Taste: Belgo Review

The aptly named "Centraal" branch of Belgo's Belgium Restaurant and Bierodrome is less Belgian and more Laserquest. Grey, mesh and metal greet you once inside along with a steely stare-down from the front desk.

Maybe because of it's popularity with tourists, maybe because it's christmas or maybe because the staff are simply too important we're instantly told all the party must be present, we must line up in front of the desk and must await walkie-talkie confirmation from a relay of ushers if we've got any chance of sitting at a table. Forget Laserquest, it's more like a leg of the Crystal Maze.

Drill passed, down a set of stairs covered in black and yellow warning tape through another couple of holding areas and we're inside a bustling, noisy underground canteen. Thanks probably to places like the Dove, this is a couple countries away from the cosy, inviting experience I was expecting. Here is a themed restaurant with an attitiude. Wait staff lumber around pacing between the two main dining ares at each of a vast, angry kitchen. Plates are being produced on-mass by teams of cooks, one laying out steaks, one on sauce and the other with chips. A couple of diners have become enthralled on their way to the bathrooms and stare in bewilderment.

The broadsheet menu, an ugly collection of boxes accentuates the large collection of beers on offer. I went for a Slag Pilsner and a strong, golden Duvel. Both demonstrating the complexities and variation of good beer production. Around the table are a collection of nods in agreement.

Food. Average. Forgettable. The signature dish, a kilo pot of mussels provencale (the other option was mariniere but white wine & beer?) was not sandy, not small but was too bland. The others all chose steak to great satisfaction but when you're paying £20+ a cut it's hard to get them wrong.

It's not a bad place and obviously very popular. It should have been about the beer and the food but instead we received a mouthful of the rest.

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