New mussels eatery makes waves on city's culinary scene

It is the new "kid on the block" – the newest restaurant in Brussels and it is already packing ‘em in.

Mussel Mongers opened less than a month ago but it’s proved so popular that it’s sometimes, particularly at weekends, hard to get a table.

Yes, it’s wonderfully situated, on the city’s old fish market which is currently adorned with Brussels’ lovely Christmas Market of course.

The area is regularly heaving with people, locals and tourists, and that has helped give the restaurant the best possible start.

But the big influx of customers also has something to do with the very nice food on offer which, as the name suggests, is very much mussels dominated.

There are, in fact, no less than 99 different variations of mussels dishes available here (see the website for fuller details) so anyone who likes this small shellfish will most certainly be in their element here.

Mussels also feature on the starters list  with, for example, deep fried mussels and gratinated mussels. Another good entree recommendation are the deep fried scampi “Panko-style” and, for the Belgian traditionalists, the shrimp croquette.

On the main card you’ll find what has to be this city’s biggest selection and combination of mussels! You can have them with seafood, cheese,beer and meat and they can be served spicy or with “world flavours.” You will be in your element here if you like mussels so it's best to visit and check out the selection for yourself.

It really is an amazing choice but good to know that there’s also some very good other dishes to choose from on the mains card,including  rabbit leg cooked in Kriek beer,  chicken waterzooi (another classic Belgian dish), fish and chips (note: made with salmon) and pork knuckle with honey mustard sauce (this is a particularly satisfying winter dish).

Look out too for the “Mussel Mongers Signature salad” consisting of, among other things, deep fried scampi and calamari.

There is also a €23 daily menu – particularly well priced – which offers a choice of three dishes (mussels, of course, carbonnade or fish and chips), and a desert. 

The kids are well catered for as well as mussels fans out there, with a special menu that will appeal to the young ones.

But you don’t have to have a full blown meal - if you prefer something lighter Mussel Mongers also catersfor that too. There’s a nice list of snacks like saucisson and fromage, assiette croquette mixte and nachos along with some tasty deserts.

This place, therefore, also makes for a nice destination if you just want a beer and a typical Belgian light meal.

It is also worth noting there is a fantastic range of beers and wines, any one of which will make for a great accompaniment to your meal.

There’s ciders, cava, a good house wine and a hugely impressive choice of Belgian beers including what are described as “seasonal” beers.

Little wonder, then, that this latest addition to the city’s culinary scene proudly promotes itself as the place for "mussels, beer and Belgian specialities."

The atmosphere is relaxed and informal which is in keeping with the ambience outside with the current festive goings on.

A word also for the hard working staff who are kept very busy by the high turnover of customers coming through the doors. The decor is light and airy and, like the staff, puts you at ease as soon as you walk through the door.

The two go-ahead owners also run another successful restaurant nearby and, after totally refurbishing this place, they can be rightly proud of the results of their efforts.

You may not know it but the figure 99 is deemed a bad omen in cricket – batsmen hate to be stuck on 99 – but the owners here are hoping their “99 varieties of mussels” will prove the secret of another success story for them.

With too many new restaurants here failing soon after they launch, it is always good to welcome a newcomer to the restaurant scene and this one is a particularly welcome addition.

If you love mussels you will love it!

Mussel Mongers

Quai aux Briques 8 Brussels

www.musselmongers.com

info@musselmongers.com

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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