In my case my favourite beer, Orval, is followed by a Grimbergen Blonde and, physically weary on the way home from alcohol and exercise , my legs are on the point of giving up on me. I could have had some satisfying Belgian frites, I suppose, or the baked beans that I know lurk alongside other more undesirable foodstuffs in the store cupboard. Instead I find my way to Délicieux, where I am struck by the pleasing familiar surroundings of bamboo and fish tank - and a man, with a ferret.
The presence of the ferret perturbs neither customers, nor me, nor the friendly owners of this traiteur chinois. My order is taken quickly, and soon I head home to a meal of pork with Chinese mushrooms and rice; which would have been enough to feed two if only I hadn't felt so ravenously hungry. Where else can you spend 6 Euros on food and have the door held open for you when you leave? The smiling service is a real pleasure in a city where service with indifference is more the norm.
Délicieux offers various menu choices, plus plenty of soups, starters and main meals. However I've always opted for one of the "Suggestions", which include dishes such as chicken with cashew nuts, beef with lemongrass and beef with ginger. These are excellent value at 6 - 10 Euro, especially as they can easily feed two as a light meal and are non-greasy, tasty and served steaming hot.
Returning the night afterwards to take a photo of the exterior, I tried to make myself as discreet as possible. However a number of passers-by and customers asked what I was doing and, before I knew it, two lads were posing for a photograph, which I was permitted to keep "as a souvenir". Then a passing eccentric-looking old chap stopped and asked if I was a journalist or a photographer. "J'etais journaliste, moi", he told me, proudly. "No", I said, "Je fais un blog." "Un blog?!" came the scornful reply, "Une blague!" And so he strode off without another word, and I slunk off gloomily, clutching my camera with its dark, grainy photos.
But at least the lady in Délicieux saw me and smiled.
Avenue de l'Hippodrome
02 649 79 77
Open 11:30 - 14:00 amd 17:00 - 22:30; closed Saturday lunch times and Sundays