Places like Gramm are special. Eating their five-course tasting menu (with a cute amuse bouche and a cheese board), is not dinner. It is something else. Attention has gone inte every tiny detail on the plate, and the flavours are innovative, yet go together perfectly. Gramm is the kind of place you go to when you have time, and good company, because you will spend four hours eating little dishes, sipping away on a smooth wine.
Arriving, we were met by a charming waitor who explained the concept of the evening for us. He brought us aperitifs for the amuse bouche, and then a dry natural wine, tasting surprisingly much like a Gueze beer, but with more complex aftertaste. The first nibble was a goat cheese jelly served on a bed of beetroot, which was both tasty and amusing.
The second dish on the menu was a soup of pumpkin, chestnuts and umami crisp. It was sweet, rich and beautifully balanced with the salty umami. After the soup there was ham with celery and herby mayo, which married like the most beautiful ham sandwich. The meat-free substitute to this dish (three small cucumber pieces) was one of only two small let-downs during the evening. However, a skipjack (a member of the tuna clan) sailed in to save the day, dreamily soft and just barely touched by the pan, with carotts and vinegar.
Then the real heroes arrived – the main dishes. Fredrik was served tender cod with a herby sauce, together with perfectly fried and salty oyster mushrooms from Permafungi, grown only a kilometer away in the cellars of Tour & Taxis. As a meat-eater, I was served a 12 hour slow-cooked, almost caramelised veal. It was the most succulent I have ever tried, simply sublime.
As if we were not sold already, we were also treated to a cheese board with goats cheese, rocquefort, nettle cheese and a golden Belgian hard cheese, accompanied by home-made bread and fluffy butter. That the pear sorbet that followed on this was a bit of a disappointment was entirely forgivable, because all the rest was so enjoyable. Aside from the acoustics, which are a little loud, Gramm is close to perfect. Prepare for a slow, thorough dining experience well worth your time.
Gramm, Rue de flandre 86, 1000 Bruxelles, tel: +32 2 324 99 66