Image © and courtesy of One Aldwych Hotel
I wonder how many column inches and how much ink and pixels have been expended on debating what exactly constitutes The Perfect Date. Google “what makes a perfect date” and you will come up with all sorts of weird and wonderful nuggets about when the chap should call to confirm the date (between noon and 4pm for an 8pm date); whether he should open the car door for her (always); what to eat (nothing messy like ribs or spaghetti bolognaise); and what to say (“you have beautiful eyelashes” is apparently good, but “you look sexy” is not). Then there are also more specific requirements like rooftop picnics; sunset walks on the beach; boat rides on moonlit lakes; or skinny dipping under the stars (I kid you not!). Clearly I am failing in the perfect date ambition department, because my idea of a perfect date has always been dinner and a movie!
If you share this modest date ambition, then get thee down to One Aldwych hotel in the heart of London’s theatreland. I have written about this chic hotel before and what a great place it is for a mini-break. But if it’s simply a date night you are after, they also offer a wonderful service called Film & Fizz. Hidden in the hotel basement is a 30-seat private screening room which is available for private hire, but which also hosts a series of Film & Fizz seasons throughout the year which are open to the public. Upon arrival at the private screening room you are greeted with a glass of Champagne Lallier Grande Réserve and a carton of popcorn and shown to your seat – a large and comfy armchair with a side table for the fizz and definitely not your average movie theatre seat! You can then enjoy your movie well fed and watered while enjoying excellent sound and the large screen from the comfort of your plush seat. We watched Mad Max Fury Road and I can vouch for the fact that both the visuals and sound were excellent – as good as in any movie theatre.
After the movie, we were ushered upstairs to the hotel’s Indigo restaurant overlooking their beautiful lobby and with windows facing the Lyceum theatre directly across the road. Here you are offered a three course modern European menu with two choices for each course. For my starter I had the citrus-cured salmon with heritage beetroot and rock samphire; while Nick had the breast of Highland partridge with cauliflower and pickled elderberries. Both were excellent and I was particularly taken with the sweet, smoky and earthy flavours of my salmon dish. For my main I chose the fillet of gilthead bream with mussels, sea beet & celery. I wish we could see more gilthead bream on restaurant menus as it is one of my favourite fish, and this example was no exception. Nick’s main of a chunky grilled free-range pork cutlet with damson compote and sarladaise potato was also delicious and perfect for those with a larger appetite. For dessert, I tried the seasonal spiced pumpkin cake with salted caramel & pecan ice-cream. This was understated and pleasant although I thought both the caramel and ice cream could have done with more gutsy flavours. I definitely had menu envy when I saw Nick’s chocolate parfait with raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries – rich, chocolatey and such striking coloured sorbet! The meal was unhurried and relaxed with no indication that they wanted us to eat and leave so that the table could be turned. We enjoyed lingering and watching the rickshaw taxis jostle for position as the patrons spilled out of the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. You truly do get the feeling of being in theatreland! It was a great way to spend a Friday date night and definitely something I will be doing again soon.
The closest Tube stop is Temple. Film & Fizz screenings at One Aldwych cost £55 per person which includes the movie; popcorn and a glass of champagne in the screening room; and a 3-course meal in Indigo restaurant in the hotel (or just £25 for the film and Champagne only). Wine is not included with dinner and costs extra. In January the hotel is launching a new series of Film & Fizz in association with Curzon, running on Friday and Saturday nights through to March. The season’s highlights include the highly anticipated Joy (with Jennifer Lawrence), The Revenant (with Leonardo di Caprio) and Youth (with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel), as well as the exciting box office hits Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn and Carol. Overnight accommodation packages are also available – see the One Aldwych website for more details.
DISCLOSURE: I attended this Film & Fizz screening as a guest of One Aldwych but received no further remuneration to write this post. I was not expected to write a positive review – all views are my own and I retain full editorial control.
One Aldwych Hotel
Tel: +44 (0)20 7300 1000