It might strike you as untimely that I am posting a fresh café review in these times. It shoudn’t.
I am writing this piece with the confidence that all of the wonderful coffee shops will reopen once this crisis has abated and we will, once again, be able to visit and support them.
Our coffee community needs positive signals and encouragement to get through this difficult time and I hope that my unwavering effort to promote my best finds will help us to stay strong.
When my partner Michal and I went to Brussels for a short weekend visit prior to shutdowns coming into effect a few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of visiting two great coffee bars. One was Buddy Buddy and the other was Fika.
On Sunday morning, Michal and I left the hotel in search of a tasty breakfast but we struggled to find anything that was open.
Our path led us towards Fika whose shutters were still down although a sweet scent of freshly baked treats was escaping from underneath and we were hopeful that it’d be open for business just after 9 am.
We were in luck. We took a seat by the street-facing window and waited for founder, head baker and barista Joana Soulara to emerge from her kitchen to take our orders.
A gorgeous loaf of homemade brioche had just come out of the oven and was enticing us with its golden colour. Next to it, sat a pile of handcrafted cinnamon buns that Fika is well known for.
Fika is, after all, the Swedish term used to describe that moment you take out of your busy schedule to enjoy a cup of coffee, a pastry and a nice chat with your friends.
The coffee she serves also comes from the Nordics, mainly from April Coffee Roasters in Copenhagen, as well as some local roasters like Café Capitale who provides the espresso blend.
You might be fooled into thinking that the café is quite small but as it turns out, it is narrow, long and has a massive garden overlooking the back of the church of St. Boniface of Ixelles.
When Joana brought our coffees, she told us she was open to trying to put her space to more varied use and host things like openair film screenings or other types of events. “I’m just not very good at marketing haha,” she laughed.
As one of Europe’s most important capitals, Brussels has largely been a bit of a backwater with regards to specialty coffee. Since my first visit there a few years ago and consequent visits since then, only a handful of really good places opened. Find more of them here.
Yet, it is little gems like Fika that artfully blends into its surroundings and offers heart-warming hospitality coupled with delicious coffee and great pastries that make Brussels such an underdog.
I’m glad we got a chance to meet Joana and have such a peaceful Sunday breakfast at Fika. Hopefully, you’ll also get to visit when things go back to normal.