It was my man’s birthday yesterday and since there’s not a lot we enjoy doing together more than eating good food and drinking good wine, I booked us a table at a restaurant called The Mess in Etterbeek.

We have this mini book called a Restopass, which entitles us to 30% of the food bill of around 45 really good restaurants in Brussels. We rave about this thing to everyone because it is just so good – you get up to €50 off the bill, the discount counts for the whole table, and you discover some restaurants you may never have visited otherwise. Honestly, restopass should pay us for the amount of excited advertising we do to friends :)

The Mess was one of the restaurants in the book that we hadn’t visited and I was mostly attracted by the fact tht there was a conservatory sitting area which would be perfect for this warm spring weather. We got there at 8pm and had their house aperitif first which (I only half listened and it was in French so excuse my not being super accurate) was something like prosecco with strawberry in it – but not over sweet like strawberry drinks can be. Rasmus loved it so it can’t have been too sweet ;)

We both went with the fish for both starter and maincourse, since the thought of a heavy steak was a bit daunting. I had roasted scallops with pearl barley and artichoke puree which was delicious. I’ve never cooked with barley and am always a bit warey of it but it went so well with the scallops. Rasmus had “Warm carpaccio of lobster and scallops” with a truffle dressing. The smell of truffle was almost overwhelming but the taste was just the right level. (Yes I tried his, and yes I asked before helping myself. I have learned that lesson)

Here are our main courses! See how lovely the wee conservatory was? There were candles all along the wall which reflected in the glass once it got dark outside – really pretty.

Rasmus had the Bluefin tuna, with tomato, bacon and pine nuts. Funny thing about this dish was that in the menu they had put an asterix to the bottom of the page to mention that the tuna came from a renewable source but there was a spelling mistake – “fiend of the sea” instead of friend. Hmm, kinda changes the whole meaning! I had a roast cod filet with lemony courgette spaghetti which was lovely.

We had dessert too but I was a bit too full and tipsy at that point to truly appreciate it :) It was the tarte tatin and it was good. Rasmus ordered the speculoos tiramisu which was really amazing. Maybe I should have just shared that with him, although the speed he ate it, that might not have worked!

It was a really perfect evening – he even liked my present (I bought him clothes – always dangerous!). Happy Birthday baby!

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