Have you heard of the Belgian city of Mechelen before?
If you are ever there, stop for lunch or dinner at restaurant Lameau!
June was born in Ypres, and Luc in Mechelen.
We lived here for about 7 years before moving to Spain and coming back to Antwerp.
Mechelen is located near Brussels, right in between Antwerp and Leuven.
That is a 25 kilometre drive from where we live.
Which makes it, with the necessary extra side roads along the quiet countryside and the Dijle river, the perfect stop for a bike ride in the summer!
We love to stay at the Van der Valk hotel in Mechelen, located in a beautifully renovated old public swimming pool building where Luc learned to swim when he was little. The original pool is still there, and serves as a large pond in the patio area in the middle of the hotel.
It is on the outskirts of Mechelen, opposite the local Het Anker brewery.
Het Anker brewery
You might have heard or seen their beer before by the name of Carolus.
The bulk of their beer production is exported to about 40 countries. The Anker beers have earned worldwide praise and have won many ‘best in the world’ titles.
And speaking of breweries…
Mechelen has had other breweries in the past.
Chevalier Marin brewery
Such as Chevalier Marin, which stopped brewing in 1986.
Luc’s grandfather worked at this brewery after the Second World War. Luc had a summer job there when he was a student, delivering beer kegs to the local cafés.
The Chevalier Marin brewery near the Mechelen city hall doesn’t exist anymore.
It was torn down and the site was used to build social housing on.
Another Mechelen brewery was Lamot, which also stopped brewing beer in 1994.
However that building still exists in the middle of Mechelen.
Right next to the river Dijle. On the opposite side of the most popular place in town to have a drink and a bite to eat on a warm evening: the fish market.
The old Lamot brewery was renovated and received a modern facelift.
The glass facade is an eye catcher on the outside. And on the inside you get a lovely view on the busy fish market and the glorious St Rumbold’s cathedral, especially when it gets dark.
It used to be a restaurant by the name of Grand Café Lamot and also a wedding venue a couple of years ago. Now the building is still used for events, weddings, seminars, workshops, expositions etc.
The restaurant however moved to the ground floor where Lameau was opened.
Why go to Lameau
Well first of all, the food at Lameau is just absolutely splendid.
Even the Michelin guide awarded Lameau with a Michelin plate label for its good cooking.
It also has a couple of local Carolus beers on draft. You just can’t beat a good Carolus draft beer.
Especially in Mechelen.
What more do you need?
Not only the food is great, also the setting.
Yes, there is a dining area in the restaurant itself. However we love to sit in the shady outside dining area right next to the river. Especially when the weather is gorgeous.
When the fish market on the other side of the Dijle river is packed, that buzzing sound of people enjoying a drink and a chat adds an extra cozy touch to the whole place.
So here we are!
Van der Valk hotel
Bike ride done.
Followed by a well deserved and heavenly shower in our Van der Valk hotel room.
We enjoy a free welcome drink at the hotel bar (complimentary if you register as a Van der Valk loyal customer).
And then off we go.
On our way to the lively city centre.
The walk from the Van der Valk hotel to the fish market and restaurant Lameau is very easy, about 13 minutes. Make sure to walk around the beguinage area right behind The Anker brewery.
We arrive at Lameau around 6pm.
The staff checks our reservation and makes us choose our own table.
We sit down, and receive menus.
Choosing our drinks is easy.
Maneblusser draft beer, a blond beer with an alcohol percentage of 5.8% vol. Perfect way to start our lovely dinner with.
Our beers arrive and with it comes a little appetizer. A super smooth ham mousse with yellow tomato and avocado cream.
Elegant, both in presentation and flavor.
What to eat
It is hard to choose a starter and a main dish.
Everything on the menu sounds amazing.
Luc goes for the eels in green sauce croquette with remoulade, smoked eel, citrus and crunchy quinoa (€17). Eels in green sauce is a traditional Belgian fish dish (check out June’s recipe here) that we both love. However this is the very first time that we see it in a croquette version.
June chooses the veal sweetbreads with eggplant caviar and cœur de bœuf tomato carpaccio (€18). She adores sweetbreads and since you rarely see it on a restaurant menu, this is her moment here at restaurant Lameau.
Verdict for both starters: perfectly executed, well seasoned, great flavors and gorgeous textures. And the portions are quite large!
Let’s hope that we can finish our mains after these copious starters.
Luc goes for the stuffed chicken with vegetables, Carolus beer jus and potato croquettes (€28). The chicken is a local breed, called Mechelse koekoek or Malines cuckoo.
June decides to take the sea bass with cauliflower, sautéed lam’s ears and samphire, mousseline sauce and creamy mashed potatoes (€28).
Verdict for both main dishes: we can again not find anything negative to say about our colorful plates. The chicken and sea bass are cooked perfectly, both are juicy and tender. The vegetables are tender and crunchy at the same time. Impeccable sauces.
And again very large portions.
Our bellies are (way too) full.
No dessert for us. The night starts to fall. The atmosphere is amazing, the fish market is buzzing. What a great place Lameau is.
So great even that 3 weeks later we decide to do the same bike tour from Antwerp to Mechelen. We stay at the same Van der Valk hotel and have dinner at Lameau again.
Would we go back to Lameau?
Yes, and we did!
And my oh my, we are right on time for game season!
That evening we decide to skip starters and go for just one main course.
Pigeon, endives, beets and pumpkin with potato croquettes on the side (€30).
Perfect match for the Gouden Carolus triple draft beer.
Again a sans faute, impeccable execution.
The pigeon is cooked perfectly well, seared on all sides and saignant on the inside. The colorful vegetables and sauce are excellent.
Would we recommend Lameau?
Make sure to call or book a table online.
This restaurant is quite popular.
Van Beethovenstraat 8