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Christmas At Café Football, Hotel Football, Manchester

Christmas At Café Football, Hotel Football, Manchester

Since ‘retiring’ last year Ryan Giggs seems to have seriously upped his workload.

Assistant manager of one of the biggest football clubs in the world is a full time job to most, but he’s also pursuing a number of personal business ventures including co-owning Salford City football club, a restaurant, George’s in Worsley and now Hotel Football.

Located right outside Old Trafford, the football-themed hotel, restaurant and bar has become a go-to destination for fans on match days.

Outside Hotel Football

Outside Hotel FootballOutside Wall

But it’s not just for the football crowd, it’s a popular conference centre too and the Charlatan’s even played a gig there recently. Most interesting for me though is that they’re taking the restaurant, Cafe Football seriously.

Executive chef Brendan Fyldes has a great pedigree after starting his career at Michelin-starred Northcote over 20 years ago before going on to work under Paul Heathcote, Richard Corrigan and Marco Pierre White.

Cafe Football Bar Cafe Football

A few weeks ago I was invited to preview their ‘Festive Menu’ and special three course ‘Christmas Day Menu’. I usually try to contain Christmas to the month of December, but I made an exception as I was keen to see Hotel Football and try Brendan’s food.

The event was hosted upstairs in the ‘Class Of ’92 Suite’. Looking suitably festive with Prosecco flowing and Christmas music playing. There’s a pretty decent view from the window too.

Table

Table

View From The Window

View From The Window

The festivities began with a small shot of sweet, velvety ‘Chestnut Soup’, the vegetarian option for Christmas Day diners (I imagine they’ll get a whole bowl though).

Chestnut Soup

Fish eaters will instead be tucking into ‘Sea Salt Cured Salmon’.

Slices of luxurious, slightly smoky fish are served with an assortment of condiments; horseradish sauce, chopped shallots and capers along with excellent, freshly baked Irish soda bread.

Sea Salt Cured Salmon

Sea Salt Cured Salmon

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

While the ‘Festive Menu’ – which is available right now until Christmas – features a whole ‘Rack Of Ribs’ and ‘Chicken In A Basket’.

We received a platter containing a small sample of both. The ribs were particularly good; ridiculously tender with a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce.

Ribs & Chicken

Ribs & Chicken

Other dishes include ‘The Shrimper’, a modern twist on a classic prawn cocktail and ‘Treble Pies’, a trio of beef and onion, curried chicken and cheese and vegetable mini pies.

The Shrimper

The Shrimper

Treble Pies

Treble Pies

My favourite starter was ‘Deep Fried Brie’. Crisp breadcrumbs encased warm, gooey French cheese. The cranberry and port sauce on the side was divine and a fantastic partner for the cheese.

Deep Fried Brie

Deep Fried Brie

Main course on Christmas Day is a traditional Christmas dinner, naturally.

Juicy roast turkey is served with fondant potato, sage and onion stuffing, honey roasted root vegetables, sprouts with bacon, gravy and the world’s fattest pigs in blankets.

Traditional Christmas Dinner

Traditional Christmas Dinner

Parsnips & Carrots

Parsnips & Carrots

Sprouts & Bacon

Sprouts & Bacon

The regular ‘Festive Menu’ features somewhat less Christmassy main courses such as pizzas, burgers (both beef and fish) and chicken tagliatelle.

'Home Team Burger'

‘Home Team Burger’

'Catch Of The Day Burger'

‘Catch Of The Day Burger’

There is at least one Christmassy dish, though, ‘Festive Pie’ is filled with succulent turkey, chestnuts and ham and comes served with gravy and parsnip chips.

Festive Pie

Festive Pie

Parsnip Crisps

Parsnip Crisps

Audible gasps could be heard around the table as dessert was brought out.

After so much food it was really the last thing anybody needed. Unlike Christmas dinner at home we couldn’t snooze on the couch for the rest of the day.

But they looked so appetising I couldn’t resist getting stuck in.

The ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding’ was good, particularly the salted caramel ice cream on top.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Better still was the ‘Christmas Pudding’, a traditional affair topped with brandy butter and served with creme anglaise.

Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding

And that really was it. Even I couldn’t manage another bite.

Executive chef Brendan came up to see us whilst we quietly slipped into a food coma. He spoke about his career and talked passionately about Lancashire and the surrounding areas, he’s proud that as much produce as possible is sourced locally.

Overall I think Hotel Football and Cafe Football is a great thing, I grew up eating nasty fast food before and after matches and would’ve loved somewhere like this.

But equally, the food is good enough to be a restaurant in it’s own right.

Date of visit: 19.11.2015

Disclaimer: This was a special, invitation-only preview event. 

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