Excellent food, great service in a stunning location. Not a bad start. A few years ago the Café Metropole was a given a facelift – not to modernize it but rather to restore it to its original Art Nouveau environment, created by architect Alban Chambon back in the day. The café’s new menu revives the history of this building, which was founded by the Wielemans-Ceuppens brewer’s family in 1890.
You walk in through those doors that have seen many a famous character pass through and your eyes drift upwards to the gorgeous, golden-draped ceiling. In fact as we ate we kept looking around at this wonderful venue. As for the food, it is all you would expect from a five-star venue, with traditional fare at its very best on offer. We went Belgian for the starters and tried the duo of shrimp and cheese croquettes, and for the main course I went Irish and tried the succulent entrecote, while my dining partner went for duck breast with raspberry beer, onions and fried potatoes which she then followed up with a crème brulé.
It really is the sort of place you never want to leave…
Cafe Métropole website
Another Belgian institution has also recently had a makeover– and what a job they’ve done! Café Victor – named after the building’s art-deco architect Victor Horta – is housed with the BOZAR cultural complex, one of my favourite spots in Brussels. The refurbishment was handled by the internationally acclaimed architectural practice Robbrecht and Daem. This time it was dining partner’s turn to test the croquettes, followed up with the Tagliolini with scampi, flavoured with lemon and basil, while I plumped for carpaccio of cooked farm chicken “tonnato” and the cod with roast potatoes (this is a fries-free zone).
The café says that it’s “a universe of art, architecture and unassuming gastronomy in the heart of Brussels” and it certainly lives up to its billing. Make sure you book well in advance – it was packed at lunchtime when we went, but the service kept up with the orders very well. And once you’ve finished your meal pop up and see the fantastic Picasso sculptures exhibition…