‘It’s a bit like a restaurant and a bit like a pub,’ Ezra announced as we settled at our table at Cafe Football in Westfield Stratford.
I couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s got the high roofs and mood lighting of a diner along with the laddish but relaxed atmosphere of a traditional pub. And there are multiple flat screens cleverly angled around the restaurant, so you won’t miss a shot.
On the wall behind us was a World Cup fixtures chart. Across the restaurant, English football heroes line the walls. As luck would have it, Ryan Giggs (joint owner with Manchester United teammate Gary Neville) was having dinner with friends and family. He was kind enough to pose with the babes.
‘What team do you support then?’ he asked with a twinkle in his eye. For once my little Gooners were lost for words.
The food at Cafe Football is prepared by Michelin-starred chefs and ranges from posh beans on toast to dishes on the more gastro end (with prices to match).
I had a Cosmopoliteam (geddit?) cocktail and for mains, The Boss burger; dry aged beef, pulled pork, lime aioli, Asian slaw and Scotch bonnet chilli. This isn’t for the faint-hearted — not because of the chilli which I found mild (I’m Nigerian, baby) but the sheer gob-stopping size of it.
I would have liked it slightly less done, but it was still juicy and flavourful and I handled (almost) every bite. It was served with proper thick hand-cut chips and the ketchup by Good Sauce Co’ was so good I had to take a snap.
Kids’ meals at Cafe Football (Match Teas) include a main — burger, fish and chips, fish finger sandwiches, sausage and mash etc — a drink and dessert for £7.95. The boys both had burgers, Ezra pronouncing his ‘really really good’ and Jed was practically eating his ketchup with a spoon. I love that the milkshake arrived in a real milk bottle.
For dessert, the boys had a choice of ice cream or sweets. You should have seen their eyes go swirly as our waitress led us to the back of the restaurant where there’s a kiosk selling pick ‘n mix sweets, cakes and ice creams.
The sweet shop is a lovely touch — I can imagine this is something that either Giggsy or Nev must have dreamed of since they were little!
I couldn’t resist a double scoop of vanilla and strawberry ice on a cone.
We sat at our tables, munching on our dessert, bobbing our heads to the soundtrack (pure retro pop, from Human League to Cameo), and watching Messi score in the 91st minute of the Argentina vs Iran match. This was heaven for my footie mad babes.
Tasty food, down-to-earth atmosphere, great location — call it a hat trick for Cafe Football!
Cafe Football is now hosting children’s parties that includes ‘match tea menu’, birthday cake and balloons, a football signed by Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville for the birthday boy, all for £12 per child. The family friendly restaurant also has highchairs and a separate disabled toilet with baby-changing table.
Cafe Football is on The Street (near car park B) at Westfield Stratford, E20 1EN (Stratford tube/overground). Tel: 02078 702 2590