Arts Cinema StageWeekend

To the arms of Brussels… to avoid!

(B2) Some friends from the last IHEDN session had the good idea to come to Brussels and invite me to their relaxing evening meal to talk about Europe, defense, PESCO and other topics of interest. So we found ourselves in a restaurant they had chosen, near the Grand Place. A priori, the ideal. Fateful error. The chosen restaurant, “At the Arms of Brussels“, located in rue des Bouchers, must be to traditional catering what tar is to nature… (and more!).

Instead of a private room, and a large convivial table, as agreed, we found ourselves in the back of a room, cold, dark, not very pleasant, with several tables, cramped. All this without the slightest word of apology or a “gesture”, like the aperitif offered. The waiters, slightly surly, didn't really seem happy to be there, nor to do the job, the management seemed absent. Then came the menu discussion. The content of the menu announced over the phone did not really match. The price, however (29 euros, mussels and fries + waffle) was quite firm. All this for around twenty guests. We cannot say that this is a “friendly price”. And without any possible discussion...

But it was just a zakousti. When the chosen dish arrived – mussels – fries of course – a little disappointment. Very small as a mussel dish. And no possibility of having a little more. “Not included in the menu”. At that price, one would have thought that the mussel was exceptional… And then disappointment! Apparently, the mussels were not caught or even purchased that day.

It felt more like a super discount promo from the day before or the day before (within the deadline). Even a pre-packaged package from Carrefour would have done better. However, there is no shortage of suppliers in Brussels offering fresh, tasty products at a very reasonable price. The fries were, certainly, “reasonable”. But in a super-mini portion. After discussion, we obtained – a supreme favor, we were made to understand – a rebate. Of course, no accompaniment, no offer of these sauces that even the smallest snack bar and restaurant worthy of the name prides itself on.

In the end, the famous waffle was “correct”. And for good reason, it looked strangely like a frozen waffle, Delhaize type, reheated in the oven. In itself, this is not bad. But it's not really the homemade waffle advertised (nor the same price).

In short… the weapons of Brussels, a restaurant that wants to claim to be “touristy” but saves on everything, to be avoided completely! Better to go to the local Quick. Honestly, at least we know what we're eating, for less money, with a smile (and heating).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).