Olympic Studios Cafe and Dining Room

Open Sun–Thu 8am–11pm, Fri–Sat 8am–midnight

Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin – these are not people who I would usually associate with a relaxed evening spent reclined in front of a film with a glass of red in hand. The Olympic Studios have played host to all three in its heyday but a lick of paint and the infamous London recording studios have been transformed into a delightfully bourgeois cinema, dining room and private members club.

The dining room is contemporary but homely – a thoroughly modern pantry complete with open plan bakery. Once the restaurant begins to fill there is a real ‘family’ atmosphere. The cinema itself nods back to old Hollywood glamour with luxury reclining seats, personal tables and an intimate atmosphere. Encouragingly there is a clear commitment to maintain the site’s heritage – its artistic legacy still evident in the leftover memorabilia and retention of original features.

The food is simple but very well executed and reasonably priced. The service is faultless but relaxed – just how I like it. Our waiter was terribly charming and endlessly passionate, keeping us entertained with little anecdotes and recommendations. Head chef Andreas Engberg brings a touch of Sweden to the table; he has even brought in a smoking machine so that all mackerel and salmon can be home-smoked on the premises. The celeriac and rosemary soup arrives decorated with caramelised shallots and is a sure fire reminder of grandma’s cooking. Specials include ‘Sutton Hoo’ chicken sharing platter (£39) or the curiously named ‘Olympic Dog’ (£9). I opted for the hanger steak (£13) which was very tender, cooked to order and drenched in gravy – the chips were a real winner. Predictably, the old spot pork belly (£13) became a little rich two courses down, thankfully the acidity from the glazed apples helped to cut through the dish. For pudding the cranachan (£5) is a must-try and can only be described as a very naughty bowl of porridge: oats, cream, raspberries and a heady dash of whiskey.

It was utterly convenient to be able to roll from table to cinema seat, leftover wine in hand. The Olympic Studios would work just as easily for brunch with the girls as it would for a knock-out date; especially when there are sofas at the back of the cinema…

Olympic Studios Cafe and Dining Room, 117-123 Church Road, Barnes, London, SW1; www.olympiccinema.co.uk; 020 8912 5161

Restaurants | ,