The only thing better than a romantic cinema date in London is one sprinkled with five-star quality. So while you might dress down for your local filmhouse, the Film and Fizz night at One Aldwych calls for your best threads. Accessorise with a classic trench coat and your sweetheart (of course), and hotfoot it down to Covent Garden, where fancy flicks await.
Arriving through the grand double doors, you and your date are escorted to the private digital screening room. We say private – it’s not quite just you two lovebirds – but with just 30 seats, the cosy subterranean nook feels intimate and exclusive.
As you settle into your soft leather armchairs, a suited usher brings you a box of popcorn – salted or sweetened, depending on your preference. But don’t eat too much: This is merely to whet the appetite… Then he hands you a glass of Lallier Grand Cru Grand Réserve Champagne – that highly anticipated ‘fizz’. Sit back, clink, and hold up your glass of sparkles as the lights dim and the movie begins.
After the credits are running and the curtains are closing, the show still isn’t over. Ushers return to escort you to their stylish restaurant, Axis. It’s surprisingly bright and airy for a subterranean venue, and dozens of faux-silver bamboo stalks create a contemporary vibe. The tables are covered in starched white tablecloths and shiny cutlery, and waiters glide around the room. It’s so slick, you could almost be on a movie set.
The Film & Fizz menu is a variety of traditional British offerings by executive chef, Dominic Teague. You plump for the delectable duck rilette. It’s complemented by crunchy honey-pickled vegetables and whets your appetite for more. You slyly steal a slurp of your date’s curried parsnip and apple soup — served with a crumble of popcorn, for a whimsical nod to the flicks.
In between movie chitchat, your date devours an aged bavette steak for their main course. It’s as tender as it is flavoursome, and the roasted onions add a touch of sweetness to the hearty plate. Meanwhile, you slice into a picture-perfect fillet of pollock that’s served with a mussel salsa and baby leeks.
Like an avant-garde indie film, your romantic cinema date has two endings. The first is a classy English Wigmore cheese served with port jelly and apple chutney. The second is the abstract floating island, a traditional soft meringue with crunchy passionfruit seeds and crème anglaise. While you and your date are wholly satisfied with the way things have turned out, you’re both left hoping for a sequel.