Looking for Belgian food? Well, in Brussels that definitely isn’t hard to find. There are some well known (and well promoted) brasseries in the city centre (i.e. Fin de Siècle and In’t Spinnekopke). You will find these addresses in many guide books. They are very popular, meaning: they are very often very full.
We prefer tracking down the smaller Belgian restaurants in town: Le Zinneke offers fantastic Moules, Au Vieux Bruxelles may have the best Stoemp (mashed potatoes) in town. Our latest discovery is the tiny restaurant C’est Bon, C’est Belge in the Rue Bon Secours. (Correctly it is called the “C’est Bon, C’est Belge – Le Cellier” since the restaurant opened a second location close to Place Sablon. Note: This venue is far more touristy!)
It is tucked away in a side street and at first glance you might mistake it for a Belgian delicatessen shop. In the windows are Belgian products: jams, sweets, pain d’epice (a spiced honey bread.) But behind that window lies a very small restaurant with only a dozen tables. It really is essential to reserve!
The owners don’t waste space on menus: There is a simple blackboard up on the wall with a handful starters, a handful of main courses and a handful of desserts. If marked with a big dot, the dish is no longer available. (However, most of the time, most dishes are well stocked.) We were rather surprised about the prices: They are very reasonable for Brussels. The main courses range between 10 and 14 Euros.
We chose duck rilettes on a lovely bed of salad, this is cold, potted meat, similar to pâté. Then we went for the Carbonnade (a lovely beer stew) and the rabbit in prune sauce. I don’t recall having ever eaten rabbit before and it really was rather nice. However not necessarily something you want to eat every day. All the dishes are served with Stoemp, that’s the Belgian word for mashed potatoes. Very yummy, not too heavy, not too creamy. Obviously you can order a side salad for a couple of Euros if you fancy something green.
We had intended to have dessert to, but honestly we were full. The dark beer we drank with our food probably played a part as well. There isn’t a drinks menu but the friendly waiter, who seemed to be the owner, will recommend the right drink to your food. We hadn’t had Le Fort beer before, apparently it was used in the stew, too. It definitely suited the hearty dishes well.
The atmosphere is really friendly. As the restaurant is small the waiter doesn’t really disappear out of sight. So there never is a problem of trying to get his attention. We were one of the first guests and our food came rather soon. However, if you happen to be one of the last guests you ought to be prepared to wait. As far as we could see, this restaurant is run by a couple: He takes the orders, she is in the minute kitchen area just behind the bar. But don’t worry: She doesn’t have to cook each meal from scratch. All the main courses must have been cooked in advance: Stew, meatballs, Waterzooi (a Flemish Fish stew) and rabbit take their time.
We have already agreed that we want to take our next guests to this place!
C’est Bon c’est belge, Rue de Bon Secours 14, Brussels // Website