is the Swedish version of British tea time. Except with Scandinavian china instead of gold trim- & flowers-cups…! The word “fika” is an example of the back slang (verlan) used back in the 19th century, derived from kaffi, which meant coffee in Swedish. The ritual is considered a social institution: a calm and happy tradition in which one slows down and takes the time to embrace the moment with friends, colleagues or even alone. It usually involves a good cup of coffee and some baked goods. And in a bustling city like Brussels where people often rush about with a coffee-to-go in hand, it is good news that Joana decided to open a café honouring fika.

The eponymous joint in the multicultural Matongé area serves homemade Swedish pastries such as Kanelbullar (cinnamon fluffy pastries) or Havreflarn (oat flacks biscuit and chocolate) along with quality coffee from La Capitale. Walk in and unplug for a little while, taking in the sweet smell from the oven and letting the Scandinavian decor soothe you. The interior has indeed a Nordic vibe to it, what with the soft pale wood and the small yet uncluttered space. I went twice. The first time, I was eager to taste a Kanelbullar but they had run out so I had a cookie instead, which was pretty good. The second time, I was lucky enough to get the last cinnamon roll. So I hope in the future Joana doesn’t shy away from baking some more treats ;) As for the place itself, I would say it’s prettier than it is cosy, meaning you can have a seat by the cute corner by the window, but it’s not comfy enough to linger for hours. Same goes for the little back area by the garden. So go there for a coffee pause but don’t expect to camp in for an afternoon’s work or a snug long chat.

Fika, Rue de la Paix 17, Ixelles 1050 –. Open Tuesday-Friday 8h-18h and Saturday-Sunday 8h-19h