Nosh and watch
Classic films on the big screen, with classic food from two of the UK's top chefs – and all from the comfort of some big, squashy sofas in Bath
Not too good to be true, as it turns out, at the Gourmet Picture Company‘s new Christmas pop up in the centre of Bath, which is showing a programme of classic films and 3-course meals created by Rick Stein and Tom Kerridge, from now until the end of December. I was there yesterday…
The pop up’s in the beautiful Royal Victoria Park, a few minutes away from the Royal Crescent. It doesn’t look much from the outside – a sort of rigid marquee – but inside it’s all dark and cosy, with plush red sofas, heaters and the feel of a private cinema club.
There’s a bar at the front where you can buy glasses of mulled cider, wine, beer, soft drinks and champers before the film starts, and you can order more drinks to be delivered to your sofa in the interval.
The sofas are a decent size, so no knocking elbows when you’re eating, are really squashy and come with blankets so you can snuggle.
As soon as the film starts, staff come round with your starters, which they serve from old-fashioned usherette trays. The food arrives in little plastic, lidded tubs which you can put into lap tray provided, but that’s where the resemblance to airline food ends – the food was delicious (and you get to eat it with proper knives and forks, no flimsy plastic cutlery here).
Each film has a menu created by either Rick Stein or Tom Kerridge, with a non-veggie and a veggie option for the starter and the main, which you select when you book online (you must book ahead). It’s comfort food, the sort you want to fork into your face when you’re watching TV, so think mac and cheese, chilli con carne or, at our screening of As Good As It Gets, Rick Stein’s take on the Indian takeaway – and all freshly cooked. So after starters of prawn cocktail or juicy char grilled aubergine and feta rolls on a rocket salad, came the mean, meen kulambu, a cod curry or the hot Madras curry with not-at-all-rubbery halloumi, with tomato and tamarind, served with pilau ice, kachumber salad. Both were served with a chapatti. Spilled a bit of rice on the tray (tricky eating in the dark) and maybe better if the halloumi had been pre-cut into bite-sized pieces (tricky to cut in the dark, too) but it really was very good indeed. Everyone gets a choice of choc, vanilla or banana Hand & Flowers ice cream in the intermission. The banana was drizzled with a bananary syrup and choc chips – yummy.
There’s an electic mix of classic films, including Die Hard, Singing in the Rain, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and When Harry Met Sally. You can see the entire Bath programme here. Have to say, it was fab lying back and watching the film from the sofa – and with the heaters on and wrapped up in the blankets, it was so cosy and comfy that I even nodded off for few minutes (the shame). The screen was bigger than I expected, with a crystal clear picture and perfect sound – basically the same as you’d get in a regular cinema. There’s usually a rush to leave the cinema at the end of a film isn’t there? Not here. People finished their drinks, stretched and lazily got up to leave. A very nice time all round.
The marquee is in the middle of 57-acre Royal Victoria Park and there’s no signage (eek!) but here’s how to find it: go to the intersection of Royal Avenue and Marlborough Lane and then walk up Cow Lane, a little way up the road called Marlborough Buildings – and you’re there. There’s parking on the roads running around the park and the Charlotte Street Car park is few minutes walk away.
The programme runs from now until Sun 31 December. Tickets from £45. You must book ahead.