Having lived a third of my life in Belgium, I have spent many a happy hour in Belgian bars. Indeed, at one stage, my office was above a pub owned by a colleague, and named after another legendary old hack.
So, I am no stranger to the delights of Belgian beer, or cuisine for that matter. Tell a Belgian that the French invented fries, and you will be risking your life. They do, of course, come from Belgium.
Therefore, it was with a spring in my step that I popped into Belgian pub in an anonymous mini-mall in Pretoria East, called The Belgian Triple (the pub, not the mall.)
Maybe I should have smelled a rat when one section of the beer menu was headed “Larger”, but we tried a few of the beers during our lunchtime visit, and they were very good. An excellent selection of draft and bottled beers, many (but not all) served in the correct matching glasses.
But, oh dear me, what has gone wrong with the food?
On the positive side, one of our group ordered the pork belly and enjoyed it a lot.
However, I opted for the tartare of fresh and smoked salmon, which was very salty, and did not come with the slice or two of toast which I had expected, and it needed. Horrid. I could not finish it.
However, I fared better than the poor soul who ordered the steak tartare. It tasted of little more than vinegar, was suspiciously very dark in colour, and was unpleasant on the palate.
It is a Belgian pub, but some of the dishes were unrecognisable as Belgian to the two Belgians with whom I was lunching. Most of the pub’s dishes are cooked with beer, or accompanied by beer sauces. All seem to be dotted with herbs and edible flowers, possibly as an attempt to disguise the awful flavours?
The pub has an open kitchen, where I spotted a rosy-cheeked chef, who looked so young that he needed his diaper changed several times a day.
I have very mixed feelings about this place. I love what they are doing with their beer selection, even though they can’t spell ‘lager’.
However, I would make some big changes to the menu, make the food simpler and more pubby, and add a few traditional Belgian dishes like waterzooi and carbonnade.
For now, it is a great place for a Belgian beer, but I would be far happier grabbing a snack at the Burger King at the other end of the mall.
Rating: I give it a 2.5*
Key to the Ratings….
1* Dog food is nicer
2*. Cat food is nicer
3*. Not bad if Woolworths is sold out of ready meals.
4*. I like it
5*. I love it. Not to be missed.