Review – Duke’s At Komedia
We’ve hit the start of June – and so begins the start of a good old British summer. You know the type: rains every day, everyone gets disappointed about England’s performance in whatever sporting competition happens to be showing and there are endless streams of adverts for “the best film you’re going to see all year”.
Cinema is not for everyone. Many are put off by screaming children, over-priced stale popcorn, hotdogs without an ounce of real meat in them and watered-down soft drinks. This is where the food and drink at Duke’s at Komedia is different.
Owned and operated by the Picturehouse Group, Duke’s at Komedia is the little sister of Britain’s oldest operating cinema, Duke of York’s at Preston Circus. A program of construction work throughout summer 2012 rejuvenated what was formerly Komedia Upstairs; Duke’s at Komedia opened its doors in the Christmas of that year. The iconic Dukes legs even made an appearance courtesy of local artist Jamie McCartney.
Originally opening with a full kitchen, this three-screen cinema provided patrons with an American themed menu offering home-cooked, authentic food. In recent months this has been scaled down with the kitchen soon to be reutilised as a bakery for local company Sticky Fingers. The best part? Sticky Fingers supply not only Duke’s at Komedia, but the entire Picturehouse Group. It is wonderful to see a local Brighton businesses flourishing across the UK.
With this condensed and streamlined food menu, the emphasis is still very much on quintessential cinema food: hot dogs, large plates of nachos and oodles of popcorn. The main difference between Duke’s at Komedia and other larger, mainstream multiplex cinemas is the the focus on high quality products and ingredients.
Emma and I chowed down on large, smokey hotdogs served in a light brioche bun and topped with crunchy gherkins, melted cheddar cheese and lashings of all-American ketchup and mustard – followed by a thirst quenching yet sweet traditional Fentimans lemonade, a far cry from iced Slush Puppies and other drink gimmicks in mainstream cinemas.
The drinks menu at Duke’s at Komedia is not without its own merits. Beers are tailored to suit the notoriously choosy Brighton crowd with both bottled and draught local supplier Darkstar proving a popular choice. This year will see the beers branch out to include more local offerings, based on feedback from the cinema’s loyal customer base. It’s also worth noting that Duke’s at Komedia were also the first of the Picturehouse Group to sell the now exceedingly popular Brooklyn lager.
Harry – who hand picks and individualises the drinks menu – is keen to stress the flexibility that Duke’s at Komedia has over its menu, both in terms of food and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Having an Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ marathon? Why not stock Cornettos for cinema goers to purchase? New-school Woody Allen film ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013) showing? Let’s stock Blue Moon beer! And so you get the picture.
From bar snacks and American hot dogs to paninis and ploughman’s lunches, the food and drink at this Gardner Street cinema is a cut above your average cinema experience.
Originally printed in the Brighton & Hove Independent 6th June 2014