Day 105 – The Cube, my unbelievable birthday treat!

Friday night was really unbelievable.  Hubbie had pulled a major ‘fast one’, and booked us over a month ahead into a pop-up restaurant on top of the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ in Parc Cinquantenaire.  We raced across town to make the 6.45pm deadline, as the ascent to the top, was timed for 7pm sharp.  After 13 years here however, we still manage to miss the point that the Bourgeois of Brussels are never on time, and although we were 10 minutes late, we were still only the second couple to arrive.  We therefore had to wait, amid the promo of Electrolux goodies, for 20 minutes while the fashionably late of Brussels, got their act together and made an entrance.  Finally we hit 7.30pm and we were ushered upstairs to The Cube.

It took your breath away, literally in my case as I’m not the best at great heights!  But the location and pod itself were fantastic.  We had a great evening weather-wise, as we heard from a few guests (who were obviously in the know), that on windy and stormy nights the table has to be raised up for safety reasons…….. obviously the balance is delicate on top of a building like this.

We settled ourselves down at the end of the table (with the fantastic view!), and waited for the evening to start.  We were sitting next to a great couple, Tom and Berenice, who worked nearby and were obviously foodie fans.  The four of us worked our way through the dishes with enthusiasm and admiration for the Chef.

To explain, Sang-Hoon Degeimbre is a master at molecular gastronomy, which means he mixes food with science and throws a few surprises in between.  I have never eaten at this type of restaurant before, though have admired from a distance the skills of Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck, Bray UK), Ferran Adria (El Bulli, nr. Barcelona) and the new star Rene Redzepi (Noma in Copenhagen).  So I was thrilled to be testing this out at first hand in Brussels.  This is his Bio;

Sang-Hoon Degeimbre, who is a Korean Belgian, runs L’Air du Temps, a Michelin-rated two-star restaurant in Belgium. In 1975, when he was 5 years old, he was adopted by a family in Belgium, where he grew up, and in 1997, he opened his own restaurant. In 2000, it was awarded a one-star rating by Michelin, and in 2006, another star was added, making him a world-class star chef, and renowned as a master of molecular gastronomy. In addition, he was well known as the second-best sommelier in Belgium. In 2009, he was invited by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as part of their public relations efforts to promote the globalization of Korean cuisine.

His skills are truly impressive.  He started the dinner with aromatic water to welcome, combined with bread shaped like fan coral, and an awakening of the senses by the aromatic combination of warmed stones and herbs.

The first course began to show his skill in food combining and molecular science.  He gave us two starters.  Unbelievable vegetarian oysters that were simple herb combinations that created both the taste and the feeling of eating real oysters, and then a real oyster combined with the most perfect kiwi (14 molecules that scream out in good taste – even the Hubbie, an avid hater of oysters, ate it and enjoyed!).  While you eat, Sang-Hoon, transports you to a place by the sea, by lighting seaweed, rocks and salt water, to summon up the smell and the feel of the sea.  It is a total experience of the senses, awakening all your faculties, as you pave your way through dinner.

While this was all going on, we were watching the ceremony taking place outside on the terrace.  Birds nests were being charcoal smoked, with quail eggs.  These were served in bell jars, with a mayonaise flavoured with bacon, aimed at tickling your senses and most importantly reaching your nose at the same time as touching your taste buds.

Next we moved into the meadow, and tasted a kohlrabi wrap, placed on a bed of grass, with spices underneath to give the illusion of soil.  Delicious.

The next stop was the forest.  We listened to birds and rabbits, and allowed our senses to move through the woods. Foraging herbs and potatoes, with fresh clean tastes tickling the taste buds.

The potatoes and shoots were served with a wonderful turmeric-spiced sauce, which provides a great antioxidant kick, combined with fabulous taste.

and yes, you have by now spotted the ipad2’s in the photo’s.   This is also techno dining at its best.  We arrived and were each handed an ipad to take photos and mail info.  To be able to look at Sang-Hoons website, and to be able to interact during the whole evening.  This combined with the camera’s/iphone’s/blackberry’s etc left on the table, gave the impression we were sometimes at the office instead of a restaurant.

The jury is out on this one.  For me it wasn’t needed, or necessary.

Anyway by this stage we were having too much fun with the camera, playing with fisheye images using the amuse bouche glass!

The next course took us back to the sea, and a delicious cod fillet, with a herby jus.

For me, the piece de resistance came with the meat course, when we were served with duck and red beet…….. incredible (so much so, that I will try to create something similar this week in France).  It was just Wow!

Then the creative part started, the challenge to take your own chocolate fondant, a few ingredients and create your own Masterclass dish.  Spurred on by the possibility of winning a free meal for two at Hang-Soons restaurant, everyone threw themselves into the project…….

This was followed by chocolates that tasted of cigars (very dangerous!) and a fruit finish.  Wrapped up beautifully by a glass of champagne….

Many thanks to my translators, Sjef, Tom and Bearnise, and my trusty Moleskine that I can never live without

also thanks to Hang-Soon for making it such a special night

and Electrolux for such a great pop-up idea…..

If you can get in for the last month, then beg borrow or steal a seat.  The website will open up soon for June, or head to one of the other exotic locations in Europe that the Cube is heading to.  In the meantime, keep bringing great ideas like this to Brussels!! We love it!

For more info, read the following article from Conde Nast, or click on the websites below.

A new restaurant concept by innovative brand Electrolux aims to give guests a new view of dining out – and the city. The Cube, launching next week, will appear atop landmark buildings across Europe – first stop, Brussels.

Perched on top of the Parc du Cinquantenaire from 1 April, diners enjoy never-before-seen views of the city through the transparent walls and ceiling. On arrival, the vistas will be the main spectacle, and then when dinner is served, a concealed dining table will drop from the ceiling before being raised again when The Cube turns into an entertainment hub.

A different chef will be resident at each location, serving locally-sourced, fresh ingredients cooked on Electrolux appliances (of course!). The kitchen will be on show and the chef will be present throughout the evening, creating an ‘at home’ atmosphere.

“The Cube by Electrolux will offer guests wonderful, exclusive cooking and food experiences,” says Neil Gannon, Director of Marketing expertise at Electrolux. “Whilst guests enjoy the evening, we also want to give them the opportunity to interact and learn from the professionals we work with, being the trusted supplier of many top-chefs and fashion specialists. Showing their professional shortcuts, we want to show people it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to create great experiences as long as you have the right tools.”

The Cube will be open for lunch and dinner in Brussels for three months before moving on to its next destination. Find out if it’ll pop-up near you and book online at www.electrolux.be/cube

The Cube by Electrolux pops up in Brussels Condé Nast Traveller.

Comments
8 Responses to “Day 105 – The Cube, my unbelievable birthday treat!”
  1. Lovisa Ferngren says:

    It looks absolutely amazing and the food just unbeliavable! What a birthday prezzie!!

  2. zorra says:

    Great birthday treat! Thank you for this wonderful post, perhaps I will be lunch there soon, too. *fingercrossed*

  3. zorra says:

    @Lizzi, if you need any help with the translation, just let me know.

  4. Tom Astin says:

    Hi Lizzi, as an employee at Electrolux I love this post and am happy that you had such a great time as a guest. As we will shortly announce our next location I wonder if you would mind if we took a quote from your review and linked to your blog from the official Electrolux Cube site (www.electrolux.com/cube)? Thanks and wishing you well, Tom Astin

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