The former Luna restaurant in Uckfield High Street is gradually being transformed into The Picture House Restaurant having been taken over by cinema owner Kevin Markwick.
The building has been redecorated inside and out and re-opened on Monday with a movie theme emerging – posters from years gone by on the walls, an old slide projector, ticket machine and film rolls in the windows.
There’s more work to be done but that will take place over time.
A sign bearing the new name has to go up and there’s a big bare wall inside to the right where a Frith photograph from 1955, which shows The Picture House cinema and restaurant in the same image, will take pride of place.
There are memories all around for Kevin Markwick. “This is the sound of my childhood,” he said as he pinged the old ticket machine in a window.
He pointed out the poster of the first-ever film shown by the Markwick family at The Picture House – 40 Pounds of Trouble, starring Tony Curtis – in 1964.
Tom Jones, with Albert Finney and Susannah York, will forever be remembered within the Markwick family because Kevin’s mother was heavily pregnant when it was due to be shown.
Kevin said: “She was told she wasn’t allowed to give birth to my brother that week because we were going to be really busy.” He can’t remember the end of the story, whether his brother was prepared to wait or not.
In one of the windows are stacks of film reels, each containing 2000 feet of film – 90 feet for each minute – which would have been spliced together. A splicer will be going on display in the future.
Some of Kevin’s favourite films were the disaster movies of the 1970s, Airport, Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure and posters from that era can also be seen on the restaurant walls.
The Cine Dinner has been launched where, for £29.95, cinema-goers will be able to get a cinema ticket, enjoy two course meal at the restaurant and then be offered an ice cream and coffee at the cinema.
The aim, says Kevin, is to offer a stress-free evening with the meal ready for diners on arrival having been pre-ordered. He wants to create a relaxed atmosphere at the restaurant.
Cinema and restaurant will work together but still be separate entities. People will be able to buy their tickets for cinema-going as usual and the restaurant is open to all diners as previously.
The menu includes:
Smoked Chicken and Gruyere Salad, with crispy vegetables, fennel, mixed leaves, toasted pine nuts and vinaigrette
Pan Seared Scallops, with creamed corn and spicy tomato salsa
Homemade Scotch Egg, black pudding, warm sausage meat and English mustard mayonnaise
Stilton and Walnut Pate, flavoured with brandy parsley, served with French toast and crispy pear
Carrot and Cashew Nut Samosas, flavoured with caraway seeds and tumeric, served with hyogurt and mint dressing
Salmon Gravadlax, dill and juniper home-cured salmon with beetroot crisps, rye bread and horseradish cream
Gorgonzola dna Pancetta Bruschetta topped with fresh rocket.
Rolled Best End of Lamb with a herb and apricot stuffing served with roasted parsnip, buttered mash and a port wine jus
Sirloin Steak with Hand Cut Chips, Grilled Tomato and Mushroom served plain grilled or a choice of sauce: creamy blue cheese, red wine and thyme butter, three peppercorn, brandy
Spinach, Mushroom and ricotta Rotolo, fresh pasta rolls, filled and baked with a creamy tomato and basil sauce
Chorizo Stuffed Chicken Supreme with a Rich Thyme Jus served with wilted spinach and sea salt and olive crushed new potatoes
Pancetta Roasted Monkfish with Red Pepper Pesto, served with tenderstem broccoli and a saffron potato fondant
Slow Roasted pork Belly, spiced apple puree, buttered spinach and truffle mash
Butter Nut Squash and Asparagus Risotto.
There are also comfort foods including burgers, lasagne and Sussex Smokie with Crusty Bread, light bites and sharing boards and children’s choices and drinks.
*You might also be interested in a blog from Uckfield Framing Company about the framing of the Picture House Restaurant posters: Now showing at the local Picture House … Restaurant!
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