Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Fun, a film & food at the O2 Centre NW3

I love going to the cinema. I don't get to do it very often unless I am watching a kid's movie but on the rare times I get to watch a film I want to see it feels like a real treat, especially if I add a meal out into the plan too!

Last week amid the hurly burly of sorting Christmas presents and costumes, coordinating diaries with family, friends and work colleagues and trying my best to keep my house tidy and cleanish for the unexpected visitors you often get at this time of year, I found time to sneak in a day out with my mate Claire.

madmumof7 and friend Claire

We trundled into London on an early train, did a bit of shopping, met some blogger friends for a drink then headed to the O2 leisure and shopping centre on the Finchley Road in NW3, London for a movie and a meal.

VUE cinema O2 Centre Finchley Road

We decided to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the onsite VUE cinema and treated ourselves to VIP seats for an extra £3 each. Actually we noticed that all the seats in the screen we visited are great- generously sized with armrests etc but the super spacious comfy leather seats we chose were situated for the best viewing experience and had extra room to stretch out.

VUE VIP seats

It's a good job I was comfortable as (slight whine coming up) there were 30 minutes of pre-film adverts!  30 minutes!!! That's a nationwide issue I guess but if anyone is reading who has any control over this -STOP IT! I don't mind watching previews of films coming up and a couple of ads but I think 30 minutes of this is far too long.

 Largely though my experience was very positive.

Staff member at VUE Finchley Road

Staff at the cinema were all friendly and welcoming, customer service was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I sometimes grumble about the cost of going to the movies but certainly in this case it was money well spent. As an aside the whole place was clean, tidy and smart. We were very impressed.

VUE Cinema O2 Centre Finchley Road London

Fantastic Beasts is one of those films best seen on a big screen to fully appreciate the special effects. If you want even more drama you could choose one of the VUEXTREME showings on a screen measuring 16 metres high and 7 metres wide with immersive surround sound.

Over the Christmas period, the centre will be showing the most exciting Christmas blockbusters including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Star Wars Rouge One.

Appetite whetted by all the excitement Claire and I had a wander round the Centre finding it very hard to choose the best place to eat. So many choices......some of Britain's best known restaurant chains are represented in the O2 Centre including Nandos, Yo Sushi!, Wagamamas, Byron, Pizza Express and Zizzi.

Claire is being very good and trying to watch her calorie intake so she looks fab in her festive finery so we opted for Rossopomodoro (specialists in Neapolitan dishes) after she spotted she could order a pizza at under 500 calories!

Rossopomodoro Swiss Cottage O2 Centre


Rossopomodoro menu

I secretly thought it might be tiny or have a big hole in it like I've seen at other restaurants but her wholewheat Bresaolina pizza with Buffalo ricotta, herbs, beef bresaola, rocket, cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce was anything but small.

Rossopomodoro pizza

I'm not keen on tomatoes so was delighted to spot a tomato free option. My pizza had Mozzarella, ham mushrooms and cream and felt very indulgent! I was surprised the waiter didn't offer to cut our pizzas  with a wheel thingy (it's not easy cutting a well-loaded pizza with a normal knife and fork) but when I asked he was more than happy to oblige.


tomato free pizza at Rossopomodoro O2 Centre Finchley Road

The bill for the two pizzas and a glass-bottled Coke Zero each was just over £30 including a tip. I thought that was quite reasonable. The pizza bases were especially impressive and I gather they do gluten free options too.

We also treated ourselves to a festive coffee at Starbucks (mmmm egg-nog!) and maybe did just a bit more shopping at some of the lovely shops in the centre. There may have been a lot of chat and a certain amount of cackling. 

It was just a short walk back to the tube (Finchley Road station) for a short and simple ride back to Euston Square then another short walk of a few metres to Euston Station and we headed home feeling very relaxed, happy and full! It might seem a bit mad to go into London when there are cinemas much closer to our home but it really felt like a proper treat. 
  
Can't face the train? The O2 Centre has a huge carpark and you get a discount on parking if you are going to the cinema or shopping in the centre.  Sainsbury's customers actually get 2 hours free if they spend £10 or more while Homebase Customers get a free hour if they spend over £10.  Check the website for full details and directions on how to get to the centre however you travel.

For years I have driven past this centre thinking it looked like a nice shopping centre. I'm so glad I have finally discovered it as it's such a nice environment for shopping, leisure and eating out. I can see us popping in on our way home from London events to enjoy a meal in calmer (and mostly cheaper!) surroundings, especially when we are with the children.

Disclaimer: I was reimbursed my costs incurred during my visit to the centre for the purpose of this review. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.

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