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London: Belgo

18 Jul

When I’m in London and want a bit of “gourmet junk food” amidst all the fine dining, I turn to Belgo – a Belgian themed chain of restaurants that serves mussels, fries and beer! I doubt I need to further explain myself as to why I would like such a concept. The place is rather kitschy – the servers are dressed in monks’ robes and the place is somewhat decked out like a den but it just adds to the fun atmosphere. I first came in 2008 and I try to come back on every trip to London. My order would definitely include a mussel pot served with fries (£12.95) as well as their Fruli Strawberry Beer (£3.00/0.5 pt). This particular fruit beer is fresh on tap, and super sweet!

They have four flavours of mussel pots which I have all tried: Mariniere (Steamed with cream, white wine, garlic, celery & onion), Green Thai (Steamed in coconut, green chilli, lemongrass, lime & coriander sauce), Provençale (Steamed with plum tomato sauce, basil, thyme & garlic) and Traditionnelle (Steamed with white wine, celery, garlic & onion). I like them all but if you want something more exotic, the Green Thai one is actually quite good and the Provençale is rather tangy. Tips for cleaner mussel eating: I usually use my first mussel shell as a “pincer” to pinch the rest of the mussel meat. Don’t forget to mop up the sauce in your pot with their super crispy thick cut fries!

Other than mussels, the menu has other mains like chicken and fish but I’ve never bothered to venture beyond the mussels. It’s definitely not the freshest mussels I’ve had, but it’s steamed just nice (not overcooked unlike many places) and is relatively affordable (especially in London). If you come during 5-6.30pm weekdays there is also a cool promo called “beat the clock” when you pay the price on the clock for a bowl of mussels! The beer list is also extensive including many Belgian trappist beers, abbey beers and fruit beers which could potentially save you the Eurostar ride to Brussels :)

Price: $$
Location: A few locations in London, I usually go to the one at Covent Garden. 50 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LJ