A week ago I was privileged to try out HOLA’s new tapas menu. HOLA is a coffee, kitchen and tapas bar at Hoeilaart. They aim to create a ‘homey’ feeling in the restaurant. As the the description says, you can go there just for a cup of coffee, some tapas or a bigger meal.
Ellen is the the one behind the restaurant. Her main focus is to give people a chance to relax and and enjoy some good food or a drink.
The menu is “quality over quantity” and offers a limited but very tasty variety of food and drinks
When you enter, it feels like you are entering someones home or living room, in a good way. There is a cozy corner where you can relax and enjoy a drink. If you go further into the restaurant you walk past the kitchen where the magic happens with the food. Right behind the kitchen are some high tables where you can eat something. All the way in the back there is a big table if you want to come and eat with a bigger group. So everyone can find a spot they like.
The reason I got to to eat at HOLA was because they are introducing their new tapas menu. If you think tapas, you think about those little snacks you can find all over Spain. This is not what it is. Well, it are little bites, but not the typical Spanish ones. They actually want to give people the chance to taste a lot of different things without having to give them a complete dish.
The new menu
Lebanese bread with pumpkin humus.
This was the first tapa and I think this was the one I liked the most. It is simple and I can’t imagine someone not liking this.
Goat cheese balls with sesame seeds and a mousse of sweet potato.
This looked strange because the sesame seeds were black ( yes is were sesame seeds for sure :p ). It is a lot of cheese at once, but for me that’s perfect because I love any kind of cheese.
Marinated salmon with orange, fennel and a vinaigrette.
Fennel is not my favorite, but it did not predominate which I liked. The taste of the marinated salmon was something I had never tasted before. I would definitely take this dish again.
That was it for the cold tapas. After this we got some warm tapas.
Japanese mie with scampi and hot vegetables.
This was just my cup of tea. If you don’t know mie, it’s very similar to pasta but not as thick, or you know those little pasta’s you put in you soup? Yes, it’s kind of the same.
Grilled mushrooms with prawns rice and garlic butter.
I don’t really like mushrooms ( picky eater I know :p ). Luckily there were enough other things on my plate to enjoy this dish. And I can tell you, prawns and garlic butter are a great combination.
Filled guinea-fowl filet with chestnuts , cranberries and celeriac.
I am vegetarian, so I did not eat the guinea-fowl. I just ate everything that came with it. This was the last dish and for me actually the one I liked the least. This might be because I did not ate it as a whole.
Over all the food was really good and the vibe in the restaurant was great.
Ellen treats everyone as if you were one of her family members. Which is a main reason for some people to keep coming back.
NOTE: If you order the tapas you get smaller versions of what you see on the pictures. These dishes were made for us to take pictures. If we got these plates we would’ve exploded! :p