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, May 7, 2011

Café de la Presse

An uninspiring corner down the office block end of Avenue Louise may seem a surprising location for a new food and drink venture, but this is a café-starved area a short hop away from the welcome shades of the Bois de la Cambre. Perhaps the canny owner has spied a captive audience of office workers and thirsty joggers, and my recent visits have certainly proved him right - Café de la Presse is popular on weekdays and weekends alike.

The pavement is not the most welcoming of terraces, but if you've battled the shopping hordes and walked or run the length of Avenue Louise to get here then you deserve a cool drink in the shade and, well, you never know what you might see.  Today the interesting character is a dog poking its head out of a black Hummer.  While these monster trucks seemed to be beginning a long fall from grace in the States when I was last there a couple of years ago, in Belgium I seem to come across them on a weekly basis.  Strange times.

The Hummers share their American connection with Café de la Presse.  Inside I am welcomed by a long counter, cake stands, fluorescent strip lighting, retro 70s wallpaper, bright "splatter" paintings.... and the Rolling Stones.  The rule seems to be "have as many armchairs as you like, but whatever you do make sure they don't match."  Customers are free to occupy these armchairs as long as they wish, reading the international press, surfing the web or just loafing.  That suits me just fine!

The cake selection is excellent and includes brownies, flapjacks, cheesecake, loaf cake, as well as Lilicup cupcakes.  Only the resident board games seem to be able to compete on choice.  So far I've restricted myself to cake and drinks, but there are also sandwiches, salads, fruit, and bagels aplenty - as well as weekend brunches and pots of sweets.  

Yesterday my only gripe was that the fresh juice was rather small and served in plastic, rather than a glass, and also that my cappuccino was tiny and not served with sugar, which was definitely required.  I've been rather spoilt by the giant cappuccinos offered by Marks and Spencer so perhaps some readjustment is required on my part as well, but nevertheless I am still in search of the perfect cappuccino in Brussels.  In my quest I've sampled plenty of specimens embellished with a dollop of cream, but I'm really after Italian style with a frothy milk top, preferably in a fairly generous size.  Can anyone help?

Meanwhile Marks and Spencer offer cappuccino in three sizes.  Believe it or not, this is their medium version, and my cappuccino of yesterday was perhaps a quarter of that....

Cappuccino, M & S style!

Café de la Presse
491 Avenue Louise
1050 Brussels
02 649 09 35

Open 7 days a week: 07:30 - 19:00 weekdays; 09:00 - 19:00 weekends


  1. I have found a good cappuccino! However other recommendations are still very welcome....

  2. Natural Caffe cappuccinos are pretty good, I think. Am still hunting for other good specimens, though.