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57-60 Haymarket, London, SW1 4QX
0207 287 1000
Whether your occasion is a special celebration, a family moment, dining with colleagues, Planet Hollywood is the perfect venue for lunch, dinner or late night dining.
The iconic Planet Hollywood in Haymarket offers a vibrant atmosphere and a menu of not only classic American favourites, including burgers, wings and speciality cocktails, but also authentic Asian, Italian and our special Kids Menu (not available for groups of 10 or more).
Eat, drink and feel famous at Planet Hollywood, Central London's "must experience" restaurant, with capacity to cater for groups from 10 to 200 persons. Planet Hollywood offers a number of set menus which are suitable for all budgets. London's only Hollywood inspired dining experience consistently delivers a magical atmosphere where everyone can enjoy great portions of the best quality food and an efficient, friendly service.
Hurray for Planet Hollywood, an oasis of chillaxed American diner style eating, in the heart of London's Theatre land. Pitched as “a dining experience like no other”, we were more than a little excited and delighted to be invited to review it.
As the one and only UK branch of the internationally renowned and iconic restaurant chain founded in the 1990s by film aristocracy (including Sly Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnie Schwarzenegger), our review meal date was doubly inspired by the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, coinciding as it did with the annual 'Oscars' ceremony, and surrounded as we were by memorabilia from a range of international hit films (such as The Terminator's leather jacket, a Gremlin, a Star Wars crossbow, Captain Kirk's "beam me up Scottie" communicator and The Artful Dodger's tailcoat, Indiana Jones' whip).
Relocated from the nearby but now defunct Trocadero Centre, Planet Hollywood is very much a 'must do' novelty dining destination for tourists and Londoners alike, offering a contemporary but congenially relaxed ambience in which to meet for a casual drink and/or snacks in the spacious windowed bar area or a meal in the restaurant to the rear. Whether you're enjoying a date a deux, a family treat, a pre-theatre dinner, an office night out with colleagues or a party, there's something for everyone, as was reflected in our fellow lunchtime diners who ranged from toddlers, tweens, teens, tourists, trueloves and tots celebrating birthdays. With a large, centrally positioned message screen affording real time messaging opportunities (from flirtation, celebration, proposals, greeting and thanks), multiple peripherally positioned screens showing trailers from films yet to hit the big screens, and music from across the decades, it truly had a 'wow' entertainment factor with cross-generational appeal, even for those most difficult and discerning, hard-to-please teens.
Service, delivered with a smile was first-rate, very much reflecting the diner experience one would expect from an American franchise. From front-of-house staff in the welcome foyer, to bartenders and waiters/waitresses, all looked as if they were enjoying themselves as well as delivering super-efficient but friendly and unobtrusive attention to their tables. In the UK the art of good customer care can sometimes leave a lot to be desired so we were delighted to receive such great service from the lovely Vicky, and indeed her colleagues who were happy to help if we needed something but she wasn't around.
The glossy 38 page menu (offering much food for thought!!!) is global cuisine, covering everything from classic cocktails, 'diner' staples (ribs, spaghetti & meatballs, pizza, grills, burgers and club sandwiches), to ice-cream parlour kitsch including the fabled cherry topped milkshakes and knickerbocker glory (surely a dessert well overdue a comeback?), pan-Asian cuisine, sharing dishes and everything in between. From A La Carte, to a pre-theatre menu and group set menu, there's something for everyone at Planet Hollywood tonight (today, tomorrow and for lots more visits). Even if you're ‘gluten-free' there's more than enough delicious choice (although majoring on meaty mains) not to feel an after-thought. And if you've invested in a Taste Card, the good news is that you can use it Sunday-Thursday (11.30am-5pm), for two diners per table to cut costs too.
Planet Hollywood does a great Kids' Menu (@£9.25 including unlimited ‘soda') but Thoroughly Merton Milly chose join the grown-ups ordering A La Carte. This was a mistake on several counts though: she tends to stick to ordering within her culinary comfort-zone so too much choice doesn't really suit her eating out habits. Moreover, her appetite is not huge and she struggled with the man-sized portions one would expect of a restaurant chain founded by some of Hollywood's leading muscle-bound action hero actors! No matter, it did mean that we had ‘doggy bags' of food left over to take away with us.
For starters, we ordered a VIP Platter (ideal for sharing) which included the most melt-in-the-mouth chicken crunch, too spicy for some buffalo wings, potato skins, tostadas and some delicious dips, including tangy creole mustard sauce, the standout parmesan spinach dip (which would have made a great pasta accompaniment) and a classic but less taste-bud tantalising blue-cheese dip. This would be an ideal option (with a couple of veggie/salad sides) as a less formal dining option particularly if one was short on time.
Particularly for those of us who are foodies, the menu was almost too extensive (where else would you get such a wealth of choice?) to easily decide what to eat. Had it been a warmer time of the year, we would have been tempted by the delicious and ‘lighter' salad and club sandwich options. But with the pedigree provenance of the meat assured (steaks sourced from royal warrant holders, Scottish Donald Russell Butcher, and burgers made with 100% farm-assured British beef) it is perhaps no coincidence that we all ordered ‘meaty' mains. The chargrilled (medium rare) steak and chips (with some green beans cooked to perfection) was melt-in-the-mouth delicious, the only quibble that the only mustard on offer was American which really does not do justice to such quality Scottish beef! The BBQ Pork Ribs were succulent and well-seasoned. The Teen Sensation and Thoroughly Merton Milly rather unimaginatively ordered identically – Spaghetti & Meatballs - which proved an error of judgement. They both thought the meatballs too large and over meaty (how is that even possible?) in ratio to the accompanying sauce and pasta. I suspect that such good quality meat was wasted on them (and possibly in the meatballs too) in such generous quantities,
We ate at a leisurely pace, in no way feeling hurried to complete our dining experience. Just as well really because otherwise we would not have had time to adequately digest and make way for Planet Hollywood desserts. No big surprises but classic options for the sweet-toothed amongst us. The Teen Sensation passed on pudding, having over-indulged on the VIP Platter, but we order a Knickerbocker Glory (a nostalgic nod to yesteryear eating out of our childhoods), a chocolate milkshake and a classic (although not entirely American) crumble and custard. Full-sized portions were really too much after both starters and mains – taster sized ones would be a most welcome alternative for diners with less than gargantuan appetites (most of us).
It was a fabulously enjoyable, unique and relaxed, central London eating out experience which uncharacteristically got a big thumbs up from all the family. If the children aren't happy diners then meals out aren't necessarily the treat they should be, and as they grow to teendom it is increasingly a challenge to find restaurants that ‘do it for them', being ‘cool' enough, providing the type of food they prefer (usually pan-Asian or Italian) AND keeping them entertained enough to ditch the digital. The combination of big screen film trailers interspersed with music videos, the movie memorabilia and the ‘guess who' picture quiz placemats (showing the Hollywood greats of today in their tweens and teens) kept us all amused and entertained. With a most welcome ‘20% off your next visit' discount voucher given to us as we left, a repeat visit is more than guaranteed.
There really is something for everyone at Planet Hollywood – and you can even get the tee or sweat shirt to prove it in the small but select souvenir boutique within!
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