Thursday, August 22, 2013

Electric Cinema and Cafe

Like I mentioned from the "A meeting of nations" entry, I met up with the German girl I met from that night later in the weekend. Books.

Books is an interesting person; she's never lived in any one place for more than about 7 years, and that includes childhood. Since then that record has only been remotely touched by her time in London, which is now currently at about 6.5 years. She said she needed a bit of stability in her life before letting herself move again. I think that's fair enough.

The reason I've decided to call her Books is because her current profession is signing and selling contracts for a publishing company. Needless to say I find her job fascinating...but I think it's hard for me to think that any job isn't. She has some reservations about her current career and is interested in checking out other things, but at the moment she likes what she does and thinks of it more as a philanthropic cause more than anything else (who doesn't love books?).

Anyways after a small back and forth text chat we decided to meet on Sunday for a day of wandering Portobello Market and perhaps a movie at the Electric Cinema, which according to her is a landmark and must-see of London. I'd never heard of it so I quickly agreed.

As you'll likely remember I'd been to Portobello Market with my parents previously, but as you likely have already figured out, I do love me some markets and would absolutely never turn down the opportunity to see/wander some more. Especially with the holiday season coming up faster than I'd like to admit and various birthdays and other things. There are always gifts to be bought and things to look at.

So I happily met her at Notting Hill Gate station and we started wandering the gorgeous streets of Portobello Market. After we walked past the antiques section, which was oddly empty and a bit scarce, we started to get the impression that either something much much bigger was happening in the city that weekend or we were there during a very uncrowded weekend.

We checked the internetz. Nope, it's just that the market doesn't happen on Sundays. Which is hilarious because both of us could have sworn that it actually did run on Sundays. Nope, we're both wrong.

Anyway, there were still a few vendors and stores open to check out, so we definitely did some shopping anyway. Or at least some window shopping. Not much to buy so not much buying happened. That wasn't the point anyway; we'd just met a couple of days ago and we really just wanted to chat and get to know each other better, which we definitely did.

Eventually the shopping ended and it just happened to be perfect timing for the matinee showing at the Electric Cinema. This particular cinema only shows a few select movies at a time (about two, hand-selected). Usually one of these is more indie and is not necessarily so recent (things like "My Neighbor Totoro" was playing earlier in the month and I expressed sadness at having missed being able to see it in theaters, despite having seen it many times), and the other is usually some must-see blockbuster that would just bring in income for the theater (they were currently showing "Wolverine 3-D"...I think you get the point).

We decided to go for the indie film that was playing, which also happened to be the matinee choice for that day. "Stuck in Love."

We paid for our tickets and went inside.

What Books hadn't told me was that this was a special kind of theater. Not just in selection of movies but also in ambiance:

Old-timey, beautifully crafted, lots of moulding along the walls. Painted to remind you of the old romantic days of movie-theater-going. Not the modern emphasis of technology and surround sound.

The entire first row of seating is actually sofa beds where you can lay down with your significant other and cuddle while watching the film. Really romantic movie watching.

The rest of the seats (which is where we were sitting) are super plush leather-velvet armchairs with mirrored tables inbetween them for your food and drink (which I'll describe in a second).

Food and drink are ordered at the bar. You can get cocktails and wine and an assortment of tapas. Fancy.

To be honest the entire thing reminded me of an upscale old-fashioned version of the fatass theater I had visited in Oklahoma the time I had visited my good friends there. It was incredible.

The entire thing was just oozing romantic comfort. This was definitely the place to take a cute date. I can't wait for my dating life to start in London so I can utilize this place to its fullest. It will be fantastic and ridiculous at the same time. My favorite things.

Anyway the movie was surprisingly good; funny and witty, sad and a bit weepy. Made you think. A bit unrealistic perhaps but also kind of nice. Some interesting life lessons that I'll likely never need to learn since they're not pertinent. All in all a good girly movie.

After the movie we decided it was time to eat. So where did we go? To the cafe that's connected to the theater, of course! This is exactly why this place is the perfect date spot. Come for a bite to eat, catch the matinee movie and snuggle with your person of choice. Boom.

Cute little french patisserie is what it is. Literally right next door. Amazing.

And the food is pretty good too, I might add, and it's not even that ridiculously overpriced. I ordered the grilled salmon (trying to be a little healthier...though I ruined that with the fries).

Pretty nice portion, though unfortunately (like all the entrees), it comes with nothing on the side as a standard. Salmon, tomatoes, lots of oil. Fantastically cooked, just perfectly tender and juicy. Delicious seasoning, whatever it is. Best salmon I've had in awhile. Can't remember the last time I've had it, now that I think of it...probably not that long ago. Ah yes, when I had sushi on the previous Tuesday for the VIP corporate night at the V&A. See? Not that long ago.

Fantastic fries. They came with a garlic mayo which you can barely see at the bottom of the photo. That was the best part; the garlic mayo. As it always is. Me and fried food have had a very special relationship for a long time. Sigh, shame that it's so unhealthy. This will never make me refuse it outright though. I will always love fried food more than I should.

And maybe one of the weirder items on the menu: roasted broccoli. Came highly recommended from our waiter so we went ahead and ordered it. That guy was not wrong. It was definitely covered in butter and something else (you could tell by taste, not by texture). Amazing. Really good. Who would have thought?

We sat there talking and eating for a long time, talking as only girls know how to do. I loved it.

Maybe I will be able to make a good friend circle here after all. London is certainly looking up.

Love finding new fun people and finding new fun places.

Bring it on Don, I'm ready.

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