Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Menelas - a Greek tavern in Brussels

We were lost in our quest for T' Spinnekopke - a classic Brussels Tavern. Walking through the maze of streets south of Grand Place, we had to give up and find an alternative place to dine. This was how we found Menelas, our Greek tavern for the evening.

Location: BBB

Menelas is located in Rue du vieux Marché aux Grains, 25 - a dark, slightly scruffy street, as most are in this area of Brussels. It was a relatively short walk away from Grand Place - if you do not follow our walk, that is.

Service: BBBBB-

The best part of Menelas was the service. Our waiter and the rest of those connected to the restaurant were VERY nice and provided excellent service. They had an informal approach to us as guests, presented as small talk with a big smile.

We did not have to wait unnecessarily for either food and drink, and felt extremely comfortable in the Menelas atmosphere.

Interior: BBB+

The interior at Menelas was a far cry away from what I you would expect to find in a Greek restaurant. No brightly white and/or blue or terracotta coloured interiors as found in most Greek taverns I've visited. I found the interior a little outdated and uninteresting.

One large room decorated in gray-green and apricot or peach shades. There were three tables the middle of the room, and the others were placed along the walls with velvet sofas on one side and wooden chairs on the other side of tables in medium dark wood.

Tables along walls were placed too close to each other, whereas there were more space between the free-standing tables.

Food: BBB+

At Menelas you'll get a wide range of Greek starters, salads, Greek specials, fish and meat dishes, all reasonably priced, as you'll never pay more than 20 Euros for a dish.

I ordered Moussaka, a Greek specialty made from fresh aubergines, minced meat topped with cheese sauce (€13,50)

Moussaka is the Greek equivalent to the Italian Lasagna, and is as delicious when well prepared. Sadly the Moussaka served at Menelas did not rank as among the best I've eaten.

It looked delicious - a tomato based sauce served in a rustic ceramic dish with a thick layer of sliced aubergines in a white sauce with cheese topping.

Good texture, crispy crust on the cheese, good, mild cheese sauce, but the tomato sauce was bland.

The Moussaka was not well seasoned, as it had too little salt, pepper, and sugar to balance the acidity in the tomatoes.

Wine: BBB+

We ordered a Goumenissa 2006 made by the Boutari Wineries. It is made from 70% xynomavro and 30% negkoska grapes.

Delicate ruby colour. A decent wine, all in all, with a mature red fruit character (figs and cherries). It had delicate soft tannins in the finish and a long, pleasant after taste.

(Photo: Boutari website)

Rating the Menelas experience: BBBB- (3,68 points)

Excellent service, and reasonable priced lunch and dinners. My Moussaka did not provide me with those strong Greek vibes. A good place to drink, and have a good time, as the atmosphere is good, but I would hesitate to return there for another meal. Maybe some of you have another (and better) experience to share with us?

Rue du vieux Marché aux Grains, 25
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: 0032 2 512 67 39

See restaurant Menelas an other restaurants on this map of Brussels

Vis Brussels on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2009 i et større kart

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