Brussels Sprouts, Robertson Quay

Seng Kiat, Terrance and I… to be honest, we don’t meet each other as often as well, at least, I’d like to have met.

You see, all of us walk on different paths now – studying in different schools, living different lifestyles, and naturally, yet another set of friends that we each all see more often initially due to consequence, but have since been based on choice. However, I’m not going to whine, complain and blog about it like I used to; talking about commitment, friendship and blah blah blah all whilst secretly hoping that the words would be impactful enough to subtly change their minds about things. I’m now at a point where I’m not worried – I’m confident about us. Along with Elly, this purpose of this evening was a “farewell” of sorts, to see Seng Kiat before he embarks on his life-changing nearly 2 months trip to Europe with a particular female friend of his. I must confess to be a lil’ jealous, but I haven’t been accorded the proper time nor financial resources to put together such a trip. Now that I’ve certain obligations, I’ve been severely resource restricted and my best bet is a 6-day trip to Tokyo this August.

Set up by Belgian celebrity chef Emmanuel Stroobant, Brussels Sprouts is the definitive place to go for Belgian cuisine, the infamous mussels and a side of Belgian beer. Brussels Sprouts boasts 120 types of beer, so if you were looking for an alcoholic cocktail, this isn’t the place for you. There are two locations, one at Robertson Quay, the other at Big Splash (East Coast Park) but the atmosphere is cosy yet casual, chic yet comfortable. Don’t let the casual setting fool you though – expect to budget about SGD 30 to SGD 70 per person.

First up, I ordered a Rochefort Trappist beer. I first heard of Trappist beers when I featured Little Part 1 Cafe, and it was part of the section’s three most wanted items picked by the owners. Then I went back and researched, and found that Trappist beers are in fact, beers that are brewed by Trappist monks! You may wonder – religion and money – typical money-seeking grubbers right? But no, I don’t wanna go into details but their concept of brewing is very similar to a non-profit organization, philosophy-wise that is. Perhaps I’m too used to the mainstream brands like Tiger, Heineken, Corona, Asahi… but this did not become an instant favorite.

Now for the main course – the Brussel Sprouts Platter (SGD 28).

Maybe I’ve been too spoilt by places such as Fish & Co. and Spaggedies regarding the definition of what a “platter” should be, but nevertheless, this was underwhelming. There was allegedly cheese, Moules Parquees, Beer Battered Onion Rings, Charcuterie, Rollmops on Toast, Slow Braised Pork and Tomato stuffed with Grey Shrimp… and individually, some of the things in here are really pure jewels, but it was presented in such a way where I actually questioned why this costs SGD 28.

On to the main event, the reason why we came here in the first place – MUSSELS!

The mussels were succulent, tender, soft and very bit ocean fresh as it should be. Granted, they were pretty small compared to the mussels which were served as Sol Tasca, a Spanish tapas restaurant under the Esplanade bridge, but they were just as good nonetheless. The bistro offers a comprehensive list of sauces and styles you want your mussels or clams (or snails) to be served in including local versions such as Chili (chili crab style), Nonya and even Laksa. We however, went for something a lil’ more “traditional”. I did find the sauces a tad bland, but truthfully speaking, I wouldn’t have it any other way – because I think seafood should be served in sauces or styles that enhances the original flavor of the meat.

Take for example, Singapore-style chili crab and black pepper crab are okay because they do not take away the taste of the crab meat with their spices. One example of serving crab “wrongly” might be crab bee-hoon, because in this case, the crab acts as a seasoning and provides additional flavor to the vermicelli… and anyways, the dish reeks of vinegar which masks whatever taste the crab already had.

Back to Brussels Sprouts, the first was MERIDIONALE
saffron, tomato, garlic, herb de province, olive oil, butter, onion, parsley

Followed by… MARINIERE
white wine, cream, butter, celery, onion, parsley

To be honest, the differences were very slight… Perhaps I was more focused on the freshness of the mussels themselves.

In conclusion, my viewpoint is slightly biased because I didn’t expect to spend over SGD 60 for so “little”.

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