Four years ago I had lunch at Belga Queen on a Eurostar sponsored press trip to Brussels. My memories of that visit were that a beautiful restaurant was somewhat spoiled by slow service and very average food.

Last week I found myself back in Brussels on another press trip and back at Belga Queen, having dinner with a small group of press & bloggers. I was keen to see what had changed.

The dining room was as spectacular as ever. The former bank is almost palatial and decorated with just the right number of quirky oddities; A silver horse statue and a plaque on the wall, both commemorating famous Belgians caught my eye. Although it’s not a very long list, and I could have sworn Jean Claude Van Damme was on it twice.

Order, Order! Please can we order?

Our first challenge was ordering drinks. Having been shown to our table, we ended up waiting over 30 minutes before anyone would take our drinks order and a further 15 minutes for them to arrive. Still, when it did arrive, my Duvel put me in a slightly better mood. Unfortunately, the dining room was so noisy by this point, it was difficult to have a conversation without shouting. Hardly a relaxing atmosphere.

Belga Queen

We had chosen the set menu in advance, and our starter was carpaccio of duck liver, balsamic caramel with malt and fennel salad. It certainly looked interesting, although I found the size of it a little offputting. Unfortunately, it was bland in both flavour and texture, and I found myself seeking out the few tiny salad leaves underneath just to make it a little more interesting.

Belga Queen

Main course was braised pork with Ghent mustard, jus with cinnamon, mashed celeriac and chicory. A marked improvement over the starter, it was well cooked, tasty, satisfying and the highlight of the meal.

Belga Queen

Dessert brought the experience back down with a crash though. I’m not sure what it was meant to be as it wasn’t what on our set menu, but it seemed to be a panna cotta on a brownie base with raspberry coulis & red currants.

It looked a little like something that had come from the freezer, and somewhat amusingly, all but one of our six-strong group left behind a different part on their plate. I found it bland and overly sweet. The base was hard, sugary and lacked any real chocolate flavour. The tartness of the red currants made it a little more bearable, but it wasn’t the indulgent dessert I was hoping for.

So once again, I found Belga Queen a little disappointing, and for exactly the same reasons as my first visit four years ago. It’s a beautiful dining room, but the experience is let down by very average food and painfully slow service.

Thanks to Visit Flanders for arranging our trip to Brussels.

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Belga Queen, Wolvengracht 32, 1000 Brussel, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 217 21 87

www.belgaqueen.be

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