Ballekes

Nice to meat you! … is what I could’ve said to this restaurant in Sint-Gillis in Brussels. The name doesn’t lie: this concept restaurant revolves all around meat balls. You can order 1 or 2 depending on how big the hole in your stomach is, and pair them with whatever sauce tickles your fancy. For the healthy ones amongst us, there’s salad to go with that, and for the others (me, who am I kidding?) there’s chips. The food is nice and the place is bright and open with lots of windows to people watch. Yet.. nothing really compares to Balls & Glory. A solid and deserving alternative, me thinks! You can also order their meals through Deliveroo!

Where? Chaussée de Charleroi 174, 1060 Sint-Gillis (Brussels)

When? Mondays from 6.30pm till 10pm, Tuesday-Friday from 12pm till 2.30 pm and from 6.30pm till 10pm. Saturdays from 12 till 3pm and from 6.30 till 10.30pm. Sundays from 12.30 till 3pm and from 6.30 till 9.30 pm.

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Tropismes

The description of a hidden gem fits this Brussels book shop perfectly. I didn’t know about this wonderful shop until I purposefully started looking for new book shops to explore in the city (because what else do you do when you’ve seen the rest of them?) It was on my list of places to go – a very long list might I add – until one day a friend and I were close by and I suggested taking a peek. Turns out it was a great decision as the book shop was just as inspiring as I had imagined.

It’s is located in one of the side alley of the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert near the Central station. Every nook and cranny is decorated with gold and shimmer without doing any damage to the classiness of the place. The mirrors high up on the walls give the book shop its grandiose and spacious feeling. Please, go upstairs even if you don’t care about comic books; the view is worth it! Most of the books in the store are in French, but they have a small English classics section that is nice too. Perhaps another reason to brush up on my rusty French? :-)

Where? Galeries des Princes 11, Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, 1000 Brussels

When? Mondays from 11 am till 6.30 pm, Tuesdays till Thursdays from 10 am till 6.30 pm, Fridays from 10 am till 7.30 pm, Saturdays from 10.30 am till 7 pm and Sunday afternoons from 1.30 pm till 6.30 pm.

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Moon food

As I was looking for a vegan place to eat in Brussels, I realised there was only one place that ticked all the boxes: Moon food. This café near the Central Station describes itself as the first vegan café in Brussels and I think that must be true. Truly everything they serve, from breakfast options to lunch and dinner as well as dessert is vegan. What I like most about the place is how the wooden interior with lots of plants; it adds to the plant-based feel of the place. Another plus is that their food is served as a buffet and you can pick and choose whatever you like. Just let the people behind the counter weigh your plate afterwards and pay for exactly what you can eat. Or you can simply take-away your food, which is great.

Where? Koloniënstraat 58, 1000 Brussels (right on the corner), very close to the Warandepark and Bozar

When? Monday through to Friday from 12PM till 8PM

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Brussel – tram 92

Ik kijk naar buiten en zie de wereld aan mij voorbijgaan. Letterlijk. De gebouwen schuiven van links naar rechts. Paleizen, dronkemanshuisjes, bakkerszaken, kleine kruidenierswinkels, gigantische herenhuizen. De stad is van iedereen. Mijn ogen voelen zwaar, en als ik niet oplet knijp ik de gebouwen plat tot spleetjes. Er wordt in mijn arm gepord. Een klein vingertje duwt putjes in mijn arm. Twee kleine grote bruine ogen turen me aan. “Tu sais parler?” Of ik praten kan. Het meisje heeft wat weg van een indiaantje, met haar twee vlechtjes en roze bolle wangetjes. Ze kirt van opwinding. “Tu sais parleeeer?”, vraagt ze opnieuw, deze keer met nadruk, en ze blijft me met nieuwsgierige ogen aankijken. “Oui” is alles dat ik uitkraam. Mijn Frans is niet zo goed. En toch, ja, ik kan praten. Als ik kon zou ik een grapje maken, maar mijn glimlach en éénwoordig antwoord lijken voldoende. De twee vlechtjes zijn tevreden. Ze port haar broertje aan, voor wie het niet zoveel lijkt uit te maken of ik dan wel kan praten of niet. Maar wanneer het meisje met de vlechtjes bevestigend knikt naar de jongen en zegt “Elle sait parler”, glimlacht hij stilletjes en opgelucht. Ik kan praten, en toch kijk ik soms liever de kat uit de boom. Ik observeer, leer mensen kennen voor ze weten wie ik ben. Ik zwijg en luister. En soms word je dan al snel “die stille”, ofzoiets gelabeld. Maar ik kan praten. Ik gebruik mijn woorden zuinig, ik verspil geen zuurstof . Ondertussen raast de tram verder, en duikt hij de grond in. Het wordt donker. Door het raam zie ik nog net een ander metrostel. Het stijgt op. Of zo lijkt het toch, want in de donker zijn de sporen en de lucht nauwelijks te onderscheiden. Alleen het metrostel steekt felgeel af. Even waan ik me in een scene uit Harry Potter. Ik glimlach. Ik kan praten, maar soms doe ik dat gewoon liever op papier.  Mali Fisher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Illustration: Mali Fischer

 

 

 

 

Chouconut

If there’s one thing you should know about me, or perhaps you already do, it’s that I adore discovering places that are perfect for fika, a moment in our busy week where we take time to catch up and talk, have a good coffee and have an even more heavenly bit of sweet cake. I’d say me and my boyfriend do this once a week, and really, it is my favourite thing in the whole world. Obviously, I don’t want to deprive anyone of the cozy and delicious places that I have found myself, hence I set up a blog category called #HOTSPOT.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Chouconut, a place that describes itself as a tea salon and patisserie.  The name pretty much says it all, it’s a bakery that combines chous (soesjes), cookies and donuts. Their sweets are best had shared, because that way you can try different flavours. They are exquisite! And the whipped cream you get on your nose, that’s just something you have to deal with. It’s part of the fun. :-)

Where? Chouconut is only a few steps away from the metro/tram stop ‘Hallepoort/Porte de Hal’ in Sint-Gillis, Brussels, so very easy to get to. There’s a couple of cool shops on that same street too.

When?  Chouconut is open Tuesday-Thursday from 10am to 6.30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 6.30pm. It’s closed Mondays and Fridays.

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Hallerbos

When the weather is nice (read: when it’s not raining), we like to spend most of our time outdoors. Today we spent the morning at the Hallerbos, the Blue Forest. Around this time of year (next week actually), the forest becomes enchanting with the blooming of the blue, purple bluebells covering and colouring the surface. To beat the crowds, we went a little bit “too early” with some of the bluebells still closed. Nevertheless, a ‘would recommend’ forest. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

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