Do you know those traditions you have with certain friends? The ones you don’t see often, but when you do, you always end up doing the same thing? Meeting up to bake biscuits, or going to that pizza place in town, or going on a crazy shopping spree. Every time. Well, I have this friend with whom I like to go out for brunch on a Sunday. Once, maybe twice a year we see each other. And then we brunch.
Only problem: in Leuven, almost everything is closed on Sunday. Our options are very limited. So the last few years, we have been going to Bar Louis, on the Leuven Grote Markt. The interior is extravagant and even luscious. Shiny objects making the light shoot all directions, leather couches filled with fluffy shiny pillows, etc. It is definitely not my style, but for some reason it really works. You feel very fancy while sipping your coffee, that’s for sure. The food is very nice as well. But there are two massive downsides. First of all, their waiting system is far from effective. Certain bartenders can only take orders / serve food, and other will then take care of the payment. As such, if you would like to pay some time soon after finishing your drinks or food, you are best off asking for the bill the first time already when ordering. A second time when getting your food. And after that every five minutes. Other downside: when that bill does come, it will make you sad. I guess half of the price you pay for the location, since you’re sitting on the beautiful market square. Apart from that, the food (and service) really aren’t worth all that money.
So I went on a little google spree to see where else we could go for a Sunday Brunch. And what I found, was perfect. This Sunday, me and my brunch friend went to Bar Stan. It isn’t located in the centre of town, but since Leuven is not big at all, that is far from a problem. If anything, it is easier to reach and find parking. For me, it was just a 10 minute cycle from home, like almost everything else in Leuven.
We booked a table for 10.30h, and thank goodness we did. The small cafe had definitely overcome it’s not very obvious location and developed a large and loyal clientele. We were sat down at an old school bench on wobbly old chairs exactly like the ones at my old primary school. Definitely very different from the Bar Louis, going from super fancy to very approachable and wonderfully nostalgic. The vibe was what I would call medium hipster. There were definitely a few hipster families there (you know, those moms and dads with their kids in designer but locally produced clothes, probably a four-year-old sun wearing a bowtie, having a bicycle parked outside with a big tub in front to drive the kids around, and quite likely some small odd looking but very expensive pet waiting for them at home, a pitbull with a little coat on, or maybe even a big tortoise in the garden). But thank goodness there were also awfully normal people there, not pretending to be “different” and “alternative” while being exactly the same like any other hipster. Now before my post turns into an anti-hipster rant, let me tell you about the food.
The Sunday brunch was advertised as a brunch buffet, and what buffet it was! There was crispy bacon (exactly the way bacon should be, not soggy and chewy and not that crispy that it breaks into a thousand small bacon pieces when you put your fork in it) and scrambled eggs. Hmm, you might say. That is not much for a warm breakfast buffet. What about other types of eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, sausages, maybe some pancakes. True, this Brunch was definitely not trying to be an English or American breakfast. Which I kinda liked, because those breakfasts I can make myself quite easily. Instead, it offered a whole range of cold foods. There was a couscous with cherry tomatoes and coriander. Smoked salmon with a yoghurt sauce on the side. Spanish hame with sun dried tomatoes. Egg salad. Tuna salad. A whole range of different cheeses. White bread, brown bread, bread with pumpkin seeds and bread with raisins. Yoghurt, granola, and all sorts of fruit. Filter coffee (filter coffee!!!!) and fresh orange juice included, plus a whole range of teas and interesting sounding juices to choose from.
I went for seconds, and thirds, and yes, even fourths. Every single thing I tried was more than delicious. There was a nice and relaxed Sunday atmosphere. And I had a lovely chat with my brunch friend. Sunday Brunch at Bar Stan: successful. We will be back in, say, half a year!