Wednesday, 10 June 2015
Aksum - Brussels
Desperate to relieve my legs after 10,000 steps of flea markets and junk shops I was in search of hot caffeine that wasn't Starbucks. Not an easy feat in a new city.
Thankfully after walking in and out of several pretentious looking cafes and patisseries we stumbled upon Aksum. Aksum is an Ethiopian Coffee House in the centre of Brussels, not too far away from Grand Place, bingo.
It's a small place sandwiched in to a corner in what looks to be an old shop, there are approximately enough tables for 10 people inside a a few tables dotted outside. It's a bit of sun trap and its corner hides you from the wind but exposes you to the bright sunshine (hopefully).
The coffee is roasted on the premises which you can smell as you approach, I'd like to think my larger than average nose guided me here. The coffee and other refreshments, such as tea and soft drinks, are all fair trade. The cakes on offer are made by a local bakery, this is my kind of coffee house.
There are many different blends of coffee to try, they will even grind some beans up (suitable for your home coffee machine) for you to take home if more than one takes your fancy.
As the sun was shining we decided to sit outside, D grabbed us a couple of seats whilst I practised my French inside. Un Macchiato et un chocolat chaud S.V.P.
The macchiato is a popular option for Ethiopian coffee and it was served to me in a small glass, the size somewhere between an espresso and a flat white. It was strong but flavoursome, not quite like any coffee I've had before, and that isn't a bad thing. You can really taste the quality, the care and attention for the love of bean. For those who are not coffee au fait - I admit to still being a learner also, a macchiato is essentially an espresso served with a small amount of milk.
The hot chocolate (available in milk or dark Belgian chocolate) was served as hot milk with a block of chocolate at the bottom which slowly dissolved as you stirred giving it a rich and creamy taste.
The atmosphere was relaxed and Aksum certainly attracts some of the more interesting inhabitants of Brussels, another excellent people watching opportunity.
A word of warning: On the table next to us a lady had placed her bag on the floor, this wasn't left unnoticed by the rather noticeable pick pocket loitering around. Luckily we caught his eye and made it clear we were watching him and he remained pacing the street watching Aksum's outside customers through the reflections in the windows of opposite shops. Keep your bags on your laps ladies.
For an introduction and brief (kind of) travel guide to Brussels see my previous post here.