Dining in the Dark: Brussels Eateries Tackle Energy Crunch


A couple speak as they enjoy a drink and candle lit dinner at Brasserie Surrealiste in Brussels, Sept. 28, 2022.


While some firms are more eager to find answers to the continent’s energy crisis, European Union countries are still considering a restriction on gas prices.

Restaurant owners in Brussels, the heart of the EU, have envisioned what a world without gas and electricity would be like for gourmets.

The first people to experience it were the diners at the Brasserie Surrealiste’s dinner this week, which was prepared by staff of Racines. There were no ovens, stoves, hot plates, coffee makers, or light bulbs.

A woman waits for her dinner to arrive as she sits at a table with a candelabra at Brasserie Surrealiste in Brussels, Sept. 28, 2022.

 

 

Only cold dishes were provided, or they were lightly cooked over a Japanese barbecue’s burning charcoal fire.

“The idea is to go back to the cave age,” said Francesco Cury, the Racines owner. “We prepared a whole series of dishes that just need to be grilled for a few seconds … But the search for taste, for the amazing, for the stunning, is still part of our business.”

Raw white tuna, grilled pork with beans, focaccia and porchetta cooked over a wood fire, as well as ricotta cream with pumpkin jam and pistachios for dessert are all on the menu.

But if energy prices continue to rise, clients may have to deal with what initially seems like a beautiful setting and a one-time experience.

A group of diners have a drink and candle lit dinner at Brasserie Surrealiste in Brussels, Sept. 28, 2022.

 

“People see price increases of 30% to 40% in the supermarket. And we, restaurant owners, buy the same raw material, the same products. So what do we do? We increase the prices. But then on top comes the price of gas and electricity. Can we do our job without energy sources? The answer is no,” Cury said. “So we have to think a little bit more, and society has to realize how critical the situation is.”

50 guests attended the dinner on Thursday as part of the “Brussels in the Dark” program, which involved 12 restaurants. The huge jump in inflation in Belgium might have been a barrier.

“We are at a point when one needs to choose between being warm at home or eating out,” said Stephane Lepla, on a night out with his girlfriend. “Finding the balance is complicated. So yes, of course, there is a reflection on a daily basis. There are habits that need to change, that we try to change anyway, even if it is not always easy.”


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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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