On 14th October we were lucky enough to be invited to the very limited edition Virgin Media Diner situated on Soho's Bateman Street. Set into a small shop front, the team at Pretty Green did a great job of bringing the movies alive creatively with an original 'must tell all my friends' idea. The aim of the pop up restaurant was to celebrate, and educate consumers about, the huge library of box sets and films available via their cable service. This was done through a stomach-rumblingly awe-inspiring menu which was designed around dishes made famous by our on-screen favourites - such as Gwen’s Cheese and Mushroom Omelette (Gavin & Stacey), Los Pollos Hermanos Chicken (Breaking Bad), and Dexters Breakfast (Dexter) or even a touch of the IT Crowd in Moss’s Smarties Cereal. Very clever. We couldn’t wait! We ordered the Big Kahuna Burger and £5 Shake (Pulp Fiction, and also the name of Virgin Medias largest package), and Los Pollos Hermanos Chicken, as we attended the dinner slot. We would have loved to have tried the other items available, but they were only available at the traditional Breakfast and Lunch times which was a pity considering it was a one day event.
We were seriously excited to find that there was so much more to this than quirky names... the food had serious substance. The burger was cooked to perfection, with lashings of cheese fondue, gherkin, burger sauce and a toasted bun accompanied by the most incredible peanut butter shake we had ever tasted. The chicken wings were crispy, juicy and left you literally desperate for more. It's not surprising to learn then that the chef who created this was none other than the very talented Neil Rankin (from the acclaimed The Smokehouse, Islington). Neil was on site in the open kitchen, preparing the food for eagerly awaiting consumers and everything looked, smelled and tasted divine; it was mesmerising.
Sadly the venue was a bit bare with limited ambience, and told us very little about Virgin Media, its offerings and had scant mentions of the actual products or the brand itself. Of course, whilst enjoying our burger, we could happily focus 100% on the eating but we came away wondering quite what it was all about and more desperate to visit Rankins other eateries than sign up to Virgin Media. We didn’t gain any more knowledge than when we crossed the threshold so it’s lucky we are advocates of Virgin Media because it’s genuinely good, but this opinion wasn’t formed as a result of the Diner. That said, this was a great experience and the menu alone got us really enthusiastic. Hopefully the Diner will come back as a more immersive experience in the future. If it does, we’ll be first in line and you’ll find us by the milkshake bar.