A number of Brussels restaurants will serve meals in the dark from 29 September to 2 October, with both a candlelit dinner and a brunch with cold coffee on the programme to highlight the impact of the energy crisis on the hospitality sector.
The hospitality sector has been pitched from one crisis to the next in recent years, with the aftershock of the pandemic still being felt and the energy crisis raising uncertainty about whether the sector will be able to cope with rising costs whilst diners are more cautious about spending on eating out.
"Energy prices have already tripled for us, there is no doubt that we are facing difficult times," said Pia Renaudat of Le Petit Mercado in Saint-Gilles, who initiated In The Dark with Pierre Millour of restaurant Liesse in Saint-Gilles. "We do recognise that it isn't only the catering industry struggling at the moment, but our action will be visible and show the general problems. We want to set up a positive event for something very negative."
The various catering establishments will offer dinners and brunches without a cooker, oven, lighting or coffee machine during the four days of the initiative, reported De Standaard on Tuesday.
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"I will offer brunch on Saturday, the only question is how. The toppings are no problem, but heating the eggs will be difficult. Coffee will be served cold and brewed with cold water for 24 hours. Other businesses will use a BBQ to heat up the food and candles should create lighting and an intimate atmosphere."
The participating catering establishments are Le Bain des Dames and ÖTAP in Ixelles, St Kilda in Uccle, The Modern Alchemist, Café Flora, Liesse, Le Dillens and Le Petit Mercado in Sint-Gillis and Chez Rabu in Sint-Lambrechts Woluwe.