Loud rock music, high tables, a big screen hanging above the patio windows that give out onto the quays of the Scheldt River… Café Ernst, the beer and wine bar from Lien Ceulemans and Diederik De Gryze, checks off all the boxes for a rowdy pub. And yet the drinks menu is as serious as Stallone in Rambo: impressive natural wines, beers sourced from Belgium and abroad (featuring the experimental beers from Mikkeller Baghaven), hard ciders produced by Cidernations and pear cider from Johanna Cécillon. We let ourselves be tempted by all of the following: Wilder Satz, a citrusy German white from Brand Bros served by the glass (€6.90), Kuisko, a Slovenian skin-contact Chardonnay from Kmetija Stekar (€59 a bottle) or Jambe de Bois, a triple lager from the Brasserie de la Senne (€4.90 for 500 ml). And if you’re feeling peckish, there’s spicy sardine pâté, cheese, a nut mix, olives and nachos to nibble on (€2.50 to €13.50). // Toni Negroni
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