Thursday, January 05, 2012

Rating t'Kelderke, Brussels Belgium

The magic of Grand Place at Christmas with the impressive City Hall illuminated in different colours
I am not impressed by most of the restaurants located at or close to Grand Place in Brussels. Most look inviting and some tempt with impressive displays of ingredients or prepared dishes. They are, however, with few exceptions, tourist traps where you end up paying too much for what you are served. One of the exceptions is the t’Kelderke, located in the impressive Palace of the Dukes of Brabant
Rating t'Kelderke, Brussels Belgium: BBBB+ (4,30 points)
  • Location: BBBBB
  • Service: BBBB
  • Interior & atmosphere: BBBB
  • Food: BBBB+
Reassuring before Christmas - a warm fire place
T’Kelderke is located at Grand Place, in the Palace of the Dukes of Brabant. Not a palace, but in fact 7 houses built into one huge early 18th century facade. In spite of the name of the building it never was the homes of dukes, but takes its name from a gilded coat of arms for the Duchy located in the middle of the impressive facade.

The interior of t’Kelderke has none of the grandeur found on the exterior or at this square, but when you enter you find it nice and cozy. One particularly inviting feature a late December evening was an open fire in the middle of the room. The restaurant itself is small, and nearly always filled up, mostly by tourists, meaning that you will find it  slightly to very  crowded, but the seating arrangement for the night was overall satisfactory.

We got our English menu and took orders and were served swiftly.  I was once again (as I always have done) tempted to order a ham croquette and a vol-au-vent with chicken in a creamy sauce.

Who can resist a croquette wherever offered, as here in Spain
I do not know why I have no photo of the croquettes, but I wanna say that I have never met a croquette I did not like. And what could possibly go wrong with a well made croquette. Crispy cruncy crumby crust and when you bite through you can lick  the softest, smoothest sauce.

So I gave the faceless croquettes a favourable rating. I have however left a photographic memory in my computer of the second dish, the vol-au-vent with chicken in a creamy white (or rather beige or caffe-latte coloured) sauce.

Not an entirely interesting or intriguing dish as the croquettes, if you look or taste it, and you get this dish everywhere. I have had it at least ten restaurants in Brussels, and it tastes more or less the same all over. This as it represents a typical dish of the French-Belgian kitchen, I suppose. If it happen to be a Flamish dish, I ask to be forgiven!!

Vol-au-vent - puff pastry container filled past capacity
A puffed up, puff pastry case, filled to, or rather past capacity with chicken stew. This is a kind of food to return to,  mild creamy, slightly salt with insignificant aromatic contrasts.

And t'Kelderke delivered the real thing. We were satisfied, but not euphoric. We had a nice evening where the food was around 30% of the whole experience, while the conversation and the wine (or beer - I do not remember entirely) made up 70%.

My visit confirmed that t'Kelderke is by far not the worst place to dine around Grand Place. The food is decent, and you are not robbed blind, but as I previously said -  there are better places to eat in the European capital.

Vis Brussels on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2010 i et større kart

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