de België: a cosy Belgian cuisine in Soho
As Asia’s World City, Hong Kong’s has its share of ardent beer drinkers looking for specialty beers or micro-brewery. In the case of Belgian beers, there is no better place than de België with its vast selection of Belgian beers and ales.
The story began with a group of friends who tried to look for Belgian palates in Hong Kong after their fun trip in Europe but ended up in disappointment. The sour experience served as impetus to form a pledge to open a Belgian bar restaurant showcasing their love of Belgian beers. We think the pledge is more like an obsession: de België now offers more than 160 Belgian beers.
Once we landed ourselves on Elgin Street, the alluring red-brick facade at the end of the road easily caught our attention. The restaurant includes a cozy dining area and a separate pool room with soft lights and dark red-bricks, giving the feel of a European pub. We quickly laid our eyes at the built-in wooden shelves showcasing countless numbers of Belgian beers. All these minor details convey the owners’ devotion to make de België a real Belgian homey experience.
For the not-frequent-beer-drinker (like I do) or a Belgian-beer-beginner, de België kindly provides a crash course Draught Beer Platter ($188/6 glasses). It is delicately sequenced from light to more full-bodied texture.
You can simply pick among the 160+ beers but, in case you run into selection anxiety, de België staffs are friendly to help picking the kinds that cater your preferences. The beers are served along with their proper signature glasses. We got some Belgium beer recommendations from Marcus Tsui, the owner of de Belgie, if they are your preferred choices as well:
If you are looking for Belgium’s iconic beer, Jupiler ($78) must top the list. It is the biggest selling beer in Belgium and as such, its national beer. Many Belgium-locals ask for Jupiler to fight homesickness.
Kasteel Rouge 8 ($78) might be the ladies’ glass of beer. Its unique dark red colour is a result of mixing Kasteel Donker (brown) with sour cherries and left to mature for at least 6 months. The mix of these two excellent products creates an exceptional smooth with excellent scent of sweet cherries.
For something truly amazing, Trappistres Rochefort 10 ($88) is the one. This Trappist beer receives full marks for years on BeerAdvocate and RateBeer, the two most popular beer rating sites. The aroma is undeniably exceptional, thanks to an astonishing mix of dark fruits, caramels and a tiny touch of coriander. The taste was incredibly smooth and full-bodied and left you with a memorable aftertaste. You just wish the bottle would never finish.
I also learned that beers can be aged. Entitled ‘premier cru classé’, Kasteel Cuvée du Chateau ($88) is a Kasteel Donker that has been aged for ten years at their underground cellars. It pours a dark brown liquor with sweet aroma and smooth bitter taste with dark fruits and malty goodness.
When it comes to the dishes, a variety of tapas are available for the munching. The names sound typical but each came with twists and surprises. We are mostly impressed with the Fish and Chips ($78) where fish fillet were breaded and fried with actual potato chips. Crab “Montadito” ($98 per 3 pcs) and Croquettes (bacon $48/shrimp $58/blue cheese $58) were excellent to pair beers and drinks.
If you prefer to go for a full throttle meal, Fresh Live Blue Mussels ($198/300g) is one of the signature dishes of de België’s, where Belgian ale plays a part in the cooking to retain its freshness and juicy soft. Its sizable portion is sufficient for a small group to chill and have a good time. Stew Beer Beef ($158) is another mouthwatering delight; the New Zealand beef is cooked slowly for six hours in a lusciously rich and heavy stew added with Brune Leffe. The result is a savoury experience of deliciously tender, juicy bites.
For a nice finish, our sweet indulgences were satisfied with the Dessert Platter ($108) which offers petite versions of cheese cake, chocolate mousse, creme brulee, and Belgian waffles. Whether you like to hit a pub for game watching, , snooker playing or just for a chill or chit chat, de België is a place that has it all with a range of fully-loaded Belgian beer flavours that you simply can’t resist to stop by.
G/F, SOHO Central, 21 Elgin Street, Central
+852 2869 8388