Resigning myself to not visiting Munich for the annual beer festival this year was tough but made that little bit easier by an invite to preview the Oktoberfest menu at Belgo Centraal. It's a curious concept given that Belgo is a Belgian beer house specialising in moules frites but I was willing to keep an open mind and see whether what they had to offer was anything like the real thing.
The dinner was held in the far corner of the Covent Garden restaurant, in a cavernous nook of the main room, very snug if somewhat chilly. The food was served between 2 with a beer to accompany each course. Starters were ginger and parsnip soup, duck terrine and classic moules marinières. All very good and served alongside some dark moist rye bread.
Main courses were beef carbonnade, mushroom bouchée and moules portugaises. The standout dish for me was the mussels, served in a rich paprika and chorizo sauce with basil and new potatoes. The shellfish being the speciality of the house this was no surprise, but I was too full from all the beer to even eat many of them. My fellow diners seemed to feel the same way with much of the final dish remaining unfinished. Perhaps they were just saving room for dessert, again 3 of those to sample.
Of the poached pear, Belgian waffle and Belgian chocolate pudding I preferred the latter, more of a fondant with an oozing centre served with fresh cream, the traditional Belgian dishes were definitely the stars of the evening.
To my disbelief, I am a convert to pleasures of fruit beer, having previously found it sickly and bloating, I was most impressed with the Floris apple beer, served with the poached pear and lemon sorbet, and also the raspberry beer I was served as a welcome.
This menu is available each Wednesday throughout October, 3 courses with 3 specially paired beers for £33. A right bargain but really not a patch on the real thing though this is billed as a celebration of Oktoberfest rather than an attempt to emulate the Bavarian festival. The atmosphere is recreated with long communal dining and tables offering the chance to meet other beer enthusiasts. Quote 'Wednesday Night Pilgrimage' when booking.
I dined as a guest of Belgo Centraal.
50 Earlham St