Saturday, April 24, 2010

There is an alternate universe...

...and it's in Belgium. I know because I found it last night.

As you may have read, I had a rather rough landing back from our holidays. One day off from children to catch up on work and get the household back in order from our travels and then the rest of the week was comprised of various children taking turns being unwell and thus off from school, condeming me to house arrest. To add salt to the wound, the weather has been stunning, something that isn't all that frequent around here: blue skies, warm air. Yes, spring fever has struck me, struck hard and I wanted to enjoy it.

By the time last night rolled around, I'd just about had it of looking at the same four walls and told hubby that all I wanted was to hop in the car and go somewhere, anywhere, as long as it wasn't in the immediate vicinity of our house. We were lucky enough to get a last minute babysitter and so we were off. Little did I suspect as I got into the car that our night out in an unassuming restaurant just north of the border would turn into a trip far beyond my expectations, a trip into an alternate universe.

We had done a quick internet search for good restaurants in the area (when we go out, it seems it's always to eat... we love to eat!) and came up with one called Au Petit Chateau in a small town just north of the border in Belgium. The website looked enticing (okay I admit, it was bright pink and spring green, a favourite colour combination of mine so I was decided ahead of time) as well as the proposed menus. We were sold.

It turns out that Au Petit Chateau is more of a villa or small house rather than a castle and is located on a somewhat busy main road between two towns. But the car park was packed so we found a spot and headed in, completely unaware of the experience awaiting us.

Walking through the front door, we found ourselves in a very pink room full of silver-haired diners whose average age was approximately 30 years (or more) above than our own. First giggle. To the right, a rather large musical installation of keyboard, microphone, spotlight.... all under the the supervision of, well, I can only imagine one of the diner's school mates - same age range. Another giggle. This was going to be fun!

It only took a few seconds before we were greeted by a geniunely happy maitre d'hotel who showed us to our table. As we passed all those pink tablecloths and grey-haired heads, we also discovered a pink reflective ceiling as well as heavy curtains in various shades of rose and mauve. Welcome to grandma's boudoir!

We ordered and drank in the ambiance as we waited for our meals. The service was excellent and very attentive and the dishes of asparagus and coppa, lamb shank and spring vegetables, millefeuille aux chocolat were equally delicious. We had thoroughly enjoyed our meal and were sipping our after-dinner infusions out of camoflaged tea cups when suddenly, and most unexpectedly....

"To all zee gihrls I've loved beefohre...." wafted from the musical installation as the master of ceremonies began to sing Willy Nelson in a belgian accent. Fab-u-lous! This was followed by a rocking rendition of Barry White's My First, My Last, My Everything as well as Volare complete with back up band and vocals (recorded, alas). But it was when he started in with Everlasting Love that the dance floor opened up. One couple, then a second quickly joined by a third. The room was hopping! Or shuffling maybe.

It was getting late and the dessert and digestive service was winding down. There was singing, there was dancing, but the party was just beginning. Apparently as all the diners and dancers were momentarily quite happy and thus undemanding, a free moment had opened up. The maitre d' took the mike and belted out a version of Copacabana as I've never heard it. Barry Manilow watch out, this man could sing!

It was a little bit Belgian, a little bit Florida retirement community, all in a hole in the wall restaurant tucked away in a small corner of Hainaut. I honestly don't think I've had that much fun out to dinner in a long time, if ever really. We're definitely going back, but next time I'm wearing my dancing shoes!


sassypackrat said...

That dining experience sounds awesome! How fun to have discovered something like that!

Spotted Sparrow said...

Ahahaaa! That sounds hilarious!

Giffysk8s said...

Wear your dancing shoes and take ME!!! Glad you enjoyed some sweetheart time.

gretchenmist said...

a very interesting night out! funny story :)