I am a bit confused where to start this blog post about our dining experience in Brussels (commune).
There is my absolute admiration of Frederic Nicolay. The man is a visionary and his trademark print has brought a fresh and trendy vibe to Brussels. Capitals of the world have all their own trendsetters and I am happy Frederic stayed (chose) in Brussels. Every place he changes around becomes the next trendy place to be – be it Bar du Matin, Flamingo, or the Bistro du Canal. And the list goes on.
Which brings me to dilemma 2. This commune dining experience included two places worth sharing – the aperitif at La Belle Equipe and the dinner at the Bistro du Canal. Yes, both masterminded by Frederic.
(deliberation pause – what to do? what to do)
Commune facts – Brussels
Many years I ignored that fact that Brussels is not only the city of 19 communes but also the name of the central commune of Brussels-City (otherwise known as Bruxelles-Ville or Brussel-Stad) . Naturally Brussels-City is the central part of Brussels we all know and love, which is more or less defined by the inner ring.
- Brussels is documented since the year 979
- the coat of arms of the city is made up of Saint Michael bringing down the devil supported by two gold lions
- many ‘boulevard’ names were in fact mayors of Brussels – de Brouckere, Anspach, Max
- the main neighborhoods of Brussels-City are the Grand Place, the Sablon and the Marolles
- in the year 2000 Brussels was cultural capital of Europe
Naturally there are a lot more facts to discover about Brussels … which can all be accessed online. On with the food!
Culinary discoveries – La Belle Equipe and Bistro du Canal
La Belle Equipe
Our first stop in Brussels-City was at La Belle Equipe. Set out as a long bar/ restaurant their specialty is pizza. At first glance it looks more like a take-away place but you can also order one of their pizzas and eat along the long communal table. The wine choice is pretty healthy and some interesting offers by the glass. Everyone around us was chatting away over shared pizzas … helas, our dinner was booked next door so we opted for an improvised ‘apero’. A selection of cheeses and a glass of wine. The fact the bread served was home made is that extra bonus which makes me want to go back. Now. Also the pizzas didn’t look too bad …
Bistro du Canal
We could not have gone to a more trendy and hip place if we tried to. Already the Dansaert street with its left-field’ish design and fashion labels is the new cool. The canal are is hailed as being the next cool. And Bistro du Canal is bang in the middle of this. Which probably only adds to the cool vibe of this corner.
Are we that cool? No. But it doesn’t hurt to mingle with the cool.
The familiar warm wood (tables and chairs) and brick (walls) décor greeted us together with the usual trendy designer crowd in this part of Brussels. The overall look of Bistro du Canal reminded me of a local neighborhood Parisian bistro. I practically died and gone to brasserie heaven.
The menu is un-sophistacted chique. The staff, sophisticated cool. I’ll explain; We started with a glass of white wine (I really need to expand my apero repertoire …) and olives. then moved on to steak and chips, lamb hotpot (although that is not the French definition), liver and mushy peas, and to end it all a giant cheesecake shared among us 4. Nice wines to go with – what else do you want? And all in all not too expensive either.
All I can add is that we stayed way past our bedtime having drinks, talking to the waitress, and taking in the undiscovered canal side of Brussels. Final impressions? Honestly? This visit was a test run and I cannot wait to go back. Individually, at each one.
La Belle Equipe – FB website
Le Bistro du Canal – website
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