Sunday, 22 June 2014

Belgique - Wanstead

The first thing that strikes you when entering the Belgique in Wanstead is the sheer size of the place. It has got to be the largest cafe I have ever been to! Belgique has a massive outdoor seating area perfect for sunny mornings like today and an equally huge indoor area, you could probably seat half the population of Wanstead in here! Belgique is a small chain of cafe/restaurants all located in northwest London, mostly in zones 4 - 6 on the central line and all keeping classic cafe hours from the early morning until tea time.

Now normally my morning drink with breakfast would be a coffee, but this is a Belgian cafe so I would have been a fool not to go for the hot chocolate. I was not to be disappointed. A grand glass topped with cream was delivered to the table and was absolutely delicious. I think I will go on record to say this was the best hot chocolate I have ever had; creamy and rich with that distinctive Belgian chocolate flavour.

Onto the food then: there was a great selection of fresh pastries on the counter as well as fresh cream gateaux and sweet treats. However, on the menu was something called 'the grand Belgique' and I knew this was the one for me. Smoked bacon with pork & veal sausages were served inside a baguette along with 2 poached eggs (and an elaborately put together side salad?!). The sausages were probably the most interesting part to the dish, the strong flavour from the veal really came through, indeed it rather overpowered it's bacon counterpart, which was a shame. To look at the poached eggs you would think they were perfect and yes the yolks were runny enough to dip the baguette into, but something wasn’t right. The whites of the egg were, well, just a bit weird really; they had a very rubbery texture - rather strange!

The verdict
I'd come back to try a slice of gateaux and definitely for another hot choc, but probably not for the grand Belgique.


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