Ergon is a very humble-looking Greek deli, but don’t let this fool you. Grab a seat inside the light, loud shop, and you can be served the most impressive delicacies. Their balsamic-glazed grilled octopus with fava bean puré and fried bean balls is a sweet, smoky bliss. If you’re feeling cold and want something densely filling, their beef ragu with orzo pasta and greek cheese is incredibly satisfying – like a rich, silky bolognese with big chunks of steak.
They also serve a highly recommendable spread of dips, including aubergine tartar, spicy feta paste, squid ink tsatsiki and hummus. You can sample some Greek herbal teas, which are still foraged off cliff slopes around the country. In addition to all the great things above, Ergon is good value for money. I look forward to returning an evening with plentiful time, to sample all their meze snacks.
My friend Jenny who first spotted this place is an Ergon fan because they serve Greek food at its best. With five years in Athens, and a degree in classical archeology and ancient history, I trust her judgment on this, and eat there happily.
|Ergon, Rue du Parnasse 1, 1050 Ixelles
Fancy toasties makes for a light lunch in the EU quarter on Thursdays.
Today is Thursday, which is good news for bureaucratic toastie lovers – Keep on toasting is parked up in Square de Meeûs by the European Parliament. They have a simple concept – four different kinds of Croque monsieur and one kind of dessert. They do exactly what’s on the box – a very good croque. One might think that five euros is a bit excessive for two bits of bread with some cheese and ham, but the small touches make it all worth it. I so far only tried the croque-summer with ham, cheese, pineapple and tomato relish. The bread is of outmost importance for a dish such as this, and it is deliciously fried to crisp perfection. The tomato relish has strong notes of thyme, which works wonders with the soft pineapple. And the ham serving was generous – it all works beautifully. Perfect for a sunny October break in the park.
Fresh, personable mediterranean meze stop in handy distance from the EU institutions.
Kitchen 151 serves up mediterranean meze-like dishes and fresh mains with outmost elegance. Their lovely waitor/chef readily tells his guests everything about the menu, and the house wine is sweet and deep. In the almost Scandinavian decoration of the light and wooden-decked restaurant, a Swede feels quite at home. This first time I visited I had their fresh fish kebab with a mild turmeric sauce. Most recently I enjoyed a gorgeous salad with tender asparagus, grilled sweet cherry tomatoes and courgette, pine nuts, sun-dried tomato and thyme dressing.
But the starters are the real stars – you share a few (or many) meze, which comes with fresh Turkish bread and incredibly smooth, almost milky Tahini. Their raita is to die for, the lentil salad fresh and bursting with zingyness and coriander. I like my baba ganoush a bit smokier than their variety, but who cares when everything else is so enjoyable?
Johan telling stories in Kitchen 151