But it’s bright daylight now, so we pick a seat next to the open window with a view of the Museum of Fine Arts. As it gets closer to lunchtime, the terrace seating starts to fill up, and we’re overcome with a distinctly Parisian feeling. The dining room is charming, with high ceilings and lots of wood. There’s a gorgeous French wine cabinet against one wall, filled with bottles from France, Italy, Spain, Chile and Australia, among others. The bistro carries more than 200 wines; it’s almost a pity we are here for breakfast.
William takes our orders: three large breakfasts and three equally large café macchiatos. The coffees are perfectly pulled, with three layers of steamed milk, espresso and foam.
We’ve arrived at the tail end of breakfast and, as a result, there is only one croissant left. He gladly replaces the missing item with a soft-boiled egg. I don’t miss my croissant, for there is an enormous basket of assorted bread on the table, quality pieces of multi-grain and white sliced extra thick.
Breakfast comes with butter, jam and chocolate spread. Next to this is a delightful glass platter covered in paper-thin cured ham, creamy Brie cheese, Gouda, cherry tomatoes and an assortment of fruit, including strawberries, melon, grapes, dates and gooseberries. We are also treated to fresh-squeezed orange juice in stem glasses.
The coffees are so good, we order another round as we take our time trying, unsuccessfully, to finish everything on our platter. Meanwhile, the lunch-goers around us are tucking into finelooking dishes of quiche, lasagne, homemade soup and salad. It’s fair to say that Patine is a great place to visit at any time of day; in the evening they often host live concerts, and you can even spend the night in the upstairs B&B. So there’s no excuse for not exploring the extensive wine list.
Leopold De Waelplaats 1, Antwerp; 03.257.09.19
Kitchen: Mon-Fri 12.00-15.00 & 18.00-22.00; Sat 12.00-22.00; Sun & holidays 12.00-20.00
Cosy wine bistro, popular brunch spot and bed & breakfast