(Yes, I know the title is cheesy. No, I don’t want to change it.)
In the centre of Brussels, there is a street called Rue Grétry. It is around the corner from the insanity of Delirium Village and attached at one end to Rue des Bouchers, where waiters lurk outside, yelling at potential customers and trying to lure them in for a set menu. It’s like a mini-but-no-less-aggressive Costa del Sol. I hate to think of visitors thinking that this is all there is to the restaurant scene of Brussels. Saying that, if you have already eaten elsewhere, there is something quite enjoyable about swaggering past, dabbing your mouth with a napkin and rubbing your food baby. These joints extend on to Rue Grétry, but now we have an alternative destination.
Baogo, a Asian burger restaurant that opened less than two weeks ago, is the new beacon on this street. Located on the site of the former Six Nations sports bar, the menu is short but sweet. Homemade steamed bao buns are filled with a selection of delicious fillings and served with a choice of fries (classic/xi’an spicy/sweet potato). There are also a few side dishes and slaws available. The Bia Mara influence is evident, but this can only be considered a positive lead to follow.
My handsome companion and I took a chance on the weather and sat on the terrace (the street is totally pedestrianised). When the food arrived, it was served in large bamboo steamer baskets. I know there’s a whole brigade of #bringbacktheplate campaigners out there, but a) plates are still fairly standard in Brussels, b) the Chinese use steamer baskets for dim sum so =a plate and c) at least it’s not a slate and nothing is going to roll off.
Focus, Sylvia. What was the food like!?
Reader, the food was wonderful and flavoursome. The bao buns were a nice touch, providing a light and fluffy texture to the meal. My handsome companion had the pulled pork bao (slow cooked pork in five spice marinade with Asian slaw, spring onions, pickled cucumber and crushed peanuts), while I devoured the panko salmon bao (crispy salmon with avocado, fennel, dill and cabbage slaw, basil mayo, coriander and chilli) and we “shared” a portion of kimchi slaw. I say “shared”, but the food was so good that it was really a matter of every man, woman and child for themselves. Suffice to say, we cleared our bamboo steamer baskets.
We are already looking forward to trying the beef brisket bao and the prawn katsu bao. Plans are afoot to extend the menu to include rice bowls, which would be great for someone who wanted a lighter meal/lunch option.
In all, the two meals, side dish and two rounds of drinks came to €40, which isn’t too shabby when you consider that we didn’t need to eat much more for the rest of the day. Needless to say, we strolled past the other restaurants on the street with a satisfied swagger.
There you go, folks. A new restaurant for you to try and the first time I’ve tried reviewing a restaurant on the blog.
Baogo, Rue Grétry 48-50. Opening hours: midday to 23h daily