Belgo’s Centraal is having a Beer Festival (Oct 2014) and last night had one special evening in conjunction with Time Out with a three course meal, beer tasting and getting into the Oktoberfest spirit, live entertainment from an oompah band. We had a great night!
The three course set menu included a choice of a vegetarian or charcuterie Giant Plank, which is a sharing platter that is on their standard menu. We had the meat option, known as 'This One' (as opposed to the veggie option known as 'That One').
The chicken liver parfait went really well with the date and fig chutney, the prosciutto with the sour cherries, and the salami with the cornichons.
A good start.
For mains we both had the Belgo burger. It seemed a bit silly not to have moules and frites, but I had a really bad experience after eating some mussels 8 years ago and they just don't hold the same appeal for me now (shame).
For dessert, I had the dark chocolate praline torte and my husband, the waffle.
Each of us would have our choice again.
The beer tasting was a bit more haphazard. Maybe it was the first time Belgo’s had done a beer tasting.
It was a great idea, but I am not sure how much thought had been put into how it might work.
There appeared to be three servers. One was from another branch of Belgo, another from a beer importer. We didn't have contact with the third.
There were 5 beers on the tasting list, and we were told there would be some cheese to accompany one or two of them.
Early on while the restaurant was quiet they were able to come around, explain about the bottle they had brought to the table, but when there were more diners there seemed no plan to follow up with the different tables to make sure we got to try all 5 tasters.
It's quite possible some diners were not worried by this; it all depends on how one perceived the Time Out advertisement. For beer lovers, the 'beer tasting' element was the reason for us being there in the first instance, and I did hear other tables talk of this too. Other diners were perhaps there for the meal and the live entertainment.
We were able to sample two of the beers early on, & before ordering our food. We had to press to get to try the other three, which then came all at once, at the end of our meal.
Had the tasting been more formal, followed by the food, we may have been more inclined to order more specific beers to complement each course.
Barbar Bok (ABV 8.5%).
A smooth, dark honey beer
It was recommended this beer would really complement our main course so when the time came we ordered a bottle to share. The beer came in a gorgeous ceramic topped bottle and was served in frosted glass beer mugs (more or less coffee mug size). We found it went particularly well with the side orders, Frites, Belgian-style mayo & crispy onions, that came with the burger, and less so with the burger itself.
Coming at the end of our meal:
Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor (ABV 8%)
Described as a cloudy orange beer with a great white head. We found this to be very crisp, very clean & refreshing in taste, leaving you with a very clean dry palette.
Gouden Carolus Tripel (ABV 9%)
We liked this but not as much as the Grand Cru (to follow)
St Feuillien Grand Cru (ABV 9.5%)
We really liked this beer. It was described by the server as the best beer on the menu at Belgo Centraal, only topped by one other that he had on the menu at the Kingsway restaurant. Cru went fantastically with the cheese that was brought to accompany it and was a great way to finish our meal.
Very generously we were left with the remainder in the bottle.
Lindeman’s Framboise (ABV 2.5%), is a very raspberry demi-sec experience, not like a beer at all! This beer would work really well as an aperitif or alongside dessert.
I was fortunate to be able to have my taster to sup alongside the dark chocolate praline torte. They went really well together.
Hosen Brass (http://hosenbrass.com/) were the oompah band that provided the live entertainment. They were good!
Roaming the dining area, they nestled themselves amongst the tables and played vintage and modern tunes in an oompah style! We had the pleasure of Michael Jackson, Oasis, some Motown, and some numbers from musical theatre. We have been online to read up about them, and would be sure to go to a venue where they would be playing in the future.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening.
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