Where we ate: Cafe Football, the restaurant located in Hotel Football, opposite the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester. Owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs.
What we ate:
‘Pre- Match Warm Up’ foods including chipolata sausages (£3.45 – served in a very cute Kilner jar), garlic bread (£2.95)
Chicken in a Basket (£5.95) – chicken wings coated in chilli and seasame seeds, with a blue cheese dip.
The Salt Chilli Squid (£7.95), with lime aioli, spring onion and coriander. (Vegetarian).
‘The Beer’ Burger (£14.95), a beer fed Dexter beef, bacon jam and rarebit burger, served with chips
‘The Goal and Zola’ (£11.95) – does anyone remember that match? Not easily forgotten as a Chelsea fan, but one I expect Utd fans wish to wipe from their memory! Alas, The Goal and Zola was a 4 cheese pizza with a salad of gorgonzola, pear and walnut on top of the actual pizza. (Vegetarian).
Children’s Meal (£5.95 for a main meal, dessert and drink):
Burger and fries.
What we thought:
Attending on Super League Grand Final day, meant that the walk from the Old Trafford tram stop (10 mins) to Cafe Football was electric and the air was filled with nervous energy and excitement. Unless you like crowds, probably visit the restaurant on a day when there are no events taking place.
Situated pretty much opposite the Old Trafford ground, Hotel Football, owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, offers hotel accommodation, event space and a roof top football pitch, alongside its internal restaurant Cafe Football.
Serving a lot of food that professional footballers probably cannot eat (calorific food!), the menu somehow manages to add humour and personality to the food choices… making it even harder to choose what to eat. Influenced by the love of the game, choices include: Fan’s Favourites – Scholsey’s Steak Pudding, chips, peas and gravy. Giggsy’s Red Dragon Sausage, mash and onion gravy and many more.
The ‘Pre- Match Warm Up’ foods including chipolata sausages all small foods to keep you going whilst perusing the menu. A fantastic idea and very quickly served, which when you have restless children is perfect!
Both starters were divine and expertly presented and were served at the same time as the childrens’ main meals, always a crafty move! For £5.95 children could choose a main meal, drink and a dessert, which is fantastic value for money.
Both girls chose a burger and fries, with other choices on the menu being: Fish fingers, Bangers and Mash and other kid’s favourites. Whilst the girls were happy to chomp away, my daughter isn’t a huge fan of chips (I must have the only child who isn’t!) and prefers a salad or vegetables with her meal… this wasn’t an option. For me, children should always have that option even if it is a simple pot of lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
All the burger meals were served in very funky ceramic dish, in the shape of a burger container – genius! The fat cut chips served with the meal were absolutely scrumptious, even more so when dipped in mayo! The burgers themselves were tender, clearly made with good quality beef and certainly the adult burger was a definite handful and required cutting in half. All the flavours of the Beer Burger worked really well with each other and made every bite mouthwatering.
Desserts were an easy choice for the girls as they chose Vimto Ripple ice cream in a cone, which meant we could make a dash for the tram before the final whistle. If you visit the restaurant, make sure you take a trip to the little kiosk at the end of the restaurant as you will be in for an amazing surprise! It’s like a retro sweet shop, with a quarter bag of sweets costing £1.40! A special treat for the adults in the party – I plumped for half Rhubarb and Custard and half White Chocolate Mice… something that I managed to squirrel away in my bag, just for me! Something so unique, it really did lit up the faces of the adults and was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
The restaurant is certainly set up for sports fans, with many large screen TV’s strategically placed around so that every diner can keep their eye on the game as well as their food! With an open plan kitchen, you can even watch your food being prepared – something I always quite like in a restaurant.
With booths and tables dotted around, Cafe Football offers a lovely, relaxed dining experience with an amazing view of Old Trafford – which admittedly did look stunning when lit up at night time.
The atmosphere is fun, the food is very tasty – I would go back for the Chicken in a Basket alone! Families are made very welcome and the restaurant is well equipped for sports fans! The prices are reasonable for the quality of food and amount you receive – expect to walk out feeling sufficiently full! I did pick up on a retro vibe, in some respects like the restaurant would never grow up… we are all big kids at heart and when you see Irn Bru on the drinks menu, well, it would be rude not to oblige.
The Hotel itself is well situated and looks remarkable, would have loved to have had a nosey around – alas, we had to dash before the rugby game finished. A huge thanks to all the lovely staff who served us on the day and especially Nicola who made our visit thoroughly enjoyable!
The Cafe Football menu can be viewed here.