Cool Bun, home of Brussels’ best burger, just launched a Texas BBQ menu. We review the new home-smoked meat and chat with the restaurant’s owner.
You’ve probably seen us mention our love of a certain Brussels burger restaurant. In fact, we still think Cool Bun makes the best hamburger in Brussels – and believe me, we’ve been diligent in our burger testing.
We’ve never reviewed a restaurant twice on CheeseWeb before. This is not to say we always eat at new places. But once we’ve recommended a place, we figure you get the idea. This time however, Cool Bun’s new menu is so different, and so good, we just have to share it.
When Pierre Manshande, the man responsible for Brussels best burger, told us he was smoking his own meats and creating a Texas BBQ menu, we knew we had to check it out. We made our way to the original St. Gilles location, where we left ourselves in Chef Pierre’s capable hands, and settled in for an evening of smoky goodness.
While we waited, our server produced two glasses of cava, to celebrate Cool Bun’s 5th anniversary – quite an achievement for a burger restaurant in a town where restaurants come and go overnight.
When our first dish arrived, I knew we were in for a good night. I am a sucker for hot wings, as they immediately flash me back to my university days. The hot wings I’ve had in Europe have been disappointing at best, with the exception of one crazy little restaurant that used to exist in Zaventem. Cool Bun’s hot wings were the best I’ve had since HJ’s Ranch House closed. (We shed a tear that day, I assure you.)
Cool Bun’s wings have the perfect combination of spicy heat, sweetness, and tangy, tartness. For me, the only thing that would make them better would be to crank up the heat – if I’m not crying, it’s not hot enough. Cool Bun’s wings will definitely make a typical Belgian cry.
Thinking we would be served a platter to share, we both gasped as two heaping plates of meat arrived at our table next.
I apologise to my vegetarian readers, what you are about to see won’t make you happy. However, Cool Bun does offer a couple of veggie burger options and, this spring, they even added gluten-free buns. (I hope this makes you hate us a little less for the meat sweats we both suffered that evening.)
Heaped over a mountain of coleslaw were three piles of meat. Turning to the first, I dove in. Despite not being a huge pork fan, (unlike my husband who worships the pig), I have a weakness for pulled pork. This was some of the best I’ve had. It was meltingly tender, juicy and full of smoky flavour, set off by the sweet-tangy BBQ sauce.
Then I turned to the ribs. Again, the meat fell off the bone with the slightest touch of my fork. The ribs had all of the juicy, smokiness of the pulled pork, but were much less tangy. The sticky, sweet BBQ sauce complimented the meat perfectly.
The final meat mountain surprised me. Beef can be tough to smoke effectively, as it often goes dry and chewy. This beef was tender, juicy, and bursting with smoky flavour. It actually ended up being Andrew’s favourite, despite his porky tendencies. I’m still trying to choose a winner – unsuccessfully, as they were all so good.
As we were trying to make a dent in our carnivore platters, yet another dish arrived. It was half a smoked chicken. Although it was good, this was the only dish we felt could use some tweaking. The chicken itself was moist and had a great smoky flavour. However, the skin, (which, let’s face it, is the best part of the chicken), was too harsh in its smoky flavour. We know Chef Pierre is still experimenting with his smoker and we’re sure this dish will soon be just as perfect as the others.
Stuffed to well beyond full, our waiter encouraged us to share a dessert. Despite our protests, a cookie and ice-cream sandwich emerged from the kitchen (thankfully after a long pause to digest and enjoy our excellent wine.) Between us, we cleaned the plate. After all, we had to make sure we were adequately reviewing all of the courses, for you dear readers.
Throughout our meal, Cool Bun was packed – on a Monday night. Their reputation as Brussels Best Burger is well deserved and now they can add Brussels best BBQ joint to their list of accolades. If you haven’t been to Cool Bun yet, go. If you’ve been there for their burgers, go again for the BBQ. You’re welcome.
Cool Bun Place Stephanie
Rue Berckmans 34
1060 St. Gilles
Cool Bun Schuman
Rue Stevin 168
Have you been to Cool Bun? Do you love Texas BBQ? Leave your comments below and tell us what you think. For more great restaurants in Belgium and beyond, check out our Restaurant Review page.