The story so far
By now you have figured out we love to go out. Granted, before we had our baby that was a bit easier (logistically speaking), and since we had our baby … well we have just become a little bit more picky. With little free time come high expectations so our dinner plans evolved and we try in as much as possible to go to high’er end restaurants or those that have something a bit more special to offer.
Enter Comptoir des Galeries.
Set in the gorgeous Galeries Royales Saint Hubert (which need to make it onto my next Brussel City Guide!) the restaurant is somewhat unassuming from the front. And dare I say a bit misleading? The first sight is a long bright and very inviting bar … but you will probably not be the only one who does not think beyond wine bar and snack food.
In the back, the restaurant opens into two gorgeous parts – an inner courtyard which fulfilled all my urban design dreams. And a beautiful restaurant combining original elements with a very Nordic look and feel. I loved it there and then. Note that at that stage I didn’t try the food yet …
In the interest of a fair review, I must admit our dinner party was totally spoiled. In the front part of the restaurant – which is a wine bar of sorts (Le Petit Comptoir) we got to try their special cider, delicious cuts of meats, cheeses and home made patés (pate en croute) by Julien Burlat, the chef. Oh, and of course perfect wine matches.
Moving on to dinner, we were first seated in the inner courtyard (until the rain came) and shared Galician octopus grilled a la plancha, matured Holstein cured meat, open crab salad sandwiches, fresh and surprising tomato salads as well as more traditional croquettes. All accompanied by interesting wines, although I must admit the Austrian fizzy wine was not really my thing. The other wines though? A real oenological discovery (yes, yes, yes, fancy words for wine that taste great!) which matched the food perfectly.
The highlight for me where the main dishes though. Again, we had the opportunity to browse through the menu and share several dishes and I must admit – de-li-cious! Just when you thought that food can not get better, it did.
In no particular order the sea bass with puy lentils was almost meaty and a true revelation. The beef tenderloin, a meat lovers dream (pity really we had to share it!). The slow cooked lamb ragout with pasta, my idea of heaven. A true culinary delight which I haven’t come across in Brussels in a while. We probably should go out more.
To finish our fantastics dinner off (and us) we moved on to desert. Although everyone was pretty full from the shared starters and mains, no one refused the whipped chocolate tart and the lemon meringue pie. Here is where the surprise element hit us all.
Living in Belgium, we were all sure we would fall in love with the chocolate tart. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong. But the lemon meringue pie. Oh. My. God. Deconstructed, sharp, tangy, sweet, surprising – an absolute delight. I can still taste it now. I would even go as far as to say skip starters and mains and focus on the lemon meringue pie only. If you can resist the other dishes on the menu (which would mean your willpower is much stronger than mine!).
Service with a smile
Very much so. The service is crisp and has an ‘urban’ feel to it. It was sharp, very clean and non intrusive while being on hand at all times. The restaurant was full the time we went so combining attentive service with many guests is no easy task. Yet, Comptoir des Galeries knows what it is doing. And is doing it well.
LOVE! We don’t gush over Brussels restaurants often. Yes, there are penty of very good restaurants which serve excellent food. And then there are restaurants which really make us think twice about how food is cooked and served and where we want to go back to try the rest of the menu. Granted, all this comes at a price but somehow I feel that paying for this quality of food and serivice is justified.
Comptoir des Galeries was an absolute wonderful discovery and I urge you to give it a try. We really have to take friends and family to taste the food and discover this restaurant as well. Ideally located on the tourist trail within Brussels centre, yet secluded enough to offer privacy and an intimate dininig experince, Comptoir des Galeries will stay on our restaurant radar for a while to come.
I would like to extend our thanks to Comptoir des Galeries for inviting us to discover their restaurant and cuisine. Disclaimer: as always, all opinions written are our own.
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