Notos. A love story that started with olives, oil and honey. Like all Greek love stories.
The story so far
Notos. Sounds Greek doesn’t it? Well because it is. Notos meaning ‘south’ in Greek, is a gem of a restaurant in Brussels. Started by Constatin Erinkoglou in the 1990s, Notos focuses on Greek food heritage, each product telling its own individual story. What used to be a small little Greek restaurant in the Saint Boniface area of Brussels is now a slick, modern restaurant just off Place Chatelaine.
We have been to Notos before. Granted, for dinner rather than lunch and loved it. Leave all your misconceptions about Greek tavernas at the door, as here we are talking sophisticated, minimalist Greek. Capturing the impressions visually? Crisp white linen, shining glass and warm wood. The whole restaurant atmosphere focuses on the food and not on the decor as such. Which in itself is a great way of re-discovering Greece.
For our Notos tasting lunch we were served a sample menu, taking us through a journey of the Greek culinary culture. The food was exquisite and very different from what we probably all associate with Greece (and Greek holidays). A platter of starters – bar with citrus fruits, tarama (…none of the pink stuff supermarkets sell, btw …), grilled octopus, marinated scallops … a delight for our taste buds.
Followed by the most delicious discovery, a mash of Santorini favas with lightly dried tomatoes and capers. The feast continued with slow cooked lamb surrounded by mild spices, and finished with a light semolina dessert with masticha. All served with delicious, creamy white wine from Crete and a well rounded red, from Naoussa. For the wine lovers the list of Greek wines on offer is worth a look.
This time – as well as on our previous visits – the food was both new and familiar. I love the fact that traditional Greek ingredients are used in a modern way, so the culinary surprise is constant when eating at Notos. Just don’t expect moussaka!
Service with a smile
The restaurant aims high and the service is up to exactly those standards. Efficient, polite, non-intrusive. A bit more time and a Michelin star might not be far off …
If you are looking for a sophisticated, culinary discovery then Notos should be on your list. Eating at Notos doesn’t come cheap (menus range from 40e to 70e) but the food and the overall dining experience is a far cry from the usual Greek restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I love a simple Greek taverna. But sometimes it is nice to go all out, eat in a sophisticated restaurant and be surprised!