The Marolles neighborhood boasts many great restaurants and one that attracts the attention with its atypical interior design is L’Ancien Bruxelles. The walls are covered with a large number of tin boxes depicting the Belgian royal family. As for the food, they serve solid Belgian traditional meals and they're especially proud of their moules-frites.
L’Ancien Bruxelles is conveniently situated in the rue des Renards close to Place Jeu de Balles, making it a good spot for lunch after shopping on the Marolles flea market. From the outside, it doesn’t look really special, but have a peek inside. The décor is eclectic, with old images of Brussels and hundreds of cookie tins bearing pictures of the Belgian royal family. I’m curious about the exact number of boxes (and pity the person who has to dust off the place).
On a sunny day, though, it would be nice to sit outside as well. They have an outdoor terrace on the pedestrian rue des Renards, a quirky cobblestone street brimming with lovely shops and good restaurants.
As for the food, expect typical Brussels food, such as vol-au-vent (puff pastry fileld with chicken, mushrooms and meatballs), carbonade flamande (a beef stew with beer), rabbit with plums, shrimp tomatoes… And of course also mussels with fries. The mussels come in different flavors, one of which is the “moules Ancien Bruxelles”, prepared with seven exotic spices. The taste is definitely original, but to be honest, I still prefer the traditional mussels in a white wine sauce. De gustibus et colores… One thing that cannot be argued is that the portions are large and you won’t go home feeling hungry. Prices are very reasonable. For 24 euros you can have a menu including a starter, a main dish and a dessert.
When we visited, the waiter was really attentive and helpful. Feel free to ask for advice if you don't know what to pick, as they make excellent recommendations. Good service is not to be underestimated, and at l’Ancien Bruxelles, it will definitely enhance your dining experience.
Want to discover other dining places in this neighborhood? Check out this article for more nice restaurants in the Marolles area.