Advantages Fun night out, different, fantastic food, lovely setting
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
Once a month my partner and I plan a secret date night for one another and August was my turn. I’m useless at thinking of exciting new things to do so when a colleague at work suggested the Soho Hotel Film Club which he had visited on his birthday, I decided to look into it. The idea of the film club is that you have a meal at the hotel and then watch a film in their private screening room.Firmdale Hotels is a group which owns six hotels in London including three in the Soho area which are part of the film club.
The Soho Hotel
The Covent Garden Hotel
The Charlotte Street Hotel
The Saturday night film starts at 8.00 p.m. so the decision is whether to opt for their three-course dinner, two-course dinner plus a glass of wine or their Champagne afternoon tea. With all options priced at £35 per person I thought they all provided good value but where I would love the afternoon tea, pretty cakes and little triangle sandwiches aren’t really Alex’s thing. I also thought it made more sense to go straight before the film so I opted for an evening meal and to decide on the evening whether or not we wanted the three courses or the free glass of wine.
None of the desserts on the set menu appealed to us so the obvious option was to go for a starter and a main course, especially seeing as my handbag was full of Minstrels, Haribo and Rice Crispie Squares ready for the movie! The very nice waiter brought over a selection of breads and oil with balsamic vinegar. We were both starving at this point so wolfed down the bread very quickly! I chose the tomato soup which I can honestly say was the best soup I’ve ever had. Normally I can’t finish a bowl of soup without 5 pieces of bread but I enjoyed this one with a spoon! The waiter did bring over extra bread though which I appreciated being the big eater that I am! Alex opted for the slowcooked ham terrine served with (the tiniest ever piece of) sour dough bread. He mentioned that it was quite fatty but said it was very tasty and really enjoyed it. We both ordered the lamb shank for main course and it looked like the rest of the restaurant went for the same meal! It was served with cheesy mash and a beautiful mint gravy. Side dishes were £5 extra. We got one dish of green beans to share but other options included fries, sugar snaps, cherry tomatoes and sautéed spinach. The lamb was beautifully cooked and fell off the bone. I was really impressed that it was so tasty when it had obviously been mass produced as there must have 20 people in the restaurant eating it at the same time as us! It was a really filling meal; the lamb was huge and the cheesy mash was rich and I really did struggle to finish!I was delighted with the food and service throughout the meal and it wasn’t until the bill came that I realised how much we had spent despite the fact that I had been drinking my wine so slowly! For the two meals with wine, three extra glasses of wine between us, a side dish and a bottle of water the bill came to £120! This was considerably more than the £70 I was hoping to pay! I was absolutely horrified to find that the small bottle of still water actually cost ‘’’£5.75’’’. There was no sign of bottled water on the drinks menu which is always bad news but I have never heard of charging so much for water. Oh how I wish I’d had the nerve to ask for tap water! They had also added 12.5% service charge which clearly wasn’t discretionary because it had already been entered into the chip and pin machine before I had chance to say anything! Still, for this occasion I was happy to pay, especially as the service had been so wonderful.
Around five minutes before the film was due to start one of the waiters called out that the film was due to start for those who had booked. We made our way downstairs to the screening room with polite ushers directing us the whole way. I popped into the ladies on the way and was hugely impressed with the toilets. Smart, clean and modern with nice lighting and lovely flannels to dry your hands on. I love posh toilets!
Despite being so full from the delicious meal I had bought Minstrels and Maltesers to take into the cinema with us! Food and drink were allowed in the cinema whether from in the bar or outside. The one exception was red wine as it stains the furniture and this was a bit of a pain seeing as Alex had just asked for a glass! At £8.50 I didn’t want him to drink it too quickly so I asked if they would allow it just this one time (which they did!).Once in the cinema it wasn’t easy to get more drinks as the only bar was back upstairs. There wasn’t an interval so the people who did want another drink had to leave, go up to the bar, queue and then make their way back down. It just wasn’t worth it – perhaps if the film hadn’t been so great! There was a door straight out of the cinema to the toilets which was handy.
The films for the month of August included Senna, Bad Teacher and The Hangover II, none of which are suitable for children so it’s clear that the film club is targeted at adults. Upcoming films for September and October include Potiche, Bridesmaids, Larry Crowne, One Day, Harry Potter 7 (part 2) and The Skin I Live In.In addition to the Saturday Night Film Club, the hotel offers a Sunday afternoon Opera club at 3.30 p.m. every Sunday with screenings of performances from the Royal Opera House. The deal is the same as the film club at £35 for the showing as well as the Champagne afternoon tea or 3 course meal.
10 Monmouth Street London WC2H 9HB
T: +44 20 7806 1000
We had a fantastic experience at the Covent Garden Film Club and would recommend it for a bit of a different night out. Brasserie Max is a wonderful restaurant by any standards and I’d say that £35 would be a fair price for one of the dinner options even without the film. However, it is an expensive restaurant and it soon mounts up in price so by the time you’ve factored in a couple of glasses of wine and gratuity you’re actually looking at over £60 per person. The film part was great too. The intimate atmosphere made the experience more special as the thing I hate about the cinema is screaming children and popcorn all over the floor! All in all, it was a bit of a luxury but it did put an exciting spin on a trip to the cinema. It comes fully recommended to anyone, especially adults due to the nature of the films they usually show. I would give the experience 4 stars, losing one for the expense.Go and have a lovely evening, just remember to order tap water!
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