Contributor, Monika, takes us on a trip to the Mediterranean, without leaving Brussels, Belgium, at Zorba, Greek Restaurant, in Etterbeek.
I have always loved the flavours of Greek cuisine; even more so after a wonderful Greek vacation, last year. Brussels offers a number of Greek restaurants where you can experience this wonderful Mediterranean cuisine and I have frequented a few: Strofilia, near Place Catherine (upmarket, nice decor, decent food, but overpriced); Koyzina Authentica, in Uccle, where I haven’t been able to make a reservation despite my best efforts. (I don’t know whether they are super busy or closed more days than open. But hey guys are you listening?) That brings us to Zorba, a small family run restaurant in Place Jourdan.
Zorba is a cosy little restaurant and looks like a family run business. The service is warm and accommodating, even to a toddler, who kept them busy. The seating is very close, as the restaurant is small – an effect more exaggerated by the pink walls. (I wish they could change the colour of their walls; it will also have a positive effect on the appetite of the clients)
My other half ordered a lager beer, Mythos, which came with some appetisers. There were some olives, a small salad, fried croutons, and a wonderfully delicious dip made of aubergine.
They could have done better with olives, though the salad was crunchy and fresh, despite the fact I know the same salad would have tasted better in Greece itself with the deliciousness of the Mediterranean produce.
We then ordered a cold mezze platter, which seemed to be a favourite among other clients as well. The platter included feta cheese, lamb chops, shrimps, calamari, dolmadakia, a filo pastry with cheese filling, and also the Greek dips: tzatziki and taramasalata.
The lamb chop was delightful, with the right marinade and the perfect ‘bite’, and it paired perfectly with the tzatziki, which was also delicious. I also liked the Dolmadakia, a wrap made of grape leaves with a rice filling, which was flavoured appropriately with different herbs. The calamari was freshly fried, with their own homemade batter, though I think the calamari itself was the frozen variety. The shrimp and the filo pastry were satisfactory, however, the taramasalata was nothing much to write about.
I have always relished casseroles, especially Greek Moussaka, which represents a perfect blend of meat and vegetables delicately balanced with tomato sauce and topped with béchamel sauce. It’s a hearty meal, in itself, with a layer of potatoes thrown in. Zorba’s moussaka didn’t disappoint and was definitely the ‘high point’ of the meal. The chef takes special pride in the dish, as I could see when he was spooning the dish into takeaways. (Yes, they do takeaways too.) The moussaka was simply delish, with the mincemeat, aubergine, and potatoes held together perfectly, bite after bite, infused with the delicious warmth of the tomato sauce. The béchamel had puffed up well, providing a suitable topping to the layers. The sauce was delectable and it gave a luscious sweetness to the meat and vegetable layers.
The restaurant is conveniently located on Place Jourdan, so there is more to look forward to than Maison Antoine’s fries. The restaurant has simple, home-style Greek cuisine and warmth, typical of family run restaurants. There is an earnestness that is unmistakable, but they need to improve on the efficiency and the professional aspect of the service (and if they manage to change their pink walls, all the better!)
Go there for the moussaka… it’s simply irresistible!
Zorba Greek Restaurant
Place Jourdan 38,
1040 Etterbeek, Brussels