Food for the soul
The passion of two expat sisters, a new restaurant in Brussels is quietly serving 'smart food' to heal the body, mind and soul.
Discreetly located in the historic Marolles district of Brussels, near the Sablon, there is a new dining experience to be found.
It is where food is served to heal the body, mind and soul while satisfying the taste buds: promoting smart food, the restaurant Soul aims to combine pleasure with
Open since spring last year, it is the brainchild of two Finnish expat sisters, Nina and Linda Rosas, both of whom relocated to Belgium about 11 years ago.
Nina, 30, and Linda 24, both business degree graduates in Brussels and Edinburgh respectively, are devoted to preparing delicious fusion cuisine using seasonal organic ingredients.
Inspired by a mother and a father who are both good cooks, food played an important role in their lives from an early age.
Travelling and exploring food in different countries increased the interest — so much so that they decided to turn a passion into a profession.
Opening your mind
One of the main motivations Nina and Linda have is to open people's mind to healthy food and prompt them to about what they eat and how it affects their body and mind.
Stressing that it's easy to forget that healthy food can also be tasty, creative and different, the two sisters also hope to help improve people's relationship with food.
"I realised how easily people were popping pills when they can get the same healing effect if they eat the right food. People don't usually think that a meal can heal and how food can affect your mood and emotional intelligence, for instance," Nina says.
There are already a variety of vegetarian and organic restaurants in Brussels, but the Rosas' aim is to further push the boundaries of dining, avoid the vegetarian restaurant concept and find tasty recipes that combine fruit, vegetables and grains without using butter, cream, refined sugars and additives.
"As well as attracting customers already interested in healthy eating, we want to offer people an alternative eating experience, but also a dining option for people who have food allergies and want to eat out. It's something reassuring for them," Linda says.
This is particularly relevant given the fact that people are considering a healthier option due to current food related diseases and the rising level of obesity.
Though Nina suggests Soul is a little ahead of its time, she envisions more of these sorts of restaurants appearing around Brussels in future.
The power of food
The culinary principle at Soul is simple; believe in the natural power of food and make the very best of seasonal produce.
"Every Wednesday, we go to the organic market on Place de la Monnaie and that's where we decide the dishes for the specials menu. We buy seasonal fruit, vegetables, meat and fish," the sisters explain.
The chefs are inspired by the nourishing capabilities of every ingredient to invent healthy and delicious meals. The menu includes several meals that are naturally rich in calcium such as quinoa with mushrooms, seaweed, feta, nuts and seeds.
Magnesium and protein found in fish and chicken have a sedating effect to calm a migraine. To get a boost of magnesium, Soul suggests the Asian-flavoured Salmon Tartar followed by coconut-infused Tandoori Chicken served with an exotic salad. Another option is the Tuna Burger; a remedy to alleviate tiredness.
Besides the set menu and weekly specials, Soul offers a series of mood menus made to order. To pick up your spirits there is a happy menu packed with serotonin. After unhealthy eating, the cleansing menu is recommended and is loaded with vitamin D.
Many of the products used in the dishes are low in sugars. This has a positive effect on health. All drinks are organic, including wines from around the world, champagne, juices and beer.
Sharing the secret
Helping diners to take the healthy eating habit home and learn more about food, Soul occasionally organises a Sunday brunch called 'Food for Every Lifestyle' to discuss a specific food topic.
The objective is to share beliefs on what food can accomplish for your health. For EUR 25, you can enjoy food and drink and take part in an open debate on the subject of the day after the meal is served.
Nina — accompanied by a specialist in a chosen field — gives the talk in French or English and Linda prepares the dishes.
Themes and dates can be found on the websitewww.soulresto.com. However, as groups are limited to a maximum of about 20 people, it is best to book by phone. The next brunch will take place on 9 April.
To make every event different, Linda says the menu depends on the mood of the day, but you can expect dishes such as fresh salmon omelettes, quinoa salads, organic yogurt and carrot cake.
Soul welcomes a variety of customers ranging from groups of female friends to couples, 35-40 percent of whom are expats. Some customers are simply looking for a different dining experience, but these people don't tend to be regulars.
Women tend to be more curious than men when it comes to crossing the door of the restaurant and will drag their partners along for the experience.
Busy customers — who have a hectic lifestyle — tend to see Soul as a refuge where they can eat a healthy meal and feel satisfied without the guilt
The restaurant is open five nights a week, Wednesday to Sunday, from 7pm. Delivery and group catering during the day and evening is also possible.
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