Well, we are off to the cinema tonight. It's a double whammy of unusual events; us 'going out' and us going to the cinema. The last film we saw was over two years ago when we took our niece and nephew to see the Smurfs in 3D (oh joy) and before that I believe it was to see Simpsons The Movie. So you get the idea. It's not that we don't like films, I love film, when I get the time, but it is that I do not like cinemas. I have borderline OCD (self diagnosed!) for cleanliness so breathing in stale air isn't my thing! They have moved on in leaps and bounds over the years and I know that most offer much, much more than the sticky floor, old dirty seat experience of yesteryear. Some still change vast amounts for nasty,sweet but tasteless and calorie-ridden popcorn but now others have leather sofas and upmarket snacks too. So I thought it was about time to check out the creme de la creme of the cinema experience; a collaboration between Odeon Cinemas and Rowley Leigh of Le Cafe Anglais also in Whiteleys, where you get fine dining in front of the big screen! Apparently, it's the first of its kind in Europe so I am definitely feeling privileged to be going along for a review. I've set the scene. I'll be back post gourmet dinner and film with my conclusions!
So, we are out the other end and I have to say that this is the equivalent of first class air travel for the cinema. I absolutely loved it. Upon arrival we were greeted and shown to some comfy seating in the bar where our drinks order was taken. I decided on a Blackberry Gin Fizz, gin being my tipple of choice and Mr PCG had a plain old Becks! The drinks menu reads as well as any upmarket trendy bar would with a good selection of wines, champagnes, spirits and cocktails. I was extremely impressed. It's an easy way to get in my good books though!
We were then shown through to our screen by our very own waiter who took our coats and explained that he would be looking after us throughout the evening (there is a silent call button on the chair, just like in first class!), the more intimate of the Lounge's screens, seating two on either side and four in the middle. These are no ordinary seats though, they are luxury leather recliners. The sort that you get in first class (without the lie flat option obviously but with options to lie back and to raise the footrest-very comfy. You feel like royalty the minute you sit down. We ordered some popcorn to start meaning to go on to the steak sliders. Unfortunately, we settled back, got ourselves very comfortable nursing our drinks and popcorn and the film started. Now, this is where our main courses ended. I have to blame the choice of film; The Impossible, because right from the beginning you get drawn into the tragic scene and I am afraid that I lost my appetite in between the tears. We ordered another drink each and the waiter professionally and silently glided over and brought our order. Other cinema goers sat with their bottle of wine between them quietly enjoying the food that they had ordered probably before the film had actually started!
Anyway, film over and tears out of the way it would have been rude not to sample some food so we ordered and shared two desserts which we ate in lounge/bar afterwards whilst sipping mint tea. The pictures speak for themselves. They were delicious and made me even more adamant that I will be returning soon to see a happier film and to sample the sliders and the hot dog. This is no ordinary cinema experience. For someone who hasn't been in two years I think the fact that I can't wait to return and eat says it all. You have a total evening's experience all cleverly condensed into one package; the Lounge! Go, you won't regret it. PS parking on the roof at Whiteleys is perfectly convenient but charged.