Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Surreal lunch at ‘La Roue d’Or’

After our stroll on the Grande Place and an aperitif at ‘La Chaloupe d’Or’ last Friday, it was time for lunch. Following my own advice (here), we avoided the tourist trap of the Rue des Bouchers and the Petite Rue des Bouchers, by choosing a restaurant in the Rue des Chapeliers on the other side of the ‘Place’.

Typical 'tourist trap' restaurant in the rue des Bouchers.

The street doesn’t look very attractive and fewer tourists venture this way. The restaurant ‘La Roue d’Or’ (the golden wheel) therefore mainly caters for the ‘locals’. By ‘locals’ I mean businessmen and Belgian passers-by who know the city.

'La Roue d'Or' in the rue des Chapeliers.

This restaurant was recommended to me many years ago by a good friend who likes his food. He told me about the wooden panelling and the Magritte-like frescos on the walls and the ceiling. René Magritte (Lessen, November 21st, 1898 – Schaarbeek, August 15th 1967) was a Belgian surrealist painter. One of his most famous works is a painting of a pipe with underneath a text reading ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ (This is not a pipe). He has also painted a lot of men in bowler hats, a theme that is depicted on the walls and the ceiling of the restaurant.

Interior of 'La Roue d'Or' with the Magritte-like frescos on the walls and the ceiling.

Since the beginning of June of this year Magritte has his own permanent museum in Brussels where you can admire a selection of 400 of his paintings.

But back to the restaurant and our lunch! The friend who recommended the restaurant to me had also told me the brasserie-like kitchen was very generous. By which he meant that it was wiser not take a starter if you have a small appetite. On our first visit all these years ago, we discarded his warning; something we deeply regretted afterwards, as the portions turned out to be very generous indeed.

'Rognons à l'estragon' (Kidneys in a tarragon cream sauce). Yum!
They come with ... French Fries, of course!

Being older and wiser, we stuck to one dish this time. My friend had the ‘Rognons à l’estragon’ (kidneys in a tasty tarragon cream sauce) and I had the ‘Cassoulet’, not really a Belgian classic but nevertheless one of the restaurant’s specialties. As usual, we drank a slightly chilled Saumur Champigny with our meal.

After our meal, we walked back to the car park. The sun was out and the sidewalk terraces were doing great business. People were sipping coffee or eating ice cream or Brussel waffles with whipped Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries. Life can be beautiful … can’t it?



Ken Broadhurst said...

You are really making me want to come back to Belgium and Brussels. The last time Walt and I were up there was probably in 1994! La honte! And we went to one of those tourist trap restaurants for lunch and regretted it. But the city was beautiful.

ladybird said...

Hello Ken, I'll gladly show you and Walt around the day you decide to visit Belgium and Brussels. And I can already promise you a great meal at the 'Roue d'Or'. What's keeping you? Martine