The Pop–Up Picture Company presents outdoor cinema classic films with alfresco dining in stunning locations with top chef’s Rick Stein and Tom Kerridge. Currently featuring at luxury hotel, Chewton Glen, and sister-property Cliveden House, Jessica Way pops in on an evening visit keen to discover more.
Watching films and eating good food are easily two of my favourite pursuits, combining this with beautiful locations, award-winning chefs, good company and no dirty dishes to contend with at the end of the evening, certainly appealed as an enjoyable way to spend a night off, or to celebrate a special occasion.
Having also recently had the pleasure of both dining at Rick Stein’s Winchester restaurant (Exclusively British July/August Issue page 98) and enjoying a blissful spa day at Chewton Glen, located in the edge of the New Forest, the discovery of Rick Stein’s Sunset Cinema was certain an experience, I thought, guaranteed to delight.
For those of you who are not so familiar, Rick Stein is best known for a love of fresh seafood. He is an English chef, restaurateur, cookery book author and television presenter. He first made his name in the 90s with a television series based on his life as a chef and co-owner of The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, North Cornwall. With his business partner Jill Stein and their three sons, the business has now grown to include 12 restaurants, a hotel, self-catering accommodation, food shops and a cookery school.
His restaurants can be found in Winchester, Sandbanks, Marlborough and Barnes. In addition he runs an Australian restaurant with his wife Sarah in Mollymook on the south coast of New South Wales.
This unique concept of combining classic food with classic films, first ‘popped up’ in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where ‘The Pop Up Picture Company’ after successfully selling out 4200 tickets, with screenings throughout December 2016 and January 2017. There it was Tom Kerridge’s delicious food, which accompanied the classic movie magic, and drew the audiences in. There’s more in the pipeline too, as following Rick Stein’s summer screenings throughout June and July, the company is geared up for an eclectic programme, seeing more top chefs headlining Pop-up Picture Company events in various locations across the UK throughout the year.
For Rick Stein’s Sunset Cinema, (please see popuppicture.seetickets.com/venue/chewton-glen/13393 for information on tickets/screenings still available), you couldn’t really pick a better location than the idyllic 139 acres of stunning parkland, woodland and gardens of Chewton Glen, a proud member of Relais & Chateaux and is one of the finest luxury hotels in the UK just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Solent coast.
Or at least if you did manage too, it would most likely be Chewton Glen’s sister property you’d come up with; Cliveden House, located in rural Berkshire, and an equally as special five-star luxury hotel, and yes, you’ve guessed it, the second location for Rick Stein’s Sunset Cinema screenings.
On arrival you are made to feel instantly at ease, swept away and relaxed by the peaceful, picturesque grounds, while being warmly greeted by friendly welcoming staff, given a glass of bubbly, your seat number and the order of the evening. The drinks reception was the perfect start to the evening whilst also giving you time to pre-order your drinks to be served to you at your sofa during the movie.
The film we watched was Gladiator, a 2000 American epic historical drama. Starring Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, an Hispano-Roman general who is betrayed when Commodus (the ambitious son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius), murders his father and seizes the throne. Maximus, who having been reduced to slavery, rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena.
A great film, which I had not seen before, although in hindsight, I am certain that the Sunset Cinema experience, as an evening, would be just as good if watching a classic that I had seen many times before (such as Grease and Dirty Dancing!) to watching a film for the very first time. So a good excuse for a return visit, perhaps next time a good romance or chick-flick with plenty of tissues!
The order of evening ran extremely smoothly, including the serving of the food and drinks to the tables, all of which seemed effortless for the organised and attentive staff. A lovely Crisp Smoked Mackerel with Green Mango and Green Paw Paw Salad to start certainly whet my appetite. Curated by Rick Stein himself you just know the food is going to be unrivalled, and the Fish Pie with Cod, Prawns and Smoked Haddock was utterly scrumptious.
There is an intermission during the film, and in the second part, you are served a mouth-watering treat of The Hand and Flowers’ ice cream ‘usherette style’, carrying on the tradition from the Pop-Up Picture House.
Other films on show include all time family favourites such as Top Gun and Shakespeare In Love, to romantic classics including Grease and Dirty Dancing, and new releases such as La La Land. To find out more about the Pop-Up Picture Company events and to access priority bookings to the screenings, register at www.popuppicturecompany.co.uk
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