Wasps have enlisted the help of a Leamington bistro café as they prepare to entertain an influx of French visitors.
Oscar’s French Bistro on Chandos Street has been working with Ricoh Arena chefs to come up with the ultimate French cuisine for hundreds of hospitality guests ahead of Wasps’ clash with La Rochelle in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Sunday, December 17 (1pm kick-off).
The restaurant’s head chef Martyn Pearn, who has previously held and retained a Michelin Star, and French waiter Pascal Caulle have teamed up with the Ricoh Arena’s head chef Chris Giddy to create a menu recognising La Rochelle’s rich seafood heritage on the western French coast.
Former France international and Wasps player Serge Betsen, who made 63 appearances for his country between 1997 and 2007, also helped out with the menu planning at the Leamington eatery.
Pascal, who has been a waiter in Leamington for 15 years, said: “We were flattered to be asked by Wasps for our input into their French themed menu for this particular game.
“We have our fingers on the pulse of what is popular when it comes to French cuisine – which is helped by the handful of different French natives we have eating here each week on top of our usual local trade.
“La Rochelle is well-known for its seafood so we have recommended this as a must-have on match day. Chicken liver pate, dry aged steak and crème brulee are also best-sellers at our bistro, and are dishes we have also recommended to Wasps.
“It was surreal to meet Serge Betsen. I think his favourite part was trying out some of the dishes we had prepared!”
Following the visit, Chris Giddy, head chef at the Ricoh Arena, and his team have put together a menu with more than 50 different French food options.
The menu now boasts an array of seafood dishes such as seafood stew; sea bass, cod, shrimp, mussels, clams and saffron potatoes; smoked, salted and poached seafood and roasted Mediterranean vegetables.
Other French favourites include confit of duck and a French Sunday roast made up of roasted pork loin with chateau potatoes.
Chris added: “La Rochelle boasts an impressive seafood industry, and as soon as the cup draw was made we knew we had the opportunity to bring a bit of French culture to Coventry.
“We wanted to do it properly though by consulting people with extensive knowledge of French cuisine.
“A lot of Wasps players live in Leamington and drop by for a bite to eat sometimes, and they recommended Oscar’s as a good place to seek advice from.”
To book hospitality for Wasps versus La Rochelle on Sunday, December 17 visit www.wasps.co.uk/hospitality
Tickets for Wasps vs La Rochelle are available from www.wasps.co.uk starting from £22 for adults, while under-10s go free in certain areas.
Photo: From left, Sarah Russell (Oscar’s), Martyn Pearn (Oscar’s), Serge Betsen, Pascal Caulle (Oscar’s), Chris Giddy (Ricoh Arena) and Luke Beverley (Ricoh Arena)