Alice, Ghent

Paris wannabe lives up to the expectations of its muse

This cute little cafe is trying very hard to convince you that you’re in Paris. It almost worked. On the lookout for some elevenses, I sought out Alice, across the river and close to St Michael’s Church. You enter via a rather elegant corridor, which makes it feel as if you’re in the home of a very fashionable relative. The cafe itself is not quite so tastefully decorated, with prints of artworks matched rather randomly as wallpaper, and an abundance of pink and pastels. The branding is suspiciously similar to that of Ladurée, but I doubt they’ll mind.

The slight feeling of ‘fakeness’ to the decor is carried through to the waitresses who wear uniforms akin to the horrendous French maid outfits you find in fancy dress shops, just with more lace. They’re clearly going for an elegant, modern take on Antoinette, but sadly fail to pull it off. They were however incredibly friendly, and the cafe had a very warm atmosphere.

There were bustling groups of people around me chatting and enjoying their breakfasts, and for all its faux-Parisian posturing, it was a bit of a refreshing change from the try-hard hipness of some of the other places I went in Ghent.

There is a good range of breakfast and lunch options to choose from. I went for the quite light option of a cappuccino and some French toast. Both were relatively expensive, but by this point I had got used to food in Ghent being on the pricier side. The cappuccino was pleasantly rich, and the French toast, though simple, was very tasty.

The rest of the food on offer looked delicious. They have slightly random opening hours, as seems normal in Ghent, so do check (and don’t necessarily trust Google) before making your way there.

If you’re looking for a little slice of Paris in the heart of Flemish-speaking Belgium, you’re better off just buying some maracons. If you’re after a good selection of food and a cheerful atmosphere, in a slightly quieter part of town, Alice will certainly do well for you.

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