We had done the unthinkable. “Never have I seen this since I worked here”, the lady had said. Blasphemy. As we walked out of the Comptoir Liegeois, we were greeted with beaming smiles. The only ones we had seen the whole little while of our waffle moment.
Who could have guessed, really. The Comptoire liégeois looked so warm and fuzzy; the kind of coffee place you see all over lifestyle magazines. The kind that makes you think of your grandma’s loving vibe, crossed with your sophisticated young cousin’s good taste. That modern-vintage thing going on around town these days. We hadn’t seen each other for some time. As we took our seats, we devoured the menu with our eyes. We had spotted that place from two streets down, and had decided it would be worth the stop. Even before unpacking. Even before settling the apartment. The charming little setup was simply ir-re-si-sti-ble!
That is when a really annoyed-looking old woman came to take in our orders. Oh, she was in a foul mood, this one. You could tell it wasn’t her day. First, my friend ordered an open sandwich, after trying about three other items on the menu, which were not available. I followed suite, but got a very scolding look when I asked her to repeat some details about the long and rather complicated description she had previously ushered for a particular sandwich my friend inquired about a little earlier.
And then it came. The unthinkable. The outrageous. The blasphemy.
– Hm… I think I’d like this white hot chocolate with pralines.
– We don’t serve those.
– This one here? (pointing to the menu)
– Yes, it’s a hot chocolate to go.
– To go?
– It comes in a paper cup. And you add hot water to it. It’s to make at home, while you go out. It doesn’t come in a pretty cup. (she explains to my friend)
I stare at the counter. The restaurant is empty. Entirely empty. And rows and rows of mugs sit face down near the espresso machine.
An awkward silence ensues. The awkward silence perdures a little.
– If you really want, I guess I can make it for you and you can drink it at the table.
– That would be lovely, my friend answers with a smile.
What seems like ages later, the meals come to the table. The beautiful sandwiches. The sweet, sweet waffle…
And then the drinks. Oh, the drinks.
The first one, perfect. Just as I had imagined it. The hot chocolate steaming hot, the whipped cream atop it slowly, slowly melting.
I was delighted.
Then the second drink came. In a cup. In a paper cup. Served with a very menacing frown. Oh no, this was no ordinary hot chocolate. It was the Forbidden To-Go Praline White Hot Chocolate. We laughed it off and delighted in each other’s company. Catching up on stories of travels and adventures. We were happy and excited to share each other’s company!
Some new patrons had appeared, one to the table on our left, another to the table behind us. We were lively in a place that had previously looked stale. Beautiful, but lacking soul. Lacking life, a human touch… It was one of those paradoxes of life, that someone so austere could possibly open such an inviting place, only to keep it a hush-hush, posh-posh place. I guess in the magazines, cozy salons are silent – images don’t speak!
It took me a few weeks with another group of friends to finally hit the good spot for waffles, crêpes and the like. And because I’m nice, I’ll share with you 😉
I’m unsure of whether the place actually has a physical address, but I can tell you just how to get there. You go from the Grande place and make your way to Rhiour. On your way, you will pass towards a Decathlon mini-store and a Kawaii store. Just there, at the intersection near the Brioche Dorée and the oddly coloured mural, you will find it. And you will know it is there probably much ahead of time, as you spot the long lineup of lovers and families craving their goodie.
And you’ll leave with a smile on your face, both for the deliciously fluffy and airy waffle in your hand, and for the joke the woman at the counter will have delightfully made as she quickly handed you the change.
Now that‘s service!