Believe it or not (I didn’t when I first heard about it!) – there’s now a Belgian restaurant in Yaroslavl, called Брюгге (Bruges). I heard it was based on three principles: beer (obviously), mussels and waffles. Of course, we had to go and explore …
Our first impression was quite good. Although it’s just opened its doors very recently, the place seems to be very hip. Most of the customers were very young and trendy (we felt a bit out of place, haha) and it was very crowded.
The restaurant has a very nice interior (and outside patio, too), decorated with Belgian beer plaques and bottles, and some items probably bought on a flea market such as the tin box you can see in the picture below. And very loud music, which we didn’t really care for (especially because it wasn’t even Belgian! A missed opportunity …)
There was a TV screen on which they showed different documentaries on beer, but as far as we could see no Belgian ones. Another missed opportunity! It would have been very nice to show a little film about Belgium, e.g. one like this.
So far so good. But then we received the menu (which was only available in Russian, not really a big surprise for us anymore, but still a missed opportunity given it’s a Belgian restaurant – maybe I should offer my translation services 🙂 ) and we were quite entertained.
There were indeed a lot of beers (not all of which were Belgian, by the way) and there were mussels (in portions of 1kg or 0.5kg, served in a cute little mussel pots) and waffles. The strange thing about the waffles, however, was that there were two kinds: appetizer waffles, made of potatoes (!) and sweet waffles for dessert. Although it was described as a typical Belgian specialty, we had never heard of the first kind! So we had to try them. They came in two varieties: with cheese or with paté. Although their presentation wasn’t very appealing, they were actually quite delicious! Maybe we should introduce them in Belgium as well … 😉
As main dishes, we ordered mussels (Mediterranean-style) and fries (for Wim) and fries and pepper stuffed with cheese (for me; needless to say there weren’t many vegetarian options). The latter was a bit disappointing, as I was expecting to get a side dish of vegetables, but it was actually only one small pepper stuffed with the same cheese as the waffle came with served on a piece of bread. It tasted pretty good, though. The fries were also good (very thin and crusty, just like I like them, and well-seasoned) but definitely not Belgian fries. One of their biggest missed opportunities!
As the portions were not Belgian but Russian-sized, too, we still had room for dessert. So we ordered the two varieties of sweet waffles: one with vanilla and one with caramel sauce. Not really Belgian either, by the way. We would have expected waffles with powdered sugar, or strawberries (although ours did have some small pieces of strawberry on them) or … – the biggest missed opportunity of all in my opinion! – with chocolate sauce!! Can’t believe they didn’t have that on the menu. But ours were pretty good too.
So all in all it was a very good experience for a Russian restaurant – especially the quality of the food and the nice interior – but a bit disappointing if you expect typically Belgian food. Fortunately we didn’t, because we had already heard that the owners weren’t Belgians but Russians who had just happened to have been to Belgium and liked the food. We’ll definitely be going again!