BRUSSELS. Hello Döner Fans. Today, let me take you to Eat & Smile – a kebab shop on Place Jourdan whose name is also an instruction. Eat and Smile! Essen und Lächeln! Anyone found not doing both will be removed from the premises.
As fellow merrymakers of the night, you will know that Place Jourdan boasts a high concentration of pubs and bars. Of course, pubs and bars would be nothing without a kebab shop nearby, lurking like a hyena to pick off unwary drunks. A few weeks ago I left one of Place Jourdan’s pubs at closing time, smacking my lips at the thought of eating and smiling, only to find that the kebab shop had closed. It closes before the pubs do. Eat & Smile doesn’t want your filthy lucre, disgusting drunks! Eat & Smile will make its coin by honest means!
Factoring this in, I went back with my entourage another day at an earlier time to sample its wares.
Eat and Smile styles itself as a grill restaurant. This means that your meat is cooked horizontally over hot coals, as opposed to twisting vertically against an upright hot plate. Other than that, the concept is the same. I ordered the Dürüm Adana (spicy mince kebab) with all the trimmings.
The interior of the restaurant is rather classy for a kebab joint. The walls are done in bare brick and wooden planks. It is well lit and free of that sticky texture that often plagues the more humble kebab shop. You can watch your food being tenderly cooked on the grill before your eyes.
One advantage of Place Jourdan is that the pubs allow you to bring in food that you’ve bought on the square. The result is an exhilarating relay of people shuttling between the pubs and the fast food shops. Also it means that all the pubs smell of chips. We were keen to add our own meaty odours to the mix, and so my hungry companions and I headed back to the pub, clutching our freshly-grilled kebabs, to do just that.
My Dürüm Adana was all right, really, though not the best. It tasted no better than the sum of its parts. Some red cabbage had also managed to creep into the salad, which is always to be discouraged. However, if all you are looking for is ballast on which to pour a few pints of Belgian lager, then the kebabs at Eat&Smile will do just nicely. Assuming you are willing to foot the princely 4,80 EUR bill. This is more than you would usually pay for a kebab in Brussels, and to my mind it is more than that kebab is really worth.
Service: 3/5 (fine)
Atmosphere: 4/5 (classy for a kebab shop)
Price: 2/5 (above average)
Taste: 2/5 (meh)
Photographs by Dr. Döner