Last weekend, it just so happened that the original Tuesday Night Dinner crew were all in Canberra. It was the first time all four of us had been together in probably 8 months, so it only made sense that at some point we went out for a meal together. The weather was beautiful so we decided to go for lunch somewhere casual where there was a possibility for us to eat outside. I voted for the Belgium Beer Cafe in Kingston as I'd had lunch there a few times and knew they had good beer, a casual atmosphere and you could get a big bucket of juicy Mussels that usually ended with me wiping the bottom of the bowl with a piece of bread just to make sure I didn't miss anything. Unfortunately this time was a little different...
When we arrived it was apparent that there were quite a few people with the same idea, so there was no outdoor seating to be had. We still went ahead with the original plan though and decided to sit inside. One of the staff members showed us to our table, took our drink order and explained each of the specials that were available. She also mentioned that they were out of some of the beers on the menu but didn't explain which one's because we likely wouldn't choose them.
One of the biggest attractions of the Belgium Beer Cafe is of course, the beer. They have around 30 different beer varieties of which they serve in the traditional Belgium way. My personal favorite is Hoegaarden which is a light wheat beer, perfect for a warm sunny day. LC, DM and I each ordered one, however Missy and Max had a big night the day before so decided to stick with sparkling water. Now the other big attraction on the menu (or at least I think so) are the mussels I mentioned before. They offer 1kg of mussels in a bucket which are stewed in a soup like broth of your choosing. They have around 8 different flavours to choose from two of which I've tried now, both of which were absolutely delicious!
While enjoying our drinks we began to catch up and talk about some of the great times and funny discussions we'd had over the years. One discussion in particular that involved sharing something that is usually quite private made DM look physically uncomfortable. It was this sort of reminiscing, sharing and sometimes uncomfortable moments that ultimately made me want to start a blog so i could write some of this stuff down.
By then it was time for us to order. I of course asked for the 1kg bucket of mussels which I'd been looking forward to all afternoon, however the waiter replied, "We're out of that. Sorry...". This came as a bit of a surprise and was pretty bloody annoying since we hadn't been told they weren't out of anything but a few beers! So I quickly recalled something that sounded quite good off the specials menu (Beef Cheeks) and ordered that. After Missy and DM had ordered it came to LC who asked for another one meals from the specials list but was also confronted with "We're out of that. Sorry...". Right, so not only were they out of mussels, (which by the way took up almost a quarter of the menu), they were also out of one of the specials that they had to "especially" mention. In the end LC also decided with the Beef Cheeks and Max went with Pumpkin Soup.
By the time the meals came DM was just about done with his Hoegaarden and decided to order another one but wouldn't you know it, "We're out of that. Sorry...". Are you kidding me? One of your top selling tap beers and now you're out of it? If they keep this pace up they could soon be saying "Customers? We're out of that. Sorry...".
Anyway, the meals themselves were very good. The beef cheeks were served on a bed of mashed potato and were oh so tender. No photo's this time but I promise I'll have some for the next one. Missy's Salmon was also very tasty and Max's Pumpkin soup was very flavoursome and hearty. So hearty in fact that Max couldn't finish it all off, so not being one to let food go to waste I finished her lunch off too.
We spent the rest of the lunch just chatting and talking about the usual things like travel (of which LC had done a lot recently) and Max's crazy neighbours who have had all kinds of strange animals since she's lived there, until it came time to leave. DM kindly got up to pay the bill but came back empty handed. When asked what happened he replied "You won't believe it, now they're out of paper!".