Surprises can be right around the corner, and sometimes quite literally, as was the case for Knees to Chin. We must have passed their Brussels center restaurant dozens of times, without thinking it would actually be a candidate for our blog. Then all of a sudden, we noticed people drinking some Dutch craft beer here! One might expect beers from a microbrewery like De Kromme Haring in a specialised bar—we actually attended a meet-the-brewer and tap takeover with these guys at GIST a while back—but not quite in a Vietnamese street food restaurant. Of course, now we had to check the place out!
Knees to Chin has four restaurants in Brussels, and recently even opened another one in Ghent as well. The speciality of the house is the Vietnamese dish gỏi cuốn, or rice paper rolls.
Even though the restaurant is the brain child of two Brussels sisters, they pride themselves of using a team of cooks exclusively from Vietnam, in all of their restaurants, and each of them with their own culinary knowledge from the region they’re originally from.
Our knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine, on the other hand, is rather limited. Still, it wasn’t too hard to find something on the menu we would like. We settled on a green asparagus rice paper roll, two minced chicken rice paper rolls, and the spring special, the pork belly bánh mì. They were served to us sliced in half, and with a selection of easy squeezy sauce bottles. Our verdict? We really liked them, and for something so full of vegetables, lactose free, and very low in gluten, those rice paper rolls are deceptively filling! And since they’re served cold, it’s perfect heat wave food.
Beer, but not from here…
The beer menu was limited to just three beers, but all of them from small—but out-of-town—brewers. The Fugu saison and Wahoo IPA are, as already mentioned, made by De Kromme Haring, a brewpub in Utrecht. The third beer is Pony’s, a session IPA created by Eentjevanthuis, a gipsy brewer in Ghent. You might remember this beer from our Rambo review, where it somehow made its way to as well. And that is all! But as supporters of small, independent breweries, we rather see a small beer menu like this, than one supplemented with ‘big beer’!
Unfortunately though, the restaurant doesn’t seem to have any proper beer glasses, and the plain water glasses are rather thick, and not rinsed before serving. With these temperatures, that of course doesn’t really help to keep the beer cold…
Rolls Box Club
Even though there are quite a few tables to sit down for lunch or dinner, the focus of these restaurants is take-out. Rice paper rolls are street food after all! Unfortunately, take-out food usually comes with a lot of disposable packaging. However, Knees to Chin has the perfect solution for regulars to minimise this: the Rolls Box, a metal Vietnamese lunch box, that perfectly fits the rice paper rolls and sauce. And to incentivise people to actually buy and use it, after every tenth use you earn a free rice paper roll.
Just make sure you also properly recycle the beer can after you finished your beer!
- A large variety of rice paper rolls
- Some sides and seasonal specials, like a pork belly bánh mì
What have people been drinking here recently?
- Cristi O. is drinking a Wahoo at Knees to Chin
- Matthew G. is drinking a Pony’s at Knees to Chin
- Kurt V. is drinking a Pony’s at Knees to Chin
- Femke G. is drinking a Pony’s at Knees to Chin
- Martijn K. is drinking a Wahoo at Knees to Chin
- Hannah C. is drinking a Pony’s at Knees to Chin
- fabio t. is drinking a Wahoo at Knees to Chin
- Eduards S. is drinking a Fugu / Saison De Klub at Knees to Chin
- Jan V. is drinking a Dusky Mosaic-Amarillo at Knees to Chin
- J K. is drinking a Kriek at Knees to Chin