New London eatery celebrates football, chicken and a love of retro style
If you're a child of the 80s or just an avid football fan who laments the loss of the Good Old Days, you'll no doubt remember Carlos Valderrama. 'The Kid' would dance across a football pitch looking like the love-child of Ruud Gullit and Sideshow Bob, somehow perpetually toeing the line between all-time great and perpetual underdog.
Quite frankly, we're surprised it's taken this long for somebody to dedicate a whole restaurant to the frizzy-follicled genius, but that's about to change. Step forward Valderrama's, the sports bar with a difference.
The brainchild of James Cochran, the man behind chicken concept Around The Cluck, Valderrama's will show sports on high-spec screens and projectors strategically placed so you'll get a perfect view from anywhere in the venue. And it's the sports bar of your dreams. The retro interior will feature specially commissioned murals and paintings, including a whole wall adorned with vintage goalie shirts (we're praying for a Jorge Campos or two...) to evoke feelings of classic, 90s nostalgia that will take you right back to that tournament in Turin.
Ahhhh, THAT tournament. The highs, the lows, the tears, the David Platt over the shoulder volley and the how on earth did Gazza not get a toe on that cross?
But it's not ALL footy nostalgia, because James Cochran does chicken, and he does it exceptionally well. On the menu will be The Original (crispy buttermilk fried chicken with whipped blue cheese mousse, bacon scratchings and Scott Bonnet sauce), Spice Up Your Life (chicken burger topped with mango chutney, pickled cucumber, curry sauce, Bombay mix, smoked yogurt, poppadom and coriander) and Hear Me Now (chicken burger with cheese 'n' truffle fondue, smoked mushroom relish and slaw).
See? We told you it wasn't your average sports bar.
And it's not all football, either. As well as the World Cup and women's Euros, they'll use those big screens to show the tennis, Grand Prix and any other sporting events that draw a crowd, plus there'll be an outdoor terrace that welcomes dogs, DJs every Friday and Saturday playing hip hop, RnB and 80s, 90s and noughties classics. Valderrama's opens on July 7th and it's going to be as big as Carlos' hair, so we recommend getting down there ASAP to try it out.
Valderrama's, 163 Upper St, Islington, London N11US, www.valderramas.co.uk