Brussels makes beef meat a treat!

The tradition of American-style steakhouses has never really gone down well with our locals. Yet recently, a series of new places for fully-fledged meat-loving hardcore carnivores have been popping up on our city’s streets. Today however, high-quality beef meat is all the rage: noble breeds carefully selected and reared according to the most stringent standards.

The increasing popularity of premium quality beef affects both butchers and restaurants equally. On the butcher’s stalls of ROB, Marché des Chefs, Jack O’Shea and some of the best butchers around, there is no shortage of prime beef cuts, a wide selection which will delight even the most experienced taste-buds. Kobe-beef, flown in straight from Japan, is the latest newcomer in the ranks of beef breeds alongside Simmental, Normande, Salers, Black Angus, Chianina or Rubia Gallega to name just a few.

And if they are eating less meat – or at least, less often – consumers now go for meat with high tasting value. The current trend is towards more or less marbled, matured (also known as ‘dry aged’) and even smoked meat, which rocks their taste-buds back to life! Another trend in responsible meat consumption nowadays: cheap cuts are being increasingly appreciated and you will have the opportunity to taste beef cheeks and ox tail in many places.

Let us give credit where credit is due: Jack O’Shea was one of the first to launch the movement and his recent Chophouse makes more than a few meat-lovers very happy indeed. Also recently opened – and already a top foodie destination for any self-respecting ‘beef-eater’, Colonel is by far one of Brussels’ best (and also trendiest) addresses. The restaurant serves up exceptional cuts of meat cooked to perfection, all of which in a welcoming location and not forgetting the friendly service. In both cases, an added value for Brussels and well worth a visit!

It would however be grossly unfair to turn up our noses at the many other long-established restaurants. In this respect, chef David Martin is probably the first, or indeed the only one who managed to develop an out-and-out fine dining establishment, building on what was, after all, but a run-of-the-mill ‘meat restaurant’... strategically located opposite the slaughterhouses of Anderlecht. La Paix manages to square the circle by combining really awesome cuts of meat and extremely refined dishes on one and the same menu. Bozar Brasserie, second brainchild of David Martin, also showcases beautiful pieces of meat.

Our capital city obviously boasts many other – sometimes long-standing – restaurants serving meat. Examples include Les Pavés de Bruxelles and its supreme meat grilled in a wood-fired oven, Chumadia and its Balkan touch, Les Caves d’Alex and its original cellar where you can store your own wine bottles and also Meet Meat which is a benchmark for Argentine grilled meat (‘Asados’).

As for lovers of the currently very trendy beef (or veal) cheeks, they will primarily set their sights on Brussels’ best gastronomic bistros, such as La Buvette, Bouchéry or Gramm, where more often than not, the famous dish features on the menu. And to make sure you do not miss out on it, there is always Les Brigittines where the unsurpassed and so typically Brussels Veal Cheek braised in Cantillon Kriek by Flemish chef Dirk Myny steals the show among a wide selection of tasty dishes.
Lastly, for offal enthusiasts, Viva M’Boma reigns supreme in the Brussels culinary landscape and has been doing so for ages.