Looking for ways to spend Belgium’s national holiday?
This coming Friday – 21 July – marks the day when the independent state of Belgium was born (October 4,1830).National Day commemorates the day on which Leopold I took the constitutional oath as the first King of Belgium (July 21,1831).
It is also, of course, a day off for most of us so what better excuse to treat yourself to something a bit different – a day out (together with a bite to eat) at an aerodrome?
Established on a former airfield dating from the Second World War, the Brasserie de l’Aérodrome de Namur is a landmark for lovers of aviation – and good food.
To mark the national holiday, the resto has organised an evening of mussels and fries, Belgium’s emblematic dish (with an alternative steak tartare for those who are not fond of shellfish). Combined with a musical atmosphere – and the unquestioned unusual setting – it makes for an ideal way to celebrate Belgium’s independence.
Actually, the site and brasserie are well worth a visit at any time of the year (not just for the national holiday).
In fact, given its location, this eatery is quite unique in Belgium.
It boasts a lovely and expansive terrace from which you can admire a whole assortment of flying craft, ranging from planes and gliders to other motorized vehicles in action.
For those visiting during the day (along with people working in the area), there is a very affordable and well priced (€39pp) 3 course (coffee included) business lunch menu.
There are also on site rooms available for events, team building, meetings and seminars, all of which can be combined with a brasserie lunch.
Whatever time you visit, however, you might like to start with a drink on the terrace and, for those with kids, let the little ones enjoy the pretty playground, a game of pétanque or let them loose on a bouncy castle (weather permitting).
There is even a “selfie zone”, which gives you a chance to be photographed against the unusual backdrop.
Over the years this eatery and airfield have become something of a landmark for aviation enthusiasts.That should come as no surprise given the spectacular view of the runways, frequented by planes, gliders, helicopters, parachutists and gliders.
While they go about the business of flying you can get down to the equally important business of a good meal (which is also guaranteed here).
The food, fitting as the national holiday is almost upon us once again, is what might be called classic Belgian cuisine.
Starters on the menu features, for example, the ever popular (and,here, very tasty) croquettes together with tartare de saumon and beef carpaccio.
The mains list is relatively short but nonetheless excellent, comprising dishes like linguine a la carbonara, filet de bar, a couple of steak options and beer tartare.You can combine the meat with a choice of sauces and, for desert, there are some more perennial Belgian faves such as crème brulee and crepes.
Considering the excellent quality the prices are very reasonable with mains, for instance, starting from just €14, a mere snip compared with similar standard eating establishments in Brussels.
There is also a very good drinks list, ranging from great Belgian beers such as Chouffe and Orval to an excellent selection of cocktails and aperitifs.Look out also for the glass cabinet at the entrance with its nice collection of flying artefacts (it might particularly appeal to Tintin enthuasiasts) and the innovative “aviation” features scattered throughout the brasserie.
These include signs for the vintage-style restrooms, comfy seats handcrafted from airplane parts and the bar constructed from old-fashioned airplane sheets.
The large bay windows allow uninterrupted views of the airfield with all manner of aircraft taking off and landing. It all amounts to a sort of “free show” while you are eating and drinking.
This resto is quite large and, inside and out, can seat up to 250 people but can get very busy at peak times so booking is advisable.The service is efficient and friendly – just like you might expect when boarding a plane.
Credit must go to the owners for coming up with such a novel place to eat, the like of which it really would be hard to find anywhere else in Belgium.
Brasserie de l’Aerodrome de Namur
rue Capitaine Aviateur Jacquet 44, Suarlee (Namur)
email : [email protected]