Everyone has their own favourite genre of film whether it’s sci-fi, horror or a good old rom-com. One of mine happens to be biographical films about famous figures, I love knowing about the childhood and life of people before they were the people we know and see in the spotlight. The best ones I’ve seen are The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawkin, Bohemian Rapsody about the incredible Queen and, as of last Friday night, Tolkien. I was lucky enough to be gifted two tickets, one for myself and one for my partner, to see the new film about the creator of Lord of the Rings – the brilliant J.R.R. Tolkien.
But these weren’t any old cinema tickets, they were for a viewing at Cinema City, Norwich. I love this cinema with a passion, it is one of the countries Picture House cinemas – a small chain of special buildings which are a world away from the big cinemas you may be used to visiting. Fewer screens, better food and drink, special events and a better atmosphere all mean I would always choose a Picture House cinema. This being said, better snacks to keep you busy whilst watching the film isn’t always a good thing as I found out – my lovely fiancé Daniel decided on some rather posh looking pork scratchings without thinking about the crunch factor! Cue waiting for noisy parts of the film for him to crunch his food and trying to stifle our laughs as we realise the ridiculousness of the situation – lesson learnt haha! I myself skipped the snacks but did have a delicious glass of rosé whilst watching the film, a welcome step up from a tango ice blast I must say! I have reviewed this cinema previously, a few years ago, so you may already know its a favourite of mine – and it just keeps getting better.
I knew absolutely nothing about this man before watching the film, but I have always loved Lord of the Rings and recently I also watched The Hobbit, so I was really interested in learning more about him. Tolkien is a feast for the senses with scenes varying from WW1 battle scenes, the most gorgeous surroundings of Oxford University and it features the stunning Lily Collins who I could not take my eyes off the entire time. It is what I would describe as highbrow, yet at the same time accessible and easy to watch – ‘sophisticated drama’ if you will. I really loved it and if you are too a fan of literature and peering into people’s lives, I would urge you to go and see it.
After the film was finished, we were then treated to a 3 course meal in the adjoining restaurant, The Dining Rooms. I have wanted to eat here for a little while but hadn’t got round to it yet so I was so chuffed when kindly offered the chance in return for an honest review. Scanning the menu I could’ve eaten everything, it was a top notch menu – I get so excited reading restaurant menus I think I could start a new blog on this topic alone. The ambience of The Dining Rooms is one of the best in the city for me, with fairy lights, a quiet chitter chatter of guests and the old church like architecture. I’m guessing the cinema and restaurant used to be a church as it very much has the features of this type of building, but if anyone knows the history of the place I would love to hear all about it!
For my meal I chose a starter of crispy smoked tofu, roasted chickpeas, katsu sauce, and sticky grilled rice. It was insane. The blocks of sticky rice were delicious, the tofu was cooked just how I love it and the sauce was rich and tasty. I really cannot recommend this enough if you, like me, are into tofu and katsu. Think a posh Wagamama katsu curry, but better. My main course was equally as tasty, choosing the gnocchi, because who can resist those delectable little dumplings, really? The proper title of the dish was ‘Barigoule of spring vegetables, miso broth, wild garlic gnocchi with Charlies leaves’. Now I don’t know who Charlie is and I certainly didn’t know how to pronounce barigoule, but it was essentially gnocchi in a delicious miso broth with vegetables and salad leaves – it was SO much better than it sounds – miso is a slight obsession for me recently so I was on cloud 9. Everything was cooked to perfection and the service from the waiting staff was impeccable; I don’t know if it’s me being a snob or not but I do feel like recently waiting staff have across the board become more casual and a million miles away from the old school real silver service waiting staff which would’ve been more common back in the day. I’m not saying I want everything to be 100% posh all of the time, but I really do value proper, formal table service and at The Dining Rooms they had this nailed. Dessert was the cherry on top of the meal for me – I had never eaten a crème brûlée before which according to my partner was ‘criminal’ – so I hastily ordered the one on this menu which was served with a sable biscuit and a sorbet on top. Now, I don’t like to exaggerate, but I think it has changed me as a person, I was shook. The burnt sugar on the top, the amazing fruit layer underneath and the sorbet scoop on the side – it was all doing things in my mouth which I cannot describe. Best. Dessert. Ever.
Basically what I’m trying to get across in this blog post is that, although gifted, this wonderful date night is something I would 100% have chosen a million times over myself if paying and is perfect if you want something a ‘bit nice’ to do in the evening. The Dining Rooms is open as a stand-alone restaurant so you don’t need to go to the cinema to book in and vice versa, you can do just the cinema. I will be reviewing films regularly for Cinema City as they have so kindly allowed me future tickets to a few films – maybe Aladdin next or Rocketman? What upcoming film are you excited to see?
Thanks for reading as always,
Just Hollie xox