review

'Boulengier': Hip bread with a bitter twist

© Saskia Vanderstichele
Onze score

en
There is a long queue at Boulengier – that’s right, with an e instead of an a – when I visit one autumn day. The clientele, like the shop in which they are patiently waiting their turn, looks very clean-cut. The croissants (€1.5) and the sandwiches (€6.20) are selling like hot cakes (no pun intended). Only the brown tiles in the building, which is a stone’s throw from the Hallepoort/Porte de Hal, reveal something of what the hippest bakery in Brussels once was. An old-fashioned pub. It hurts a little bit to know that beers were once served here in a grimy café, where now there is only freshly baked bread. But Sint-Gillis/Saint-Gilles clearly has an appetite for a new gourmet bakery, and it is also clearly willing to pay through the nose for the privilege. Fortunately, the menu at Boulengier is not complicated and the cakes and tarts look artisanal and tasty. The sandwiches are made exclusively with seasonal produce and everything the baker sells is made on site by a master baker who has been brought over from France especially. “This place is all about bread,” founder Christopher Moloughney tells us. He has a background as a master-communicator at a huge communications firm. “The most important thing is the product.” This is not just PR talk because the bread is indeed simple and real. It leaves you wanting more. But it does raise the question of whether the artisanal always trumps the authentic. — Tim Devriese
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