The Tour de France kicks off this weekend, with the world's best cyclists hitting the tarmac for a 3470-kilometre slog across the land of champagne and coq au vin. Unless you’re pulling on the lycra yourself, you won’t be able to attend this year’s scenic cycle through France’s cities and villages. But this might be the next best thing: head to Potts Point French diner Bistro Rex to sample the regional specialties of the five main legs of the race as the cyclists ride through them.
As the race begins on the French Riviera, the first dish (from August 29 to September 2) is from that region: fougasse (a bit like focaccia) stuffed with peppers, anchovies and olives. The next leg wends through the picturesque mountain towns of the Pyrenees. At Bistro Rex during that time (September 3 to 6), feast on lamb stuffed with noix de jambon (ham) and baby carrots.
As the cyclists pedal through the Bordeaux region (September 7 to 13), the Bistro Rex kitchen will be paying tribute to the area’s red wine production with a red wine-braised Wagyu with potato puree. And from September 14 to 17 pop in for comte custard with wild mushrooms – an homage to the riders who will simultaneously be ascending the Alps.
Finally, as the weary cyclists push their way up to Paris and Champagne, enjoy seared scallops with champagne sabayon (a winey sauce) and finger limes. Each dish has the option of a paired wine from the same region. The diner’s regular menu, packed with French classics such as parfait, steak frites and terrine, will also be available to accompany your Tour de France-inspired dishes. Plus, there’ll be a chartreuse-yellow cocktail (to match the yellow jersey of the race’s leader) named Grand Colombier after the most challenging leg of the race.