Postcard from... Brussels
Dining out in Belgium sometimes feels like being at a 1970s dinner party. I can’t imagine anywhere else where vol-au-vents and chicken cordon bleu regularly appear on menus without a hint of irony. But beyond the brasserie staples and the tourist favourites like moules frities and waffles, there is a quiet food revolution sweeping the country.
Releasing its 2014 guide to Belgium and Luxembourg, Michelin inspectors praised a culinary scene “that ranks among Europe’s most dynamic” and awarded 19 restaurants with new stars. That takes the total number of Michelin-starred eateries in Belgium to 121, serving a nation of 11 million. If we compare this to its neighbours, there are 274 starred restaurants in Germany, which has a population of 81 million.
And the capital is also enjoying high praise. As Michael Ellis, of the Michelin guides, pointed out: “With 18 starred restaurants... Brussels has more than cities like Berlin, Rome or Milan, and is establishing itself as one of Europe’s leading fine-dining venues.”
The real challenge, however, is surpassing the neighbour to the west. Paris has over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants. But as more French start shifting to Belgium for its lower living costs and more favourable tax regime, they are bringing their high culinary expectations. Some even suggest that the food is better than in France.
In the meantime, I have developed a taste for the giant chicken and mushroom vol-au-vent, and hope it survives any new dining revolution.
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Acclaim for retired Australian defence chief Angus Houston who is leading the search for the airliner
South Korea ferry: Four dead and almost 300 missing as mass rescue gets underway
Malaysia Airlines MH370 co-pilot's phone 'was on and made contact with network tower' 30 minutes after plane turned around
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp told athlete she 'loved him' for first time in Valentine's Day card
Lunar eclipse 2014: Images of the spectacular 'blood moon'
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for auction...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 3 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower
£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...
£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...
£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...
£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...