Kingdom of Belgians is one of the newest culinary outposts in Singapore focusing on the cuisine and beers from the Kingdom of Belgium.
If you’ve missed Belgian cuisine, well, so have we. In recent years we’ve seen the closure of almost all the Belgian concepts in Singapore, starting with Belgian beer bistro Oosters at the end of 2015, followed by Emmanuel Stroobant’s Brussels Sprouts chain. Worst of all, their disappearance cascaded down the value chain and had a profound impact on the supply of Belgian beers in Singapore. By 2019, a number of renowned Belgian beer favourites – such as the Pauvel Kwak, Tripel Karmeliet, and St Feuillien – had disappeared off supermarket shelves and restaurant menus.
But Belgian cuisine may be making a comeback. There is BTM Mussels & Bar offering a French-inflected take of familiar Belgian eats at Duxton Hill which opened up in the early part of this year. Around the same time, celebrity chef and Belgian native Emmanuel Stroobant decided to reinvent Brussels Sprouts into a more casual bistro concept called Kingdom of Belgians.
Located just a stone’s throw from Brussels Sprouts’ original flagship space along Robertson Quay, Kingdom of Belgians is so nondescript you’ll walk by and miss the bistro if you weren’t paying attention. Inside you may be a tad taken back by its stark, largely unadorned interior, as though the kingdom is going through a particular rough period in its history.
But don’t let its minimalist decor fool you. The food is rather exceptional.
The menu offers a number of rather authentic Belgian dishes, along with inflections from its neighbours France, the Netherlands, and Germany. For example, Kingdom of Belgians offers the traditional Belgian appetiser of Tomato Crevette ($22++), featuring grey shrimp in a hollowed out tomato and tastes much like a luxe version of shrimp cocktail. If you love your steak tartare, the Filet Americain ($28++) – which is traditionally Belgian despite the name and origin – is a deliciously unctuous version that we highly recommend. If you’re a smaller eater, there’s a sandwich version – the Toast Cannibal ($14++) which sees a smaller portion of steak tartare served on sourdough toast.
Also authentic is the Boulet Liegeois ($24++), a classic from Liege that sees large meatballs stewed in a rich stew, as well as the Beef Carbonnade ($28++), which sees beef braised in a rich beer-based gravy.
And if you missed your moules, Kingdom of Belgians offer a few variations in two sizes for its Moules ($24++ for 300g, $38++ for 750g). There’s the wine-based Mariniere or beer-based KOB Special for those with a more classic bent, while Laksa and Chili Crab will appeal to diners with more adventurous – or local – tastes. Bizarrely, Kingdom of Belgians serve their mussel pots with toasted milk bread instead of frites. It’s culinary sacrilege. The manager on hand explained that many other dishes come with fries and customers have complained that they find it wasteful when they can’t finish the mountain of fried potato sticks. We find that an improbable excuse; the twice-cooked fries here are very, very good.
There are other dishes as well, just to suit a more cosmopolitan crowd. Hola ($16++), for example, is essentially loaded nachos – complete with chili con carne – but on thick cut fries instead of toasted tortilla chips, while Mamma Mia ($16++), is its Italian bolognese sauce counterpart.
As for dessert, you can’t go too wrong the classic Liege Waffle ($6++), the thick and chewier version preferred by the people of Liege compared to the fluffier Brussels-style waffle.
Where Kingdom of Belgians truly shines is its range of beers. We’d daresay it’s one of the few places left serving up a decent selection of Belgian beers, including the much vaunted Trappist beers. And while we expected to see Stella Artois and Hoegaarden on tap, we were stunned to see the likes of the far rarer Saison Dupont and Duchesse du Bourgogne – which you only find occasionally at select craft beer bars across town – available as core offerings on draft.
Its bottled beer list is by no means extensive – there are currently around 30 options available – it’s been a while since we’ve seen such a decent collection of Belgian beers, with bottles from iconic brands such as Delirium Tremens, Westmalle, Orval, Chimay, and St Bernardus. And the list is set to grow, according to its affable manager.
So if you’re hankering for some Belgian food and beer, Kingdom of Belgians beckons.
Kingdom of Belgians
Address 8 Rodyk St, #01-05/06, Singapore 238216 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 10pm Tuesdays to Thursdays; 5pm to 12am on Fridays; 11am to 12am on Saturdays; 11am to 10pm on Sundays; closed on Mondays
Tel (65) 6634 0500