Discover Benelux, Issue 51, March 2018

Page 24

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

‘The only authentic fish and chips in Belgium’ TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: BIA MARA

An innovative twist on traditional Irish fish and chips is what draws people to Bia Mara, just off the city’s Grand Place and now also in the EU District’s Place de Londres. “It’s typical Irish street food,” explains general manager Gregory Marlier. “We make the only authentic fish and chips in Belgium – crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside - and it is served with local beer or our own homemade lemonade.” Most of the sustainably sourced fish comes from Norwegian and Swedish waters and only

non-breeding adults are caught using nets which gently skim the surface. “Sustainability is really important to us,” says Marlier. “We are also quick and affordable, serving very generous portions in wooden boxes reminiscent of how things used to be done in Ireland. Prices range from 11-13 euros and people are rarely able to finish it all.” Diners can choose from a variety of more than 20 sauces, including the bestseller – Bia Mara’s very own garlic truffle mayonnaise. Or why not try the tempura batter, where fish is dunked directly into the special Japanese mixture?

Do not forget to try the baby squid tempura. These are gently fried in a casserole dish using the tempura method and served with Bia Mara’s tartar sauce. Each month, fish and chip afficionados can keep abreast with new recipes via Bia Mara’s social media channels and can expect to find spices and flavours from across the globe carefully blended to enhance the flavour of traditional Irish fish and chips. Web:

Wall painting by Charles W. Hargrove Jr. Waelhemstraat 38, 1030 Brussels, Belgium.



The best craft beer bottle shop in Brussels There is a small yet thriving craft beer shop in Brussels that visitors should know about. Located near the Gare de Midi in the trendy St Gilles area, Malt Attacks is accessible, yet off the main tourist drag. Antoine Pierson founded his shop in 2014 and it attracts beer lovers from across Belgium and abroad. “I had a passion for craft beer before I decided to give up my day job and go for it,” explains Antoine. “I couldn’t find the beer I really loved and wanted to buy, so I thought I’d do it myself. “Surprisingly there isn’t much competition, although the situation is changing now, so I managed to start up quite easily.” This cosy shop boasts around 450 labels, stocking popular Belgian craft beers as well as a number of international ones. Locals come in droves to seek out Antoine’s latest finds. “I only choose from independent smallmedium breweries,” explains Antoine. “You 24  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

won’t find any industrial brands in my shop, and I stock about 50/50 Belgian and international craft beers.” The local Belgian beers remain the most popular, along with rarer Lambic and IPA varieties. Prices range from 1.50 euros up to 20 euros per bottle and for Antoine quality, price and honesty remain paramount. Home brewing equipment is available too, and if you own a ‘growler’ (a special glass, ceramic or stainless-steel container), Antoine will refill it with your favourite craft beer so you can enjoy it at your leisure.

18 Avenue Jean Volders 1060 Saint-Gilles (Bruxelles) Open Tues - Sat 11am-7pm Tel: +32 (0)2 534 96 88 Web:

Photo: Cédric De Taeye