The Brusselicious Tram Experience

As you are all no doubt aware, 2012 is “Brusselicious” year, meaning that a variety of gastronomic events are planned across the town and throughout the year. Perhaps in light of the fact that in any given year Brussels is full of foodie events, nosh festivals and more top restaurants than you could ever need, the organisers have tried to attract attention with some wacky and novel ways to present gastronomic culture. The one which caught our eye was the Brusselicious tram. The idea is a simple one: a specially kitted-out tram (see the video at the link in the previous sentence) drives around Brussels while the passengers are treated to a Michelin-starred meal. We booked for 3rd March; just a few days after they’d started.

As you can see the stylish interior was lit in a kind of purple-blue hue which caused me no end of Photoshop headaches with my pictures. If the design looks familiar that may be because the event is sponsored by Electrolux, who were also behind last year’s Cube.

Here are the amuse-bouches. A small bisque and a spoonful of duck paté. Our chef that night was Lionel Rigolet of Comme Chez Soi, although each night a different Michelin-starred chef takes the reins. There are seven in total: more information on them, and on the route the tram took, can be found here. The chefs themselves aren’t present on the tram, although they create all the recipes.

Note the indentations in the table to stop your cutlery, cockery and glassery wobbling or toppling in transit.

From our seat near the end of the tram we could see the waiters plating up. And if you recognise our generously moustachioed friend, he was at The Cube too.

Accompanied by a lovely glass of Riesling, here’s our first course: veal cannelloni stuffed with foie gras and topped with olives and Comté cheese. I think this should have sat out of the fridge a little longer before being served as it was still quite cool, meaning that the flavour of the foie gras didn’t really come through; but it was still very pleasant in the mouth.

With the main our wine was an interesting Chilean Aromo. The dish was pike-perch with a Syrah and smoked curry reduction, selim pepper and crispy wild rice. Beautifully cooked fish and I loved the crunchy rice.

For dessert: poached pear with pear liqueur, pear sorbet and Calcutta tea.

I’d have liked a coffee and some chocolatey mignardises, but there wasn’t time for that.

We descended again at our departure point and watched as the second sitting boarded while the staff unloaded all the dirty plates.

Definitely a nice meal, and the setting was certainly fun and funky. if you’re going to do it I’d say to go later in the year. It was already dark by the time we set off, so there wasn’t a great deal to see out the window. The route was fine, passing through some scenic spots, although we also spent some time in nondescript suburbs. What compensated for that was the company. The table of four next to us was very friendly. We got chatting to a Brazilian guy (who promised to recommend a good Brazilian restaurant in Brussels) and a Sicilian couple who had spent some time living in my wife’s home town of Genoa. As with our trip to La Britannique, the chance to sit and chat to a varied and interesting international crowd of people provided half the fun.

My wife is now trying to persuade me to do the Dinner In The Sky. I’m not keen…