May 16 2012 By Ben Spencer
Brel Image 2
SOME restaurants and bars need no introduction … and Ashton Lane stalwart Brel is one of them.
Anyone who has spent any time in the West End will at least know the name, even if they have not tried their famous range of beers.
But, despite living in the city for nearly 10 years, I’m ashamed to say I had never eaten in Brel.
It has a relaxed charm and opts for comfort and warmth rather than being overly glossy or pretentious.
My friend and I ate on the ground floor, overlooked by a large picture of singer- songwriter Jacques Brel.
True to its Belgian roots, there are plenty of that country’s dishes on the menu, including the mussels that Brel is perhaps best known for.
But keen to step away from the beaten path, my friend and I selected some small plates from the tapas-style menu.
At £3.95 each or three dishes for £10.50, it’s a great way to sample a range of flavours.
We started with honey, mustard and rosemary glazed Bavarian sausages and pressed pork belly with black pudding and apple puree.
The sausages were hearty and tasted authentic . But I found the pork a little oily and the apple puree could have been sharper.
We liked the grilled haloumi with lemon and chilli, the sweet potato and lime pakora with cucumber and yoghurt dip and roast pepper, spinach and shallot tortilla.
But not as much as the classic frites which came in a cone with homemade aioli.
Resisting the urge to order Belgian again, we enjoyed refreshing pints of St Mungo’s Munich Red beer with our food.
My dessert was a lovely moist dark chocolate mousse cake (£4.95) which was rich but not too heavy.
But the dish of the evening was my pal’s Belgian waffles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce (£4.50).