Sans Valentine at La Britannique

Initially we didn’t have any plans for last night. Then we saw the announcement for this event, and we pounced.

La Britannique has been making waves in the Brussels catering scene recently, and they also hold regular weekend brunches. They’re due to open a shop/café later this year, but for the moment they host a small number of people (they only have room for a few tables) in their kitchen/storage facility. We took the family to their Mexican brunch a few weeks ago (Alison blogged about that here), and were impressed enough that we started following them on twitter so as to be able to beat the rush to book a place at their next soirée.

There were about sixteen of us in total; two couples and two groups of single friends, and it was a typically international Brussels crowd. There was even a Belgian, I think. We chatted to German lobbyists, a lady from Lancashire with an inexplicably American accent, a genuine American, a Swede, an Austrian and a lovely Ecuadorian lady, among others. The German told us that she’d used La Britannique to cater an event and she’d been impressed by the way he’d managed to create a very authentic selection of North German specialities as good as the originals. The American said that the regular American brunches were also a genuine taste of home.

Here’s the menu.

My iPhone photo of the rouget on toast is unuseably out of focus, but it was yummy. This is the peppadew with soft cheese and apple slices.

The “Love & Hate” cocktail. Cava, vodka, strawberry and ginger. VERY moreish.

The only change to the menu was the substitution of this delicious samosa containing feta and candied lemon for the red lentil kofte.

For me this was the best dish of the night. Scallop carpaccio with sliced beetroot, pistachio, ginger and lime.

Unfortunately I wasn’t so impressed with the following course. The description was intriguing, and this wasn’t the first time I’d had seafood with grapefruit and liquorice, but I felt that the sauce was so strong that it completely overpowered the rather delicate flavours of the crab and avocado. Alex certainly likes bold contrasts and original combinations, which is to be applauded, but this one didn’t quite work for me.

Aubergine stacks with pomegranate seeds and mint yoghurt. Very nice, although I’d have used a tiny bit less mint.

Finally, meltingly tender pork. The red had been a recurring theme, as you can see.

By this time it was getting on for 11:30pm and we had to make tracks so as to relieve our babysitter, but Alex kindly gave us our chocolate cake in a box to take home with us. All in all a very enjoyable evening, with good company and some interesting food. Several dishes prompted marriage proposals from guests to the chef. We’ll certainly go back for another brunch and will check out their café when it opens.