Le Falstaff offers the classic ambiance of a Paris bar, smoke-filled with poor service. After finding a table it took 20 minutes before the waiter paid a visit. The interior offers one large room with ornate dark wood trim and mirrors. Brass and glass lamps augment the lighting. Stained glass adorns the far walls while small wooden upholstered chairs offer seating at the wood- and stone-topped tables. Pink paper placemats mark the place settings. Framed Parisian-themed art exhibit posters populate the surrounding walls. A large square wooden pillar divides the room and provides hooks for hanging coats. The brown painted ceiling displays 3-D designs that create a textured look. The early dinner crowd packed the place from 8 to 9 p.m. with an even mix of men and women, everyone carrying a cell phone. The waitstaff's use of hand-held device for ordertaking looked very impressive but caused numerous customer rejects as wrong orders were repeatedly brought to tables.
The menu offers an impressive array of Belgian meat specialties, with no vegetarian selections in sight. The Goat Cheese Salad covered with salmon and orange sauce matchs a trio of intense flavors. The lack of a non-smoking area makes tasting subtle flavors difficult, if not impossible. The beer menu consists of 22 Belgian bottled varieties costing around 100 BF ($2.20 USD) while the four draughts run from 60 to 155 BF. The draught Belle-Vue Kriek is a clear deep ruby color with fruity aromas. Its smooth mouthfeel complements the dry, slightly tart cherry flavor - surprisingly good on draught. For 115 BF, the 1/2 liter bottles of Juplier are easy-drinking. Clear light amber in color, this light-bodied brew features a mellow hoppy flavor that give an overall smooth and clean impression. served in 1/4 liter glasses like all other draughts, the Scotch Cambel features a malty aroma with a deep, rich dry malty flavor where the alcohol pokes through in the finish. The glassware is not logo'd but varies based on the beer style being served. All beers are poured with very large heads.
The art nouveau look makes for a popular after-work gathering spot. For an emphasis on beer drinking, other venues seem preferable. Take the Métro to the Bourse stop, or hop bus #48.
NOTE: Under new management April 1999
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - March