City wanderings - and a pilgrimage to some of the best eating and drinking spots in Brussels. Or maybe not eating or drinking - ah, oh well.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Le Coq d'Or

Do you have a grosse faim?  I mean a really, really grosse faim?  If you do then I suggest you come here, to find out how hungry you really are!

The first time I was invited to Le Coq d'Or, I thought I had arrived at the wrong place.  Wandering through a smoky bar I found myself in the kitchen, but it turned out that this was the friterie.  The tiled walls were covered with posters of bicky burgers and frikadelle, brochettes and tasty "nugizz" at 2 euro 50.  I felt like I was waiting in a dentist's surgery, stomach in limbo, faintly nauseous.  Please, please don't say I have to eat a massive friterie burger.  The only thing I ever touch in a friterie is the frites!  And I'm with a group of guys, one of whom is boasting that he will complete the "challenge".  And then, suddenly, it was all too late: we were seated with napkins and placemats with the owners as audience and I could not, could not leave!

 Second time round and we are just three: one of whom (a Texas Burger Virgin) is determined to attempt the "challenge", while the other two of us have calmly agreed to share.  We bypass the bar for the adjoining friterie and are met by Mr F himself: he gestures us to a vacant table; performing a perfunctory hand sweep to dispatch crumbs and slapping down placemats - all seemingly in one efficient movement.  "Je fais du ménage", he grins.  Who am I to complain?  Sticky tables are nothing compared to the formidable challenge ahead. 

While we wait, still somewhat apprehensively, I can hear chatter from the bar, and the landlady's irresistible cackle.  She emerges to make our burgers: mixing egg and haché together while her husband deals with the frites, frying our batch individually until perfectly golden, and then tossing them in just the right amount of salt.  Finally the thing is assembled and we watch it advance towards us, a puny American flag on the top of a pile of homemade double D sized baps, beef, lettuce, tomato, gherkins and cheese.  Madame gives us some advice: eat the frites first; then flatten the thing (so it appears less monstrous); cut it into four and proceed methodically.  Finally she smiles encouragement and disappears back to the bar.

 Mid-way through Monsieur pokes an amused head round the door and enquires how we are managing.  The sharing two of us have long finished our half burger (and though I'm not admitting it to anyone, I could happily have embarked on a third quarter).  However our TBV has just phoned a big eating friend and is now chewing with renewed determination.  If he finishes he will win a T-shirt and, if he is game, a second burger and; if he finishes that one, well there is the prospect of a free two week stay at the owners' apartment in Spain.  The second burger is never on, but what of the T-shirt?

There's a chip on the tabletop.  We plant the American flag in it and it looks rather lost, like it's on the moon.  It's one small step for a chip, one giant leap -

                                                                     J'ai foiré                   
                                                                     J'en peux plus.

The challenge is over.  Our friend looks at his swollen stomach, incredulous.  We order a sparkling mineral water to go with our beer, as if that might help.  We decide that it was the baps that were the problem (aren't they always?)  The heavy specially made protectors of all the accompaniments must make up a considerable part of that 1,2kg.  As for me, I'd have loved some more hand-cut frites and I would come back just for a portion of those.  And yes, I'm impressed that the burgers have peppers in. 

Having admitted defeat we can all relax.  We watch, amused, as grandad wanders into the kitchen puffing on a cigar.  Then our host is back.  We learn that they dreamt up the Texas King Burger and challenge on a trip to New York.  The Texas bit just sounded good.  Having sampled a few burger joints and gallon buckets of soda in various American states I can attest that this thing actually Ain't That Big.  Our host seems to agree and shrugs:

               Moi, un 1kg200, je le mange comme ça -
               Comme une entrecôte.

If it weren't for that strong Bruxellois accent I'd say this pair were in the wrong country.

Le Coq d'Or
2, avenue du Bois de la Cambre
1170 Bruxelles
Tel: 02 675 02 58

The friterie is open every day from 18:00 to 22:00, and also for lunch on weekdays between 12:00 and 14:00.

P.S. 13/12/11 Reliable sources tell me that the Texas Kings now cost 15 euros, not 12.... Hmm.  And they had run out of T-shirts (again).


  1. "65 likes" on this article :) Wow! Nice :)!!

  2. un très bon moment hier soir ! j'ai adoré l'ambiance et le défi que je n'ai pas relevé :) *le lillois au doigt d'honneur*

  3. Et moi non plus. Je pense que je ne réussirai jamais. Mais on m'a dit qu'il y a plus de gens qui ont réussi récemment (par "réussir" je veux dire manger deux burgers et gagner le voyage....) Pour vous entraîner je vous conseille d'aller aux Etats-Unis!