It feels slightly off-piste to be doing a London Guide post about a cinema, but this one is worth sharing. If you live in or near east London (and can be asked to go further than your closest cinema), skip your average Odeon or Vue and go see a film at Hackney Picturehouse. You can grab lunch, dinner or brunch (at the weekends) and a few drinks too, and you won't come anywhere near melted nacho cheese (although, they do have nachos on the menu and they look amazing).
I have been two a couple of films here, and Hackney Picturehouse is certainly an improved cinematic experience, with big, comfortable reclining seats and a setting that reminds you of industrial-inspired, loft-living east London. On Friday, I met a couple of friends there for dinner before a film and it was great.
Between the three of us, there were two burgers and a hot dog, all with chips (US read: fries) but the menu has a lot more to offer than you would expect at a cinema - like pimentos de padron and antipasti sharing platters. From what I saw from peeping other patrons' meals, it all looked amazing.
The burgers come with lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo on a brioche bun, and I added goat cheese for an extra £1.50. The burger was cooked perfectly, being a bit pink on the inside but nice and grilled on the outside, and came with a big slab of goat cheese. It was difficult to eat, but well worth the struggle.
Membership seems like a great idea, as you get discounted ticket prices (£8.60 being on the cheap side for London), free cinema tickets and discounts on food and drinks, both at the cinema and at other restaurants. Don't live near Hackney? There is a chain of Picturehouses across London (Notting Hill Gate, Brixton, Greenwich, Clapham, etc) and throughout the UK.
Ratings: (numbers out of 10, £ out of 4) - bearing in mind this is a cinema first
Food: 7 (but 9 when you take into account cinemas only)
Overall experience: 8
(All images from Hackney Picturehouse)