What To Eat At Stadiums That Hosted Cricket World Cup Finals
Image Credit: Kapil Dev celebrating Team India's Cricket World Cup win in 1983 at Lord's, London. Facebook/@HomeOfCricket

AFTER a seven-wicket win over Pakistan on Saturday, India — the team and the fans — readies for the next phase of their World Cup 2023 journey. Even as we look forward, we’re also looking back, to dip a little into the history of the cricket world’s most prestigious event. Specifically, we’re looking at the overseas stadiums that have been the site of historic World Cup finals, and — true to our ethos at Slurrp — sampling what’s available to eat and drink at each of them. Let’s begin!

Lord’s, London

Lord’s isn’t just a venerable bastion of cricket; it’s also home to some quality dining options for the many visitors who throng its hallowed grounds. The tradition of good food is one of the many Lord’s is so proud to uphold, and today, this is reflected in the sheer variety of places where one can grab a meal and some refreshments while on a visit. You’ll see quintessentially English staples like fish and chips, fudge, pie, Cornish pasty and hog roast, but there’s also room for universal favourites like burgers, mac-n-cheese and loaded fries. You can see a nod to London’s multiculturalism in some of the other food items that do brisk business at Lord’s: baos, crispy duck etc. Beverages like hot tea and coffee, alcohol and more are available. If you’re in the mood for something more special, Lord’s also offers the option of ordering the exclusive and uber luxe” Made In Oldstead” picnic basket. This is a picnic hamper created by Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks, for Lord’s, and brings Michelin-inspired treats to the al fresco aesthetic.

MCG, Melbourne

Think: the best of local produce, cooked to the exacting modern gastronomy standards Australia is increasingly associated with. That’s what you get at the MCG. Traditional offerings like fish and chips, or sausages, hot dogs and burgers vie for your attention with fare such as Gami Chicken (Korean style fried chicken) and beer. There are seasonal soup stands and curry carts (the menu at the latter features everything from samosas and pakoras to veg/chicken curry with jeera pulao), doughnut stalls and of course, quality coffee. If you’re in the mood to sit down to a meal rather than grab-and-go, MCG hosts guests at two cafes: the Paddock, and the bistro-style Trumble.

Kensington Oval, Barbados

The stadium’s long-in-the-works plan of having an on-site fine-dining option became a reality when Mark Gaskin opened the Kensington Oval Bar & Brasserie here. Gaskin’s restaurant occupies a cosy spot on the first floor of the 3Ws stand at the stadium. If you’re wondering what kind of menu is considered good enough to sample with a high-stakes cricket match, then look no further — baked red snapper with red chili pepper dew, shrimp and lobster medallions, these are just a sampling of the sorts of food the KO Bar & Brasserie excels in.

Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

Most spectators at this Lahore institution factor in a visit to the Bashir Darul Mahi outlet. Here, large woks bubbling with oil bear pieces of rohu, batter-coated and deep-fried. Their portion sizes are not for the faint-hearted: expect several large fillets of the fried fish to be weighed, then wrapped in butter paper before being encased in a brown paper bag that comes to you with its precious and crisp cargo. For those who’re eating their snack on the spot, a white platter takes the place of the bag, with little puffs of steam rising visibly from the serving. If fish isn’t your thing, visitors can also grab a bite at Bundu Khan Restaurant, which offers both Pakistani and Continental cuisine.

Wanderers, Johannesburg

With the Nelson Mandela Square being one of the nearby attractions, you can imagine that this stadium (aka The Bullring) doesn’t have to try too hard to woo visitors. Dining in an open air piazza is just what the doctor ordered, whether or not your favourite team has seized victory or is experiencing defeat. There are other shopping centres as well that offer plenty of dining options. Of course if you don’t want to move too far away from the stadium environs, it does have the usual sporting fare: hamburgers, fries, pizza, mini doughnuts, all washed down with beer (or gin cocktails). A current crowd pleaser is the “chip and dip” — a cone of chips that you can try with a variety of dips — while a constant presence is biltong.

(Inline image: Table set for Christmas at Lord's, London.)