2 Michelin Stars, 4 new food, 1 very full Tilly.
This was the last step in mine and Lauren’s mission to eat at every Michelin starred restaurant because a) we’re obsessed with food and b) we’re ridiculous. We’ve eaten at 3* Eleven Maddison Park in NYC, and a handful of 1* restaurants in a few countries. So take a moment and have a think about what was left on our list.
Have you got it?
A TWO STAR ONE!
Gold star for anyone who got that. See what I did there?
Hopefully by now you’ll have read my story on how we booked our recent trip to Brussels. Because as I mentioned before we’re ridiculous human beings, we looked at some of Brussels’ top restaurants and decided to book somewhere for our last night there which was the day before Valentines Day and therefore not romantic so that’s fine. Just going out for a casual Saturday dinner, no biggie. Clearly at some point when we were drunk we found Comme Chez Soi, which until we got home I misguidedly thought meant ‘come with me’ – I have no idea why, and based of my limited knowledge of French this makes absolutely no sense, but that’s what I went with. Turns out it means ‘like home’ which is about 294 times cuter.
Once we arrived it became immediately apparent why it was called this. The restaurant is set in a tiny converted terraced house, and very heavily takes is style from tiny Parisian restaurants, with a coloured glass window so you could look into the kitchen. This sounds a lot more exciting than it was. File away your thoughts of Gordon-Ramsay-esque chef breakdowns – everybody seemed very polite and civilised.
We had essentially starved ourselves for the rest of our time in Brussels in order to be able to afford Comme Chez Sois, so when the waiter brought an iPad (FANCY!) over with the wine list and Lauren struggled to work it, thinking that the cheapest bottle of wine was 100 Euros, we did have a minor/major panic. But turns out it was fine and I am not ashamed to say we ordered the cheapest wine on the list. It tasted like wine and was nice and I know nothing about wine so I was quite happy with it.
As they usually do, they brought over something ‘from the chef’ before our tasting menu commenced. I was overwhelmed with how cute the bowls were, because I am turning into my mum.
LOOK AT THEM THOUGH.
Anyway, the food was brilliantly put together, the thing in the middle was like a gazpacho with snails in it (first time I’ve eaten snails, go me), on the right were cockles in some sort of broth and the thing on the right I want to say was crayfish but I’m not sure.
Oh also you’ll notice that I am very vague about what we ate. As is the norm in these restaurants, the waiters come over and explain each dish to you as they present it, but a mixture of awkwardness and French accent meant that I only got like one word in 4, so please forgive me. I’ll do my best. I took a photo of the menu to help me as well so hopefully I’ll get there. Soz.
The first ACTUAL course I am reliably informed from the menu photo was marinated scallops with yuzu, green sansho and avruga eggs. TBH I had to look up what most of those things are. If you already know what they are then aren’t you clever and you can skip the next bit.
I’ll take you through it. Yuzu is a fruit, which added a really nice sweetness to the dish. Sansho is a Japanese pepper, and avruga eggs are black caviar. Until Eleven Maddison Park, I thought scallops needed to be cooked (mostly because Gordon Ramsay punches it on Hell’s Kitchen if it’s not cooked enough), but turns out if they’re cured then this is fine. The uncooked scallops have a really delicate and fine texture, and they’re very different from your normal seared scallops.
Next up was pan fried king crab and cockles (first time I’ve eaten cockles), with Chinese cabbage and smoked eel (first time I’ve eaten eel. Are you noticing a theme?). This was great, and the crab was excellent – really meaty (whey). The cockles tasted like the sea which generally is something I don’t like (I don’t like oysters, oops), but with the sauce and the crab it worked well. I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t know which part of the dish was the eel. Also look at the snazzy black plate. Ooooooooooh.
For the ‘main’ you could choose between lamb or seabass, and I was on a bit of a seafood theme after the first two courses, so both Lauren and I went for the seabass. The waiter complimented us on choosing our wine to pair well with our menu choices, because obviously we planned that and knew what we were doing. The seabass was absolutely perfectly cooked, the sauce complimented it very well and there was nothing on the plate that I hadn’t eaten before, which was reassuring.
Okay. So. If you’re an avid vegetarian you may want to skip this next bit.
The next course was veal sweetbread.
It was served with truffle and a posh cheese and ohmygosh it was so rich. The sweetbread itself was a really weird texture – it felt like it was fatty, but it wasn’t fatty. I think if I hadn’t had like 4 courses by this point I would have been a bit more up for it and it was the final course before the desert so I guess they were giving us one final hit of richness before being like BAM SWEET, but ehhhhh I don’t know. I could take it or leave it. I also felt a bit bad that I ate a baby cow’s pancreas.
Also, Lauren didn’t know that it was pancreas the entire time and I was going to tell her whilst we were eating, but I thought better of it. As she put her knife and fork down I was like ‘you do know what sweetbread is don’t you?’ I’M SO SNEAKY. She also felt bad. I feel like I should go and hand-rear a cow now to put this right, like when you plant 3 trees to make up for the fact that you cut one down. I’m part of the problem everyone. Hands up.
After this revelation, we moved on to desert. First up was a banana soaked in rum, with mango sorbet. After the baby cow pancreas, this was very much welcome. Also the presentation reminded me of a Fibonacci spiral because I am at heart a nerd.
Then, something that I could eat for every meal. brownie, with marshmallow and a raspberry sorbet. OHHHHHH IT WAS SO GREAT. CHOCOLATE. TILLY LIKE CHOCOLATE.
By this point I did not feel uncomfortably full because they work out the portion sizes perfectly, but I did feel uncomfortable at the fact that the only other English couple in the restaurant who were sitting right in my eye-line had decided to start making out aggressively over the table. Like, guys, no need – we’re trying to eat here. Also, I was very concerned about the fact that they were dangerously close to all of their various glasses of liquid on the table. What if they knocked them over? It’d be a THING. It made me feel very anxious.
Aside from that lack of proper British behaviour, the evening was lovely and then we caught an Uber back to the Hotel because we’re young hip 20 somethings who use Uber.
Love u Brussels.