Popping into town to catch a preview of Ant Man this weekend (topline - it's brilliant and you must all go and see it) we were frankly taken aback by the unalloyed gorgeousness of the new Picturehouse Central. Esssentially it's as if a lovely art house cinema, serving up excellent coffee and Crosstown Doughnuts had transformed a West End multiplex overnight.
Not only are all the screens and seating new - there are seven of them - but there are all manner of lovely food and drink spaces there too. On the ground floor the all day cafe serves pastries, porridge, breakfast rolls and pancakes for breakfast until 11am on weekdays and 1pm on weekends. For lunch, there's freshly made salads, soups and sandwiches plus cakes in the evening (chocolate and Guinness!) and quick meals in the evening.
Upstairs it ramps up with a Martin Brudnizki-designed (Soho House, The Ivy) restaurant and bar offers a varied, seasonally-inspired menu - think slow-cooked spiced lamb shoulder with pomegranate, almonds and flatbread or the Picturehouse Burger with smoked bacon, Westcombe cheddar, onion rings and sweet chilli mayo.
There's also a cracking wine list supplied by Bibendum, all available by the glass, including an English fizz from Chapel Down and a low alcohol (7.5%) Riesling from Tasmania. Add to that a dedicated gin and tonic menu and cocktail list designed by mixologist Alex Palumbo (ex-Hakkasan, now at Brighton's Salt Room and what's not to like? It's worth noting though that to drink alcohol here you must have a valid cinema ticket for the day.
Also on the first floor is a rather nice kiosk which is where you'll find Crosstown Doughnuts, Jude’s Ice Cream, Serious Pig British salamis; and Mighty Fine Honeycomb Dips.
In September, the renovation will be completed by a rooftop members bar with terrace.
Picturehouse Central is now open at the corner of Great Windmill Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7DH. Today only (14 July 2015) they're giving away a free burger with every cinema ticket purchased. Find out more here. Keep up with their news on Twitter @CentralPictureH