Sunday, August 21, 2016

Snack Sympa (Ixelles, Belgium)

Chaussée de Wavre 85, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium
A crossover between a shawarma restaurant and a frituur (snack bar), which serves basic Belgian snacks and French fries as well as falafel, kebab, merguez sausages, etc.

I get a Durum Kebab (€4), which is a wrap with thin-shaved skewer meat, spicy sauce (Samourai), lettuce, onion, tomato, and French fries. It tastes quite salty. Not too much specific taste. The French fries are ok.

VERDICT: 74/100
Not bad but a dime a dozen kebab place.

Oui Bar & Kitchen (Brussels, Belgium)

Avenue du Bourget 44, 1130 Brussels, Belgium

Oui Bar & Kitchen is the restaurant of the Radisson Red Hotel in Brussels, close to the European parliament. Radisson Red is a new concept that tries to be edgy and hipster and the restaurant follows that patterns. It serves a limited selection of reasonably basic dishes but done in a different way.

I get the Beef Burger (€13.50), which comes with “triple fried fries”. The fries are quite good, although a little bit undercooked, and quite a small portion. The burger is thick and seems to have been prepared on the griddle. It comes on half a bun and half a pizza bun, covered in a bacon-yam. Quite odd, but tasty.

VERDICT: 83/100

Overpriced and good but not remarkable.

Brasserie Meys (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Frederik Hendrikplein 36, The Hague, The Netherlands

Brasserie Meys is not really a pig out spot. It is a typical Dutch lunch place with a nice terrace and a broad selection of big salads and sandwiches. Everything is remarkably fresh and some is even quite healthy.

However, they also serve French Fries (€3.50) and Kwekkeboom Kroketten (€8). I ordered the French fries for my small son, who only eats French fries when we are out, but ate quite a lot myself, because they were really tasty. They are big fries, prepared perfectly, very crispy from the outside and soft inside. The (Belgian-style) mayo was also very tasty. Meat Croquettes come in different forms and Kwekkeboom is one of the most upscale brands. They are bigger and meatier than regular croquettes, but also more expensive. Most importantly, they were delicious.

VERDICT: 86/100
While not the place to pig out, the fries and croquettes here are very tasty, if expensive.

Spijssalon (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Spijssalon is a relatively new ice cream place in a street that has at least two other good ice cream places. They produce artisanal ice cream, similar to Italian gelato, and most of their favors are classics. They also have another location in The Hague.

I get a horn with two scoops, yoghurt with fruit and stracciatella. Both were decent sized and tasted pretty good, though not as good as real Italian gelato.

VERDICT: 84/100
Good ice cream but I prefer San Marco in same street.

Koemans (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Frederik Hendriklaan 182, 2582 BK, The Hague, The Netherlands

Koemans is an old school Dutch snackbar that has been updated several times in accommodation and food selection. It serves various cold and warm sandwiches as well as fries and a broad range of more or less Dutch snacks (including shawarma). It caters mainly to the neighborhood, mostly shopkeepers and workers.

I am ordering a medium-size French Fries (€2.65) with Mayonaisse (+€0.50). The fries are decently crispy but get saggy quickly, while the mayo is the typical sweet Dutch sort, which I don’t particularly like. I also get a Veal Croquette (Kalfskroket) (€1.70) on a soft white bun (+€0.65), which is quite delicious with mustard. Finally, I get a Berenhap (€2.55) with Chilisaus (+€0.65). The Berenhap (literally Bear-Bite) is a meatball, cut in slices with in between onion. It’s not very exciting and the Asian-style chili sauce is not the best mix.

VERDICT: 80/100
Very good selection, not remarkable quality

Flavor’s (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Willem de Zwijgerlaan 44-A, 2582 ER, The Hague, The Netherlands

Flavor’s brands itself as “a combination of a brasserie, coffeeshop, restaurant (café).” Situated in an upscale part of The Hague – there is also a location in Vlaardingen – it  offers an eclectic mix of dishes that you can find in a broad variety of different Dutch restaurants, including bitterballen (meat croquets in the shape of balls), chicken sate, salads. Its specialty are the spare ribs.

We started with the Brown Flavor’s Bread (€4.50), which comes with three spreads (aioli, tapenade and herb butter). The spreads are more impressive than the bread, which is average. I then get bitterballen (€6.00), which for some reason are translated on the English menu as Burgundian Meatballs, which are good. The Homemade Meatball Sandwich (€7.00) is big but not very tasty. The Twister Fries with Mayonnaise (€3.50), which I get for my son, are both disappointing.

VERDICT: 78/100
Flavor’s is a cozy place to eat, with many different and relaxed options, but the quality is not remarkable.

IJssalon San Marco (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Frederick Hendriklaan 172, 2582 BK, The Hague, The Netherlands

IJssalon San Marco is an old-school Italian gelato place, as there are several in the Netherlands, which has been there since 1982. It has some 20 flavors, all Italian classics.

I get two scoops (€1.80): lemon and stracciatella. The scoops are small, particularly compared to those in the US. The lemon is delicious, tangy and fresh. The stracciatella is tasty but a bit too vanilla.

VERDICT: 87/100                                                      
Very good gelato