When we think of Brel we think of pints in the front bar, lunch upstairs, or maybe sitting outside on the hill in the garden with a DJ playing when there is a glimmer of sunshine. It’s an established part of Ashton Lane. The fact it is a Belgian bar in the west end is often a footnote.
Of course, there is plenty of Belgian beer to remind us. The food menu has a particular Bruxelles vibe too: steak frites, moules frites, poisson frites – you get the idea.
The latest addition to the menu taps into a current food trend – an obsession with cheese – and reflects Continental tastes.
A viral video of melted cheese, served at the table, in a small New York restaurant racked up 93 million views when it was posted in 2016. Ever since, creative ways to serve gooey, eye-catching, delicious cheesy dishes have been all the rage.
Brel’s solution is a customer operated hot plate, ready for thick slices of semi-hard cow’s milk French raclette cheese.
Raclette and gruyère cheese can simply be ordered with a basket of crusty bread. The best solution is to go all-in, raclette for two complete with your own hot plate and four items from a selection of meat or vegetables is £32. There are also fantastic hunks of soda bread to enjoy.
On our visit, we chose venison sausage, chorizo, Parma ham and baby potatoes. The biggest challenge is not to nibble your way through your supplies while your cheese melts in front of you. When it is ready, assemble a selection on your plate and pore cheese on top. Yes, it’s a gimmick, but it is great fun and very satisfying.
This is something to do with friends, a bit of quirky grazing in a bar. Can’t fault the cheese, it was rich and slightly sweet and married together all the other elements in front of us.
The venison sausage in particular caught our attention, served cold in slivers it had a strong flavour and pleasant texture. Our chorizo looked the part but lacked a bit of punch. The Parma ham hit the mark and the grilled baby potatoes were tasty when drizzled with cheese. We’d probably order frites next time.
Overall, a dish that performed. Try with a bottle of Duvel or a pint of Joker IPA.
37-43 Ashton Lane
T: 0141 342 4966