[France, Lille] report

Just back from along weekend in Lille, and what a lovely place it is especially for food. There is (for example) one long street (Rue de Gand) lined with restaurants, several of which we ate at. The Creperie de Lille does really great crepes, in a fairly nondescript setting, the unique thing being you can build you own from a list of fillings. Les Ptiots is a lovely family run restaurant - I had an excellent salad with warm chevre, and a pain perdu with caramel sauce. Good list of wines by the glass. I would recommend booking - we got the last table on a Sunday evening and they were turning people away for about the next hour.
We ate breakfast at the new Eric Kayser in the Gare Flandres, and lunch at the Paul bakery in Roubaix in the main square (delightful staff).
One unexpected thing about Lille food. Most restaurants have on the menu something called le Welsh, which turns about to be variation on or deconstruction of Welsh rarebit. The key ingredients are cheddar cheese, bacon, mustard sauce and egg. It come as Welsh rarebit on bread, but also as a topping or filling on baked potatoes, crepes, even steaks. Couldn’t find anything anywhere to explain why the Lillois have taken to this dish in such a big way!

Haha… Le Welsh.

Interesting about this Le Welsh. Sounds far better than Le Big Mac.
Did you get any cheese to take home?

You’ll find “Le Welsh” right across the Pas de Calais.

No idea of its origin but, if I had to guess, I’d put it down to British troops in France in one of the World Wars. If I had to guess further, then I’d suggest WW2 as I never came across rarebit when I was researching for my WW1 food book.

I’ll ask on the military history forum I use and report back if I hear anything useful.

1 Like
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold