City wanderings - and a pilgrimage to some of the best eating and drinking spots in Brussels. Or maybe not eating or drinking - ah, oh well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fat Boys

There are collective gasps and groans from the crowd in Place du Luxembourg.  We're squeezed on benches outside an American style sports bar; a bar with a European twist for we're dining al fresco and cheering on France versus Lithuania in a basketball game.  It's amazing the waiters keep tabs on what's going on.  To make things more challenging there's an open air techno concert just getting underway, so there's no hope of conversation.  We're here for eating, drinking, cheering for the underdog.

In Fat Boys, time is measured in parts of seconds.  The basketball game is divided up into chunks, fast-moving with "time out" stoppage time.  Compared to this, football seems positively pedestrian.  As eating or drinking carries on around us, we the audience are subjected to an excess of stimuli.  You cannot do anything - sip, chew, speak, burp - without a TV screen flickering within a 30 degree tilt of your head.  A sports bar, yes, but here you eat calorific buffalo wings, burgers and fries; while watching your favourite team or teams in action.  Your energies are expended cheering loudly and squeezing the French's dressing or ketchup.  Everything you need for entertainment and satisfaction is here, within reach - it's like a wonderful (or nightmarish) vision of the paranoid mother watching her baby playing video games.  Fat Boys and techno lads, you bring Place du Luxembourg alive!  How appropriate that football, rugby and basketball screens are competing with the Vertical Stage techno blaring from the former Luxembourg station building, and that the parasols of this excessive, hyperactive bar are emblazoned with Red Bull advertising!

As we prepare to order our burger, the techno is vibrating in my core and the basketball match is reaching a gripping climax.  Despite the will of the crowd, France are winning.  My burger, smothered with homemade chili and golden melted cheddar, arrives, and I can barely see it in the darkness.  It is thick, chargrilled and juicy, with onion, gherkin, crisp iceberg lettuce and golden fries that crunch.  The chili topping is delicious paired with the iceberg and molten cheddar.  The baps are ordinary - slightly sugary - not stealing the show.  Iceberg, chili and nachos - as I chew I am reminded of Texas and I yearn to go back. My feet start tapping as I attack the burger, while the music pounds and the crowd groans in dismay as France score again.  

"I've never eaten a burger while dancing before".

The burger isn't excessive and is dispatched.  France have won so I wander inside the bar to console  Lithaunians in the queue for the Ladies toilets.  Inside the bar is emblazoned with football scarves from Germany, England, Spain.  Televisions are stridently blaring, people are drinking out of plastic goblets and nobody is concerned about your age.  I wonder again about the Tex-Mex inspired menu: hot jalepenos, the buffalo wings Louisiana style and the very American idea of excess.  Fat Boys does not aspire to the kind of quantities served up in many US establishments, but there's a feeling of  bravado: of chomping and slurping large quantities while gobbling up coverage of goals, strikes and cheerleaders.  Not less, but MORE is more!  I smile at the memory.

Meanwhile my toes are tapping and my Texas cowboy boots are on.  As others stand around we decide to dance lindy hop to techno in Place du Luxembourg.  My mouth tastes of onion, and I've never attempted to dance the Charleston on cobblestones, to pounding beats from up above in a former railway station.  Nobody bats an eyelid, but somebody gives me a high five!  And after tiring of techno an hour or later, we discover that dancing swing to techno is considerably easier than dancing swing to R n'B on a proper dancefloor. 

Becinbrussels ate a Chili and Cheddar burger off the grill, washed down with beer.  She liked the burger very much, learnt about basketball and came to the conclusion that techno was much more exciting than R n'B.

Burgers range from 12 euro for the "Plain and Simple", to 20.50 for the "Fat Boys Mega" ("Not for the faint hearted" says the Menu) 
02 511 32 66

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to trying it out later this week. You'll find me in the gym every lunch time for at least the next month.

    Although, it's maybe not as bad as this: