With the days getting shorter and colder there is nothing more comforting than staying curled up in bed, cup of hot chocolate in hand, browsing magazines. That used to be then. For over a year now, we are woken up by squeals of delight at 7:00 or earlier irrespective if it is during the week (perfect timing!) or the weekend (so not!).
Being up early though has its advantages. On the one hand, there are a lot of hours in a weekend when you start your Saturday at the break of dawn. On the other, by the time we get to brunch we really make the most of it.
We enjoyed our last brunch on a very grey and rainy day at the Sofitel Le Louise. We had our table booked for 11:30 and babysitter sorted, off we went. Granted we could have taken the baby with us … but some adult brunch time every so often is very welcome.
Sofitel Le Louise is a grand yet unassuming hotel when you look at it from Toison d’Or. It does however open up in the back to the most gorgeous inner terrace which is great in the summer (I had a few business breakfasts there – didn’t want them to end!).
The Crystal Lounge restaurant, where the brunch is served, is atmospheric but not exactly flooded with light … so on a sunny day I would suggest brunch on the terrace. On a rainy day however the restaurant felt just right.
After being seated, we took in the huge brunch offer. Seriously. I have brunched before, but Sofitel Le Louise offers practically everything from al dente pasta to zesty fruit salad (see what I did there?). We helped ourselves with fresh juice and then literally took a tour of the brunch buffet so here goes in no particular order: fresh oysters, king prawns, crab salad, pasta salad, carpaccio, diferent pates, different hams, smoked salmon, croissants, bacon salad, blinis, selection of breads, Spanish ham (cut by hand, live no less), charcuterie platter, pickles, different types of mustards, sauces, butter, cheese selection, dessert selection, fresh crepes, lamb stew, chicken casserole, rice, potatoes, mussels, potato salad … and so on.
If you follow me on instagram you noticed we practically had a bit of everything. Did we overeat? Of course we did. I think that is a bit the raison d’etre of every brunch buffet. Did we enjoy it? Very much so. In listing the food I forgot to add that fresh juices are on offer, as is water and of course the whole range of warm drinks. We definitely enjoyed our cappuccinos … after 11:00.
Only bemol? The brunch – which does come at a price (49e/pp*) – does not include any alcohol. A glass of bubbles would have not gone amiss. I understand they will offer a glass of champagne with the first brunch of the year but I do think it could add that certain touch of special if this would be included in the brunch offer all the time.
The brunch carries on from 11:00 to 15:00, so I can totally see why some people indulge the whole day there. The fact that the hotel also offers a kids playing room makes it that much easier for parents to enjoy their grown up time and for the kids their kiddie time (besides the toys on offer, I also understand stories are told in the kids room and I think the hotel provides a child minder … which really is a win-win solution).
To my surprise the restaurant was full. Families celebrating. Hotel guests enjoying their rainy Sunday indoors. Passer bys dropping in for coffee and macaroons. Although initially I thought a hotel brunch would not get many guests beyond the hotel residents, I have to admit I was surprised how busy the Crystal Lounge brunch was. Which, combined with the relaxed jazz music in the background, created the necessary buzz for everyone to feel comfortable and forget the rainy Brussels day for just a bit.
So yes … my first brunch in a hotel in Brussels … very probably not my last.
*49e/pp includes the breakfast and lunch food, all drinks minus alcohol, and children under 10 eat for free.
Sofitel Le Louise – website
I would like to extend our thanks to Sofitel Le Louise for inviting us to discover their food and dealing with our endless questions and cameras with grace.
Disclaimer: as always, all opinions written are our own.
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