The Brussels Tram Experience
Last Saturday, we finally got to experience the Tram...err..Experience. Justin has had this reservation for months. He booked way back in the year 2013 to ensure we had a spot for Valentine's evening. Then, the bus drivers went on strike on that particular day. We found time in our schedule almost two months later and here we are all dressed up and ready for a fancy date night..The Tram ride starts in front of the Palais de Justice. It felt a little ironic that we took a tram to walk to the Tram Experience tram. We arrived to find the dinner running late while we noted how strict the policy is for the patrons vs. the lax requirements for the Tram to start on time...or even run at all. Either way, tonight looked like it was going to happen as we took our seats in the neat and polished dining cart. So, here is where we're hesitant to even write about our evening, but a wise bloggy friend told me that good or bad, the review should be known. I mean, it is a chunk of change, so we want to help future-experiencers to be prepared. This is our one night, which could have been a terribly off night for the mobile restaurant, but here goes. (On the other hand, this was also their second chance.)After hearing so many of our friends rave about the experience, we were ready with our hopes up. Truth be told, we secretly separately had it in our heads that they might in the tiniest nod make up for having canceled our previous reservation that we looked forward to for so long - a flower, an acknowledgment, kindness, something! The evening started with our server having to speak English to us. I realize we live in Brussels and English isn't a national language here, but we live in Brussels and you speak English perfectly, there is no need for us to feel uncomfortable, especially given that the host is Visit Brussels. We were served champagne with our starters -
cherry tomato with a caramel coatingcrème brûlée with foie gras, hazel + pistachio crumble with speculoosbonbon of marinated salmonsingle cream with black truffle + apple sticks
That tomato might have been our favorite part of the dinner.Next, we had a..
surprise of black diamond chip
..which we discovered is a type of ravioli dish (from that last photo up there^). This would be our second favorite dish of the evening. She served us a glass of Spanish white wine and we pondered the switch from French to Spanish bevs.
All the while, the tram is making its way through Brussels. We enjoyed passing through Flagey and seeing the Saturday evening festivities. Lots of people waved to the Tram, which made my little parade-loving heart happy.Then we stopped at the Montgomery roundabout. Montgomery boasts a pretty waterfall in the center as our view. The girls had told me this would be where we would have our main course, which we could smell potently as our table was the first next to the kitchen (literally. you might see specks of my hair in that chef shot^). We watched as the servers brought out the delicious smelling plates to guests on the opposite end of the tram. Twenty-some-odd tables later, the tram had moved on from Montgomery and we finally received our entrée, this time with a Spanish red.
Holstein beef with Portobello mushroom carpacciotapenade of roasted aubergine, pine nuts + miso
We both agreed it was good, but not worth writing home about, especially after our wait and the size of the portions. For a bit of perspective - I am a small, but frequent type of eater. So when we go to dinners like this, I usually want to try everything and end up stuffed. I finished every plate and was not stuffed and I think I even ate more when we got home. So, if I was hungry, then I know my husband was hungry.We sat under the purple-tinted lights for awkwardly long periods of time between food and drink (gasp!). Don't get me wrong, we can gaze at each other from across a table like nobody's business, but at that point, we both wished we were doing it at home..or at least somewhere we didn't feel put out.The dessert course came.
plums marinated with spicesice cream + bay-leaf caramel, riz Condé with dates
Everything was just okay, which when it's 180 euro, you kind of expect it to be more than okay. Had this happened on a pub-style kind of night, I think we'd have chalked it up to nothing and just not blogged about it. Hopefully this was a one-off bad experience for these guys, but we'll definitely pass on a next time and spend that moula on a weekend away!