Food review: Vox Cinemas’ Vox Gold Menu at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates

Eating in the dark was a serious challenge: we had to keep using our phone screens to light up our plates, much to the annoyance of others in the cinema.

Vox Gold Cinema in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates has "movie and gourmet food nights", which includes a three-course meal served at your seat. Courtesy VOX Cinemas
Powered by automated translation

The concept of a blind tasting is one I’m familiar with – but Vox Gold Cinema in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates has given it a whole new meaning.

Intrigued by the cinema’s “movie and gourmet food nights”, I tried to make a reservation a couple of weeks in advance to secure the best seats and a decent film.

Here, the adventure began. It took quite a few attempts to reach the cinema because the number on the website was purely informational and redirected me to another number. Upon calling it, the line cut off when the “other enquiries” option was pressed. Unearthing and dialling yet another number put me in contact with a member of staff, who delivered the bemusing news that we could only find out which movies would be playing if we called back less than a week before we planned to attend.

Fast forward to the big day and my guest and I arrived on-site to buy tickets for a film called No Good Deed (a 2014 thriller, directed by Sam Miller, about an unstable escaped convict who terrorises a woman and her children).

Having made our selections from the menu at the kiosk, it wasn’t long before we were settling into our enormous, fabulously comfortable leather chairs. The staff helpfully showed us the full- recline button and handed us warm blankets to offset the chilling air conditioner.

And that’s when our “blind” tasting experience began. Our starters promptly served, we discovered that eating in the dark was a serious challenge – we had to keep using our phone screens to light up our plates, much to the annoyance of others in the cinema.

We also needed double the napkins provided. My companion’s nachos were distinctly average, with tasteless white cheddar and no evidence of the pre-ordered chilli con carne.

My seafood platter felt more carb-laden than fish-tastic, given that it was served with fries and burritos. That said, the kamikaze shrimp was delicious, cooked with the right amount of bite and heat on the palate.

Fifteen minutes later, our mains arrived, but we were still ploughing through the starters and hadn’t any room on our tiny shared table to put the new dishes.

Fumbling in the dark, we exchanged plates with our server and started on the chef’s signature selection: a mini cheeseburger, New York hot dog, club sandwich and Philly steak sandwich.

Both plates were served with fries and the best in class was probably the cheeseburger. The meals were starchy with little in the way of greens or garnish. We fiddled with the intricately stacked foods, slate plates and presentation baskets while longing for easy-to-eat bowls of pasta or fresh Caesar salads.

On the dessert front, my companion found the ice cream served with warm apple pie a decent sweet treat.

I plumped for the tasty and moist red velvet cupcake – but didn’t notice the black pot of chocolate sauce on the black plate, which made for a messy end to the meal.

While the idea of a movie-and-meal night is great, for it to be a success, the food has to be practical and the tables bigger. It didn’t help that our dishes were over-salted and, for the most part, deep-fried – which is arguably what you’d expect at the flicks, but we were hoping for other vegetarian, healthy and gourmet options.

For a weekend treat and a viewing that feels like a private one, the experience is a winner. On the food front, though, nothing can beat a good old tub of plain popcorn.

• A three-course meal for two at Vox Gold costs Dh211. Call 600 599 905 for more information. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and conducted incognito