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Go Wild for Game at Smoods Restaurant, Brussels, Belgium

By alison - November 2, 2012 (Updated: December 4, 2014)

 Brussels waffle with caramelized apple and wild duck whipped cream

Brussels waffle with caramelized apple and wild duck whipped cream part of the new Smoods Go Wild Menu.

Last week we were invited to visit Smoods restaurant in the Hotel Bloom, Brussels, to sample their new seasonal menu featuring wild game. It was an evening of lovely surprises.

“You’re invited to a special Go Wild dinner for the press.” I re-read the email several times looking for the catch. I couldn’t find one. I returned my RSVP before they figured out they invited the wrong person. (Yes, sometimes I still question the influence of CheeseWeb. It’s a strange life.)

Most days I open my inbox to discover a pile of spam and a mountain of emails that require some sort of effort on my part. So when I happen upon an email offering me something, with no strings attached, it’s a very good day indeed.

I had been to the Hotel Bloom’s restaurant, Smoods, quite a few years ago. I remembered loving the fun and funky decor and upbeat vibe, but the food was less memorable. I was more than ready to give it another chance.

I roped a friend into coming along to the event with me (and let’s face it, with my friends, not much roping is required, for a good meal) and we were impressed by what we discovered.

Smoods looked more or less the same, from what I remembered, but it seems many changes have gone on behind the scenes, including a new and welcoming General Manager, a new team in the kitchen and loads of new menu ideas.

The Robin Hood Cocktail at Smoods

The Robin Hood Cocktail at Smoods

After being welcomed by the team, we made our way to the bar. There we were greeted with a “Wild Cocktail”, the Robin Hood, a generous combination of Campari, gin, bitter lemon and Limoncello, topped with an orange twist and a fresh strawberry. It was tall, not overly sweet and packed a punch.

While we sipped, and snacked on wasabi chips, we examined the new menu. With 6 starters, 10 mains and 4 desserts, there was plenty to choose from.

The Go Wild menu is inspired by, you guessed it, wild game. Belgian autumn ingredients like pheasant, wild boar, quail and venison feature prominently. There is, however, another, more subtle source of inspiration – street food. To make the game meats less intimidating, they are paired with well-loved street food favourites like gyros, pizza, waffles and the Belgian favourite, Mitrailettes.

Pizza meets game

Pizza meets game in the Mini Pizza with Foie gras and Mushrooms

With our drinks drained, and decisions made, we headed for our table. We opted to split a starter and, as my companion can’t eat gluten, we chose the Mixed Salad with Candied Quail Leg and Chicken Liver. When it arrived, we were glad we decided to share. The salad was plenty big enough to make a light meal for one.

The greens were fresh and crispy. The dressing was very light and bright. There was a nice smoky flavour coming from thinly sliced grilled sweet potato. The stars of the dish were the perfectly cooked chicken livers, giving the whole dish a nice richness without being heavy.

For the main course, I opted for Venison meatballs filled with pear and blueberry sauce and potato croquettes. In fact, it turned out to be one large meatball on a puree of potato and possibly Jerusalem artichoke, with the croquettes and cubes of pear. The puree was surrounded by the (very lovely) sauce. The dish was excellent with only one slight niggle. As venison is very lean, the meatball was a bit dry (even though it was nice and pink inside). If the sauce had been on the meatball itself, it would have been fine. However, the sauce was soaked up by the puree instead; a minor detail on an overall good dish.

Mitraillette of venison with fries and celeriac

Oh look… it’s a sandwich. Mitraillette of venison with fries and celeriac

We had a bit of a mishap with my companion’s dish, but to be fair, it was because of our own ignorance. She opted for the Mitraillette of venison with fries and celeriac. For those of you familiar with the Mitraillette, you may be wondering why my gluten-free friend opted for a sandwich. Neither of us being be sandwich eaters, we weren’t aware the French word for ‘machinegun’ is a Belgian term for a baguette sandwich. Whoops.

In any event, the venison was nicely cooked and the fries were good (but not as good as Friterie fries).

Moelleux au chocolate

The Moelleux au chocolate looks heavenly…

Both portion sizes, as well as all of the dishes we saw coming out of the open kitchen, were very generous. So much so, we had no room for dessert; a pity, as our neighbours’ Moelleux au chocolate looked divine.

When I returned home to CheeseWeb HQ, Andrew snapped up my copy of the menu. When he spotted the Young boar pita gyros with candied chestnut mayonnaise, I knew I’d be returning. That’s fine with me, as I’m keen to sample the Brussels waffle with caramelized apple and wild duck whipped cream.

Young boar pita gyros with candied chestnut mayonnaise

Andrew is dreaming of the Young boar pita gyros with candied chestnut mayonnaise.
The Smoods Burger - available with traditional beef or venison

The Smoods Burger – available with traditional beef or venison

If you are tempted by the Go Wild menu, it will be featured at Smoods until the end of the game season. If you are a street food fan, 2013 will be your year, as Smoods will host an international street food chef to create new street themed menus.

Have you been to Smoods lately? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

For more great restaurants in Belgium and beyond, check out our Restaurant Review page.

We at CheeseWeb would like to thank the team at Smoods for inviting us to this lovely evening and allowing us, as always, to express our opinions freely. All photos were provided by Smoods and retain their copyright. 

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
Cheese + Goats = My personal heaven. We discover an oasis in the cheese desert. https://t.co/Os8U86UEiX - 1 day ago

5 comments

  1. Comment by Sam and Nic

    Sam and Nic November 3, 2012 at 09:23

    Alison, it’s worth it you gave it another chance. You must have had a blast not only being lucky to be part of the press but also having the chance to get some bites of delightful and mouthwatering food.

  2. Comment by Adrian

    Adrian November 3, 2012 at 14:15

    Alison, I am feeling so envious of you, because right now I am feeling so much hungry and at the same time I am watching these purely delicious delicacies. By the way which one did you like best?

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison November 4, 2012 at 17:40

      I really enjoyed my main dish of meatballs, but I have to say the salad was a close second 🙂

  3. Comment by Craig

    Craig November 7, 2012 at 18:17

    Wow Fois Gras on a pizza? Sign me up! Was the presentation as skillful as the presentation in these pictures? You can tell a lot about a chef in how the food is presented

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison November 7, 2012 at 18:57

      Great question Craig! Of course, food never looks quite as good as in the press photos, I will say that the food we were served looked lovely. The chef obviously took care in making sure everything looked as good as it tasted, even on the busy evening we were there.

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