On Thursday we watched Belgium beat England and realised we’d never tried Belgian Cuisine. So we thought to give it a try ASAP! After some research, Belgo seemed like the best spot for a First Impression.
Belgo is a Belgian restaurant that opened in London before Shiima was born, and now has several restaurants across London (and one in Nottingham, which is peculiar). Belgo specialises in mussels, fries, and Belgian beer. So to start, Shiima won’t go near mussels (very rarely eats fish), I don’t eat fries (carbs and all 😆), and neither of us drinks beer (several reasons, but principally Shiima’s Muslim and I’m vain 😂). But we were still excited to dine at Belgo.
We picked Belgo Holborn because it was the closest, and I’d walked past the restaurant several times on my way to Barrafina Drury Lane so I knew where it was. We went at 6:30 on Friday and it was really busy outside with most people enjoying beers in the sun. Inside, the restaurant has a unique vibe, which is a blend of a hip pub/bar and stripped down casual restaurant. The service was a tad inconsistent – some very friendly, some lacked that friendly touch, but they were all attentive.
What we ordered
The menu is comprehensive and there looks to be something for everybody (including vegans, I should add). The menu is split into Nibbles, Starters, Sharing Platters, Vegan Dishes, Rotisserie, Moules & Frites (Mussels & Fries), Classiques, Burgers & Frites, and Sides … I told you, comprehensive!
For starters, we ordered pulled duck croquettes, pea and broadbean croquettes, mussel popcorn, and chicken wings with sticky smoked bbq sauce. For mains, I ordered the pain fried roasted cod from Classiques and Shiima ordered chicken burger and frites.
My duck croquettes were decent, the filling wasn’t as rich as I’d have hoped but it was still very enjoyable. Shiima liked her pea and broadbean croquettes as well, but like me she wasn’t particularly enamoured by it.
The chicken wings were also decent. The sticky smoked bbq sauce wasn’t overpowering and the wings were excellent cooked. Not going to blow your socks off, but it’ll do just fine.
The mussel popcorn was rather unusual, but if you like mussels I think you’d love them. I like mussels, and the crunchy delicious batter combined very well with the fresh mussels.
I didn’t particular enjoy my pan fried roasted cod. Truly, it was basic and didn’t taste of much. The cod was fresh and very well cooked but it lacked any seasoning. Plus, it didn’t work with the tomato sauce that was full of butter beans and a few pieces of chorizo, which unusually lacked that paprika kick I love. I really didn’t like the butter beans either, it was a bit too “al dente” for me.
Shiima didn’t enjoy her chicken burger and said it was reminiscent of fast food. I tried a bit of the chicken and although I enjoyed it, I very much understood what she meant. And very unusually for Shiima she didn’t finish the fries!
The dessert menu had quite a few intriguing options and being a Belgian restaurant you ought to expect the waffles. But yeah, I don’t like waffles lol. Shiima wasn’t keen on any other dessert, so I went for my favourite type of dessert – Cheesecake! Speculoos Cheesecake, to be exact.
So, err, I enjoyed the lotus biscuit more than the actual cheesecake, which was a tad stodgy and didn’t seem fresh at all.
Belgo is a fun relaxed restaurant, but the food leaves a little to be desired. It looked like a fun place to have a drink though, and I saw there’ll be showing the Belgium World Cup game so do go over if you can. Also, I must add that we probably didn’t do Belgo justice because we didn’t try the dishes they specialise in, particularly the moules & frites. Maybe I’ll give it one more try sometime soon and dig into some mussels. Till then, I recommend for a casual dinner with friends or colleagues, and for lovers of mussels! Belgo is also very moderately priced.
Dress Code: Casual
Shiima’s Star Dish: Chicken Wings w/ sticky smoked BBQ
Amen’s Star Dish: Mussel Popcorn
Rating: 3 out of 5