Vox Cinemas’ newest complex in Mall of the Emirates opened to massive queues and sell-out shows, with crowds drawn to its enormous IMAX or 4DX experiences and the option to mix M&Ms into your bucket of popcorn. And Gary Rhodes.
Despite his two restaurants in the city, the British chef’s battle for culinary dominance in Dubai is apparently nowhere near done. Enter ThEATre by Rhodes – the UAE’s first gold class cinema with a menu devised by a celebrity chef (but probably not the last).
Each theatre’s leather recliners are generously proportioned, fairly private sets of twos, and will set you back Dhs160 each – four times the price of a normal ticket, but only Dhs35 more than 4DX. While food isn’t included in that cost, it does extend to a satin blanket and pillow, and a snazzy pair of aviator-style 3D glasses, should the movie require them.
You’re in the cinema, so you’ve got to start with popcorn. Or have you? Rhodes’ truffle and parmesan blend is a fraction of the size it should be for Dhs30, with a fraction of the flavour you’d expect. For the first few mouthfuls, we were convinced we were served the regular stuff by mistake.
Equally, the guacamole seemed to lack any discernible, rock star touch. The lamb, date and honey tagine fritters packed the flavour and freshness you’d hope for from the chef’s claims that everything here is made from scratch. A bowl of crispy cod fingers were satisfyingly crunchy and reassuringly meaty, but underseasoned. And tense exchanges between Katniss and her crew are not the time to call for ketchup.
Unexpectedly, Rhodes’ outing doesn’t feel groundbreakingly different to Dubai’s other gold and platinum movie morsels, and those leather seats aren’t the most comfortable in the business. For the same overall cost, you could eat in one of Rhodes’ fine-dining restaurants. For a fraction of it, you could just add sugar-coated chocolates to your salty popcorn.
The bill (for two) 2x movie tickets Dhs320 1x truffle popcorn Dhs30 1x spicy edamame Dhs30 1x guacamole Dhs35 1x tagine fritters Dhs55 1x cod fingers Dhs36 2x soft drinks Dhs36 Total (excl. service) Dhs542
The bottom line Stick to regular seats, or visit one of Rhodes’ Dubai restaurants. ThEATre simply doesn’t justify its price tag.
ThEATre by Rhodes