Sunday, 19 February 2012

Lazer Quest: Oh no... wait a minute

OK Belgo apparently.

The faux-industrial pipes and grating were cold and calculated. We were all crushed together, waiting for the siren. The tension was almost physical ... when would it be our turn? Where would we be taken? Out came a lady dressed all in black, looking surly.

"Garrett Party"

We followed her into the lift. She closed the bronze grills with a reverberating slam and the lift jerked into a descent. After what felt like an eternity we shuddered to a halt and she wrenched open the gate. It was at this point that I remembered this wasn't Lazer Quest. This was a Belgian restaurant chain called Belgo. I wasn't six, laughing at how the neon lights showed up the geeky kid's dandruff and made our teeth glow. I was 24, and I was about to order moules frites in a champagne and lobster bisque.

In many ways, that was a disappointment to me. The food was nice, although I didn't taste a lot of champagne, lobster or bisque in it. The beers were excellent, and made me wish I had been a Trappist monk (minus the celibacy and the fact that you to dress like a nun). In fact, I think the only reason to visit Belgium in the beer. Although I have to say that whatever I seem to try, however adventurous I am, I always return to a Chimay.

So the decor is bizarre, hence my fantasies, the costumes frankly ludicrous, the food unintelligible for any other moules frites (oh, and there weren't enough frites either), but there is something entertaining about the place. It feels unusual, it feels special and not just in a novel way. It's unique - or at least as unique as a chain can be. And, except for the specialist beers, it's pretty well priced. It's not for couples, it's not for parties - it's a great last ditch idea for beer lovers.

So to conclude, the greatest disappointment about Belgo was that it wasn't Lazer Quest, and I don't know how to make that a constructive criticism.

50 Earlham Street  London WC2H 9LJ
020 7813 2233

Belgo Centraal on Urbanspoon   Square Meal

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