on some old’er blogposts. Bear with me.)

The story so far

La Quincaillerie. I always wanted to go to La Quincaillerie. One of those places everyone knows, everyone either has been to or wants to go to. See and be seen. Eat there.

First impressions

I finally got my wish and we went there for my birthday. (Way back when.) La Quincaillerie! The place is absolutely gorgeous. Entering the now restaurant, then hardware store (quincaillerie in French) you understand why Brussels is so famous for its Art Nouveau architecture. The long, metal oyster bar on your right taking you back to the 1900s; the giant clock; the wrought iron staircase. Simply gorgeous.

Our table – I was glad – was upstairs, on what resembles a balcony. Terrace? This gave us a full view of the restaurant. I loved seeing the waiters run, balancing giant oyster platters. Champagne being poured. Orders shouted. Every view though comes at a price: the tables and corridor/balcony/terrace are incredibly narrow so be warned. This is not leisurely or relaxed sitting.

The food

Expectations high, we finally ordered. I went for the very promising menu bien-être. The diet menu. (Why, oh, why?) My other half ordered the set 3 course menu. As aperitif? Two glasses of Prosecco. And our dinner experience started.

Well … and here please understand just how difficult it is for me to say this, after all those expectations … the food was, well, simply bof! (for an English interpretation of the bof! The Guardian may shed some light.) Don’t get me wrong. The food was good. But only that. There was no ‘wow’, no surprise, no nothing. Just nice. Nice. After waiting for so long to eat in La Quincaillerie. If you are anything like me, well then, nice is just not enough.

But – in life as in food there is always a but – the decor absolutely takes your breath away, so we ate and admired, talked and enjoyed our dinner. Very much so. There and then I realized that just maybe, sometimes, the food is not that important. Hard to admit this when you run a food blog, but life if life, la la la la la. The company, excellent. La Quincaillerie, beautiful. In the end we weren’t there to review the restaurant, or decide if La Quincaillerie deserves any stars or not. We were there to enjoy my birthday. All at this at a Brussels restaurant / institution.

Service with a smile

Yes, very pleasantly so. Although the place does get very busy and at times there was a certain look of confusion. From both diners and staff. But a very pleasant and accurate service (a well oiled machine is my guess).
The verdict

Go again? Probably. Yes, for sure actually. I would love to go back. Not for the food, as such. The restaurant however still hides Art Nouveau gems I would like to discover. I would also like to try out the oyster bar, glass of Champagne in hand, perhaps pretending it is the turn of the last century?

Our bill came to just less than 100euro, two menus, 2 glasses of Prosecco, 1 bottle of wine and 1 bottle of water.

Have you been to La Quincaillerie? Why not share your experience and opinion.

La Quincaillerie: website, Rue de Page 45, 1050 Brussels

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  • I felt exactly the same way when we went – LOVED the building and the atmosphere; we had very good service and the food was good – but not stellar. I can’t even remember what I had now.

  • Same here. Actually, the first time we went, I could say the food was amazing. But, we had a seafood platter and let’s be honest…how can you go wrong when it’s piled high right in front of you?
    We had great expectations the second time we went – almost a year later. Unfortunately, the service was spotty and those looks of confusion you describe, on full display! The food was fine, just not as good as before. As you say, though, it’s a spectacular example of Art Nouveau and a Brussels institution. That’s worth something!

  • I couldn’t agree more. We went out with family for a special night, and although we had a nice time, the food was really ordinary. After all the talk about this place, I was expecting more! The building is definitely worth seeing but the food isn’t cheap and I don’t think we’d go back.

  • Blogger and the replies are spot on. It’s BOF (also a flemish Belgian here knows the meaning of da word).
    A “Seen and be seen place” just like “place m’atuvu” in Knokke on the coast.