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16 February 2016

london | belgo-ing mad for moules

so last week i mentioned in my some happy things post that the girls and i had had the pleasure of heading to belgo in holborn the week before last, to help them launch and celebrate their new face lift. but, i kind of did it in passing. which was fine, i guess, but then this weekend i read milly's recap of our night, and i though that i pretty had much done a terrible job of it, and wanted to have another go.

in hindsight, it's incredibly deserving of more than a few lines in a weekly round up, and i have only come to that conclusion after my mum scolded me this past weekend about being a bit blasé about the events i get to go to, and the offers i receive because of this blog. and, that kind of pissed me of because i ~never want that to be the case; i realise i am so incredibly lucky to attend the amount of new bars and restaurants i do, but unless they're proper sit-down meals or there's something really niché about the event, there's rarely anything worth sharing here. i never want to be braggy like "hey! here's another thing i went to this week that you can't actually go to because it was a special thing especially for bloggers!", ya know?

but this event wasn't like that. this was a sample of dishes and beers from the actual menu, that anyone can go and try themselves. as well as that, the girls and i had a fucking incredible time there; the staff were super chilled and really friendly, they explained the foods to us when we were too loud and chatty to hear them the first time, they substituted foods and drinks we didn't like for foods we did like, and i actually got the impression that wasn't because we were there "as press" (a term i do use loosely, when i have to use it at all), but because they're genuinely awesome staff and give a shit about the food and drink they're serving. so. let me give this restaurant the kind of review that they are more than deserving of, ok?

first things first: i was a tad late. i'd had an appointment after work, and the girls dutifully waited for me to arrive before they accepted any of the dishes. what absolute babes! as i rushed in and did a round of greetings while yanking all my clothes off and trying to make conversation over the incredibly louuuuud background music (though it was q.o.t.s.a so we can over look that for now), i was handed both a glass of bruges' finest 'zot' blonde ale as well as a fruli mojito made with a base of - you guessed it, strawberry fruli beer. genius!

a bucket of belgian beers was sitting on the table with cold drinks for each of us, as well as a pile of pretty pink temporary tattoos emblazoned with the branding of the beer of the night - the red delirium. this was already my kind of restaurant! if there was a toss up for my favourite beer, it would definitely have to be the fruli - i just cannot diss a strawberry beer! in saying that though, the red delirium was also a fruity brew, albeit cherry, which is just one flavour i cannot get on board with. the pink elephant branding? yes, on board. 

now the food. let me start by saying that i've been to brussels and bruges before, and can safely say i've eaten like a local. when i say that, i mean i've eaten my weight in mussels and fries and waffles and chocolate, and washed it all down with cheap beer. right? right. so when i saw that the menu included moules and frites, i wasn't too fussed. i've never had really great mussels in the uk, and figured this would be no different. 

but then i was presented with with the starter dishes: páté served with beer jelly and crostinis (and tiny pickles!), shelled garlic prawns, and deliciously golden cheesy croquettes. i could have happily gone home at that point; croquettes are my everything. like, seriously i have never met a deep fried ball of cheese and mashed potato that i haven't liked. instantly, with these delicious morsels in front of me, i knew the mussels were going to blow my mind.

they came out served two ways. one way was normal: garlic, celery and white wine sauce, but the ~other way was bloody amazing: green chilli, ginger, garlic and lemongrass, finished with coriander. yep, totally asian-i-fied, and fricken delicious. i basically ate the entire plate of these shelled suckers all by myself, and even had to insist that the server bring us more of those wonderfully double-cooked frites to help me mop up all the sauce. a plate of moules will only set you back a mere £13, and knowing what i know about this dish, 100% would go back and order that again.

photo credit milly and charley

after that, i was excited for the rest of the dishes. from the main menu we sampled tender beef strips served rare and with a crunchy stick of beautifully-seasoned asparagus (my first ever!), as well as a tasty serving of lobster in beschamel sauce. probably the highlight here was the asparagus, which i had never in my life eaten before, but also: my god! i'd forgotten how great red meat tastes when it's cooked right. there was so far ~nothing i did not totally and wholeheartedly enjoy about our meals.

and then there were waffles; and chocolate-flavoured shots; and a yard glass of beer. we had been there no longer than two hours, max, and we literally had not stopped eating, drinking, and, well, singing along to the incredibly (and somewhat annoyingly) loud music. the pictures above are some of my favourites, as i didn't really take any good ones of the food. but, when the shots came out, the utter joy written all over the girls' faces is undeniable. it's almost as great as the one of me eating and totally enjoying my first ever asparagus. i mean, that night... was a night worthy of a whole post, no?

mum asked me at the weekend to start compiling restaurants she'd like, belgo was firmly in the forefront of my mind - so long as they sort out the decibels in there, because it was hard to have a meal and a chat, but would i go now back based purely on the sampling of dishes we had that night? 

absolute no brainer; yes.

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