OK so strictly speaking Bruges isn’t in York. I did, however, eat with a fork. So on that phenomenally tenuous note I’m going to tell you about food in Bruges. OK so it doesn’t necessarily fit the remit I’ve set myself but a) a couple of people asked for advice and b) in fairness, it’s my blog. And I’ll write if I want to.
Anyone who’s seen the film In Bruges has wondered if Bruges really is as lovely as it seems on screen (also probably hoped it’s less violent) so coupled with cheap and easy transport on Eurostar it’s tricky to resist – especially with York only being 2 hours from St Pancras. If you’re of a foodie persuasion and want to avoid the super expensive champagne bar at St Pancras you can always seek out a lovely breakfast, Tapas or Churros around the Corner in Camino. The Parcel Yard at the beautiful new Kings Cross is a more traditionally British alternative that serves decent food a decent range of beer.
Pausing on the train to digest your provisions, and take on more complementary food & wine depending on your ticket, you have a suitable period to plan your movements in Bruges. A few hours later you find yourself facing a large featureless square as you seek your accommodation at the end of a pleasant walk.
Making food our primary consideration, the first evening was spent in a pleasant bar (and it must be said one of the few open places to eat that evening) with a lovely Flemish beef stew on offer. I’d love to tell you where, but I can’t remember. I’ll not bother boring you with the details of our tourism so onto Bruges eateries.
Clearly you’ll need a tour of the Half Moon Brewery to take in the views of the town and sample some Zot, though go easy on the Straffe Hendrick (Strong Henry) Trippel at 10%+. A few steep staircases make it tricky if you’re of limited mobility but if you’re up for climbing ladders you’ll see some lovely views, overlooking the Begijnhof in particular.
Continuing with food and drink themed tourist attractions, the Frites Museum is far more interesting than it has any right to be, concluding with a portion of finest Belgium Frites garnished with ample mayonnaise of course.
Pick up some chocolate from one of the numerous shops selling gynaecological chocolate shapes and fortify yourself for another meal then you can head to Cambrinus. A clear highlight of the trip, Cambrinus offered a wonderful selection of local beer and beautiful food. Steak Tartare on holiday is something of a tradition and this was no disappointment, perfectly seasoned and with a beautiful texture I can’t shout loudly enough for it.
For more upmarket/poncey eating we headed to Den Gouden Harynck. It’s rather telling that despite this place’s Michelin starred status we were able to stroll in with no reservation – no reflection on the establishment, rather the abundance of great food in the vicinity. While the food was wonderful and well matched – Poached oysters, Iberico pork with aubergine puree and mixed mushrooms, a selection of lovely chocolate textures and a course of cheese – the whole experience fell victim to what felt like further Michelin aspirations. The food was faultless and fairly priced but I can’t countenance a repeat visit to a restaurant where one feels sneered at for not wearing a tie.
Aside from all this we had Kwak delivered to the table in its wonderfully distinctive glass (no we didnt have to leave a shoe collateral) in the lovely Craenenburg on the main square and found a cafe that answered our request for a few bits of cheese with an intimidatingly large selection. Sadly this wasn’t enough ballast to prevent 50% of the party members needing a siesta.
As a tourist you must take a boat trip, climb the bell tower, pop into the church of the holy blood and drink small amounts of strong beers in friendly bars. I spent some time before writing this looking for quotes from the film to drop in, sadly they’re all extremely rude so in closing….you’ll love it. Utterly beautiful and amazing in how unspoiled the centre is, it’s a lovely place to visit that I can’t wait to find an excuse to return to.