Review: Brunch at Café Belge

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Review: Brunch at Café Belge

The restaurant in Ritz-Carlton, DIFC showcases the best of Belgium with decadence and warmth.

By Mohammad Kadry

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Published: Wed 21 Oct 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 21 Oct 2015, 12:22 PM

The next time you're at brunch, piling up your plate with tasty but mostly forgettable fare, consider this: Café Belge is probably doing it better.
The restaurant, located at Ritz-Carlton, DIFC, takes its inspiration from the golden era of 1920's Brussels, offering guests a vintage atmosphere to enjoy a lavish spread served right to your table. The art deco and art nouveau décor is accented by walls adorned with old animated posters and advertisements, a nice touch that anyone with a penchant for memorabilia will appreciate. Add to the mix rich wooden booths and tables, opulent marble flooring, warm classical light fixtures, bronze railings throughout, and your imagination will be free to travel to an age gone by.
Café Belge offers diners a sharing concept with a set menu, boasting the sort of cuisine that looks so good you almost feel guilty sticking a fork into it. But inhibitions melt away quickly here as soon as the Seafood Platter arrives. On a bed of crushed ice, a decadent (in the truest sense of the word) selection of crustaceans and shellfish from Europe are served with Belgian mayo, oyster bread and mignonette sauce. The clams are so fresh they practically wiggle when disturbed while the steamed lobster gives a glimpse into the high culinary efforts taking place behind closed kitchen doors. With the scent of sea salt in the air, the platter proves to be an indulgence worthy of its dazzling presentation.
When the starters arrive, prepare to be overwhelmed by hearty dishes that reflect authentic Belgian tastes. There's the Filet Américain, a beef tartare served with Romaine lettuce; a Tomato & Sea Asparagus Salad, served with fresh tarragon and Sirop de Liège dressing; and Chicken Cromesquis, served with braised mustard seed, parsley and mayo. What is guaranteed to blow your palette away is the Soft Poached Egg, served with potato truffle purée and garden peas, as well as the Foie Gras Waffle in apple butter.
If you've managed to save room for the main courses (and you wouldn't be the first to concede defeat at this point, so I'm told), you'll be glad you did. From Pan Seared Seabass, Salmon Cakes served in Remoulade Sauce, and Mushroom Vol au Vent puff pastries to Liège Meatballs, Mini Wagyu Burgers with frites, and Beef Chateaubriand, each dish boasts a truly homestyle feel that - and it can't be overstated - not enough dining outlets in Dubai have mastered or even care to.
Finishing things off with a sugar rush, what else would you expect from a Belgian dessert cart than staple favourites like Chocolate Crémeux donuts, Ginger White Chocolate Mousse, Warm Apple Fritters, Tampouce Vanilla, and Pistachio Pain de Gene, a poached pear served with white chocolate spaghetti that should be a sole reason to wake up in the morning. And in all seriousness, if you've reached this far in the meal without tipping over, your server will award you with a medal.
So what makes brunch at Café Belge special? Its surprisingly unpretentious atmosphere and attention to detail really stand out here in the heart of Dubai's financial district, and with plentiful food options and flavours, it's hard not to fall in love all over again with the country that perfected chocolate.
Brunch at Café Belge runs from 12:30pm-4pm and costs Dhs295 (soft beverages) or Dhs395 (sparkling beverages). For reservations, call 04 372 2323 or e-mail cafebelgedifc@ritzcarlton.com.
kadry@khaleejtimes.com



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