For an introduction on Brussels see my post here.
Steak and chips are one of Brussels national food combinations. I'd like to say I knew this before I went here but I clearly didn't do my research. I did my research when I was half cut on Belgian beer in a bar with free wifi and steak seemed like a perfect food for my beer belly, the fact that it was the national dish of Belgium didn't even enter my consciousness.
Jack O'Shea's is featured on a fair few of the local blogs, it's a popular place. It has reason to be. Jack is an actual person, a butcher in fact, he's made a name for himself following a long family tradition (1790 to be exact) selling meat to fine dining restaurants and even set up shop on Knightsbridge and then Selfridges. He's rubbed shoulders with Princes, our very own Charles, and famous chefs a like. Jack really has made quite a reputation for himself.
You can find Jack's stores in London and Belgium, his restaurant is reserved for Brussels. A pretty lucky stumble if you ask me.
When we finally stumbled in, a little more sober than when we left the bar an hour or so before, we were asked if we had a reservation, we didn't, clearly. I think our smart dressing on this night played in our favour as we were granted a table in the main restaurant, the couple in front of us who were a little less formal were told there were only seats at the bar.
We perused the wine menu, still feeling the beer and not wanting to get totally mortal we decided against a bottle of wine. Guests are required to ask about the bottles that are open on the night and are being served by the glass, I honestly can't remember what I chose but I know it was good. At 4 euros a glass I didn't think it was badly priced either, I've paid up £7 just for a small to medium sized glass in the UK before now.
Despite the sharing platter being 12 euros we decided we were on holiday, that all the hanging meat in the window as we walked in was a good sign, and that this was the place to splash out on meat. I'm glad we did.
The meat platter consisted of salami, chorizo, prosciutto and was accompanied with french mustard, breadsticks and pink pickled onions. We've become accustomed to eating a lot of cured meats and this was one of the finer versions, far away from the likes of the Tesco mixed selection packets. French mustard seems to be served as standard with meat platters all over Brussels.
Looking over the rest of the menu it was clear that we had to have the steak, but it wasn't cheap. Some of the cuts had a 50 euro price tag, the only 'cheap' option was the stew at 14 euros. We both went for the rump steak which was the cheapest steak option at 24 euros, this doesn't include sides.
I ordered my steak medium rare. So did D but unfortunately I think there was a language barrier and he ended up with medium. I realise that the picture above doesn't make the steak look very big, but trust me it was far thicker than the steak served in the UK, or at least any steak I have been served in the UK. It wasn't flat and long. It was thick and juicy. This is definitely the way to serve and cook steak. I went as far to say that this is the best steak I have ever eaten out. D remarked that it wasn't as good as mine, such a charmer.
I attempted to take an inside shot to show you the pinky redness within but unfortunately my hand wasn't as steady as my eyes believed it to be.
D's although cooked slightly more was a different shape, and we panicked that D's language skills had accidentally ordered him a more expensive cut... it was explained to us that D's was a different cut of rump due to his being served medium. These guys know their stuff, if only they understood poor D! His steak was nevertheless still pretty good, it was little dryer than mine but it was more charred around the edge which was a great taste to behold and I wished mine had a little more.
Sauces come free of charge with your steak and we asked the waitress for her recommendation. I can't recall what the sauce was. My description goes as far as it was a spicy and herby so any guesses are game.
For sides I ordered the mashed chive potatoes.
This is the BEST mashed potato I have had in my life. So creamy, so smooth, so buttery, so god damn amazing. D couldn't understand the fuss I was making over these mashed potatoes. I've been dreaming about them since.
D ordered the BBQ wedges as his side.
I'm not entirely sure they were what he was expecting, a little more of an upmarket wedge I presume. You can see D's steak and sauce there in the background before he demolished the lot.
Service was great, there was less of the 'pissed off Belgian' vibe going on that we faced from some of the locals whilst we were there. The waitresses were helpful and their recommendations went down a treat.
I'm so incredibly glad we drunkenly stumbled in to this place having no idea what we were actually stumbling in to. If we were looking for the best steak in Belgium, or even perhaps Europe, I think we found it.
Decor was clean cut, filament bulbs, hanging meats and an impressive looking wine cellar/cabinet.
The atmosphere was relaxed but more formal than the local bars. Overall we had a great night, even though this was probably exaggerated by the booze.
The bill came to 78 euros in total. I've paid more in Leeds for food that hasn't met the same quality as it did in Jack O'Shea's. I'd say it was fairly reasonable... although I might not be saying the same had D accidentally ordered that 50 euro steak.