Kwint (Brussels, Belgium)

The plan for Belgium started simple: on our second full day in the country, we were going to take the train to Bruges, check out that city, and come back in the evening. That’s when the otherwise spotless good luck I had so far on this trip decided to take a turn for the worse. First, upon going to get breakfast, my brother discovered that he couldn’t get back into the flat with his key. Or the spare key. So we had to wait for someone from the management company to come check it out and summon a locksmith. Then, leaving about an hour late for the train station, we then discovered that the trains were running on a 20 minute delay. Which became a 40 minute delay. And then an hour delay. We decided to go see if things got better after lunch, so we wandered from the train station to the nearby Mont des Arts, where we found Kwint on the terrace, and decided to have lunch there.

Of course, the terrace is one of the major attractions of Kwint; indeed, it has a splendid view of both Mont des Arts and the top of the City Hall. Even if you were to just stop by and grab a beer, this is a nice place to do so, enjoying the view of Brussels (mind you, the prices are somewhat steep due to the location).

As far as the menu, it’s basically upscale Belgian brasserie food, like salads, sandwiches, steak tartare (err, filet americaine), and the like, and they do quite a good job at it. For example, Carol’s Royal Kamchatka crab and shrimp salad came out with a rich bed of greens, some soft and tender crab, and some perfectly cooked shrimp. But I wasn’t hear for salad…

Having heard so many good things about Belgian Beef and the many tartares made from it (also know locally as either “Filet Americaine” or “Cannibaal”), I couldn’t resist ordering the tartare with Frites, in Kwint’s case, the “Knife-cutted beef tartare”. While the translation was a bit questionable, the resulting dish wasn’t. Indeed, it was one of the best tartares I’ve ever enjoyed. First of all, while many of the better tartares I’ve had were either minced or ground, this was definitely hand-cut, with large chunks of beef. But the beef itself was so incredibly tender, that it still melted in my mouth. And usually one of the attractions to me of a good tartare is the spicing, indeed, I usually enjoy the ritual of mixing in a little more Worcester sauce, mustard, and pepper into my tartare, but here, the flavoring were applied sparingly, focusing on the meat. And as you can see, it wasn’t a meager serving, either. I was thoroughly pleased with this, and would happily order it again.

The frites were also really good, although in a city with this many frites joints, that’s almost taken for granted. But they were perfectly crispy, fluffy on the inside, and rich in potato flavor.

I should mention that we just sampled the lunch menu at Kwint; if we had come back later in the evening, they have a pretty elaborate tasting menu as well. If lunch was any indication, the tasting menu is likely quite a treat.

Anyway, as luck had it, when we got back to the station we found that the trains were still hopelessly behind schedule, so we ended up exchanging tickets for travel the next day, and staying in Brussels for the evening. So stay tuned for the Bruges visit!

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