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Brussels restaurants to serve diners 'in the dark' to highlight soaring costs
Eight Brussels restaurants will offer customers a dining experience "in the dark" to draw attention to the soaring cost of energy and food that is putting the sector's viability in danger.
From 29 September to 2 October, the participating restaurants will turn out all their lights and serve dishes by candlelight that do not use the kitchen's ovens or stoves.
"It will take effort and imagination to offer our customers extensive recipes without using our equipment," said Pia Renaudat, at Le Petit Mercado in Saint-Gilles, one of the participating restaurants.
"We will serve cold dishes or use the barbecue," she told Le Soir. "We will cut the power to everything except the fridges, which are essential for storing food." Draught beer will be served from a hand pump.
The initiative aims to demonstrate the financial difficulties that restaurants currently face, with soaring energy bills and the skyrocketing cost of ingredients.
Some restaurants have seen their gas and electricity bills triple and 40% price hikes for basic supplies including dairy products. Wine prices are also forecast to increase by up to 40% in the coming year.
The initiative has the support of the Horeca Brussels federation. Its director, Ludivine de Magnanville, said the action was not a publicity stunt but an appeal for help from the federal government.
Alongside Le Petit Mercado, the other participating restaurants are Le Bain des Dames in Brussels, St. Kilda in Uccle, ÖTAP in Ixelles, The Mordern Alchemist, Café Flora and Le Dillens in Saint-Gilles and Chez Rabu in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert.