I’ve been to Brussels twice this year already. I often think it gets over looked in favour of the more ‘flashier’ European cities like Paris, Rome and Barcelona. Brussels however has quite a lot to offer its visitors. It has beautiful architecture, museums and parks. What really gets me excited however is the abundance of incredible food and beer that the city is serving up. Seafood at Nordzee is top of the list !
On my first visit back in January I consulted the go to guys for all things Brussels, the wonderful Gastrogays. Brussels is like a second home to them at this stage and on the first visit they suggested Bia Mara which was excellent. I also stumbled upon Peck 47 a few doors down which serves up a great brunch.
My second visit this year was part work and part play. I was at a training course all about EU funded projects which was, how shall I say, less than exhilarating. I was staying in a hotel right beside St. Catherine’s metro station which also happened to be right beside Noordzee, another suggestion from the Gastrogays. I’m not religious but surely faith had stepped in on this occasion and was demanding I try out what Noordzee had to offer. My first attempt failed miserably. Myself and my boss wandered around on our lunch break only to find that pretty much everyone else in Brussels had the same idea and the queue was already quite sizeable. With only forty five minutes to spare queuing with the hungry hordes was not an option. Not one to give up, I wandered around again on my own and was lucky enough to get there between rush hours to place my order.
The menu is of course seafood driven and changes depending on what is in season or available. The staff move fast, take orders fast and serve the food just as fast. I think they knew I was a little at sea as such because one of them took a few minutes out to run me through the menu, make some suggestions and of course take my order. All orders come with some fresh sliced baguette and while I waited on my order I sipped on a cold glass of prosecco.
Given that I had waited so long to try out the food I was hell bent on making sure I tried more than one dish off the menu. My first dish was quite an ample plate of kibbling, which is essentially deep fried fish served with tartar sauce. Crisp batter with a delicate light fish inside which was the perfect introduction to Noordzee.
Next up to tickle my taste buds was a delicious serving of prawns. They were jam packed with a fragrant garlic and herb dressing with hints of spice. Again it was quite a good size serving and I absolutely devoured every single one of them.
My last dish was a stunning pan fried fillet of sea-bass. Served simply with a wedge of lemon and freshly chopped parsley it was a fish that could do no wrong in my eyes. You would be forgiven for walking past it and thinking it’s just another stall serving food, but the truth beneath those sea blue awnings is that the food at Noordzee is incredibly good. Its simple honest cooking which is delivered without fanfare and served with a smile. All I’ve left to do now is figure out how to replicate the formula and have it set up walking distance from my office here in Dublin. I can safely say that I’ll be back to Noordzee on my next visit to Brussels and if you are reading this and heading that way yourself I suggest you try it out.