It’s October which means one great thing – holding your own beer-based October-fest! With five restaurants in Auckland – Blankenberge, Takapuna; The Occidental, Vulcan Lane; De Fontein, Mission Bay; De Post, Mount Eden; and The Ponsonby on the corner of St Mary’s Road – you might be forgiven for thinking the Belgians have invaded. Take advantage of this and hold your own October-Fest at one of these many fine pubs.
Belgium is responsible for some pretty fine beer – so there are no complaints from me – and all of the five Auckland pubs in the chain have restored and now occupy great historic buildings in the city. Each has the roomy turn-of-the-(last)-century elegance that one expects when in Bruges but don’t see a lot of in Auckland, so it’s a pleasant surprise when you walk in. Most of us have tried Belgian-brewed beer at one time or other but the cuisine is probably less well-known. It would be easy for the chain to adopt something more familiar for their kiwi customers but I’m pleased to say that their menu is made up of mostly traditional Belgian fare which all adds to the experience.
The metre long sausage might surprise a few folks but there are plenty of more familiar dishes, such as fresh mussels with a variety of toppings, lemon pepper calamari and chicken mushroom crepes to choose from. The main courses are the pick of the menu and, on these cold wintery evenings, you can’t go wrong with Flemish stew or Steak Frites – meals designed to help cope with Northern European winters! There are a few subtle differences to the menus at each pub but all the staples are there. If you’re feeling like a hearty meal in a beautiful old building with some of the best Belgian beers on tap than you won’t have to travel far to one of these five restaurants.