“I want people to say, I loved that movie. And I loved the food that went with it.” Gary Rhodes
What do you get if you combine fine dining and a luxury cinema experience? The answer is THEATRE a collaboration between British Michelin-starred Chef Gary Rhodes and VOX Cinemas which takes movie watching to the next level.
So what is THEATRE? The concept takes the already amazing Gold luxury cinema experience and combines it with gourmet dishes created by Rhodes that have essentially been transformed into finger food that’s easy to consume while watching your chosen movie. If you haven’t tried Gold class you must add it to your ‘UAE to-do list’, this state of the art cinema auditorium is much like flying Business Class, an experience that will upgrade your entertainment expectations forever, going back to a regular seat with a bag of maltesers will trust me, never be the same again. Much like flying business class the cinema experience starts in the lounge and food can be ordered at a whim throughout the movie by pressing a call button on the table next to your seat.
Last night the other half and I got to experience the Iftar that has been devised for movie fans to enjoy for the duration of the holy month. The Iftar experience begins on arrival in the gorgeous exclusive Gold lounge where you break the fast in the traditional way with apricot juice and a selection of medjool dates, mixed nuts and dried fruits while you peruse the drinks menu to select your beverage of choice. Obviously as it’s dark in the cinema once the trailers start we were given the food menu while still in the lounge, we decided on what to order but we were surprised to be informed that we would be served the entire three-course menu.
We were shown to our seats, our comfy leather armchairs were reclined and the foot rests elevated to make ourselves comfortable, adjusting our pillows and nestling under our purple satin blankets we were ready for George Clooney to appear on screen (I’ve had worst days, we saw Money Monster for anyone wondering). We were immediately served our chosen banana and coconut mocktails followed by a mezze selection of vine leaves, potato kibbeh, orange crumbed halloumi, avocado tahini, stuffed dates, falafel and spicy lamb meatball fritters.
Although the iftar menu offers a great deal of choice the main courses were lacking in vegetarian options. The other half enjoyed a grilled spiced tuna slider, a New York deli beef burger, spicy lamb burger with aubergine chutney (the other half’s favourite dish) and sumac chicken skewers with pine nut pesto and and lime sour cream, I had wild mushroom biryani fritters and a bowl of skinny fries. The meal was concluded with three desserts, date and banana french toast fingers, upside down strawberry cheesecake and orange pistachio and almond halva fritters. I did enjoy all the many vegetarian mezza options especially the halloumi, the cheesecake and date and banana french toast fingers were both very tasty too.
If you are a dedicated movie fan who likes to catch every word and dislike any disruptions you may have an issue with this experience, I however was not too bothered by the frequent interruptions. The food was nicely presented on wooden trays in ceramic dishes which results in noisy clinking plates, numerous courses means trays are served and cleared at different intervals and you can’t actually see what you are eating so everyone had their phone torches on to make out what was placed on their lap.
Rhodes was one of the original British ‘celebrity’ chefs who has had a fulfilling culinary career in the UK and has now made a name for himself in this region. The successful THEATRE by Rhodes concept was introduced to Dubai moviegoers at part of the Mall of the Emirates expansion last September but only arrived in the capital last month at the VOX cinemas in Yas Mall and Nation Galleria. Film and food have long gone hand in hand but the simple movie and a bucket of popcorn had a mighty upgrade when VOX first introduced Gold class with reclining leather seats, a gourmet menu and personal waiter service. That experience has been accelerated into a new dimension with the introduction of THEATRE By Rhodes that strives to offer restaurant quality food in the cinema.
Like all indulgence things it doesn’t come cheap, the THEATRE by Rhodes Iftar package which includes admission and three course menu costs AED 350, the GOLD Iftar package is slightly cheaper at AED 300. VOX Cinemas has embraced the spirit of giving at Ramadan by pledging donations of AED 50 from each Iftar package sold to Emirates Red Crescent.
The Iftar package will be available at VOX cinemas until the end of Ramadan, so if you fancy trying a new experience that has been entitled the ‘pinnacle of luxury cinema’ book now to catch your favourite new release and sample some Michelin starred food until 6th July. As I’m already a fan of VOX Gold I enjoyed this enhanced experience, I suggest you try it out for yourself and sit back, relax and enjoy the service and your movie of choice but keep your phone torch handy so you can see what you are eating.
THEATRE by Rhodes
Location: VOX Cinemas at Yas Mall and Nation Galleria in Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.
Telephone: 600 599 905
I was invited to the THEATRE by Rhodes Iftar experience at Vox Cinemas. All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Additional photos used courtesy of uae.voxcinemas.com