Nestling in a side street off the Chaussee de Waterloo in Saint-Gilles, the Fernand Obb Delicatessen might attract no more attention than any other small but smart café and caterer in the city. Were it not for the fact that this modest establishment has just won the award for the best prawn croquette in Brussels for the second year in a row, competing against 18 rivals including famous restaurants such as Chez Leon, Les Brasseries Georges and Aux Armes de Bruxelles
Fernand Obb’s founder and chef Cédric Mosbeux has held the accolade ever since it was established two years ago. Last weekend the judging took place at the eat! BRUSSELS drink! BORDEAUX festival in the Parc de Bruxelles. A jury of earnest food journalists led by Lionel Rigolet of Comme Chez Soi carried out a blind tasting in public, munching their way through serious quantities of the typical Belgian delicacy before reaching their decision.
Mosbeux admits that the new award came as a surprise. “We didn’t expect it. Already the first time it was mad. This time it’s even crazier!” Fernand Obb only opened its doors in March 2018, and yet its award-winning reputation has already attracted long queues of foodies eager to discover the famous croquettes.
“It was quite a weekend,” says Mosbeux, adding that he’s “a little tired”. No sooner was the award announced than he was off to spread the gospel of great Belgian food at the Festival des Tastes en Minervois, in the south of France, preparing several hundred plates of boudin and frites, prawn croquettes and gauffrites – potato waffles – another of the unique and original delicacies that have established Fernand Obb’s name in Brussels. Although the award has been a “gift” in building the business, He has no plans for expansion at the moment. “We’ll see,” he remarks coolly.
What is the secret of “the best” croquettes? Mosbeux explains simply. “We have more prawns in ours, some others don’t put in many,” he suggests. The prize was awarded on a range of criteria, including crunchiness, taste and the quality of the prawns. It means that Fernand Obb Delicatessen can again use the accolade of “best prawn croquette in Brussels” throughout the coming year.