I have always had a soft spot for Greek food. The Greek Orthodox church in my hometown threw an annual Greek festival that attracted thousands of people over several days. My family has many happy memories of indulging in delectable baklava, spanakopita and gyros under a tent in the church parking lot.
Strofilia, in the heart of central Brussels, offers a more refined Greek menu in a more sophisticated, and quite unusual, setting.
When you enter off the Varkensmarkt, the first impression is high modern. The lighting is bright, pink and orange are abundant, natural wood wine boxes decorate the walls, white tables and chairs are set out in a long row.
But head to the back room to enter a completely different setting – and another century. This former wine warehouse from the turn of the last century is now a charming hall with walls of exposed brick and subtle lighting that manages to be both large and cosy. You can also take a spin through their 17th-century cellar, which is reserved for group events and has yet another feel.
Then, of course, there is the food. You choose from a selection of meze; plan on four to five for two people. A few dishes feature special Greek ingredients, such as mastiha, made from the sap of the lentisk tree, which grows only on the Greek island of Chios. The menu recommends enjoying a subset of the meze with ouzo (I recommend it, too), and they also offer a wide variety of Greek wines.
I have visited Strofilia on several occasions and have rarely been disappointed – favourites include their creamy tzatziki and the white tarama spread, enjoyed with airy bread. They offer fresh green salads, both warm and cold, and Greek cheeses, such as feta and halloumi, in several preparations.
Warm dishes include a lovely grilled fish, meat skewers and a variety of meze involving deep-fried balletjes. The portions are small and sharable, and if you plan well, you will easily have room for one of their desserts, along with a strong Greek coffee or tea.