Eat Film, Soho Hotel

Eat Film is exactly what it says on the tin – a screening followed by dinner inspired by the movie.  Last week, I was lucky enough to get tickets to the first instalment, which had a distinctly Asian theme as we watched Taiwanese film Eat Drink, Man Woman, before tucking into a three course meal taken from Bill Granger’s latest book Bill’s Everyday Asian.

Held in the Soho Hotel, the film was selected by Bill Granger, who got on stage to give a brief talk at the start. Whilst sipping on Laurent Perrier Champagne and S. Pellegrino, my friend N and I happily listened to Bill explain that he had selected the film not only because of his love of Asian cuisine, which was first introduced to him as a child, but also due the film’s energy, pace and the way it links food with family. This is something that resonates strongly with Bill, who believes cooking is a great way to show his family how much he loves them.

I’d previously read that the film had been nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. I’m no film critic, but I know what I like and Eat Drink, Man Woman was not only beautifully shot, but was also extremely endearing and funny – a view that must have been shared by the audience who laughed throughout and applauded at the end. The best thing about the film were the endless cooking scenes, which left me longing to get in the kitchen and start making dishes like Stir Fried Taiwanese Clams and Minced Shrimp in Lettuce. Fortunately, and coincidently, this week’s cookery class at Leiths had an Asian theme, so I didn’t have to wait long before I got my wish.

After the film, we made our way to the restaurant for a late dinner. The menu was set and sounded delicious, starting with Pulled Chicken Salad.

The salad was by far the best part of the meal as the chicken was moist and the addition of lime gave it a freshness often reserved for Asian cooking. I couldn’t help but think what a perfect lunch it would make, so I’m determined to recreate it to spice up my usual soup or sandwich.

For main we had Steamed Arctic Char on Vermicelli Noodles. Closely related to the salmon and trout, Arctic Char is a fresh or saltwater fish from Arctic or sub-Arctic waters. It tasted perfectly pleasant and the noodles were a satisfying accompaniment, but the overall effect was bland, despite the dominating flavours of lemon and coriander.

After a slightly disappointing main course, we were both looking forward to dessert and at first felt satisfied as we tucked into Chilli Roast Pineapple with Pomegranate and Coconut Ice-Cream. Unfortunately, our enjoyment was short lived for as soon as the overpowering chilli kicked in, we were left gasping for water.

Although the meal didn’t end on a particularly high note, the overall evening was enjoyable and, considering what you get for a ticket that only costs £55, I would recommend it to anyone looking to do something a bit different mid-week.

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