French for “the parrot”, Le Perroquet is a Brussels institution, serving up their signature pitas at their beautiful art nouveau resturant-café in the Marolles district. They’ve upped the pita ante with their restaurant take on the humble street food staple. The extensive menu incudes a selection of pork, beef, chicken and vegetarian pitas, as well as salads and even a diet menu – whatever your tastes or dietary requirements, Le Perroquet has you covered.
With so much to choose from, I had to enlist the help of waitstaff for their recommendations, and decided on the Maya chicken pita with corn, pineapple and bacon. The pita arrived in a dainty basket, together with a tray of four rammekins filled with different homemade sauces – garlic yoghurt, sweet and sour, cocktail and curry. Washed down with an agrum (citrus) flavoured fruit beer, this was the perfect light lunch.
Aside from the posh pitas, the setting is reason enough to visit Le Perroquet – the gorgeous art nouveau interior, ornate bar and stain glass windows are really quite impressive, and definitely add a touch of glamour to the simple meal. The outdoor tables and sunchairs that line the terrace are a great option for some al fresco dining on a sunny day. And yes, there are parrots – look closely and you’ll see them adorning the stainglass windows.
Since arriving in Brussels I have been struck by the number of “snack” shops to be found on almost every street corner. Similar to kebab shops in Australia, these snack shops offer a range of variations on the meat sandwich, from dürüm (doner) kebab rolls and pitas, to “bicky” hamburgers and mitraillettes (demi-baguettes stuffed with meat and frites). Early on I made it my mission to sample as many of these fast food treats as possible, and have already become a big fan of them all.
So when I heard about Le Perroquet and their restaurant-style pitas, I was curious to try their version of the fast food snack. Their formula is simple, specialising in making small delicious pitas served with side sauces in a beautful café setting. They offer a huge range of pitas so the long menu can be a little overwhelming at first, but I found the friendly waitstaff were happy to offer explanations and descriptions. I ordered the barbeque grillade pita with pork, bacon, pineapple and barbeque sauce, accompanied by a crisp blonde beer.
The pita was served with a side of four tasty sauces to spoon onto your pita at your heart’s content. I couldn’t go past the garlic flavoured sauce – when I added a spoonful to my pita, it helped to counter the sweetness of the barbeque sauce, balancing all the flavours and turning the humble pita into something special. The secret is definitely in the sauce. The pitas are on the small side so if you’ve got a big appetite you might even have room for seconds. Le Perroquet also does salads, but with pitas this good there’s no reason to order anything else.
Rue Watteeu 31, 1000 Brussels