Imagine you are curled up on the sofa, next to your loved one, watching a great movie, glass of wine in one hand, popcorn in the other. And once ‘The End’ hits the screen, you ease yourself out of your comfy position and potter into the next room in search of food. No, not at home, but at the Olympic in Barnes.
The cinema with café and dining room has been open since 2013 and while, of course, everyone in Barnes knows all about it, I’m amazed at how many locals in the surrounding areas of Putney and Richmond still haven’t visited. For less than a pound more than the Odeon it’s a whole different experience – plush reclining chairs, double seats or sofas for lovebirds and footstalls for those at the front.
Having watched the brilliant Emily Blunt in The Girl On The Train (not as good as the book), my husband, teen no. 3 and I headed straight for the adjoining restaurant. The décor is modern, but homely, with long tables, industrial style lighting and a relaxed atmosphere.
The starters are all simple, but tasty. My husband, Alex went for the grilled chicken and quinoa (can be a starter or main), with kale, pomegranate, pecans and radishes (£8), with the pecans a definite favourite, really complementing the dish rather than the more often used walnut.
Finn, our 15-year-old, opted for the mushroom and tarragon soup (£6), which was thick and creamy and got a big thumbs up. My minced aubergine and flatbread was fine but lacking in real flavour, with the chopped onion being more in evidence that then aubergine.
By comparison, my main course of roast Goosnargh duck breast with green beans, baby turnips, radishes and maple gravy (£15) was full of flavour and totally delicious, the duck pink and tender and the vegetables crisp and crunchy.
Finn’s choice of Longhorn cheeseburger and handcut chips (£11.50) was large and oozing with cheese and went down very quickly, despite the size.
Alex chose from the specials menu – oxtail ravioli with garlic, kale and lemon (£16) – and said it was the best thing he’d tasted in a long while. He got the last one in the kitchen, so late diners will have missed out!
What stood out during the meal was the unobtrusive but attentive service – no trying to catch someone’s eye for 10 minutes before being ‘suddenly’ noticed and water refilled without being asked.
We finished with the cholate fondant with roast pear and gingerbread cream (£6 – worth the 12-minute wait they said it would take to bake fresh.
Worth going to the cinema for!
117 -123 Church Rd, Barnes SW13 9HL