The interior of Madame Brussels is one part Alice in Wonderland and one part your crazy aunt’s house with indoor AstroTurf, brick paving, pastel-coloured patio furniture and doilies. Wait staff flit about in cheeky tennis whites: tight white shorts for the men and short tennis dresses for the ladies. No doubt you’ve drunk punch on the terrace on a steamy summer’s night, or poured mulled wine into a floral tea cup during the black depths of winter, but have you ever been there in the daytime? Madame Brussels is surprisingly chilled on a lazy Saturday afternoon; a far cry from the hysteria of Friday and Saturday nights. There’s space to spread out on the sunny terrace, and the staff have significantly more time for flirting, even offering pink blankets when it’s chilly.
Snacks consist of very dainty treats such as toasted chicken sandwiches cut into triangles, while bite-sized sausage rolls are flecked with vegetables and wrapped in buttery pastry. A capsicum dip is a little lacklustre, but the generous cheese platter compensates with three kinds of breads (fruit, white and lavoche crackers), three kinds of cheese (gooey brie, stinky blue and reliable cheddar), crisp pear and grapes. If you’re organised, call ahead and book in for their afternoon tea. You’ll be pleased to see their fluffy scones, piled high with strawberry jam and cream, and cupcakes with a blinding, hot-pink icing. Jugs of Pimms are mandatory here. A meal in themselves, they’re bursting with strawberries, oranges and cucumber and very, very drinkable. Madame Brussels is not just a woman of the night: she’s also very fine during the day.