Among the office buildings of the European neighbourhood, there are some splendid residences you might not expect to find in a rather grey area. They tell us the story of singular people like Sylvia, the best host I know in Brussels.

Sylvia is a Tica with Mexican heart and mind. She has been in charge of the cultural affairs section of the Mexican Embassy in Brussels for more than twenty years. She enjoyed so much working in bringing the cultures of the biggest Spanish-speaking country to the capital of Europe that she became a workaholic.

She had, though, a remedy against the modern malaise. She locked herself up in her kitchen and prepared for hours the most delicious (and exotic) dishes you can imagine: tamales, moles, empanadas, nopales, etc. which would be served after her signature tamarind margaritas. Having been told so many times to give a professional opportunity to her culinary talents, Sylvia has decided to become Chef Sylvia to entertain people at home upon request via Menu next door.

She is the perfect host with the perfect home for entertaining. Her apartment is in tall building in the heart of the European neighbourhood, so very well connected and near the city centre. From outside, the building may look rather impersonal but the moment you pass the entrance door you realize you have stepped into an Art Deco universe.

Her home has only one bedroom but three reception rooms with continuous windows offering panoramic views of the landmarks of the city: the cathedral, the royal palace, the Basilica, even some touches of postmodernity with the skyscrapers of Madou. The reception hall has two angels waiting for you (apart from Sylvia),

half a mannequin in the cloakroom,

cupboards to store as many Val Saint Lamberts as you need,

and even a small bar where Sylvia will make you discover really good tequila and mezcal.

Once in any of the three reception rooms you will be surrounded by a very personal mix of styles (the modern, the baroque and the Art Deco),

before you surrender to the delights of Chef Sylvia.