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Cafe Belge - Moules, Frites and Belgian Beer!
Restaurants in Eastbourne
Member Name: Ric!
Restaurants in Eastbourne
Date: 26/08/02, updated on 26/08/02 (3046 review reads)
Advantages: Moules, Frites, Beer
Disadvantages: Vinyl tablecloths, Paper Napkins, Church chairs
Cafe Belge does as much as it can to recreate a little corner of Belgium. There are images of TinTin adorning the walls, as well as advertisements and icons for the many Belgian beers which are served.
If it's Moules and Frites, with lashings of Belgian beer that you're after, then you're in for a treat. The menu has an entire page devoted to Mussels. You can have them served in just about any way imaginable, with all sorts of different ingredients, there's bound to be something to take your fancy. There's the more traditional creamy, white wine sauces, and the more exotic fruity combinations. Your chips will come served in the traditional Belgian way - with a dollop of mayonnaise on top. When I say a dollop, I mean a huge dollop, probably containing enough fat to account for your daily intake in itself. The mussels also come with fresh crusty bread and butter.
For anyone who doesn't like mussels, there are other options, although probably only 10 or so. These range from spinach and prawn tagliatelle in creamy sauce, to a traditional beef stew with vegetables and mashed potato, or perhaps a duck salad. You'll find something palatable.
Portions are very reasonable, so you probably won't need a starter, but there is a good range, from soup to garlic mushrooms to fried whitebait.
The restaurant itself looks very attractive at night time. It is dimly lit with candles on each table. The floor is modern wooden and the decor is attractive and new. There are several things which let the restaurant down slightly. The old wooden church chairs - the type with the kneeling cushions slotted into the back (many of which are still there) - which really are not the most comfortable things to sit on to enjoy a meal. The wipe clean table cloths. The paper
napkins. It's not just me being snobby! - the standard of the food is excellent and the vinyl table cloths just don't do the restaurant justice!
Onto the beers! There are over 50 different types served! These range from white beers, to golden ales, to fruity beers, to traditional lagers - the list goes on! They have come up with a great marketing plan to sell lots of beer - a belgian beer drinking passport. This is a piece of card with 50 beers on. With each drink you have, you get your passport stamped/signed. You earn prizes along the way. For example, once you have the first 11 beers signed off, you get a free 1/2 draught. At 23 beers you get a Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer. At 26 you earn a free mussel starter. 33 beers signed off gives you a free fruit beer, while 46 beers will result in a free desert. Once you passport is complete, having had all 50 beers, you are entitled to 2 free main courses. Most of the beers cost around £3 - £3.50, but a couple of them cost £10 or more!! You will have spent well over £200 by the time you get your 2 free main courses. Still, it could work out well if you use Cafe Belge as the restaurant that you go out to with friends, and always be the one who remembers your beer passport!
Other prices are quite reasonable - starters being around £4-5, and main courses ranging from £8 to about £12-13.
The toilets are situated downstairs, which is not so good for anyone with poor mobility. However, they are very clean.
Staff are extremely pleasant and helpful, and deserve the 10% tip which is voluntarily added to your bill.
So, for a pleasant meal out, you could do a lot worse than this place. In Eastbourne it's situated @ the Burlington, 11/23 Grand Parade - tel 01323 729967. There is another Cafe Belge in Bexhill-on-Sea at 45 The Marina - tel 01424 731513.