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Traditional Flemish stew at Le Bourgeois- Brussels

Traditional Carbonnades à la Flamande (Flemish stew) at Le Bourgeois

Arriving in Brussels by eurostar this evening, I walked over to the Manneken Pis and wandered around the Grand Place before stumbling across the strip of tourist restaurants that is Rue des Bouchers. I had – quite accidentally – arrived at the street where K and I ate on our first holiday abroad together back in 2001. It seemed like serendipity.

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Grand Place, Manneken Pis, Belgian beer and stew

On this quaint cobbled street of back-to-back restaurants, waiters tout the passers by (some more persistently than others) to drum up custom. So that hadn’t changed in 15 years. There was a nicely lively buzz without being too hectic. And being a warm summer evening some diners were sitting outside watching the world go by.

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Le Bourgeois – outside dining, tacky food boards

Many restaurants have low quality (ok, tacky) boards showing fairly unappealing food images – a universally understood visual menu nonetheless.

Somehow I became conditioned to the boards, and they not only became acceptable but the Carbonnades à la Flamande (Flemish stew) outside Le Bourgeois really grabbed my attention, even though I’d been hankering after fish.

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Carbonnades à la Flamande (Flemish stew)

I sat outside. The restaurant was completely empty indoors and only a couple of other tables were taken outside. Yet service was really slow. At first I was given a tourist menu (in English) and couldn’t find the stew. When I asked the waiter (in French) he exchanged the menu for the proper, full menu, acknowledging that the tourist menu contained limited choices.

This Flemish stew was absolutely gorgeous. Carbonnades à la Flamande  is made with shin beef which is sweeter than other parts and stews really well; the chunks were really soft and tasty and fell apart easily. It’s a bit like bœuf bourguignon but made with Belgian beer instead of red wine, making a really tasty gravy.

And talking of Belgian beer… A trappist (made by monks) Chimay beer accompanied this very well.

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Chimay – a Trappist beer

The verdict: Stick to the local ‘proper’ menu (avoid the tourist menu in English with limited choices) and soak up the atmosphere by sitting outside. If eating here, I recommend the Carbonnades à la Flamande (Flemish stew), it’s a bit like bœuf bourguignon but made with Belgian beer instead of red wine. Although, there are plenty of similar restaurants offering tourist menus on this quaint street so for traditional Belgian food and tasty moules, head to Chez Léon opposite.


Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
– Type: Flemish/Belgian (in Brussels)
– Address: 17 Rue des Bouchers, Brussels
– Photos on flickr: Le Bourgeois photos
– Location: Le Bougeois map


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