Remember when I told you I can pass by a place a 100 times and not actually go in? Well Chana Pakora & Falafel is one of those. Very much on my morning-to-work as well as afternoon-to-home route, I pass by Chana practically every day. And every day I tell myself: I have to go in and try their food!
One sunny lunch time we finally did.
With the sun being so rare in Brussels, we decided to sit outside on the Parvis de Saint Gilles rather than in the cozy little restaurant behind the big glass windows. Which granted makes for way overexposedphotos … but I take the sun anytime over good photos. This is how much I miss the sun and heat in Brussels.
Seated – amongst lots of other lunch goers, all soaking in the little bit of Brussels sun – at long shared tables, we made our choice: 2 menus (simply named menu 1 and menu 2) and 2 ISIS soft drinks (I know, right?!).
The restaurant is run by Ali, a Pakistani settled in Brussels, and means literally ‘chickpeas’ (chana). The menu is very much based around falafel (which I l-o-v-e) and offers a lot of vegetarian options – humus, baba ganoush (aubergine paste for you and me), onion pakoras, feta salad and so on.
The pita breads are made on the spot as is the rest of the food.
Now about the food.
Once our menus arrived we digged in. First note: do not order 2x the menus. Although we thought they would be quite different so we could pick and share, besides the feta salad, the Chana Pakora & Falafel menus are identical. Practically, we had too much of everything.
I was also a little bit disappointed with the falafels – as I absolutely love them – as they were a bit on the dry side and way too tiny. The baba ganoush was very tasty (although miles different than the one we make in Romania) as were the pita breads. The pita breads are all made on site as well so I guess that adds to their deliciousness. The feta salad was more a tomato / cucumber salad with a little bit of feta (again, miles away from the traditional Greek salad I kind of expected).
However! The big pita breads people ordered around us looked and smelled delicious! Next time we will order those for sure instead of the menu.
All in all Chana Pakora & Falafel is a very nice little restaurant banking on the current bio and vegetarian trend. Honestly, I hope it will survive and stay to offer a somewhat different type of food, more healthy and conscious than a lot of the restaurants around. A great alternative for vegetarians and gluten intolerants. Yes … the understated, warm decor inside is also very much worth a visit, which you have probably seen now on several other foodie blogs.
And if anyone can tell me who the potter is behind all the gorgeous earthy pottery Chana uses … I will love you forever!