Saturday 4th February saw the return of the annual RBS 6 Nations, pitting six great nations – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy – against one another, and serving up a feast of top-notch rugby for a worldwide audience. With fixtures now in full swing, what better way to get behind the teams than to grab an actual feast in readiness for a match, or to celebrate a win? We’ve put together a list of our top picks when it comes to enjoying outstanding English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, French and Italian food and hospitality on UK turf.
Rib-Aye Steakhouse & Whisky Bar 43 Assembly Street, Leith, EH6 7BQ
Rib-Aye, a Leith-based steakhouse and temple to all things meaty, is the newest venture of the folks responsible for the much-celebrated Edinburgh seafood restaurant, The Kilted Lobster. The passionate team at the helm are devoted to achieving the same success, showcasing the best in Scottish beef, lamb, pork and venison.
The Rib-Aye kitchen team work with suppliers whom they know and trust. As produce arrives on-site it’s aged and prepared in-house by the restaurant’s traditional butcher, ensuring premium quality and top-notch flavour. Rib-Aye’s exceptional steakhouse dining experience, meanwhile, is paired with a genuine love of Scottish whisky, and gin and a selection of fine wine and craft beer. The team will gladly help match your dish with the most appropriate tipple, completing what’s sure to be a memorable occasion from start to finish. It’s the perfect place to prepare for a match, or celebrate a 6 Nations win.
George & Dragon The Square, Hurstbourne Tarrant, SP11 0AA
The 16th-century George & Dragon has a long history of outstanding hospitality and following extensive restoration, this historic establishment is once again up and running. It has a fresh, contemporary feel but has lost none of its rustic charm. Quality local beer and ale is favoured – so expect Winchester’s own Twisted Nose gin and HBT ale, which is made less than 100 metres from the pub – and produce from the region’s trusted suppliers is also showcased on the top-notch menu. A superb Sunday roast is served alongside the main menu, making the George & Dragon the perfect spot for a weekend treat before watching the game.
Arbennig 6-10 Romilly Crescent, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9NR
Arbennig means special or exceptional in Welsh, and this family-run restaurant certainly is, having been named Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year in the 2015 Food Awards Wales and included in the Waitrose Good Food Guide for three years in a row, with the highest rating in Cardiff. Led by chef John Cook and his wife Ceri, Arbennig has been so successful that booking in advance is advisable.
The high standard of cuisine and service at Arbennig makes it a top choice for a special occasion, but guests are more than welcome to pop by for informal dining too. A weekly changing menu ensures there is always something new and exciting for the ever-growing clientele to sample. Ingredients are all locally sourced and prepared in-house from scratch by the chef for the seasonally rotating menus.
Seamus O’Donnell’s 13 St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1UE
Seamus O’Donnell’s is a traditional Irish pub found next to St Nicholas Market in Bristol, offering a friendly greeting to all who visit. It’s so good to see one of the area’s last traditional pubs thriving in a world of bistros and wine bars. Serving one of the best pints of Guinness in the city, alongside real cask ale, cider and a selection of wine, Seamus O’Donnell’s has something to offer everyone. Delicious roast lunches are served from noon until 5pm on Sunday, but you are also welcome to bring food in from the market. On a cold day it’s a great spot for sitting by the fire with a hot toddy to read the daily newspaper, and come 6 Nations match days you’ll struggle to find a more genuinely atmospheric place to enjoy a pint in Bristol.
Randall & Aubin 14-16 Brewer Street, Soho, London, W1F 0SGI
Launched in 1996 on Brewer Street in Soho, Randall & Aubin has been delighting foodies, fans and celebrities, all of whom come looking for an outstanding meal and a fabulous time beneath the glittering disco ball. Relaxed, fun and approachably luxurious, this is a place where lobster and steak are served with a side of good humour and a wink as sparkling as the Champagne.
Co-owners Jamie Poulton and accomplished head chef Ed Baines share a huge passion for quality ingredients and sustainability, meaning that everything on the Randall & Aubin menu shines with their love for creating and cooking exceptional dishes. Since the food is inspired by French and British classics, moules marinières and French onion soup are always pretty popular as is the sensational rotisserie chicken.
Giovanni’s Restaurant 38 The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1AJ
This year the famous Giovanni’s Restaurant in The Hayes is celebrating its 28th year, making it the longest established Italian restaurant in Cardiff. With a shopping centre directly opposite, Giovanni’s is the perfect place to refuel and relax in style, whatever your day has in store.
The recipes of Giovanni’s famous dishes have been handed down through generations, delivering a unique taste that isn’t available anywhere else. Although many stars including Luciano Pavarotti, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and the Welsh rugby team themselves have dined at this authentic Italian restaurant, Giovanni believes the real stars are his hard-working and dedicated team, who are determined to please each and every one of their customers. With so much experience and expertise, the team at Giovanni’s never struggles to provide that extra special touch. During the 6 Nations championship, subject to availability, Giovanni’s are offering any pizza or pasta, a homemade dessert and a bottle of Peroni for just £20 (Welsh away games only for the duration of the match).