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La Buvette

Weekender

Perfect brunch Crusty pistolet rolls


are Belgiums answer to Prousts
madeleine, and Pistolet Original
gives them the gourmet treatment, with
rolls by celebrity baker Yves Guns filled
with top-notch local produce. Order the
unmisssable Amricain steak tartare with
cress, 3,70. (pistolet-original.be)
Best buffet In a sunny flower-filled
room, Line Couvreurs fantastic home
cooking at Les Filles is a hug in culinary
form. A selection of starters is delivered to the
long refectory tables, then you help yourself
to the generous, simple mains such as beef
tagliata with a slow-baked comt gratin,
and indulgent puddings. (Three courses 16,
lesfillesplaisirsculinaires.be)
Culinary classics Book ahead at
diminutive Sablon newcomer
Pei & Mei for chef Gautier de Baeres
generous, accomplished riffs on FrancoBelgian classics. The excellent-value set menu
features ethereally light tempura shrimp and
market fish with silky, buttery mash.
(Two courses 39, peietmei.be)
Crpes on the go The picturesque
weekend market at Place Flagey is
a must-visit, with new trucks and stalls
appearing each week. Try a plump, kouign
pancake from Breton crpe specialist Ty Penty
served with its own salted caramel sauce
(3.40) and sparkling dry cider (2.50). (Place
Flagey, 00 32 2 478 872 963)
Classy bar food The stylish,
welcoming new bar from Michelinstarred Julien Burlat, Comptoir des
Galeries specialises in artisanal charcuterie,
natural wines and indulgent bar snacks,
from luxe lobster croquettes to homemade

PHOTOGRAPHS: HEIKKI VERDURME, IAN DAGNALL/ALAMY, YOANN STOECKEL

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5

DECEMBER 2014

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Comptoir
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BRUSSELS

Eating well has always been


easy in Brussels but now
its exciting too, with a
buzzing food culture and
a flurry of new openings

Pistolet

Craft cuisine Working


out of a beautiful tiled
Art Deco former butchers
shop, La Buvette showcases
Nicolas Scheidts considerable
talent in transforming often-neglected,
inexpensive ingredients into something
sublime and surprising. Expect a succession
of small, beautiful dishes, such as perch
with creamed potato and morel sauce,
Japanese-influenced slow cooked pork broth,
or crab, kohlrabi and shellfish sauce (pictured).
Five courses, 45. (la-buvette.be)

Return train fares from London to Brussels


cost from 69 return (eurostar.com). Stay
in the industrial chic, boutique newcomer
Zoom Hotel (doubles from 75), where the
brilliantly stocked Beer House bar offers
beer-chocolate pairings.

Words EMMA BEDDINGTON


black pudding. Perch on a stool and order
a handmade brioche bun stuffed with
soy-glazed pork belly for a quick, delicious
lunch, 8. (comptoirdesgaleries.be)
Smooth cocktails In the vaulted brick
cellar of what was formerly the Vatican
embassy, Matthieu Chaumont has
created Hortense, a cool, speakeasy-style
cocktail bar, showcasing his passion for rare
spirits. The other woman - sweet vermouth,
Peychaud bitters and champagne is the
perfect festive treat, 12. (h-hortense.be)
Gourmet chocolates Brussels without
chocolate is unthinkable, but bypass
the big names and drop into the
bustling workshop and tasting room of artisan
chocolatier Frdric Blondeel for a box of
his subtly flavoured ganaches. The aromatic
lemongrass and chili criollo hot chocolate
is the ideal winter warmer, too, 3.60.
(frederic-blondeel.com)

HOW TO DO IT:

TRUST
Emma Beddington has lived
in Brussels for eight years and is Eurostar
magazines restaurant reviewer in the city.

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