Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bennetts, Storm Cinemas, and Superman at the Odyssey

A fortnight ago we went for an evening's entertainment at the Odyssey in Belfast. Update: I emailed the post into Blogger that night, but it took 10 days to appear! Arghh.

The 15% off voucher being handed out at the Odyssey entrance by Bennetts' staff should have warned us that there's a reason they're not busy.

While the staff were friendly, and the cheesy nachos made a more-than-ample starter, the main course was indigestible. The chicken burger had been pan-fried to the point of leather - a steak knife would have been a useful tool to cut it.

The banks of monitors showing distracting videos that bear no relation to the songs blaring over the tannoy don't help the atmosphere either. Not half as good as Bennetts at Belmont. Back to the Red Panda next time.

The Warner Village cinema has recently been sold onto Storm Cinemas - a growing chain across the island of Ireland.

Think back to the last time you paid for something in person by credit card and didn't get a receipt. Can you remember? Storm Cinemas can't give you a receipt if you pay by plastic - the software at the ticket desk doesn't allow them.

On principle, I whinged and eventually a manager was tracked down. With no receipt, how could I dispute an incorrect charge on my next card statement? They're upgrading to something new (and better) in September. Looks like Warner didn't leave them their system as part of the handover, so they've gone lo-tech in the meantime. "Do you want me to write you something out?" was the suggestion.

I guess if there's no VAT on cinema tickets then a receipt isn't essential - just good practice?

And Superman Returns ... it was a fine addition to the existing collection of tales. Well made, plenty of action, not to distressing. An action hero who craves the appreciation and attention.

Does the world only need a saviour when we're crying out for help? Are we alright as long as we're not in a crisis? Do we really need to be saved from criminals and power-hungry maniacs?

Away from Earth five years, Clark Kent gets his old job back, but life has moved on. Lois Lane has a partner and child. While there's a certain amount of posturing between the two males in Lois' life, Superman ends up dealing with the complicated situation very gracefully and maturely.

And he has one of those near-death experiences that makes you doubt if heart rate monitors actually work!

I'm sure it's not the best film on release at the moment, but its not a bad way to spend a couple of hours at the end of a long week.


John Self said...

My fiancée and I went to Bennett's in the Odyssey once, being regulars at Bennett's on Belmont. I thought it was OK, with too much emphasis perhaps on the burger aspect of the menu... but my sig. other hated it, felt it was too geared toward the pre-movie drinks crowd to bother making their food good. Perhaps so.

In other Meal News, we went for a celebration meal to the Merchant Hotel on Saturday. Exquisite surroundings in the Great Room (and the bar afterwards), and good food - though am I imagining it that the starters and desserts are usually better than the main courses in places like this? I had roasted red pepper soup with goat's cheese crostini to start - yum - and a medium-rare ribeye steak for main. She had halibut on a cabbagey base, which won a rave eye-rolling review. Dessert was a fantastic chocolate fondant, well worth the "please allow 15 minutes' cooking time." Service was attentive and the cost was £60 exc tip. Starters are in the £5-£10 range (with a surely untested £75 caviare starter) and mains mostly £15-£20, so probably not for everyday meals out, but lovely for an occasion.

Anonymous said...

We went to the newly titled Storm cinema to see Cars on Sunday - my daughter's first ever cinema experience!

Afterwards we TRIED to go into Bennetts for a coffee, and as we walked in the barman looked at us, and I said "We just want to get a coffee". He screwed up his face like "Oh for GODS SAKE" and then went over to his (empty) coffee grinder. "Sorry, no coffee" he shrugged "Just Tea".

No coffee???? Really? Not another bag of beans somewhere? In a restaurant? As we turned to leave, he muttered a reluctant "...or chocolate".

Even if he had found some coffee, the initial face he pulled had put me right off. We had been once before and it was quite nice, but I agree with your comments above on the whole. I doubt we'll be back. No wonder it's so empty.

The Streat had plenty of coffee... :D

John Self said...

Ah - the Streat! Plenty of coffee, but rather low on smoothies. As a non-tea and coffee drinker, I was attracted by their range of five smoothies - only to be told when I asked for one that it (along with three others) wasn't available: I had a choice of one. Which, when it came, had a distinctly non-natural, processed taste to it. Horrible.

And then there's La Tasca, the tapas bar which (I'm told) doesn't even have a chef: they just reheat all the stuff from packaging.

All in all, no wonder I hardly ever eat at the Odyssey! Soda Joe's, anyone??

dave said...

I am sorry that you didn't get a receipt for your payment. I hope things have changed now. Belfast Cinema.