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Brouge, 5 Hill Street, Richmond Restaurant Review

5 Hill Street
Tel: 020 8332-0055

London in the heat can be an unpleasant experience, so on one very warm evening recently I was more than relieved to descend the stairs and enter into the cool and airy atmosphere that is Brouge. Situated in the heart of Richmond’s town centre, Brouge is a cavernous basement with an atmospheric cellar environment that is the perfect setting for its themed menu. Large gilt mirrors, oak tables and comfy chairs added to our feeling of well-being whilst the service given throughout the evening was friendly and attentive.

Brouge is essentially a Belgium influenced restaurant so there are a wealth of different beers to try with over 50 from across its country on offer. Of course, the other influence is mussels which feature on the menu when in season (October to April). However, there were plenty of other tempting choices at reasonable prices, making it a great place to take a group for a birthday party or office jolly up.

The menu is divided into several headings with plenty of added daily specials to please even the fussiest of friends. From terrific sounding salads to sausages and ‘Stoemp’ (a kind of Belgium bubble & squeak). to summer fish pots (that are served when the mussel season finishes), as well as a whole host of other main courses from meat to fish.

We began with one of the specials, a tasty and piquant smoked salmon terrine. This came served with prawns in a lemon mayonnaise on a bed of cucumber with a dill and balsamic dressing. A goats cheese mousse with a soft and creamy texture mingled well with its accompanying fresh beetroot and picked walnut dressing.

For our main course we tried the catch of the day. A perfectly beer battered piece of cod served with excellent crispy chips, tartare sauce and salad which we both pronounced superb. We also tried one of the summer fish pots from a choice of three. A scallop stew came with smoked haddock in a spicy red pepper and tomato sauce and garnished with shredded chorizo. This was beautifully cooked, the scallops having a soft and succulent interior, the pungent chorizo adding a good kick to the back of the throat. This came with new potatoes and peppers and excellent green beans. Our only disappointment was our serving of stoemp which we found rather bland.

Sadly we couldn’t manage a pudding but I noted there was a choice of either traditional Belgium waffles or a whole host of calorific temptations on offer such as sticky toffee pudding served with double cream.

Wines are keenly priced and throughout the evening in keeping with the heat outside we drank a very chilled easy drinking French Grenache rose Petit Papillion - £15.00 a bottle.

Our bill came in at just over £70.00 which I considered good value as it also included an optional service charge.

Next time you’re in Richmond taking in some retail therapy, pop into to Brouge and try some genuine Belgium hospitality.

Louise Elgin. June 2009.

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