cologne and brussels
My partner and I will in Cologne over Christmas, as well as Brussels and London after that. We have reservations for the Belga Queen in Brussels for Christmas day. Does anyone have any recommendations for must eat places?
Dear Epicure and everyone else,
dining at the Belga Queen was a truly terrific experience, sorry I could not get back to you before New Years eve, as we were in London.
We chose the degustation menu, and at 47 euro's it's a steal. They offer a distinctive beer with each course.
The duck liver moose with compote os figs and dried fruits was divine, tasting more like a decivingly light and frothy gelato with hints of cream and liver bursting through. It was sumptous and decadent, and the framboise Boon beer that came along with it heightened all of the flavors.
The creamy oyster and sorrel soup that came next was subtle, with the taste of oysters that came in later, almost like an afterthought.
The roasted filet of pheasant in champagne with mixed mushrooms and crumbled hazelnuts was perfectly cooked underneath its beautifully crispy skin. The mashed celeriac tartuffata was inspired, with smokey morsels of black truffles, making this main course one of my favorite dishes I have ever eaten.
The meal finished off fittingly with a raspberry and almond mousse served on an amandine pastry. It's too bad that we were so stuffed. Neither my friend or I could finish, we were so stuffed.
The Belga Queen is one of the best meals I can remember. The restaurant itself is quiet trendy, yet not off-putting. Sitting in an old Art Deco bank, this restarant chouls not be missed when you are going to Brussels, a city where every corner promises gastronomic delights.
Cologne, try the Unsicht Bar, a restaurant completely in the dark, ran by blind staff. Eating there is an unforgettable experience; the food is simple but great, the fact that you're eating without seeing adds a new dimension to the dining experience. http://www.unsicht-bar.com/
Brussel, I'd recommend Sea Grill, top class and 2 Mich stars but a tad expensive http://www2.resto.be/seagrill/default.cfm?restoid=1097&source=home&langue=uk
If you're after a taste of true Belgian food (often beer inspired), you need to try In't Spinnekopke (http://www.spinnekopke.be/)
In Brussels, I LOVE Bon Soir Clara, which is in the Place Ste. Catherine area (Dansaert, I think, is the street). It's modern and cool, but if you're looking for something traditional (but still cool), I also love 't Kelderke, which is in the Grande Place. It's very cozy, in a cellar, and has great Flemish specialties like Carbonade Flamande (Belgian beef stew).
In Cologne, I like some of the brewery restaurants where you can also sample that great Koelsch beer. I recommend Peters and Frueh am Dom.
Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know!
Thanks for your reply! You sound very familiar with Cologne and Brussels. Tell me, is the Belga Queen worth the money? And would you happen to know anything about museums being open on Christmas day. I've also heard that many museums are closed the day before Christmas in Cologne. Tanks for your help.
I'm afraid I can't be too much help in either case. I have never been to the Belga Queen--I guess it sounds a little too big for my taste, but if you do end up going I'd be very curious to hear what you thought. I'll actually be in Brussels (among other Belgian destinations) on New Year's Eve, and I'm looking for a dinner place for that night!
As far as Cologne musuems, I have never tried to go to one on Christmas Eve, but knowing Germany, I'd guess it's more likely to be closed than not. Things in Germany really shut down during holidays!
Sorry not to be more helpful. But let me know if you have other questions I can tackle!
Papasote62, could you please write in about your experiences at Belga Queen? It turns out to be one of the few highly recommended places open on New Year's Day, so now I'm especially curious to hear as much about your experience as you'd care to write!
Also, is anyone familiar with the Brasserie de la Roue d'Or? It sounds cool with all the Magritte, and I'm wondering if the food lives up to the space.