The best and worst multiplex food in London

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Hot dogs, nachos, drinks and popcorn all go under the Time Out microscope

We tried out the hot dogs and the nachos – and checked the prices of the popcorn and the drinks – at all five main multiplex cinema chains. The quality and the prices refer to venues in the West End in July 2010.

Vue

Hot dogs1/5The presentation was dreadful. The bread tasted stale. The taste of the meat was basic, bordering on flavourless.

Nachos3/5The cheese sauce tasted only of salt. The jalapeño peppers had a good kick. The salsa was watery. The nachos themselves were okay and fairly crispy.

DrinksPrice: £2.95-£3.55

PopcornPrice: £4.60-£5.35

Odeon

Hot dogs2/5The bun was dry and tasted stale. The meat was okay, although oddly browned on the outside. Nothing special.

Nachos3/5We were bemused when the server gave us cold sauce from the fridge. But the nachos themselves were of decent consistency and the sauce and jalapeños above average. Presentation was appalling: we were given the nachos in a plastic bag and a tray far too small to hold the food.

DrinksPrice £2.50-£3.25

PopcornPrice £3.75-£4.50

Apollo

Hot dogsN/AThe Apollo doesn’t serve hot dogs.

Nachos4/5The jalapeños were spicy. The sauce was good. The portion large, the presentation neat. The nachos had a good, earthy taste.

Drinks£2.50-£3.10

Popcorn£3.60-£3.90

Cineworld

Hot dogs3/5The bread was decent, more French baguette than bun. The meat acceptable.

Nachos2/5The jalapeños were poor, absolutely no spice to them at all – they tasted like crap gherkin slices. The salsa sauce was bad, tasted only of watery tomato. The nachos themselves were average.

Drinks£2.70-£3.40

Popcorn£3.65-£4.50

Empire

Hot dog2/5Half-decent bun, but it was hard at the end. A smoky flavour to the meat, although it looked weirdly pink and fleshy.

Nachos1/5These were abysmal. The cheese sauce with the nachos provoked disgusted faces all round, with each of our four tasters finding it impossible to detect a taste of cheese at all. The salsa sauce was sweet, with no hint of spice.

Drinks£2.45-£3.10

Popcorn£3.50-£4.20

Users say

9 comments
LouLou
LouLou

I don't know how you can give the Empire hot dogs a 2/5?! I was at the Leicester Square branch the other day and realised it was the best hot dog I've had in years!

Browplastabag
Browplastabag

I think all of you (except John) are being pretentious snobs! shut up, do we care that you don't like the food? no! I love cinema food and you lot won't put me off it!

Ghidera
Ghidera

Remarkable that popcorn or nachos are allowed in cinemas. The crunching noise often feels like you are sitting in front of a plastic-bag orchestra! Forget the dialogue! I have to admit that I would like to see an improvement in the quality (not to mention the absurd expense) of hot dogs. There is absolutely no reason why our cinemas cannot supply better quality hot dogs (bockwurst etc), to cinema goers. Just walk outside the British Museum entrance to see the criminals selling revolting sausages, cooked from frozen to remind yourself how misrepresented this fun food can be.

Jason of Enfield fame
Jason of Enfield fame

I have to say, my experience of the cuisine at my local Cineworld is a world away from that of your reviewers. Perhaps they are comparing it to Michelin starred restaurants, where the price of popcorn is bound to be considerably higher? On our last visit, my fiance and I munched through some delicious nachos; correctly seasoned, room temperature as requested, completely free from the grease you find in other establishments and complimented by a quite sublime tomato salsa. Indeed, my partner commented on how the flavour took her back to our first taste of the tomatoes we tasted on the hills of Tuscanny. Granted, we could not place the provenance of the cheese sauce, but it was expertly presented, with just the right amount of tang, and, unless I'm mistaken, was made using a combination of Cornish Yarg and a most delicious cheddar. So heartening to see cinemas serving the sort of quality comfort food that makes the experience all the more special. Bravo Cineworld!

John
John

what a load of rubbish this article is! As most of the cinema chains buy from the same company how can they have tasted different?

sev
sev

Well this is really useful info - havent yet tasted cineworlds hot dogs, but the vue is disgusting to say the least!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

I don't understand why people need to eat in cinemas anyway

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

I don't understand why people need to eat in cinemas anyway

Oli
Oli

Urgh, not at all appetising