Arsenal v Burnley – The Catering Report

by Andrew Crawshaw

As you all know by now I met Walter and the other Belgian Supporters at the North Greenwich Station on the London Underground Jubilee Line and accompanied them to the Emirates Stadium. This is an easy start for anyone coming from the near Continent, good road access from the Ferry or Eurostar terminals and easy parking (even if Walter’s sat-nav directs him on a different route towards and away from London).

By the way, If any other readers are coming over to London and would like me to meet them in the same way, I will be most delighted to do so. I don’t drink alcohol though so am not the best person to ask for advice on pubs.

My pre-meeting catering comprised a cup of coffee at one of the standard high street coffee chains that has a branch just outside the Station and close to the O2 arena entrance. Standard coffee and perfectly acceptable.

We negotiated the Underground system, this time Jubilee Line to Green Park and Victoria line to Highbury and Islington and walked up the Holloway Road to the Stadium. I did have to keep looking round to check that everyone was still together and on more than one occasion found myself on the opposite side of a road to the rest. No traffic coming so like most Londoners I ignored lights etc and crossed. Walter said that none of them dared follow me!

At the stadium most of the Belgians disappeared into the Armoury shop whilst Walter, and I led a sub-group off for lunch.

We had pre-arranged to meet Tony and Blacksheep at The Swimmer at the Grafton Arms. This is situated in Eburne Road, which is a backroad one street off the Holloway Road, it is about 15 minutes walk from the Stadium (Belgian pace). Here is a link to the Time-Out page for the pub

It was a most excellent choice. They had a good selection of European and English Beers, and sufficient choice of non-alcoholic stuff for Walter and I. The Belgians chose Guiness, Tony had a Belgian Beer, Blacksheep a London Ale.

The Pub had a good menu of food all cooked to order and between us we ordered a variety of burgers (beef and lamb) with chips, a portion of chicken and leek soup and some smoked Mackarel pate. There was no pressure for seats and we could hear each other speak. All in all a very good venue and well worth visiting again.

As Blacksheep said, a traditional English Pub in a fairly quiet street behind a busy main road with high class gastro food.

Thumbs up all round.

After the game I had my usual cup of tea in the Master Chef Cafe on the Holloway Road whilst I let the crowds dissipate from Highbury & Islington Station. Always value for money – 70p for a mug!

10 Replies to “Arsenal v Burnley – The Catering Report”

  1. Andrew,
    An excellent and interesting catering report of which I hope you will publish more.
    Did the Belgians comment on our standard of food? Particularly how our chips compared with their masterpieces!
    I’m not overkeen on beef and lamb burgers. Too much can be hidden from view.
    But mackerel pate is a favourite of mine (next to pork pate).
    Chicken and leek soup is OK but I prefer the leek and potato variety.
    I wonder what South Wales has to offer on Sunday! 😉

  2. Nicky,
    I took the home made beef burger with cheddar and bacon on it. Served with some vegetables and some fries.
    For us people from Belgium who eat large portions of fries usually at first sight it was a extra small size portion.
    But the burger was baked excellent and just as ordered and when finished I had eaten more than enough and even didn’t need more fries to fill up my stomach.

    The rest of our company also was very satisfied about the food well the Belgian part was.

    Just the fact that we had no mayonnaise going with the fries was odd.
    This is always the first question asked when you order fries in a frituur in Belgium : what do you want on top (mayonnaise, ketchup, special(= mayonnaise+ketchup+onions), Brazil, Andalouze, tartaar, tomagrec, …… and many more.

    But we found out that you have to ask it specifically in England and that they don’t always have mayonnaise. Drew knew about it and since he visited Belgium he cannot eat fries without mayonnaise. I believe it was Belgium if I understood it correct?

  3. Apart from the good food I must say that the excellent company made it a very pleasant moment

  4. Walter how could you forget the Pili Pili sauce. Picked up from Belgian Congo. Pili Pili is chlli pepper in swahili.

  5. Andrew, you’re not only a reliable source for information about referee’s and their performances… Seems that you’re also a catering expert for football fans. Last May you recommended us The Piebury Corner, and now The Swimmer at Grafton Arms. Good value for money and it was also a surprise that, at that time of Matchday, we actually could get a seat and could talk without raising our voice.
    Do you have any good tips for affordable Indian food – after the game? Probably I’ll spend the weekend in London for the Newcastle game.

  6. Andrew only a suggestion but have a look at Highbury Arts Club and The Duchess of Kent might be of your radar , both very close to ground

  7. Nicky, agree with you about the potato & leek soup! A favorite! I also share your general suspicion about the content of pies & burgers!

    Hard to beat a cheese sandwich & a pint!

  8. Walter,
    It was just as well I did not join in your choice of burger. Why any qualified chef should want to contaminate presumably a good piece of British beef with cheese and bacon, let alone add mayonnaise, defeats me.
    I know the origin of sauces was to mask the deterioration of meat but today every chef seems to wants to add something outrageous to a recipe to titillate the palate. Well not mine…

  9. @bjtgooner,
    Couldn’t agree more.
    On the subject of soups, about 50 years ago, on a first (self catering) visit to the Canaries, I remember buying a few packets of potato soup. The addition of water and heat produced a veritable elixir of delight, so much so that ever since, wherever we travelled, I have searched for this soup… no avail. Even later repeat visits to those Islands were unsuccessful. I
    think it was manufactured in Ireland but am not sure.
    Today in supermarkets, you won’t find potato soup (on its own) and I suspect that some foreign power cornered the market soon after my discovery and the Free World will never see its like again.

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