Bite - Paul’s Boutique
If the name Paul’s Boutique rings a bell, perhaps it’s because the Kortrijk restaurant made front-page news last week when owner Paul Drèze gave his business a temporary name change. “Paul’s Winkeltje” was a tongue-in-cheek way of protesting against alderman Rudolf Scherpereel’s request for all shops and restaurants in the city to use Dutch rather than French names.
Let’s ignore for a moment that Paul’s Boutique is the name of a Beastie Boys album, which points more to Paul’s penchant for hip-hop music than his desire to give his restaurant a French-sounding name.
Politics aside, Paul’s is first and foremost known as a quality hamburger joint. My partner and I take our dog there on a sunny afternoon because we know it has a spacious front terrace. And then there’s our persistent hankering for a good cheeseburger.
For just €20, we get two giant burgers on crispy warm buns, a bowl of thick fries, dipping sauces and bitterballen, a Dutch snack of meat ragout balls, breaded and deep-fried.
My Manifesto burger is topped with a fried egg and salty bacon strips, a bit like breakfast on a bun. The patty is thinner than I expected, but still juicy and made with 100% beef. Across the table, my partner’s devouring a burger smeared with green pesto and stacked high with lettuce, tomato, onion, parmesan and mozzarella. It seems to be the Italian burger and not the Super Cheese that we ordered, but he’s too hungry to make a fuss.
We have no complaints about the portions, though, as neither of us is able to finish it all off. But that may also be because we grow a bit tired of the flavour-packed burgers towards the end. I start to wish I had ordered just the plain and simple hamburger with cheese (known here as the Paris Texas burger).
Don’t be put off by Paul’s location right outside the giant shopping mall K in Kortrijk. The atmosphere is very laid-back and enjoyable, especially outside where there’s plenty of seating at long picnic tables with cheerful tablecloths. Just be sure to get there early because Paul’s is a tiny place and only open until 20.00, around which time it can get quite busy.
Kleine Sint-Jansstraat 15, Kortrijk; 04184.108.40.206
Mon-Fri 10.00-20.00; Sat 10.00-19.00
A variety of tasty hamburgers, including several vegetarian, with fries and bitterballen