FINE-DINING IN BRUGES AT THE CAFEDRAAL RESTAURANT:
For one of our dinners in Bruges, we tossed up between the Cafedraal Restaurant and La Belle Epoque. Both these restaurants are within walking distance to the NH Hotel where we were staying. Not knowing anything about either restaurant, we chose Cafedraal as the menu looked interesting.
Cafedraal offers French-Belgian cuisine with an emphasis on regional produce and food that is in season. The restaurant is housed in a 15th century building that was once a listed official residence. It was renovated in 2011 and has a nice intimate ambience and our first impression was a positive one.
What We Ate
For my entrée, I ordered what was described as tabouli with grilled vegetables and Tony ordered the salmon carpaccio. When my entrée came, it was more like cous-cous with a few pieces of steamed vegetable rather than tabouli with grilled vegetables. The small mound of cous-cous was fine, but what I was really looking forward to was a tabouli salad.
For the main, Tony and I both had the small dover sole which was nicely done and tasty. Our three dining companions were less fortunate. They ordered medium rare steaks, but when their meals came, the steaks were very well done. Wei and his family were disappointed and he commented that his airline meal was much tastier. I’m sure he was exaggerating a little, but nevertheless, he seemed upset at the meal. Whilst we were having our main, the waiter came back and asked us to repeat our dessert order again as, according to him, the kitchen had lost the order. I’ve never in my years of dining out experienced a fine-dining restaurant losing the food order of a table. We all chose the crème brûlée which was nice, but missing the caramelized sugar topping.
From the moment we sat down for dinner, we noticed that the waitress was prone to dropping things – first it was a glass of wine and then cutlery at a regular rate. When she served my fish, she held the plate at such an angle that the cherry tomatoes went rolling onto the table. When she came around to serve the chips, some of the chips landed on the table as well.
What was rather interesting about this fine-dining restaurant was the poor service. Bella counted that the waitress dropped things on the floor five times, including a glass of wine and the main waiter dropped Claire’s cutlery as well and did not even apologise. When collecting the dinner plates, he reached across Claire to pick up Wei’s plate instead of moving over to Wei’s side.
I had earlier read Tripadvisor reviews on the Cafedraal and chose to ignore comments about the waiter being rude but now I understand why those comments were made. Perhaps he is not rude, but just a bit arrogant.
There are many eating places in Bruges and it is a shame that the attitude of the wait staff would make us think twice about going back to Cafedraal again. The guy in the sandwich shop where we had lunch was much more professional than the staff at Cafedraal. We do hope that the service improves as the venue itself is rather nice.
Zilverstraat 38 – 8000 Bruges