Chez Léon – Brussels

Excellent meaty moules and cosy American diner style at Chez Léon friture Bruxelloise

I recently read this article in The Telegraph Why I remain a fan of Brussels by Stanley Johnson. He spent over two decades living and working in the Belgian capital so his top five list of ‘favourite things in Brussels’ seemed like a trustworthy source. I was inspired to try out his favourite restaurant – Chez Léon (not realising that a branch had opened in London, called Léon de Bruxelles – and being unsuccessful – promptly closed).

And so I wandered over to the strip of tourist restaurants that is Rue des Bouchers, passing Le Bourgeois (where I enjoyed Flemish stew last month) to Chez Léon.

 

IMG_9563_leon

Inside Chez Léon: casual American diner feel with cute murels 

 

Greeted and seated promptly, service was lively and friendly. It’s a large restaurant with several interior spaces that are sectioned off (to feel cosier), spread over several floors. And while it was busy, staff seemed to be on the ball, whizzing around and exchanging light-hearted comments. They seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Brightly lit with some neon signage and cute murels of ‘moules frites’ caricatures depicting key scenes of Belgian and Vanlancker family history, Chez Léon has a casual American diner feel – homely and comfortable, which I particularly enjoyed as I was dining alone.

The 12-page menu itself takes some digesting so I ordered a Delirium tremens (gorgeous Belgian beer but very strong) while reading.

 

IMG_9570_Leon salad - mini

Mini Léon salad – fried moules, tomatoes, egg, potato, crème au poivre

I ordered a mini salad as a starter containing deep-fried moules or mussels in breadcrumbs. This was the first time I’d eaten moules this way – it’s really just another form of scampi and these were excellent.

 

IMG_9564

Delirium tremens – a few of these and you’ll be seeing more than pink elephants and parading crocodiles…
For main course, I had Léon spaghetti @ €16.25 – mussels (moules), shrimps, mushrooms and a cream sauce.

 

IMG_9572_Leon spaghetti

Léon spaghetti – mussels (moules), shrimps, mushrooms and a cream sauce, as served

 

IMG_9574_Leon spaghetti

Léon spaghetti absolutely gorgeous moules with shrimps and mushrooms in a cream sauce
I was reminded just how good moules can be when they’re done well. These were excellent – a really meaty texture and naturally tasty without being camouflaged by the flavour of other ingredients or sauce. The cream sauce on the spaghetti wasn’t ‘sickly creamy’ either but perfectly complemented all the flavours in this dish.

 

IMG_9561

Moules frites caricatures – showing milestones in Belgian history and Friture Léon‘s history

 

The verdict: I can see why Stanley Johnson used to eat here time and again. I would do too. You have to try moules in Belgium, right? This is a great place to do just that.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Belgian (in Belgium)
– Address: Rue des Bouchers 18, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
– Website + menus: Chez Leon website
– Photos on flickr: Chez Leon photos
– Location: Chez Leon map

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: