Thursday, 24 January 2013

Belgo Centraal at Covent Garden

Finding a place for 12 hungry students to meet for dinner isn't always easy, but with pretty roomy premises on Covent Garden (Ok, it's 12, 000 square feet. It's huge.) and a Beat the Clock deal from 5 to 6.30 pm, Belgo Centraal made for a pretty inspired choice. It's not all that far from the Belgo along Kingsway, which I've gone past every single time I return home from school, yet never entered, so I spent the first half of dinner fending off exclaimed shouts of "What do you mean you've never been to Belgo before?!".

The entrance with its illuminated walkway and rather industrial interior looked quite good, but the rest of the restaurant was just as dimly lit. The acoustics of the basement also seem to increase the overall volume of the chatter, so it's good for large boisterous groups but less so for everyone else. 

It took a while before we could get anyone's attention, but eventually our orders were taken by a rather kind waiter who charged even the stragglers the same rate as those of us who'd arrived on time. Most of us got the mussels, but it's a pretty small serving so some people ended up ordering extras. Only traditionelle (Classic white wine, garlic and onion but done with celery here) was being offered today, which was a shame because I wanted to try the provencale (Tomato, herbs and garlic). 

The mussels were plump and fresh though not as flavourful as I'd hoped they would be. The sauce was on the bland side and suffered from a rather sad dearth of garlic. Additionally quite a bit of my portion was just empty shell, but I suppose you get what you pay for.  (Or I was just really, really unlucky) A bunch of people got the roast chicken, which was a bit on the dry side. The pasta serving was pretty massive though and rather decent. 

I'm kind of regretting my decision not to get a beer right now. I had a glass of wine which was decent enough, but after looking at their website I'm beating myself up over not asking the other side of the table to pass the beer booklet, or doing prior research. There's a whole menu dedicated to the various options on offer, from trappist to your usual pilsner lagers, and even a puzzling but faintly intriguing coconut beer. While most of the beers on offer are common throughout all the outlets, there are a number only available in some locations, so check their online beer selector. It's pretty comprehensive and can help you find your 'perfect beer'. The selection looks pretty terrific. Even if I never go back for the food the Kingsway branch has bar seating for evening drinks. 

50 Earlham Street London WC2H 9LJ

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