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Great Expectations at The Lounge, Odeon Whiteleys
When we heard that the ODEON group had opened its first luxury cinema at existing venue ODEON Whiteleys, in Bayswater, it didn’t take long before we asked for a snoop around. Particularly when we found out the cinema chain had teamed up with Café Anglais’ chef Rowley Leigh to offer ‘fine food and film’.
As you enter the venue via the usual entrance, there’s a discreet staircase leading you to The Lounge’s bar/reception area. It feels like going backstage or to a VIP room in a club. Small groups can perch up next to the bar, or, for larger parties, there’s plenty of seating, with areas that can be cordoned off for semi-private drinks receptions, before or after the screening.
It’s not long before we’re shown to a table and order cocktails. If you’re stuck on choice, give the ODEON Premiere a go – Cognac, port reduction and orange bitter. Yes, sir.
Then, with our drinks carried for us, we move through to the screening room. Besides enjoying that new-car smell, it’s interesting to see just how much space there is between the seats. Presumably, so your personal waiter doesn’t get in the way too much. The seats are a bit of USP, designed with a Lazy Boy (spacious and comfy) feel about them. They recline electronically and there’s a button to summon your 90-minute Jeeves.
The eclectic menu, offered to us as soon as we sit, is split between finger, fork and spoon. All dishes are served so that food/film multi-tasking can be done without too much bother. I still managed to loose at least a bite’s worth, though.
To kick off, we give the well-presented fillet-steak sliders and the Super Duper Weenie Frankfurt Sausage, from the finger menu, a go. It is fair to say the servings are generous, but, somehow, we also make space for fish and chips (a highlight) and penne rigate with prawns, cherry tomatoes and aubergine from the fork menu. We’ll keep this brief – it’s bloody good food. Our friendly waiter doesn’t miss an empty glass either.
We decided to watch the latest incarnation of Great Expectations, a worthy flick, we thought, to test out the room’s state-of-the-art HD screen. Of the five rooms available within the lounge, the largest will accommodate up top 48 guests (the smallest doing 30).
If you’re reading this with your business-first hat on, there’s free Wi-Fi available throughout and top-spec AV kit in each of the rooms. Combined with the surround-sound system, it’ll no doubt help make an impact to presentations.
Try and get your boss to take you on a jolly though – that’s what this place is all about.
Other luxury screening rooms:
The brand new Cinemas 2&3 at Barbican (found on the eastern end of the Beech Street tunnel) come with state-of-the-art digital and 3D projection alongside 35mm and 16mm, for vintage lovers. Coupled with the generous, reception and bar area, it’s a natural choice for screening events near the City.
The independently owned luxury hotel, One Aldwych, in Covent Garden, has a 30-seater Screening Room with HD capability. The multimedia room is equipped with Blu-Ray, surround sound and tiered leather seating. The venue offers plenty of meeting space for combination events.
Part of the Soho House group’s portfolio, the recently refurbished picture house is looking better than ever, with the cinema available to non-members. It’s available in the daytime from Tuesday to Friday and it will seat up to 102, in plush leather armchairs.