What’s new? Mission Masala and Rio pop-up in Ghent


Welcome to our new occasional column that keeps you up to date on new shops, restaurants, bars and all other good things in cities across Flanders and Brussels

On a mission

It started 15 years ago where all good things do – at Laundry Day in Antwerp. There’s no better place to meet people than at a massive dance festival, and it didn’t take Antwerp resident Tim long to fall for the Londoner Pavan, in town “temporarily”.

One thing led to another, and Pavan settled in the port city. Tim thought her authentic northern Indian dishes deserved a bigger audience than himself, so they started a food truck. It debuted in Ghent, in fact, and now they have one in Antwerp, too.

The “Desi Indian soul food” proved so popular, they opened a restaurant two years ago. Employing a whole street-food vibe, it boasts colourful vintage-looking signage, tiny tables and a whole lot of plants. And now, just today, they’ve opened a second location in Ghent.

Located at Bij Sint-Jacobs 19, an enviable spot in the heart of the city centre, Mission Masala serves up a similar menu to its Antwerp counterpart. This includes classic curries, crispy papadums and burgers with Indian accents like mango mayonnaise and tamarind sauce.

But Ghent being the vegetarian capital of Belgium, they expanded the menu to include more veggie options. These include Indian style tacos with tandoori portobello mushrooms and Boom Ting Butter Paneer, the veggie equivalent of butter chicken.

It’s the kind of food fusion that hipster restaurant-goers in Antwerp and Ghent absolutely adore, and the prices are also up their alley, ranging from €9 to €18.

Fashion forward: Rio pop-up

Ghent is certainly the place to be for fresh faces: Rio pop-up shop will open next weekend. Inspired by International Women’s Day, four female designers are coming together for one week only in the existing Rio Store in Ghent downtown shopping district.

Christina De Kerpel has run the multi-brand boutique Rio Store for eight years and has decided to call it quits. She’s going out with a bang with the pop-up, which will features some of her new mineral designs.

De Kerpel buys up minerals like quartz and agate from Brazil and forms them into decorative objects. These will be available in the pop-up along with Morobé’s funky shoes and boots and 42I54’s gorgeous sportswear.

Virginie Morobé launched her shoe line in 2015, all of them hand made in Italy and Portugal. The driving motto behind her work, she says, is that “we should base our outfits on our shoes, not the other way around”.

Finally, 42I54 is named for the 42.54 seconds it took for athletes Elodie Ouedraogo and Olivia Borlée to – together with their teammates – win silver in the 100m relay in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Four years ago, when it was revealed that the Russian winners were on illegal substances, that silver became gold, and that’s when Ouedraogo and Borlée launched their line of striking sportswear.

“The woman of today combines her career with a family and a social life,” the pair said in a statement. “More than ever before, she needs a total look that responds to that reality.”

The Rio pop-up shop is open from 7-14 March. After the Rio shop will close for good.