It took us a while to discover the area around Place Brugmann in Brussels (between the Chatelain area and Uccle). And our first visits weren’t all that successful. On our first trip we were planning to go to ICI epicerie fine/néo cantine, but they were closed as on holiday. Then we tried Le Balmoral, an American style diner, that didn’t want our company. We ended up at a cute little café Village du Pain. We were too hungry and thirsty to check out what else was in the area. Only after our coffee break did we discover the cafés on Avenue Louis Lepoutre. It was a shame, because the café/restaurant Au Pays Des Merveilles really did look inviting.
So a couple of weeks later we decided to meet up with some friends at Au Pays Des Merveilles.We were going for breakfast (a smaller start into the day), they were up for brunch. This place caters for both needs – and it also does lunch too. At 10:30 we were the first guests on a Saturday morning. (Note: Saturdays is always a better day to go out for Breakfast/Brunch in Brussels. On Sundays places get very crowded!)
The staff was still getting prepared for the day – setting out cakes etc. They took care of our friends pushchair (they came with a baby) and let us decide. APDM has four different formules for breakfast: We went for a simple classical breakfast (Baguette, Coffee, Orange juice for 3,80€) and one extended option with a savoury plate of ham and cheese (11,50 €).
As we weren’t fancying cheese, we asked, whether we could have just ham instead – meaning, obviously, that we would like to compensate the cheese with ham. Further, we asked what kind of ham it was, and the waitress said it was like the “Assiette Jambon” on the menu – containing Jambon Cuit, Jambon Fumé and Pastrami.
However, when our food came we were disappointed: there were only two slices of ham. No sign of anything else. It turned out, that the waitress serving us wasn’t well briefed: The ham and cheese plate with the formule is very basic. (That makes the formule rather bad value for money!) And if you leave away the cheese, well then that’s your decision.
We started eating our baguette and shortly after our friends pancakes were served. The blueberry pancakes did look very yummy, I must admit. However, we were lacking something to wash down our food. The coffees took ages to come. (They arrived after the food was served.) And the orange juices took even longer!
By the time we had finished, people around us were eating lunch: the salads look fantastic, so do the stuffed bagels – although they do have their price.(Approx. 15 Euro as far as I can remember.) For dessert you can go for cake: As this café/restaurant markets American food you also can have a nice slice of cheesecake or a slab of brownie. To take away or as a present they sell marshmallows and even marshmallow fluff (a kind of spread). Interesting and different, however, if you have recently been to America it loses its thrill.
Our conclusion: Au Pays des Merveilles is a nice place to go for lunch if you are in the area and are fancying healthy, nicely presented food. For breakfast and brunch there are probably better places. We will have to try out there other venue in St. Gilles (Avenue Jean Volders 42).
Au Pays Des Merveilles, Avenue Louis Lepoutre 6, Brussels // Website