Beer, things cooked in beer and shot sticks longer than your table. Beer fans will love this place.
“This is the original Belgo, which opened in April 1992, and is half eccentric interpretation of the European brewery eating hall and half acid-etched steel and plywood beams soaring in and out of a glass roof, and an amoeba-shaped bar.”
The entrance to Belgo Noord is an unassuming doorway with a menu on the wall next to it, leading you straight to a staircase up, along a short walkway above the kitchen and then back down in to the restaurant itself. You’re greeted by a member of staff dressed as a Trappist monk and a large room with concrete walls and no windows, which sounds oppressive but is actually pretty cool.
There’s a new addition on the table, the Beer Bible, which contains photos and descriptions of every beer on the large Belgian beer menu. The selection is impressive and covers everything from Trappist beers like Rochefort 10 (£6.05), which is 11.3%, “reddish brown in colour and sweet with notes of bitter chocolate and an aroma of raisins, cherry and figs – an ideal dessert beer” to fruit beers, such as Boon Kriek Cherry (£6.50) at 4.5%, “sweet, sour and dry cherry lambic beer from this highly respected Belgian artisan brewery”. They’re not cheap but they are definitely worth it and it’s quite easy to pass quite a lot of the time sipping your way through the menu – we were in there for three hours! Check out the beer selector on their website for more info.
Once you’ve finally decided which beer to try you then need to choose what it’s going to wash down. Belgo is famous for it’s moules and there are a lot of versions to choose from. Kilo pots, platters or bowls. Marinière, Thai, deep fried in Japanese breadcrumbs, in a rich lobster, Champagne and cream bisque and so on. They also have five types of rotisserie chicken (£10.95), basted in Belgo’s secret spices, which Zoe and I both went for. Zoe had her’s with roast tomato, chorizo & herbs and I had the sticky chilli & ginger version.
James had a big fancy lunch so, out of character, he opted for a salad of Confit Duck, soft boiled egg, smoked lardons and black pudding with giant croutons and Mark ordered the Pork Belly with Belgo apple sauce, buttered spinach and stoemp mash. Antonia turned up late and ordered the smaller version of James’s salad, some frites and Gruyère croquettes, served with Belgo beer relish.
As well as a couple of beers we splashed out a Schnapps shot stick, which you can see hanging behind the bar in various sizes from a 4 shot stick to one capable of holding 32, working out to about £2 a shot. We ordered the 24 shot stick, which was too long for our table! The sticks come with a range of flavours, apple, peach, cranberry, cherry and something orange that was disgusting!
The food was pretty decent, I was happy with my chicken but Zoe thought her’s was lacking chorizo. Mark’s pork was a little dry but James thought his salad was delicious and after trying some, I had to agree. The Gruyère croquettes were pretty good as well, three large chunks of deep fried cheese with a tasty relish although I thought they could have been cheesier.
I like this place quite a lot, mainly because I love Belgian beer and the only place I’ve been to in London that rivals Belgo’s menu is Lowlander but also because the menu and service are good, you have enough space to relax and they don’t rush you out. It’s also just across the road from the Camden Roundhouse so it’s a great place to go before or after a gig.
|Chilli & Ginger Chicken||£10.95|
|Tomato & Chorizo Chicken||£10.95|
|Confit Duck Salad (L)||£9.95|
|Confit Duck Salad (S)||£6.50|
|Rochefort 10 x 2||£6.05 each|
|Delerium Tremens x 3||£5.50 each|
|Straffe Hendrick x 2||£5.00 each|
|Belgo Pils (1/2)||£2.10|
|Schnapps (24 Stick)||£46.95|