Restobieres: “No beer for you!”

duvelsign.jpgResto­bieres has a nice web­site, which I spent a bit of time look­ing at before we set off for lunch yes­ter­day. The menu looked sim­ple and – most impor­tant­ly – we’d heard that the beer was decent.

The web­site adver­tised some­thing described in Eng­lish as “The Set Beer Menu”, which I tried to order from the French menu. The web­site says it’s four beers: Bink blonde, Witkap Stim­u­lo, Lam­oral deg­mont and “Trap­piste”, for 15 euros.

But my French is appalling, and the own­er – an, er, colour­ful chap called Alain Fayt – remind­ed me some­what of the Soup Nazi from Sein­feld. The whole thing was, there­fore, a bit of a dis­as­ter.

After I’d placed the order, there was some grumpy dia­logue which I didn’t fol­low, and off he went. Some­time lat­er, my first beer arrived. There was a lec­ture in French on its ori­gins, which I just about fol­lowed. But it wasn’t Bink Blonde – it was Watou Wit. Con­fus­ing. But fine – I drank it. It went real­ly well with my pate, both bring­ing out inter­est­ing flavours in the oth­er. So far so good.

A long while lat­er, when I’d near­ly fin­ished my sec­ond course, Alain returned. He col­lect­ed my glass and gave me what you might call “the stink eye”.

He returned with a bot­tle of some­thing else. I say “some­thing else” because he poured me a splash into a glass and walked off, very quick­ly, with the bot­tle. “Hmm,” I said. “That’s inter­est­ing. It’s not one of the beers on the list, and I’ve only got about 100ml of it.” It was very nice, what­ev­er it was.

Things reached a head with the third beer – Caracole’s Nos­tradamus. Not on the menu. He poured me a splash but this time left the bot­tle. Being thirsty at this point, I pro­ced­ed to fin­ish it. Oh dear.

He returned look­ing like I’d insult­ed his fam­i­ly. “You must not drink it all. This is a degus­ta­tion – tast­ing!”

Oh, sor­ry,” I said, Eng­lish­ly. I went red and felt guilty, as if it was entire­ly my fault. He slammed down a splash of anoth­er beer (again, no idea what, but a stout of some sort) and said, slight­ly more warm­ly, “It’s OK.” And that was that. No more beer for me.

So, yes, it’s an inter­est­ing place, with great beer, and decent food, but don’t go here expect­ing to be mol­ly­cod­dled… and read the menu care­ful­ly.

Bai­ley

Apolo­gies for the irrel­e­vant image. I was too scared to use my cam­era in the restau­rant…

7 thoughts on “Restobieres: “No beer for you!””

  1. I’d add by way of a PS;

    Very inter­est­ing selec­tion of beer; about 15 on the menu, which were all from rel­a­tive­ly small brew­eries. Plus a load more in the fridge. Hence not being able to iden­ti­fy the two Bai­ley had. One may have been called some­thing like “Abelard’s”, the oth­er was a stout with a blue label and some kind of gold pat­tern on it (corn? sun­rise? We only had half a sec­ond to look at it). It had stout in the title. If any­one can help us track these down, we’d be very grate­ful as they were great!

    I’d also say that it’s rea­son­able val­ue for mon­ey – 30E each for 3 cours­es and “some” beer still works out bet­ter than a lot of places in Lon­don.

    But I find it hard to rec­on­cile the glow­ing reviews (in Eng­lish), par­tic­u­lar­ly talk­ing about how help­ful and friend­ly the own­er is, with what we expe­ri­enced. We weren’t the only ones either – oth­er peo­ple looked bewil­dered or even appalled.

    I don’t think read­ing the menu care­ful­ly would have made any dif­fer­ence. Who knows where we com­mit­ted our first faux pas?

  2. ha! i knew it 🙂
    you’ll have to read my review of this place over on http://www.onfoodandwine.com – i sim­ply didn’t like the atti­tude of ‘on/ off’, ‘hot/cold’ . he does that whole bring the ‘mys­tery’ bot­tle and gives you shot. some are gueze, oth­ers frankly are very ‘com­mon’ beers for gen­er­al Bel­gian con­sump­tion, he just sells them off as ‘whey hey so inter­est­ing and off the beat­en track’. phlease 🙂
    i’ll try to see if i can iden­ti­fy the beers you tried ‘in secret’. he gave us a tast­ing glass of anoth­er cara­cole, the forestiere. beers no. 152 to 154 were all drank/ pho­tographed in resto­bieres.

  3. I vis­it­ed Resto­bieres last night (20 Novem­ber 2008) with two friends and had a great night. We had start­ed our evening in Het Warm Water for some draft Girardin Kriek which was deli­cious. We were the first din­ers in Resto­bieres and were made to feel most wel­come. I opened in my school­boy French, but Alain spoke to us in Eng­lish. He was enthu­si­as­tic about his food and the beers he had matched to it. He also seemed delight­ed that we had ordered a Geuze.

    Ser­vice was real­ly friend­ly; food was deli­cious and the atmos­phere delight­ful. Per­haps Bai­ley picked the night the owner’s cat had died or some­thing, because last night it was as a good a night out as one could hope for.

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