Exploring the world one bite at a time

Month: June 2015

Hanasaki: “Great Korean food”

You don’t find many restaurants in Belgium who serve Korean food, so I was happy to discover there was one close to the town where I grew up. We went there for a nice family dinner on a sunday evening in june. It was rather quiet in the restaurant, so we had lots of tables to choose from.

We went to sit in the back, were there was lots of light thanks to a big window in the ceiling. Staff was super friendly and offered to give some more explanation if needed.

We ordered two portions of mandu to share between four persons. The waiter kindly brought four plates so we could share without problems. Both the mandu kimchi and the mandu meat were excellent.

For the main course I ordered Japchae, noodles made from sweet potatoes with sliced beef. It was the first time I tried this dish and I really loved it!

I was a bit disappointed though that the bibimbap that my boyfriend ordered didn’t turn out to be dolsot bibimbap (served in a hot stone bowl). But he enjoyed it nonetheless.

Hanasaki also serves sushi (Korean as well as Japanese sushi). You’ll also find some Thai specialities on the menu and some teriyaki and wok dishes. Prices are affordable. A typical main course will cost you between 11 and 20 euro.

I’m still surprised to find this restaurant in this rather rural town. If you love Asian food, this is a great place to have lunch, dinner (or just order take away).

Hanasaki, Gemeenteplein 20, Lummen 3560, Belgium
+32 13 30 85 99

Visited June 2015. You can find my review about Hanasaki also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 5/5, service 5/5, food 4/5.

Bel Puur: “Typical Belgian cuisine”

We went for dinner at Bel Puur, because it was situated in the same building as our hotel. Bel Puur serves typical Belgian cuisine. It has a terrace in the front and one in the back with a little playground for the kids.

We choose to sit in the front terrace to enjoy the setting sun as long as possible.

Service could be more attentive. For instance, our table, though clearly dirty, wasn’t cleaned up, the stains were just covered by the paper placemats. And the waiter came back 3 times to clear our table.

I ordered scampi Bel Puur and my boyfriend ordered Koninginnenhapje. Dishes arrived after not too long a wait. The sauce of my scampi was served boiling hot though, so I almost burned my tongue. Food was decent but nothing exceptional.

This restaurant serves draft Westmalle, a regional specialty.

Bel Puur, Antwerpsesteenweg 503, Malle 2390, Belgium
+32 3 322 01 06

Visited June 2015. You can find my review about Bel Puur also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 3/5, service 3/5, food 3/5.

Cafe’ Trappisten: “Great terrace right across the Abbey of Westmalle”

This place is ideal to take a little break when hiking or biking through the beautiful countryside of Malle. This cafè is owned by the famous Abbey of Westmalle and is situated right across the abbey. You can enjoy the draft beer of Westmalle double or triple or even go for a mixture of both of them. The café also serves the cheese made by the Abbey, which can only be bought at the Abbey itself.

Staff is very friendly en efficient, which is needed, because I can imagine this place can get very crowded. I find it a bit of a shame that the architecture of the place is so uninspirational. It is clearly built to serve as many people as possible. It is nice though to relax on the comfy terrace. There is also a playground for the kids.

We ordered the Westmalle cheese, a sangría (sorry, no beer lover here) and a Westmalle half/half. I found 9 euro for a plate of cheese rather expensive, but the cheese accompanied with good mustard sure was nice.

I can understand why they ask a fee for going to the toilet (30 cents), but nevertheless in my opinion toilet use should be free for customers. Toilets were very clean though.

Cafe’ Trappisten, Antwerpsesteenweg 487 Westmalle, Malle 2390, Belgium
+32 3 312 05 02

Visited June 2015. You can find my review about Cafe’ Trappisten also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 3/5, service 4/5, food 4/5.

Hotel Beukenhof: “Cheap and basic hotel”

Our room in Hotel Beukenhof costed 71 euro. So we weren’t expecting much. We had to make sure to arrive before 14h at Saturday, because the reception desk would be unmanned afterwards. I found this a little strange, but no problem, we arrived a little earlier than planned.

The lady at the reception was very friendly and welcoming and showed us to our room. The room and the front door of the hotel could be opened by a key card.

The room we got was situated at the first floor facing the quite busy road. The room was very small with two seperate beds, a small desk and one chair. Bathroom was a bit outdated but very clean and the shower worked very well (always a plus for me). We only got two towels, but since we were only staying for one night, we didn’t mind.

Sleep quality wasn’t great though. Rooms are not equipped with airco, so it was rather warm in our room. We also had quite some noice from the passing cars on the adjacent road. Beds weren’t that great either. Too soft, I felt like I was sinking in too deep.

Breakfast was very basic, like the rest of the hotel. But the bread was fresh and the breakfast room was nice and clean.

If you’re looking for luxury, this hotel is not for you, but for a one night stay it was fine.

Hotel Beukenhof, Antwerpsesteenweg 503, Malle 2390, Belgium

Stayed June 2015. You can find my review about Hotel Beukenhof also on TripAdvisor. My scores: sleep quality 2/5, cleanliness 4/5, service 4/5.

Gravensteen Castle: “A castle breathing history”

A must see when visiting Ghent. Also a great place to explore with children. Lots of impressive rooms, thick walls and stairs. Be warned though, there are some rooms containing disturbing images about torture and executions.

We visited the castle with two children of four and five years old. They both absolutely loved it.

Gravensteen Castle, Sint-Veerleplein 11, Ghent 9000, Belgium
+32 9 225 93 06

Visited June 2015. You can find my review about Gravensteen Castle also on TripAdvisor.

Restaurant De Graslei: “Gorgeous location, cheap menu of the day”

Based on the tripadvisor reviews I made reservations to have lunch at the lovely terrace. I have to say, the location of this restaurant, right in the touristic heart of Ghent is its main attraction. The terrace is big, with lovely seats and totally covered, so you can eat in the shade. Don’t be afraid that you’ll get chilly, the terrace is equipped with heaters.

I found the service to be very nice and attentive. Our party consisted of four grown ups and two children. The grown ups decided to go for the menu of the day, consisting of a starter and a main course. We asked our waiter to bring the children’s food together with our starter, which they kindly did. The little one craved some extra applesauce. It was brought to him with a smile and without extra charges.

I went for a carrot soup as a starter and a Flemish classic: rabbit with black prunes. Both dishes were decent, nothing out of the ordinary, but for the price of 15 euro, I had a great meal. My company enjoyed home made cheese croquettes and a steak, which was cooked saignant, as ordered.

Do try the sangria, it’s lovely with lots of fruit.

We really had a great lunch in this restaurant and enjoyed looking at all the people passing by. In total we only paid 124 euros. A cheap meal, indeed.

Restaurant De Graslei, Graslei 7, Ghent 9000, Belgium
+32 9 225 51 47

Visited June 2015. You can find my review about Restaurant De Graslei also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 5/5, service 4/5, food 3/5.

Strand Cafe DOK: “Great food, service is lacking”

We (four grown ups and three children) had lunch and dinner at the Strand Cafe DOK. The Cafe is great, nice atmophere, a large bar, a big playroom and a theater room for the children. While the chilren played we could enjoy our drinks and have a nice chat. Also loved that the toilets were very clean.

The food at the cafe was really excellent. Enjoyed my carpaccio at lunch very much, but when we asked the waiter to bring some bread, it never came. A shame for sure.

Our dinner started out fine. The children got their food very quickly, but the prosecco we ordered was really terrible. We sent it back, because we thought the bottle had been open too long, because the prosecco did not contain any bubbles. The new glasses we received had exactly the same problem. Our friend went back to the bar to get new ones, but even when straight from a new bottle the prosecco was awful. We drank it, but not with pleasure. After the prosecco we ordered a carafe of wine. The wine was ok, but the glasses really weren’t clean, a turnoff, for sure. I went back to the bar to switch the glasses and it was apparent to me the girl at the bar was stressing out and couldn’t keep up with orders at all. She even broke the glass I returned.

All in all, I loved the food, but I found the service lacking. Some waiters were clearly better trained than others. I got the feeling the staff was mostly inexperienced. It is a real shame, that the service isn’t up to par with the great food.

Strand Cafe DOK, Helleweg 8, 4326 LJ Renesse, The Netherlands
+31 111 463 850

Visited May 2015. You can find my review about Strand Cafe DOK also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, service 2/5, food 4/5.

Noordzee Mer du Nord: “Great atmosphere, excellent seafood”

My colleagues and I go here often for a quick lunch. This place just offers the best seafood in town. Ordering your food can be a bit chaotic though and on a beautiful sunny day the waiting lines can get very long, but the food makes up for it all.

You typically order at the counter and wait until your name is shouted by the staff to collect your food. You eat at standing tables, preferably with a glass of nice white wine to accompany your food. If you don’t like waiting, do try their sandwiches which are also excellent. The shrimp salad or the salmon tartare are really a treat.

Noordzee Mer du Nord, Rue Sainte-Catherine 45, Brussels 1000, Belgium
+32 2 513 11 92

Visited June 2015. You can find my review about Noordzee Mer du Nord also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, service 3/5, food 5/5.