Posts Tagged ‘restuarants’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on November 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm
Filed under: featuredarticle, restuarants

Belgian beer and food at Belgo Centraal

Fancy a Chimay? a plateful of Stoemp? a Bolleke (not as rude as it sounds – it’s Antwerp slang for a de Koninck)? a bowl of Waterzooi? You can get them all – and much more – at Belgo Centraal.

belgo-centraal

Belgian beers are some of the best in the world and at Belgo, the beer list is immense. I always used to enjoy Rodenbach Grand Cru in bottles here – a powerfully sour, almost vinegary brown beer – while those with a sweeter tooth might enjoy some of the fruit beers. There are the Trappist brews, the dark sweet dubbels and lighter trippels, brewed by monks whose vows include chastity and silence, but not sobriety!

But you can get Belgian beers elsewhere nowadays, though there are few places in London with such an extensive list of them. What you won’t get in many other restaurants is Flemish food.

Mussels are a particular strength; so are chips – moules frites is practically the national dish. You can get them traditional style, or in a number of varieties including Thai spicy mussels.

Cream, butter, leeks and beetroot are key notes of the other dishes – you’ll also find a number of dishes cooked with beer, for instance haddock in beer batter.

And as you’d expect from a country renowned for its chocolate, Belgian desserts are tasty – though I have never managed more than a token ice cream, because the main courses are so filling!

The restaurant definitely has its own style. Occupying a huge vaulted basement, it has an industrial style lift, a huge unisex hand-washing fountain between the men’s and women’s toilets, and a ‘beer hall’ with bench seating and a real buzz. The waiters wear a sort of monk’s habit, paying homage to the important place of Trappist and other monks in creating Belgium’s fine beer tradition.

Belgo’s is not horribly expensive. You might pay £20 or £30 for dinner, but there are numerous special offers, and if you’re taking kids, they go free – so this is a great place for the family to eat.

I need, though, to make one dire warning. Belgo offers a long list of geniever shots – wicked flavoured gin. Make sure that if you’re going to try these, you have filled your stomach with good heavy food first – they are incredibly powerful!

Belgo -50 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LJ (map)

Photo by Daquella Manera on flickr

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