A huge pot of steaming mussels scattered with fresh parsley arrives to the table, the incredible scent of white wine and the ocean wafting through the café. I look in gluttony at the juicy, tender mussels piled atop each other in the deep, dark pot, and the generous bowl of crisp, thick fries, appearing meagre in comparison. Upon first glance, I knew I came to the right place in Brussels to taste the famous Moules Frites, and upon first mouthful, that was most certainly confirmed!
Being only in Brussels for 2 nights, I had to make the most of my dining experiences, and up the top of my list was to have delicious mussels. I had read about Arcadi on a few blogs and in a few articles, and in the end I decided that would be the place to try! I walked past it unintentionally, as I exited the picturesque shopping arcade, the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. It was absolutely buzzing! Filled with dedicated local patrons and travellers alike, there was hardly a chair to spare in the cosy space. The kind staff nestled me into one of the small tables left, with the sun shining in though the windows to warm me up on this cold winter’s afternoon. I scanned the menu for a while and eyed my neighbouring patrons’ food, and although hearing many good things about their quiches, I went straight for the Moules Maison avec Frites – the blackboard special.
My food and glass of white wine arrived promptly, and I was given a side of baguette too, which I certainly didn’t need but certainly did end up eating… I was intimidated by the size of my meal, but somehow I managed to finish every last mussel and mop up the delicious white wine broth in the bottom of my pot with the lovely, thick fries – a winning combination. The waiters swiftly discarded of my bowl of mussel shells regularly, also checking up on me to see how I was enjoying my meal. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, taking my time to savour the delicious meal, write postcards to my family and friends, read my novel and just enjoy the atmosphere of the busy arcade corner.
The incredible display of tarts and cakes for dessert was hard to resist, but my family-sized-portion lunch was certainly enough – til next time. I went for a nice long walk around the streets of Brussels, beaming after my perfect Brussels mussels experience that I had so wished for.
If you do find yourself in Brussels, then I do hope you come to Arcadi. Enjoy the beautiful atmosphere of the arcade, and good luck on finding the perfect waffle as I had no luck! (The best waffles I have ever had [and ever will have] are at Barefoot Cafe in Manly back home!) X
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Monday to Sunday from 07:00 to 23:30