The World Cup? Already?
Yes indeed. The flags are up, the sweepstakes are in, and as always the hospitality industry is not passing up the opportunity to get involved with the furore that always surrounds the world’s biggest football event.
Pints down the pub, is it?
There is much more going on than that. The UK’s dining scene is now so diverse that it isn’t all England shirts and St George’s Cross flags anymore. Some of the most interesting events happening on these shores are being held by restaurants who might support a different team to an Englishman.
Well, Peru is entering the tournament for the first time in 36 years, so Peruvian restaurant Ceviche is making sure it celebrates the occasion by showing all of its national team’s matches. It will also show all the Latin American and Spanish games on a big screen at the group’s Old Street location, and has created a pisco-based cocktail, the ‘Arriba Peru’ to drink while watching. Peruvian restaurant Lima is also getting in on the act. Its recently rebranded downstairs space The Lost Alpaca at its Lima Floral site in Covent Garden will also be showing all of Peru’s matches.
Any excuse for some pisco …
That’s not all that’s going on. Brindisa will be showing all of Spain’s games at its Shoreditch restaurant, accompanied by a £20 tapas menu, and The Marksman on London’s Hackney Road has announced a new feasting menu to tie in with England’s games. It will run an Indian-themed three course feasting menu, which will include a curried lamb bun with spiced yoghurt; grilled curried chicken with sourdough roti, tomato and curry leaf salad; and apple and cardamom sorbet.
Is there anything a bit more casual?
Of course. Multi-operator venues such as Pop Brixton; The Prince; Pergola Paddington; and Feast Bar & Kitchen will all be showing all the games, and they all have outdoor seating areas and terraces to fit as many fans in as possible. And MEATliquor in Brighton has of today taken over the kitchen at its local Walkabout, serving a reduced ‘MEATkicker’ menu of burgers, wings and fries during World Cup games. And if you really want to get into the football spirit, just go to Café Football in Manchester or London, where it will have a special menu; host a quiz and football bingo games and have football sticker albums that can be filled up with stickers that come with children’s meals.
What if my team didn’t qualify – can I still celebrate?
If you’re Dutch you can. Despite the Netherlands failing to qualify this year, Dutch café De Hems is screening a variety of matches at its Soho bar.
And what if I don’t actually care about the World Cup?
How about a four-week break in the US (who failed to qualify and who don’t really rate the sport much anyway). Failing that, you’d probably get on well at Koop + Kraft in Hampshire. Owner George Purnell has banned all mention of the tournament from his pub, saying he wants to make his restaurant a place to escape because “literally every venue is showing the football”. It seems he has a point.