What: Top quality food with a football theme
Where: Westfield Centre, Stratford, London
You might expect a restaurant conceived by footballers to play on the sporting association. Thankfully, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs’ Café Football does it with subtlety, and brings us one of those great restaurants that works in all situations.
Quiet bite with a friend or loved one? No problem, the food is not just good, it’s really good, and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun.
Family lunch with the kids? Perfect– the food is high quality without being snobby or exclusive (delicious burgers, excellent pizzas, excellent sharing platters) and there’s a real playfulness about everything from the napkins to the menu.
Don’t like football? Don’t worry – it’s not a requirement, and while there are football references to be found nearly everywhere, you won’t be subjected to Match of the Day highlights on repeat. You can just enjoy the fantastic food.
This is a restaurant with a great sense of fun. Much of the food is a fond pastiche of football-terrace fare: here your pulled pork and beef burger arrives in a heavy ceramic plate shaped to suggest a Styrofoam takeaway box, while your roast chicken and egg noodles come in a tall white china bowl reminiscent of a Pot Noodle.
With great humour borne of easy confidence in the quality of their dishes, Café Football actively transforms the rough and ready culture of eating at a match into a top-notch dining experience suitable for families, friends, a quick lunch or a hearty dinner.
When I say the food is good – it’s really good. Head chef Brendan Fyldes and two-Michelin-starred consultant chef Michael Wignall have put together a menu of outstanding quality that retains that football terrace theme.
Glazed pastry sausage rolls made with Dijon mustard and black pudding, delicious pies and ribs on the Starters Eleven sharing platter, a selection of imaginative burgers from aged beef to Welsh lamb and organic salmon, and plenty more to suit all ages.
You’ll get some delightfully themed desserts too, like The Turf – a slice of chocolate and caramel cake iced to look like a football pitch, or you can just grab some sweets from the in-house sweetie counter.
All in all, Café Football is a definite hit. It’s not a gimmicky in-your-face explosion of all things football – it’s a tasteful, high quality restaurant with a gentle football theme and a playful tone. The food is truly mouth-watering, football fans and families will get a kick (sorry) out of the football theme, and the fun atmosphere make it an easy and unpretentious place to eat out.
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