I never shy away from a long queue (in fact, this is usually a draw card for me – in my mind, a long queue often signals that whatever’s at the finish line is worth the wait). So when Merv suggested joining this one after exploring the Flagey markets on Sunday afternoon, I didn’t think twice. The line was not too long (perhaps about two dozen people deep) and we’d seen Frit Flagey on many lists of fries to be tried in Brussels so figured now was as good a time as any to sample them.
Now, speed and efficiency are not things I’ve come to expect from customer service in Belgium, and the lack of any sense of urgency and what I assessed to be the absence of any streamlined ordering system at Frit Flagey were further evidence of that. But as the servers took their time serving each customer, they also engaged in witty banter between frites-frying, and provided super friendly service. Those queuing around us all seemed unfazed by the extraordinarily long wait, so we too channelled our zen and waited patiently in the cold. We queued an hour for those fries, and when we finally had our cornets in our near-frozen hands, it had all been worth the wait.
When we got off the bus at Place Flagey the first thing I noticed was the massive line for the frites stand. It was freezing, so we decided to walk around the markets to warm up a little. The Sunday markets at Flagey are excellent, with several butchers, fruit and vegetable sellers and a number of bakers with their own unique sweets on display.
The highlight of the markets for me would have to be the food vendors scattered around the perimeter. The smell of frying onions led me to a burger stand where I sampled a roasted pork burger with bacon, cheese and mustard. You can’t go wrong with pig on pig! The food stands even serve alcohol to enjoy at one of the tables provided. A concept unheard of in Australia, I took full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a beer while perusing the stands.
We made our way to the frites stand and joined the queue. I thought the pork burger would go well with the fries but unfortunately I inhaled it far too quickly! The fries were cooked to order and this made the line move extremely slowly. I was frozen and couldn’t feel my feet anymore but there was no way I was leaving without my frites! It was a solid hour before we reached the counter and we ordered two large servings, one with aioli and the other with béarnaise sauce. I love how they’re served in giant cones, so much love for such a humble meal.
The frites were delicious and surprisingly not oily at all. They were cut thinner than other frites I’ve tried which made them less meaty as well. If you like crunch in your frites this is the place for you. The aioli was much better than the béarnaise, but these frites would also be enjoyable just plain with salt. It was worth the wait, and I’m now another step closer to mastering the art of eating from the giant cones without getting sauce on my sleeves…
Place Eugène Flagey, 1050 Ixelles