by the Munching Mariner (published East End Life, 14 November)
My Thirst Mate and I were walking along the river by Canary Wharf on a Saturday evening, passing Belgique as hunger struck. Just recently there were builders working inside. It’s a fresh venue for our hungry bellies.
Belgique is a split-level brasserie with an awesome display of cakes and sweets forming the focal point of the ground floor.
The décor is two-tone, orange and dark, with large windows ensuring there is a clear view of the river from most parts of the restaurant.
We sat upstairs and negotiated the menu. The meals are typically continental and there is an abundant range of Belgian beers and other drinks. I ordered a dark beer and my Thirst Mate, a blonde.
We studiously avoided the starters, resolving to leave enough space for dessert. My Thirst Mate ordered Coq au Vin along with a side dish of crispy baby potato and I asked for salmon en croute.
We were both highly impressed; my Thirst Mate struggling to remember when she last had such a good meal. They were generously portioned too.
And now the moment we’d been waiting for. While we had the option of choosing our dessert from the menu, we couldn’t resist feasting our eyes on the treats downstairs. I settled quickly on chocolate cheesecake, but my Thirst Mate struggled deeply over a sweet dilemma. She finally settled on chocolate éclair, but she’ll be back before long to try out something else.
While the main courses were excellent, it is the sweeter dishes which make this a must-visit venue. Perhaps afternoon tea is a more cost-effective way of sampling the experience. Belgique also has a range of enticing breakfast options on the menu.
Our experience was superb, with friendly and helpful service. The evening atmosphere was very relaxed, but the restaurant clearly wants to be seen as a place to go at any time of the day.
Our bill came to £41.50, excluding service.
Belgique is next to the river at 37 Westferry Circus, E14 8RR. Telephone 020 7516 0022.