As we walked into Hasselt’s Grote Markt to find a spot for a quick brunch, it was hard not to miss the bright neon signs perched high above one of the many restaurants surrounding the square. Like moths to a flame we found ourselves being drawn to the Drugstore restaurant and made ourselves comfortable at a table under one of the large heaters on the terrasse. With its outdoor wicker chairs, cosy wood-panelled interior, and smartly-dressed but somewhat brusque waiters, the Drugstore had a very familiar Parisien brasserie feel.
The cold morning weather was making me crave something warm to eat. As I skimmed through the extensive menu I came across something I’d never seen before – croque pizza. I’m familiar with the croque monsieur, which is essentially a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, topped with more cheese and grilled to form a stretchy brown crust. I’m also a fan of the croque madame which has all the features of the croque monsieur, with the addition of a fried egg on top. For me, these sandwiches are at their best when béchamel sauce is added to the cheese, creating an extra creamy centre.
As pizza also happens to be one of my favorite foods, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to expand on my croque range and ordered the mysterious croque pizza. When the sandwich arrived looking nothing like a pizza but rather like a plain ham and cheese grilled sandwich, I was a little disappointed. But as soon as I cut into the melted cheese and through the first layer of toasted bread, a generous serving of thick bolognese sauce began to ooze out of the centre, making my mouth water. This toastie didn’t stand a chance. It was absolutely delicious, and the bolognese sauce was a nice surprise. I’ll definitely be ordering the croque pizza again. Although perhaps a better name for it would be a croque bolognese…
Brasserie Drugstore Hasselt
Grote Markt 10, 3500 Hasselt