The craving for a witbier and a steaming pot of mussels with chips is a hard one to resist and the Belgian Beer Café 'Oostende' is the place to indulge these characteristic lowland pleasures. Go the classic moules marenières (mussels cooked in white wine, garlic, chilli, tomato and parsley) and get your frites on the side – with mayonnaise, naturally.
The venue always seems to be busy with crowds spilling out onto Ebenezer Place, just off bustling Rundle Street. Inside, old-fashioned chandeliers throw a warm, soft light over the ornamental furniture, wooden tables and stools. Historic pictures on the walls and bottles of flowers picketed around the place add a nice touch.
More than 80 local and imported beers span dark ales, pale ales, lagers, abbeys and trappist beers. I opt for a Hoegaarden, the most well-known Belgian white ale, which tastes wheaty, light and smooth. The bartenders here take the Belgian thing seriously, with the famous ‘nine-step pour’ process that culminates in ‘trimming’ the head of your pint or half pint with a knife in order to get rid of large, loose bubbles.
The menu has Australian pub food, including steaks, salads, seafood, burgers and desserts, but the smart money is on Mondays when that kilo of mussels is just $20.