Tag Archives: Tram

Tram Experience Season 4 with Lady Chefs

For its fourth season, visit.brussels is bringing back the Tram Experience from 21 August 2015 to 17 July 2016. Throughout the season foodie passengers will embark on a maiden voyage through the heart of cuisine offered by the best lady chefs.

Diner des Vignerons belges - Diner van de Belgische Wijnbouwers (c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier
Diner des Vignerons belges – Diner van de Belgische Wijnbouwers (c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier

Many of today’s big name chefs were captivated early in life by the pleasant aromas wafting from the kitchens of their mothers and grandmothers, those humble magicians of daily grub. They definitely knew how to get the most out of a simple stew, a frugal handful of vegetables fresh from the garden, or a comforting sweet, which was all the better for all the love they put into it.

This honest family cuisine inspired many of these chefs to embark on their career paths. While the men and women of today both do the cooking at home, too few women are calling the shots in our best restaurants.

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

Women’s cuisine is nonetheless rich in the subtleties and emotions we wish to share through the different menus that will be offered on board the Tram Experience during this 2015-2016 season.

In keeping with the spirit of openness to the world that Brussels is known for, besides the kingdom’s best lady chefs the Délice network of gourmet cities around the world were called upon. The line-up will thus combine the best with the best by bringing in lady chefs from extremely diverse backgrounds.

And, as in every year, the Tram Experience also promises a few (heavenly) surprises. All aboard!

A rich and diverse line-up 

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

As in every year, the season is comprised of a series of menus rotating every four to six weeks. They are commissioned by the lady chefs and cooked on board by chef Denis Roberti who practised the recipes with the appropriate chefs. Each menu is sampled in the studio and validated by a tasting committee sponsored by chef Lionel Rigolet ** (Comme chez Soi, Brussels) prior to being served on board the Tram Experience.

A prestigious ambassador of Belgian cuisine

Arabelle Meirlaen * (Arabelle Meirlaen intuitive cuisine, Marchin) will get the ball rolling this coming 21 August. This almost goes without saying since she is unquestionably Belgium’s foremost lady chef, as evidenced by her Chef of the Year 2014 title awarded by the Gault Millau Guide of Belgium. Her cuisine is extremely personal and largely inspired by the plant kingdom so it seemed logical to open the doors of the Tram Experience to her right away this summer at a time when nature is fully expressing its flavourful richness and palette of many colours.

Local ingredients enhanced by a starred chef

Chef Mariangela Susigan * runs a restaurant called Gardenia, opened by her own mother in the 1970s. Located in Caluso, in the countryside northeast of Turin (Italy), the restaurant has its own garden full of vegetables, herbs, and spices which play an essential role in this chef’s cooking. Her style draws its inspiration from Piedmontese cuisine, while prizing emotion and creativity.

Laurence’s favourites

The holiday season promises to reveal one of the schedule’s big surprises. This woman has away of collecting stars, five in total, and yet she does not cook. Not a single customer of this great Belgian eatery will have escaped her notice, and yet she is hardly ever mentioned. She has spent her life at the side of two of the greatest Belgian chefs, but very few really know her. It’s safe to say that Laurence Rigolet, daughter of Pierre Wynants *** and wife of Lionel Rigolet **, does not like to be in the spotlight. Nevertheless, she is the one who welcomes and takes care of each customer at Comme chez Soi, the famous Brussels institution.

Start-ups of Belgian cuisine

2016 will get off to an auspicious start. Stéphanie Thunus * and Mélanie Englebin, named Discovery of the Year 2014 by the Gault Millau guide Belgium, are well acquainted and even went to school together. One runs Au Gré du Vent out in the country in Seneffe, and the other operates Cécila, a stone’s throw from Grand-Place in Brussels. One draws inspiration from family farm ingredients while the other is decidedly oriented towards the sea. Make no mistake: both run their respective restaurants with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Their cuisine is meticulous, perfectionistic, and inspired. They will author two menus where their dishes will intermingle with harmony and finesse. Two of tomorrow’s greats, the challenge is on!

A culinary icon still relevant today

Another new foray abroad with a legend of world gourmet history. However, nothing foreshadowed that Eugénie Brazier, daughter of modest farmers born in Bresse just before the dawn of the 20th century, would become such a legend. Opening her restaurant in Lyon in 1921, Mother Brazier would be the first woman to earn the highly sought-after three rosettes from the Michelin Guide in 1933. She would also be the first two-time three-star winner with her restaurants in Lyon and neighbouring Col de la Luère. It would take more than a half-century for such a feat to be repeated by the great Alain Ducasse.

Again it would be with her that a young Paul Bocuse, just back from the war, would learn the fundamentals of his trade while minding the cows, doing the washing up, and tending the vegetable garden. Mother Brazier is no longer with us but her image lives on under the leadership of one of France’s most talented chefs: Mathieu Viannay **. Chef Viannay, with his two stars and membership in the Grandes Tables du Monde, bought the La Mère Brazier restaurant in 2008 in Lyon, and modernized it without forsaking its roots. The famous spring chicken in half-mourning, Eugénie Brazier’s signature dish, is still there but now shares the stage with chef Viannay’s more modern offerings.

The Swedish-Mexican menu, a contrast of flavours

The menu – Puebla (Mexico) and Göteborg (Sweden)- will be one of great contrasts. Two cities that seem to have nothing in common, two chefs from very different backgrounds, terroirs combining land and sea, the Mexican sun and the harsh climate of Scandinavia.

Yet now cuisine is universal and these regions some of the most interesting chefs of our foodie world. Menus that will certainly be full of high-flying discoveries with Liz Galicia (El Mural de los Poblanos) for Puebla and Karin Andersson (Toso) for Göteborg.

North and South, an unprecedented collision of gourmet worlds

Next up is a new North-South culinary collision. Dishes coming from radically different places whose only common thread is the gourmet excellence that the Tram Experience requires.

On one side, the Cape Winelands (South Africa) are a cluster of villages located in the heart of South Africa’s most beautiful wine growing region and one of the most beautiful areas in all of Africa, just a few kilometres from the Cape. The village of Franschhoek, once founded by Huguenots who fled France, has kept the French way of life close to its heart. There you can find many vineyards bearing French names and some of the country’s best restaurants. Chef Michelle Theron runs a restaurant in one of these wine-growing areas : La Motte. It is one of the country’s ten best eateries, and for many it will be an opportunity to discover South African cuisine largely unknown to the general public.

On the other side, another woman of excellence, Svetlana Riškova, chef of Elements restaurant in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Svetlana has made her presence felt as one of the shining lights of Baltic cuisine, which is expressive and very close to nature and is full of surprises. Beyond the geographical contrasts, these two menus will offer above all a contrast of terroirs to be discovered right away.

An unparalleled culinary stage designer

To close out the season on a beautiful note, the Tram Experience has called upon a somewhat unexpected individual: the Belgian Bénédicte Bantuelle is not, strictly speaking, a chef. She defines herself more as an Artistic Director, a stage designer whose purview extends well beyond the kitchen. Bénédicte considers cooking to be an entirely separate artistic discipline. Only recently has she started to apply her multifaceted gourmet talent for the benefit of Agence La Bouche, which creates culinary concepts.

She is also Damien Bouchery’s partner. Together they cofounded the Bouchéry restaurant that has without a doubt become one of the most desirable places to dine in Brussels today. At Bouchéry, the approach is reflected in even the most minor of details: house breads and cheeses, natural wines, cuisine that is totally in step with meticulously selected seasonal products.  Bénédicte had carte blanche to write the season’s last menu.

It’s highly likely she’ll be inspired by Damien’s cuisine but also that she’ll surprise with her inspired and unbounded vision of tabletop delights in a 360° approach.

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

A few key figures

  • 10,000 to 12,000 meals are served on board each year;
  • Nearly 300 tours per year;
  • More than 25,000 km covered since the project was launched;
  • Service is offered year round from August to July, six days a week;
  • Six people on board: 1 driver, 2 individuals in the kitchen, 3 in the dining room;
  • Already more than € 8,000 paid to Samusocial to date.

New for 2015-2016

The “Tram” and “Experience” menus

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

The major innovation for the next season is the menu which will now be broken down into two plans. The “Tram” menu corresponds to the current version, that is, six courses (three appetizers, first course, main course, dessert, bubbly, water and wine as desired). This menu will however be capped off with after dinner drinks following the meal.

The “Experience” menu addresses a comment made by some customers who would have preferred a longer gourmet experience exceeding the 2–2.25 hours currently offered. As a result, a longer session will be scheduled each Friday from now on. This one will include an additional dish for a total of seven courses (three appetizers, two entrées, a main course, and a dessert), still accompanied with water and wine and served over the course of more than half an hour. The “Experience” set menu will follow a somewhat different route to Dumon Square in Stockel. Here, too, an after dinner drink will complete the set menu.

It is the chef of the Tram Experience, Denis Roberti, who will author this additional dish, allowing everyone to discover the uncommon talent of this chef who has been preparing all of the recipes from the numerous starred chefs represented on board for three seasons.

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

The guest table

Another innovation has already been tested on a small scale last season and will be fully implemented this year. This is the guest table. This four-person table with host two couples who do not know one another at a discount price. Each seat sells for € 10 less per person than the regular price. Given the success of this configuration, it will be extended throughout the new season.

Rates

  • Six course “Tram” menu € 95 (VAT included) per person excluding booking fees
  • Seven course “Experience” menu 115€ (VAT included) per person excluding booking fees (Fridays)
  • Guest table sold with at discount of € 10 per person
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

What’s included in the price?

“Tram” menu:

  • Six courses (three appetizers and three dishes (first course, main course, dessert)
  • Bubbly, wine, still and sparkling water
  • An after dinner drink

“Experience” menu:

  • Seven courses (three appetizers and four dishes (two entrées, main course, dessert)
  • Bubbly, wine, still and sparkling water
  • An after dinner drink
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

Tour duration 

  • Tram menu: approximately 2 hours – 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Experience menu: approximately 2 hours 45 minutes

Menu variations

At the time of reservation, it is possible to select a vegetarian menu.

Tram capacity : 34 seats (7 tables of 2, and 5 tables of 4)

On board personnel

One host, two servers, a chef and assistant, and, of course, the driver. All Tram Experience drivers are volunteers and have been selected based on their great skill at driving appropriately in all circumstances.

On board WC

One WC is available during the tour

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Tram takes you from Europe to North America

Tram Experience:  Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

Board this Tram to travel to North America from heart of Europe. Seems funny? No it sounds rather yummy!! Starting this week until 8 March 2015, the Tram Experience is offering you the chance to enjoy a two-hour trip in North America. For the first time, Brussels’ gourmet restaurant is delighted to be welcoming chefs from beyond Europe’s borders.

Montreal, Puebla and Chicago: three cities, three chefs

Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

For its third season, which began last August, the Tram Experience is offering customers the chance to enjoy a gastronomic journey exploring some of the biggest foodie cities in the world. These cities, part of the Délice network of which Brussels is also a member, have sent their best chefs to give food-lovers a real treat for one year. So far, some of the best chefs in Europe have joined in the travelling restaurant adventure. Today, for the very first time, we will be welcoming renowned chefs from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Chefs Laurent Godbout (Montreal), Ángel Vázquez Castelán (Puebla) and Andrew Zimmerman (Chicago) can’t wait to be part of the Tram Experience, whose culinary reputation has travelled across every border. Together, they have come up with three different menus that will alternate approximately every two weeks until 8 March 2015.

TRAM EXPERIENCE

Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

How do you fancy boarding a tram that has been fully decked out as a modern gourmet restaurant? Aboard you will be served a three-course meal put together by top chefs from some of the best gourmet food cities of the world, whilst you tour Brussels by night for two hours. Building on its success ever since it was launched in 2012, the Tram Experience has built up an international reputation and is a huge draw for visitors as well as chefs from around the world. The gastronomy of the 21st century has become increasingly global in recent years. To any self-respecting foodie, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to see leading chefs from all over the globe. And no city other than Brussels – multicultural and open to the world – could better welcome these different gastronomic settings.

Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

The chefs, who concoct the menus, are not on board. It is the catering company led by expert-chef Denis Roberty which creates and finalizes all of the dishes onboard right in front of food enthusiasts. Tram Experience is remarkably sponsored by top chef Lionel Rigolet who brings along rigour and expert knowledge, the hallmarks of a two-starred chef at the helm of one of the most prestigious culinary institutions: Comme Chez Soi.

Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience: Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

The Tram Experience takes one on an exceptional journey into the gastronomy of some of the major gastronomic cities of the world. These cities – amongst which Brussels – are member of the Délice network and have appointed their best chefs to treat food lovers to outstanding gourmet dining all year round. Délice is an international network of likeminded cities engaged in promoting the benefits of culinary excellence and good food. Created in 2007 by the City of Lyon (France), Délice gathers 21 cities from 4 continents whose culinary heritage and expertise play a major role in defining themselves as the greatest food destinations. These cities are Aarhus (Denmark), Barcelona (Spain), Birmingham (UK), Bordeaux (France), Brussels (Belgium), Chicago (USA), Gothenburg (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland), Lausanne (Switzerland), Leipzig (Germany), Lisbon (Portugal), Lyon (France), Madrid (Spain), Montreal (Canada), Osaka (Japan), Puebla (Mexico), Rabat (Morocco), Riga (Latvia), Saint Louis (USA), Stavanger (Norway), Turin (Italy)