All posts tagged “café

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Le Chat Touille, Brussels’ cat café

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I “was” a cat as a four-year-old. I made my own little bed where the cats slept, replied to questions with obnoxious cat noises, and pretended to eat cat food when people were looking. Fast-forward 23 years, and thankfully I’ve grown out of that. But many people, like me, have a special relationship with cats. Luckily for us, there are cat cafés – a Taiwanese invention, which is big in Japan (obviously). The basic idea is that you go to a café with some resident cats, have something to eat or drink, and play with the cats.

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Agneta with Leon.

Le Chat Touille is Brussels’ first cat café, with friendly cats from a local shelter. It has been covered by all kinds of media, including Swedish television. The shelter cats at Le Chat Touille want attention and cuddles, and can find a new owner at the café (they are available for adoption). The place is rather special, as you would expect from a cat café. It is very clean and nice, but small and popular which means it gets easily crammed. Consequently, there is some competition for the cats’ affection. As for the cats, they are very playful, and enjoy eating off customers’ plates. The owner is a little nervous about the cats’ behaviour, which is a shame, as “cat people” don’t tend to mind cats walking all over them. And I guess you don’t find many dog persons here.

The tea and cake served were according to my friend Agneta very good, and not terribly expensive. You may have to wait a little, since there is only one person serving. But this is a a good time to play with the cats. We did not sample the food, but it smelled nice.


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Le Chat Touille is an interesting place to say the least, and worth visiting if just for the novelty value of having tea with cats and their fans. I would suggest going after work, or arriving early on the weekends, as it fills up quickly. Enjoy your cat moment.

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Le Chat Touille, rue Tasson-Snel 11, 1060 Saint-Gilles, http://lechattouille.eu/

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Ethiopian coffee, and the best cake in Brussels at Aksum

Passionfruit and almond cake

Time to write about one of my favourite cafés in Brussels: Aksum. Their great coffee is hardly a secret, and housed in a small venue decked out with vintage ethiopian furniture, they are often busy. Their hot chocolate is perfect, standing strong against the stiff competition in Brussels. But for me, the true star of this café is a cake – the passionfruit dacquoise. A thin layer of crème brûlée makes it perfectly crispy on top, which is followed by a velvety, intense passion fruit cream inside, and finished with a soft and chewy bottom of almond meringue. I cannot get enough of it. This beauty is actually not made by Aksum, but sourced from a local Marolles patisserie called Secret Gourmand (a hidden gem for ordering whole cakes). Apart from the delicious passionfruit dacquiose, they also serve pistachio and cherry cake, lime and almond cake, and a chocolate cake I never had the pleasure to try. But these cakes, coupled with the friendly service, delicious coffee and nice venue, makes it a good place for a Sunday treat.

Cherry and pistachio cake

Should you be heavily into coffee, Aksum is also a good place to shop – they import coffee beans from around the world, which is ground in a lovely old school grinder by the door. If you want to take some home, they have a selection of different beans and ways of grinding them. The Finnish owner gives clear advice about the best kind of coffee (and takes the time to answer emails about it). Finally, a little trivia for the Swedophiles: you might think of Italians first when listing coffee drinking nations, but people in the Nordics are even more crazy about their caffeine.