It’s lunchtime across Europe, the almost sacrosanct pause in the day. For anglo-saxon readers used to non-stop life, in much of Europe many shops close, kids go home from school and those in offices are prone to long lunch breaks and a glass of wine. Not everywhere of course but if you do want to stop for a meal then check out the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen in Oudenaarde, Belgium. Good food and cycling go together, whether for basic fuel or as a means to sample local produce that you ride past but this takes things to a new level. It’s a museum that celebrates De Ronde, as the Tour of Flanders is often known. But it has a restaurant too and you can see the menu above. Note the dishes. There’s Spaghetti Boonenaise, Croque Masseur and Pollo Bettini.
Click on the image above to get the full version. You’ll see “prologue drinks”, aka aperitifs. There are the main dishes in the Grote Musette (“big feed bag”) like the Museeuw fish stew, since Johan Museeuw is from the coast. There’s also the Flandrien Lasagna which makes you wonder if they include a small layer of mud and cow shit, for the authentic Flemish race experience includes a mouthful of dirt ejected from the wheel of the rider in front.
Once you’re done there’s room for an Irish Coffee only here it’s the Coffee Kelly in honour of the Irish hardman. There’s a very un-Flemish Chiapuccino too, as well as Tchmilke, a play on Flanders winner Andrei Tchmil and milke more commonly known in Belgium as lait russe (“russian milk”) or white coffee.
It’s all fun but I hope the food is good as the novelty factor has worn off in the time it took me to write. It’s not the only cycling-themed restaurant around, I’m sure other Belgian entrepreneurs have similar menus as the country is cycling-crazy. But it’s not just Belgium, there are a couple of similar similar restaurants in France too where the first course is a prologue and so on.
Thanks to François Lagarre for tweeting the menu earlier today.