The Belgian Beer Café, affectionately known by regulars as the BBC, is a chain of bar-café-restaurants specialising in Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired food, cocooned within a warm, classical European café-style environment. I am lucky to have one right in-front of my office in Barsha Heights and frequent it far more regularly than my wife appreciates. But what makes this visit to their Madinat Jumeirah outlet so special is that it is the first time I have visited a BBC outlet without having a drink; a real drink I mean ;-). And you know what? I didn’t miss it that much because the food and ambiance outside on the veranda was that good. That’s absolute poppycock! I would have much preferred to have sat there on that veranda sipping something soul pampering all afternoon…and evening. But I had a meeting that afternoon, which I couldn’t turn up to grinning like an idiot, reeking of wine…or any one of their delicious Belgian beers…or a Bloody Mary…which is always nice in the afternoon…or late morning. Anyway…
The food at the BBC has always been really good. And this time was no exception. My food buddie and I ordered Fish & Chips (how this British classic has all of a sudden become Belgian, I don’t know…perhaps it’s the chips…which, by the way, they call Belgian fries) and a Seafood Stew. Oh, and a big bottle of…um, water (tasteless, disgusting stuff). Our young East European waitress brought us a small loaf of complementary bread, which comes with coarse rock salt and butter, to start. Hungry and deprived of fizzy hops we wolfed it down so fast she offered us another; better give them more bread, she must have thought, than have them constantly asking when their order will arrive. Smart girl but we ended filling ourselves up with the bread…which incidentally tasted great with butter and salt.
The Seafood Stew (not listed in the Zomato menu) is brilliant. It’s a generous assortment of premium quality seafood; salmon, scallops, prawns, and (of course) mussels served in a rich, creamy, white sauce with chopped celery, herbs, and laced with white wine (yeah!). It really is quite delicious and makes for a hearty meal.
The Fish & Chips was good too but the fact that it was served with a tartar sauce as opposed to mushy peas killed it for me. The truth is that I found it a little on the oily side. Note to Belgian chef, hello! now you know why British chippies wrap their fish and chips in half a newspaper and not a little tissue. The fish itself though, was perfectly cooked. But for me, the Seafood Stew was the better of the two. Perhaps that because is was so similar to my BBC favourite, the Belgian Mussels.
There are no shortage of quality eateries at Madinat Jumeirah. The BBC is most definitely one of them, for their food as much as for their beer. Worth a detour.