Friday, May 1, 2009

Brussels Sprouts

I have this very romantic notion of pots of mussels and belgian beer. It started as a student in London, when this mussels restaurant Belgo in the trendy Covent Garden area, was about the most "posh" place that we could afford. At a comparatively low price, we could eat our hearts out on 1 kg pots of mussels cooked in any type of sauce you fancied, drink frothy light fruit beers, and toss back schnapps, all in a wondefully noisy and atmospheric place where everyone including the waiters look like they're having lots of fun. Last I heard, Belgo was still very much popular among the student crowd, for its low low prices (get in before 6 and you only pay the price of the time that you order).
And all this nostalgia was why I was simply so keen to try Brussels Sprouts, a belgian bistro at the Robertson Quay area opened by celebrity chef Emmanuel Stroobant. Instead of the beloved 1 kg pots of Belgo, this place has smaller servings, at 350g for the starter sizes and 700g for the main sizes, served with free flow of addictive, chunky fries. Many different cooking styles to choose from, from the traditional white wine to local takes like curry. We took a pot of clams cooked ala vin blanc and a platter of provencale gratinated mussels. I didn't ask where the clams were from but they certainly were huge, sweet and juicy, with the white wine bringing out their taste perfectly. Was less enamoured with the gratinated mussels although E found them very good, perhaps because of my romanticized notions about the place.
So was Brussels Sprouts good? Yes of course. We got a good price too, at $25 for two starter sizes (or $50 for two main sizes, so long as you order before 7 pm, Mondays to Thursdays). Did it live up to my reminiscences? Well, nothing's ever quite as good as the carefree memories of the past, isn't it?

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