Sunday, June 24, 2007

Belgian Beer Cafe, Harrington St, The Rocks

Belgian Beer Cafe, Harrington St, The Rocks
Sunday 24 June, 2007

The last time I visited the Belgian Beer Cafe I felt it had redeemed itself. So, this week I experienced it twice - not intentionally. On Monday I organised a catch up dinner with a buddy from interstate and on Wednesday a work colleague organised a spontaneous birthday lunch. Each visit was very good and by coincidence I was served by the same waiter.
On Monday night it was raining (yay!) and there was a large group blocking the entrance to remain dry - good one guys....our party of 3 had to push our way through to enter. We were directed to the rear of the large open dining space past the wooden booths and long bar with an impressive collection of beer bottles.
Our friendly, knowledgeable waiter welcomed us and distributed the huge laminated menus. Whilst the speciality is mussels I've never actually tried them before. Not sure why I guess it's because I keep finding other menu items to try. Tonight I decided to go with some iron and ordered the Chargrilled Beef Rib Eye (350 Grams) served with roasted rosemary & garlic potatoes and béarnaise sauce. To accompany this our waiter recommended I try the Delirium Tremens 330ml - a prize winning beer developed with a relatively low alcohol content. It was described as having a delightful hint of malt and spice with a sweet dry after taste and an Alc.Vol.9%.
My dinner buddies ordered the Ricotta & Spinach Cannelloni - filled with roasted walnuts served with spicy tomato compote and three cheese bechamel; and Belgian Style Meat Balls Charcutière - with wholegrain mustard and shallots served in a chasseur sauce and parsley potatoes. The meals arrived and were enormous - you definitely do not go hungry here. my steak was cooked well and the potatoes were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and the bearnaise was deliciously rich. It was great comfort food for a cold, wet evening and we enjoyed every mouthful.
After a break and good chin wag we reviewed the dessert menu. Instead of ordering one each we decided to share two - Belgian Chocolate Mousse (which is described as, need we say more...) and the Belgian Waffle - served with 'Callebaut' warm chocolate sauce, mixed berry coulis and vanilla bean ice-cream. With three spoons we attacked the desserts. As a chocoholic I found both desserts delicious - the mousse was incredibly rich but the ice cream balanced it out. After 10 mins each plate was a mix of chocolate, cream, ice cream and berries and looked like a work of Pro Hart.
On Wednesday our party of 6 arrived (again it was raining - yay!) and were directed to the rear of the dining (not the same table as Monday night - but right next to it). The same waiter arrived after we had already perused the menu and had us all laughing with his relaxed, easy going manner.
I ordered the Heritage Herb & Pork Scnhitzel - served with mashed potato and a spring cress salad. My lunch buddies ordered 2 x Belgian Style Meat Balls Charcutière - with wholegrain mustard and shallots served in a Chasseur sauce and parsley potatoes; 2 x Mussels Provencale - cooked with tomatoes, herbs and garlic; and Vegetarian Monk's Tart - an old recipe from the middle ages with leek fondu, button mushrooms, eggs and spices, all cooked with Leffe Blonde.
Our hungry bunch devoured our meals. The schnitzel was good - it was a massive serving but a little on the dry side. The herb crust was lovely and the accompanying mash and salad were just right.
The next time I visit I will finally try the mussels.
Belgian Beer Cafe - 135 Harrington St, The Rocks - (02) 9241 1775


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