Brussels, Belgium

Eating and drinking my way around Brussels

HELLO. ITS ME. I’VE BEEN WONDERING IF AFTER ALL THESE YEARS YOU’D LIKE ME TO BLOG AGAIN.

I’m 99.8% sure nobody noticed I hadn’t posted in a while. I didn’t post mostly because I was poor and sad after Christmas, and January was the LONGEST MONTH IN THE WORLD so I was focusing on dragging my lifeless body out of bed in the middle of the night to go to work. But I’ve just been on two holidays in the space of a week and slept for 10+ hours for 3 of the last 4 nights, so I’m feeling much more perky and like writing again.

Talking of holidays, I’m going to write about my most recent excursion to Brussels. This doesn’t make any sense because I still need to write about Berlin and the Scottish Highlands (in the meantime Hannah sums it up well), but I just got back from Brussels yesterday so if I don’t write about it now I’ll forget everything.

Okay, first things first, here’s a funny story of how we ended up booking to go to Brussels. The week before we went to New York, Lauren and I were chilling at mine on a Friday night and she didn’t have work in the morning for the first time in about 2 months, so we got a bit over excited and ended up consuming quite a lot of wine and gin. This was about a week after the terrible shootings in Paris, and like 2 days after Brussels had gone into lockdown with all the transport systems stopped because of a terror threat. I can’t remember how or why, but I started banging on about The Hotel in Brussels and how nice it is, and how the corridors all smell like washing powder and how Barack Obama stayed there and how I love it. This is where it would cut to a [Scene Missing] slide in a silent movie because next thing I knew we’ve booked this holiday to Brussels and we’ve decided to stay at the same hotel. We got a free night from Hotels.com so it ended up being super cheap and I’m not even soz. Anyway the next day we woke up and Lauren said to me ‘ha, at least we’ve not booked to go to Belgium, what with all the terror alerts’.

Um. Good.

So anyway we rationalised it by figuring that they’d have loads of security in place and it was probably safer to be there than in Brighton, so naturally it was a good idea to go and we knew what we were doing. Spoiler alert: we didn’t die and nobody tried to kill us and I felt very safe because there were police men with guns on every corner. So that’s good, if a little disconcerting the first time you see one.

Gin and Tonic at Number 1 Lounge Gatwick North Terminal

Anyway, on to the actual trip. I am a delicate little flower and insisted that we fly in the middle of the afternoon so I didn’t get tiredness anxiety, so we booked the Number 1 Lounge at Gatwick North Terminal and drank several gin and tonics. They’ve recently renovated the lounge and it’s all snazzy and exciting and they had a really nice potato salad, so well done them.

We got on the flight and it was EasyJet (boo) but it’s only like 45 mins (woo) so you’ve barely sat down by the time you’ve landed, and then got the train to Brussels city centre. It was raining, but I remembered the way to the Hotel from the last time I went to Brussels so I was unbearably smug.

We arrived about dinner time so we dropped our stuff of at the hotel and went to a nice grill place round the corner, imaginatively named ‘Brussels Grill’. Lauren went a bit off piste and ordered pasta and I got a nandos-esque grilled chicken with frites. My chicken was very nice, but Lauren’s pasta was SO GOOD. I know this because I insisted on leaning across and having a forkful every 30 seconds. It said it was scampi pasta on the menu so I was expecting some sort of slightly depressing breaded fish, but instead there were literally (not literally) BILLIONS of king butterfly prawns in a lovely creamy tomato sauce. Round of applause for Brussels Grill.

We went back to The Hotel and played with the little panel next to the bed which controls all your lights and blinds, and had a beer from the free minibar. Then I had 12 hours sleep and did a little internal cry of happiness in the morning because I don’t think I’ve slept that much in about 5 years.

Mimosas in Peck 47, Brussels, Belgium

Day 2 can be summed up in one word: Waffles.

Lauren had extensively researched good brunch cafes and came up with this lovely little slightly hipster place called Peck 47. The menus were on clipboards and they served drinks out of jars and the tables were a little too close together. We ordered mimosas because obviously, and each had a slightly different waffle/sauce/egg combo. I had leek waffles with cheese sauce and poached eggs and OH DEAR GOD they were divine. I am reliably informed that Lauren’s (goats cheese and chorizo) were equally divine. They had cute little slogans on the wall and it was all very nice and I would quite happily eat brunch there every day for the foreseeable future.

Sign outside Peck 47, Brussels, Belgium

Sidebar: If you’re an avid follower of my Instagram you would have seen that when I was in Brussels previously in September 2014 I walked past the hilarious sign above and took a picture of it, but didn’t go in to the café for some reason. Turns out that Peck 47 is THAT VERY SAME CAFÉ. I had a little proud emosh moment over my mimosa thinking about how much my life had changed since I was last there. Then I pulled my shit together and carried on living my life.

After Peck 47, we ventured into two chocolate shops and got a free sample of truffles and then a free sample of hot chocolate, then we got peckish cos we hadn’t eaten in about 12 minutes and stopped for some traditional Brussels sweet waffles at Maison Dandoy. These were also divine. On a bit of a sugar high, we stopped off and bought some baguettes and doritos and then after much walking around and a bit of a sugar crash, we proceeded to eat them for dinner. Then I slept for a further 12 hours.

The main feature of Saturday was 2 Michelin Star restaurant Comme Chez Soi. I will review this properly in a separate post in order to do it justice, but suffice it to say that it was incredible. If there’s ever a reason to look forward to a post, it involves me eating baby cow pancreas, so watch this space.

Laduree Brussels Belgium

Sunday rained some more, so we decided to go on a mission to find some macarons before we left for the flight. We ended up at Parisian-style Laduree Sablon and somehow rationalised sitting in there and having tea and pastries. We shared some macarons and a mille feuille and <333333 they were both incred. We also had some absolutely cracking vanilla tea which I must try and source because it soothed and calmed my soul more than camomile does. Whilst we were sitting there we realised that it was quite a romantic and cute setting in which to spend Valentine’s Day, so then we insulted each other a bit to even it out.

Then IT TURNS OUT THEY ONLY HAVE BLOODY UBER IN BRUSSELS. So naturally, we got an Uber back to the airport because it was raining, and reminisced on how many times we’d greeted someone in a shop in French only to awkwardly stare blankly at them when they started talking French back to us. Stupid English school system not properly teaching us languages.

I bloody love Brussels because it meets my main two criteria for a holiday:

  1. there are so many cute cafes and restaurants
  2. there’s very little to actually do so you don’t feel guilty for ambling around from café to café and generally taking it easy.

When you come back from Brussels nobody is like OH DID YOU SEE THIS LANDMARK or DID YOU GO TO THIS PLACE and then you feel guilty when you say no I slept until 12pm and then ate a cake in bed because I was exhausted.

I have slept more in the past 4 days than I probably did in the preceding 4 weeks, and have eaten my weight in waffles, so I am currently a very happy girl. LY Brussels.

Brussels, Belgium

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