Snails, salmon and cheese were said to be on the menu for Boris Johnson’s first meeting as Prime Minister with the EU’s chief, Jean-Claude Juncker.
The prominent Brexiteer and the president of the institution he is vocally desperate to leave shook hands in a cordial welcome at Le Bouquet Garni in Luxembourg City’s medieval heart.
The setting of a closed-off restaurant situated in an 18th century house, and not an EU or UK building, was said by officials to be a “neutral location” for their Brexit discussions.
They will explore the possibilities of striking a fresh deal but, despite the warm greetings, their rhetoric has suggested they remain far apart – with the Irish backstop to prevent a hard border remaining a major sticking point.
Michelin guide inspectors described the restaurant as being “steeped in charm” and seeking to “enhance and develop the strength of classical dishes”.
The “menu gourmand” costs 55 euro – or £48 with the falling price of sterling amid Brexit chaos and uncertainty.
Foie gras, fillet of beef with an apple fondant and mushrooms or “the inevitable” creme brulee are all options for the customer with a big enough wallet.
While the restaurant itself was closed to the public, the streets were not and British Remain-backers headed to the square to make their voices known to the PM and to call for a second vote.
“I think the whole referendum was based on a pack of lies,” said Anthea MacDonald, a retired teacher who has gained dual citizenship from Luxembourg since the referendum.
“And as time has gone on, more and more people have come to realise that they would rather Remain.”
A police officer approached the protesters to politely ask them to move on.
He asked the crowd which side of the debate they were on.
“We want to stay in the EU,” they told him.
“Good,” he replied, sticking two thumbs up and grinning.
Mr Johnson will hope his reception is warmer inside the restaurant.