BRUSSELS. Greetings, Döner Fans. It was with satisfaction that I watched Germany narrowly pip Sweden in Saturday’s World Cup match. Dr Döner still retains a degree of fondness for his former Heimat. However, by the time of writing, things have now changed. In these new circumstances, Dr Döner is all about de rode duivels (i.e. team Belgium).
Not that Dr Döner cares much for football. It is mostly an excuse to drink beer and eat kebab. And indeed, after the match we went for a kebab. I was lured into the alleyways of Schaarbeek by whispers of a street composed entirely of Turkish restaurants. Can such a place of wonder exist? It truly can. The street is called Chaussee de Haecht. Every building sells Turkish food in some form. It is now a fantasy of mine to cruise from one end of the street to the other, guzzling lahmacun, döner and ayran in an endless, gluttonous orgy.
Anyway, we managed to find a restaurant that was open and willing to serve us at this late hour. The restaurant was called Has Kebab. We ordered the Tepsi Kebap (basically a mix of everything) and a big jug of ayran. I spent the meal consoling a local Swede who had suffered cruel jibes at the hands of some nearby German fans during the match. Alas, the tables have since turned.
Has Kebab was full of Turkish families enjoying a good meal, which is always a good sign. As it was very busy, the service was a little slow and sporadic. When we finally got our massive plate of food, it was all worth it. The huge tray groaned under the weight of spiced mince kebabs, Turkish rice, bulgur, salad and bread. I tell you, Döner Fans, it was a sight to behold. Eating it outside, with boy racers zooming up the street and Turkish being spoken all around, I could almost imagine I was back in the glory days of Istanbul back in 2008. Ah, those were times…
The food itself was good, hearty fare. I will not say it was the best I’ve ever had, but it succeeded in scratching my kebab itch for the night. The meat was flavourful, and the portion was very generous. I must reserve especial praise for the bread, which was fresh, expertly seasoned, and delicious. It sat comfortably in my stomach as I waddled back through the backstreets of Schaarbeek and Saint-Josse on my way home.
My only niggle is that I felt a certain note of suspicion in the air between us and the staff. On my trips inside to use the facilities, I could feel mistrustful eyes following me. And when the time came to pay and we asked for tea, we were told that it was too late for tea. Any other day they would gladly have made us tea. But not today. Oh well. Still, don’t let it put you off if you’re looking for authentic Turkish food in Schaarbeek. Dr Döner will be back on Chaussee de Haecht sometime soon to sample the rest of the shops!
Service: 2/5 (sporadic)
Atmosphere: 3/5 (like certain parts of Istanbul)
Price: 3/5 (fair)
Taste: 4/5 (very nice)
Photographs by Dr. Döner