25.3 C
Brunei
Thursday, December 8, 2022
25.3 C
Brunei
Thursday, December 8, 2022
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    Dining in the dark

    Sylvain Plazy

    BRUSSELS (AP) – While European Union (EU) nations are still mulling a cap on gas prices, some businesses are more in a hurry for solutions to the continent’s energy crisis.

    In Brussels, the epicentre of the EU, restaurant owners have imagined how a future without gas and electricity would look like for gourmets.

    The guests at the dinner served at the Brasserie Surrealiste and cooked by Racines employees this week were the first to experience it: No ovens, no stoves, no hot plates, no coffee machines and no light bulbs.

    Still, great food.

    Just cold entrees, or slightly grilled over the flaming charcoal grill of a Japanese barbecue, served at candle-lit tables.

    ABOVE & BELOW: A chef cooks steak on a Japanese barbecue at Brasserie Surrealiste in Brussels; and a group of diners enjoy candle lit dinner at Brasserie Surrealiste. PHOTOS: AP

    “The idea is to go back to the cave age,” said Racines owner Francesco Cury. “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.”

    On the menu: brioche with anchovies, porchetta and focaccia cooked on a wood fire, raw white tuna, grilled meat with beans, and ricotta cream with pumpkin jam and pistachios as desert.

    But what sounds like a romantic atmosphere and a one-time experience is actually what customers could face more permanently if energy bills keep increasing.

    “People see price increases of 30 per cent to 40 per cent 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 realise how critical the situation is.”

    The dramatic rise of inflation in Belgium could have been a deterrent, but 50 guests took part in the dinner on Thursday organised as part of the ‘Brussels in the Dark’ initiative involving a dozen of restaurants.

    “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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