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Belgo Centraal: Covent Garden-Belgian food
Last visit January 2008
I've eaten at Belgo several times, on my most recent visit it wasn't very crowded at lunch on a Monday. The restaurant is located in a rather funky basement, seating is at long communal tables and the noise level is loud when it's busy. If it hadn't been listed in virtually every guidebook I might have thought twice but I'm glad we stayed. The wait staff is all dressed in outfits to make them look like trappist monks, a little kitschy but I guess there are worse things you could have to wear to work.
There are several meal deals-lunch specials for L6.50 between 12 and 5:30 and Beat the Clock specials where you pay the price on the clock in the early evening hours. On my 1st visit it was dinner time and unfortunately we had to pay dinner prices and the meal ended up costing around L30 for two with one drink and dinner.
Service is always quick and friendly so I didn't mind the 12.5% gratuity that is automatically added to the bill here
Favorite Dish: Belgo features Belgian food and one of my favorites is Moules Frites. On my 1st visit I had a huge bowl of mussels Classique (cream sauce) and fries-delicious! On my 2nd visit I tried the mussels naturelle (cooked in white wine with onion and celery), I wasn't as thrilled with this selection but they didn't offer the Classique on the lunch special menu. The frites that came with both mayo and ketchup were delicious though.
There's an extensive list of Belgian beers, some of them fruit flavored, some brewed by trappist monks, ales, pilsners. You can see the whole list on the attached website.
Belgo Central, Covent Garden: Popular, and rightly so.
I am a tip group editor for London here on VT and it is one of my happy tasks to go over the restaurant tips here and I have found many excellent places for my own dining whilst doing this. One of the more reviewed restaurants is Belgo Central which is conventiently situated in Covent Garden in the heart of the West End. In truth, Belgo is actually a chain with other branches in Camden, Bromley, Kingsway and Clapham but don't let that put you off, it does not feel like a chain place. I cannot believe I had never actually visited here until November 2012 but, well, there are so many places to eat in london.
My usual dining companion had expressed a desire for something not too heavy and I suggested Belgo as we were in the area. This seemed to fit the bill, so off we went. From other reviews I had a fair idea what to expect and it was fairly much as I had anticipated only much better. We arrived fairly late so the place was not overly crowded with the pre-theatre crowd long gone and we were swiftly seated by a friendly server and asked would we like a drink whilst we perused the menu. Well, as the restaurant name implies, this is a Belgian themed venue and for me that meant only one choice, a Kreik beer. A friend from the Low Countries has told me that this particular type of beer (effectively flavoured with cherries) is considered a female drink in it's place of origin but I really don't care - I love the stuff. My companion opted for a Leffe, another fine Belgian brew.
To the menu then. Whilst there are other items available incuding a couple of interesting stews. lamb shank, duck breast and various variations on rotisserie chicken, for me there is only one option in a Belgian restaurant and that is mussles (moules) which form the backbone of the menu. Apart from the more traditional styles you can have Provencale, Thai or even curried! I opted for the traditonal with white wine, celery, garlic and onion. I believe I am correct in saying these are known as moules marinieres. My companion, who has unerring taste in all matters food, had decided that the baked Pont l'Eveque cheese served with crudites, asparagus and a few other things would be the order of the day for us to share. I know now that the Belgian name for a sharing plate (effectively a board) is Houtenplank which I think is a lovely word.
Whilst waiting for the meal to arrive, I had a chance to look round the place. It is designed on the beerhall principle and is certainly no-frills but it is pleasant and clean. You can amuse yourself watching the chefs in the open kitchen, which is always a good sign in my book.
The starter arrived and it was delicious, the cheese melting invitingly and balanced beautifully by the crisp veg and croutons. I would never have thought of asparagus with baked cheese but that was a revelation, simply beautiful.
Having polished off the starter in rapid order, we waited for the mains and they also did not disappoint. I know moules marinieres are not exactly the most difficult thing to make as I can even do it myself and I am no Michelin chef but these were particularly good. I suppose the quality of the ingredients may have something to do with it. The mussels were succulent and the cooking liquor nicely balanced. Accompanied by the frites (chips) which were piping hot, dry and crisp it took me back to the last time I was in Belgium, regrettably too long ago. Apart from the discarded shells, not a thing was left on the plate / in the bowl.
Another round of drinks, some good conversation and we were heading unknowing towards closing time although we were not hassled in any way to get out quickly. we paid the bill which, fankly was not high for good food in this part of London, and went on our way. If you want to make things even less expensive by taking advantage of a couple of good deals available at time of writing. Check the website for details. Currently there is an express lunch for £7:95 and a beat the clock deal for early evening. This is an interesting idea presumably designed to attract an early evening crowd. Basically this runs from 5 and 6:30 (1700 - 1830) and you order a main from a selection of five, including the moules and frites I had. you then pay the price on your food order so, for example, if you order at 5:26 p.m. you pay £5:26 for the meal. I shall certainly take advantage of that as I cannot think of anywhere else in central London you could get this.
I really don't know what took me so long to actually get here but I can assure you it will not be anywhere near as long until I am back again. I thoroughly recommend it.
Favorite Dish: The baked cheese starter was a worthy contender but the moules and frites as described has to be my favourite. simply delightful.
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Belgo Central: An okay meal
I'm pretty easy to please food wise as I'm not a particularly choosy eater and will try most foods. With that said, I will say that Belgo really disappointed me...the meal was just okay!!
I was walking around Covent Garden and had read a bit about this place and since I love, love my LEFFE BLONDE, I wanted to stop in, have a bite to eat and indulge in my favorite beer.
The restaurant is huge and was quite crowded around 2:00 pm for lunch. As you enter the restaurant you are greeted by a hostess who then calls another hostess who takes you down to the dinning area. As you enter the dinning area you have plain view of the kitchen which was full of chefs buzzing around preparing meals. I was seated in a small table and my waiter promptly came to give me a menu. The waiters are dressed as monks which was quite funny, since most of them where young.
I looked at the menu and decided to order a "special" Steak & Frites with a bottle of Leffe Blonde. I ordered my steak medium.
Favorite Dish: The Steak Frites was just okay..The steak was prepared with a peppercorn sauce which happened to be quite good, but the steak was tough and too chewy. The fries were good and of course so was the beer.
There is a large selection of dishes to choose from. I did notice that the majority of the diners where having mussels which would probably have been a better choice, maybe this place is best to order the mussels.
Belgo: Belgian Restaurant
Belgo's Central in Covent Garden is one of my favourite restaurants in town and also a lot of other peoples too as you can guarantee it will always be full and lively. And for for sometimes the service can suffer but the wait is worth it as the food here is lovely, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. The most popular dishes in Belgo's are the mussels (moules) but the steak is melt in your mouth! Not a place for a peaceful night out, the long tables and benches mean you may be crammed in next to someone but it's a must.
The other thing the Belgians do really well is their beer and there is plenty of it to choose from, including flavoured beer, Fruili is my favourite (stawberry beer). The is also a bar on Kingsway (near Holborn Tube station) called Bierodrome.
I recommend booking in advance too as it is very busy and you may have to wait in the bar above for a table, but then again it gives you time for sampling the beer :)
Favorite Dish: Moules Espagnoles
Belgo Centraal: Mussel and Belgian Beer
It's a Belgian theme restaurant with wait-staff dressed in monk's uniform.
They have lunch specials, which come with a drink, and early evening "beat the clock" special, which you pay the price of the time you order. For example, if you order at 6:25pm, you'll pay GBP6,25.
Favorite Dish: My favorite is a pot of mussel in traditional soup with dark Chimey beer, but they also serve fish & chips, sausage & mash, etc.
Also, try Belgian beer samplers!
Belgo Centraal: The beer menu is longer than the actual menu!!
If you like Mussels, frites, and most def good beer- this is a Great place to go!
There are actually 2 parts to this restaurant. What I would call the "canteen" side and the restaurant side. The "canteen" side is made up of large tables with benches where you end up sitting next to another party also having their meal. The waiters wear monk-like 'habits' and you feel like you are in a large brick cellar-which only adds to the amvbience of this place. This is great if you are a lone traveler--you can't feel like you are eating alone when you are at a table with 2 other parties eating too--plus sometimes you can strike up great conversation with those sitting around you!
If you make a reservation or there isn't enough room on the "canteen" side, you sit at indvidual tables. (though i think the "canteen" side is better--but if you have a larger party or will be coming on a friday or weekend for dinner and you don't want to wait--I'd advize making a reservation)
There is a "beat the clock" menu--this a special deal in which the time you order is the amount you pay. It's a great deal--you get a beer and a choice from I believe 5 entrees.
Also 2 kids eat free off a mini-menu when an adult orders an entree off the main menu.
Belgo Centraal: Belgo - A small slice of Belgium in Central London
Have you got a hankering for some great Belgian cuisine and some of that tasty Belgian beer? Well then, Belgo is the place for you. I've eaten there a few times now and always enjoyed the experience.
Hidden just off the main drag in Covent Garden, Belgo serves up traditional Belgian cuisine below street level. You can dine in the relaxed 'beer hall' section on the communal tables, or the more intimate restaurant.
It can get a bit noisy in the 'beer hall', so chose the restaurant section if you want a romantic meal. Either way you will be served by the friendly staff dressed in traditional monks habbits.
Favorite Dish: The house speciality is the moules & frites (mussels & chips), best served in a large pot, accompanied by a lip-smacking Belgian beer. The beer menu is extensive, and you can sample everything from a white beer to a pilsner, or for the more adventurous, how about one of their fruit or chocolate beers!
Belgo always has some great value lunch specials where you can choose from a few menu items, such as moules & frites or Roast Chicken, and a beer/wine/soft drink for under £6.
Belgo Centraal: Don't eat here if you're not hungry
Belgian food. Moules, frites, grilled chicken, sausages, and lots of beers. I like the beat the clock limited menu, where you pay the amount of the time you order (6pm = £6). The other menu is more expensive.
Favorite Dish: Sasages and stoemp. (mashed potato with vegetables in) The ultimate comfort food.
- Beer Tasting
- Budget Travel
Belgo Centraal: Belgian at its Best
Belgo's atmosphere, complete with waiters in monk's habits and seating at long plank tables, makes for an enjoyable evening. The food is mouth-watering, even if the prices will make your wallet cringe.
Favorite Dish: The mussels are huge and delicious. So are the desserts! And do try any of their Belgian beers, of course.
Belgo Centraal: Mmmmm . . . Beeeeer!
There are actually two Belgos in London--Centraal, at Covent Garden, and Noord, at Chalk Farm. There is a Belgian monastery theme, with the waitstaff in monks' robes. Centraal has a slightly mysterious, spy-like feel as you enter through an empty upper level and are taken via industrial elevator into the basement dining room. The food is deliciously European/Belgian and the beers are many and magnificent. The menu even suggests which beer to have with which dishes (inculding dessert). I'm guessing on the prices!
Favorite Dish: I can't even remember what I had--it was seafood and it was good. If you like mussels, they serve them by the bucketful and every table seemed to be enjoying them. Don't miss the beer! Take the Tube so you sample to your heart's (and liver's) content.
- Beer Tasting
Belgo: Mussels and Other Belgian Specialities
The restaurant is cavernous. You enter on street level and then go down a flight of stairs to the dining hall. Service is quick and their selection of beers is amazing!
Favorite Dish: They currently have a "Beat the Clock" promotion. You pay what the clock says when your order is turned in, from 5:00 to 6:30 M-F. A very good deal!!
Belgo Centraal: A touch of Belgium in London
This is a chain of Belgian restaurants with several locations in London, the original and best known being in Covent Garden, Belgo Centraal. This is in a basement; a noisy place, full of bustle, with wait staff dressed in monks’ habits (a nod to the monastic origins of many Belgian beers) and lots of large parties in the main hall which has a beer cellar vibe. The restaurant is a little more peaceful, and better-suited to smaller groups, but don’t believe the website which describes it as “intimate” – this is not the place to bring a date! The food though is excellent, with moules being the favourite, though by no means the only, choice. These come in a variety of flavours, including the very un-Belgian but delicious Thai. Wash your meal down with one (or more likely several!) of the many beers on offer (I counted 70 on the menu). For non-beer drinkers there is wine available by the glass or bottle, but this really is a beer-lover’s destination.
The other branch that I’ve visited is the Bierodrome Kingsway, an altogether more relaxed and quieter venue, with a welcoming bar in the front part of the building and a small restaurant area behind. There are slightly fewer beers on offer, but still more than enough to see you through an evening’s drinking, and the menu is the same as at Belgo Centraal.
Favorite Dish: On a recent visit to Belgo Centraal I shared a platter of charcuterie and tasty rye bread with a friend, and followed this with the pan-fried fillet of cod with spinach mash and raspberry beer, port and shallot sauce. The fish was beautifully cooked and the sauce delicious, but the potato let down by being not quite hot enough. I also had a side of red cabbage braised with raspberry beer, which was really good! With a couple of different beers, coffee after the meal and service, I paid about £30 – not bad for central London.
Belgo Centraal: Belgo Centraal
Belgo, a small chain offering Belgian beers and Belgian/French food has been very successful in London since opening a few years ago.
At Belgo Centraal in Covent Garden there is just a reception area at street level. After telling the receptionist how many in your party, take the stairs to the basement level and walk past the kitchen to get to the eating area. It is normally quite busy and if you are on your own or there are just 2 of you it may be necessary to share a table with strangers. Unfortunately, there is not a non-smoking section in the restaurant.
There is a large selection of Belgian beers but not such a big selection of food. The mussels seem very popular. Between 5:30pm and 7pm there is a 'Beat the Clock' menu. This is quite limited - about 4 choices of dishes that come with fresh bread and a choice of a glass of beer, house wine or mineral water. The price you pay is the same as when you order - so anything from £5.30 to £7, which is quite good value.
- Beer Tasting
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
Belgo can be a fun night out but it has been a victim of its own success - you have to wait for ages to get a table and the service is sloppy. The quality can also be a bit hit-or-miss.
Not a good destination for a romantic date - more for boozing with your mates (the beers are particularly good).
Belgo Centraal: Belgian food in London
Other place where I was actually charged for a meal (but I did not complain since food was yummy) was Belgian restaurant 'Belgo Centraal' where I had a combo of four different types of sausages, but they all had one common ingredient - beer!!! Delicious. They also have around 50 types of belgian beers, I tried one that had around 10% alcohol and was very good.
Dining room - Not much of an atmosphere. Place to eat and go.
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