Everyman elevates cinema snacking to new heights, Maxine Gordon discovers

WHEN someone suggests taking in a movie and a pizza, you wouldn't think it would be at the same time.

But that is precisely what is on offer at York's new cinema, the plush Everyman, which has opened in the former Odeon, Blossom Street.

I say plush, but you could say posh – for this is a cinema with aspirations. It's called the Everyman, but there is nothing common about this new venue, which offers brushed velvet sofas to sit on and the likes of antipasti, luxury spicy nuts and make-your-own-sundae on its snack menu as well as speciality teas, Champagne and Negroni cocktails in its drinks selection. An adult ticket at peak time costs £13.50.

First a word of warning: if you are easily irritated by people munching on popcorn, rustling sweet wrappers and slurping on soft drinks at the cinema, then Everyman might not be for you.

Not only can people eat traditional snacks while watching the latest releases – they can have lunch, dinner, and even drink a bucket-load of cocktails or share a bottle of fizz.

The cinema opened on December 29 and will have its own restaurant, Spielburger's, expected to launch at the end of this month.

But it also serves a selection of food, snacks and drinks that customers can enjoy at their seats.

To check this novelty out, I pre-booked two tickets to see the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, last Friday night with my hubby, Nick.

The website allows you to choose the sofa of your choice, but charges £1.50 for booking online. It also lists the food and drinks menus, so you can have a look at what you might like to order before you arrive.

The film programme was scheduled to start at 7.30pm, so Nick and I arrived at Everyman a few minutes before. There is a central bar/ordering area in the middle of the foyer, where a very attentive and informative staff member patiently took our order. I say patiently, because despite having looked at the menu online before arriving, I kept changing my mind on what I fancied. Nick was decisive: plumping for a pepperoni pizza (£6.50), rejecting the special pizza which our server was recommending (it was tomato-free, with a white sauce base and was said to be "delicious").

The food menu is quite brief: just nine items in total, stretching from olives at £3.30 to the most expensive item, the antipasti sharing platter at £9.50. Other choices include a Margherita pizza with buffalo mozzarella (£6); a beef dog with onions, ketchup and American mustard (£6.30); hummus and flat bread (£4.90), and fresh guacamole and tortilla chips (£4.90).

I picked the antipasti platter, hoping I would not be overfaced, and because we were both doing dry January, we ordered soft drinks – a Fentimans bottled ginger beer (£3.50) for Nick and a diet coke (£2.95) for me. The bill came to £22.45.

The server took a note of our seat numbers and said the food would be delivered to our sofa.

We headed to our seats, drinks in hand. I had wondered whether the cinema would reek of fried food and alcohol, but all I could detect was the unmistakable smell of new carpets and upholstery. My next thought, was how long would the lovely interiors last after regular contact with greasy foodstuffs and sticky drinks?

So we settled into our sofa, placing our drinks on a small round table which had to be shared with neighbours. It was not much larger than an oversized serving plate and I did wonder where people would place their food and drink.

But all was revealed when our food arrived: it is served on narrow wooden platters with the intention that you put it over your lap. It also means the portion sizes are lap-sized too. Nick's pizza was oblong and cut into six small triangles. It was hot and tasty, but definitely more of a snack than a meal.

My "sharing" platter was similar in size, laden with a small bowl of thick, garlicky hummus, pieces of warmed pitta bread, half a dozen plump and salty olives, two rounds of thick and creamy mozzarella and half a dozen slices of hams and salami, rolled up like lady-sized cigars. Everything was very good quality, but on account of its size, I easily managed to eat it by myself.

We both thought our food was good, but expensive for the size of the serving. Not wanting to place our empty platters on the floor (there was no room on the shared tables), Nick took them back to the bar area just before the film started. A member of staff then made an announcement, checking everyone had their food orders. Nothing was served once the film began.

You can really pig out on luxury snacks should your desire and wallet allow. The savoury selection includes popcorn (£3/£5); luxury spice nut mix (£4.30), and smoked almonds (£3.90) while sweet treats range from honeycomb bites (£3.70) to fizzy retro candy (£3.40). Further indulgences comes in the shape off a 'Build Your Own Sundae' for a fiver, and cakes at £3 a slice.

Hot drinks are on sale, including fresh mint tea, as well as alcoholic and soft beverages – and even milk shakes (£5). Wine comes by the glass and bottle, with prices from £5.60 for a small glass of French red to £39 for a bottle of Baron de Marck Brut Champagne.

Cocktails are in the £8-£9 range, but you can order a Duppy Sharer for £26.50, billed as "a film's worth of Duppy Share rum and ginger for two."

Everyman is an enjoyable night out that feels like a special treat. This review is very much the prequel. The follow-up will be coming your way some time soon when the restaurant opens.


Everyman. Blossom Street, York

W: everymancinema.com/york

Ratings (out of ten): Food 7, Ambience 10, Service 10, Value 7