The Mall of the emirates new extension on level 2 now boasts an upgraded VOX cinema complete with 24 brand new screens and four different ways to enjoy a film. From IMAX and to VOX Theatre by Rhodes, your cinema experience just got a little more exciting.
Theatre by Rhodes is the latest project in the area for the eccentric British Michelin starred chef Gary Rhodes. With 2 restaurants in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, VOX Theatre represents a big departure from recent projects but according to the Rhodes team, provides some interesting culinary challenges.
The Theatre experience is a comprehensive upgrade on its VOX Gold predecessor, of which we were regulars. With electronic seats replacing the far more rudimentary “lazy-boy” arm chair, the booth like surround that makes the customer feel like they are in a first class airline suite allied with the marble topped tables especially designed to make as little noise as possible and you certainly feel like you’re getting the full VIP treatment. The pillow and blankets are of a better quality than previously and really allow the cinema-goer to get nice and cosy, perhaps even doze off as my female companion found!
Rhodes and VOX cinemas have aimed to go so much further than simply giving the customer somewhere luxurious to watch a movie from. Rhodes is trying to emulate the theatre going experience of London where you arrive early, have a bite to eat and a drink in the lounge, prior to the performance itself. Upon entering the lounge there is a much calmer and enjoyable atmosphere to the hustle and bustle of the mall outside. There is plenty of comfortable seating and guests have the opportunity to peruse the menu and select when they would like their food and drink delivered.
The menu is divided into three sections allowing you to really experience a range of flavours similar to that of a three course meal. Wherever possible the dishes are in a finger-food style so that they are easy to manage in a dark cinema, all of which works, except perhaps, the traditional afternoon tea which is much too fiddly to manage in darkness. Customers can order food to be delivered to their seat at whatever time suits them so it is very much an individualized feast instead of a set meal. I always worry that with a waiter service of this kind people would be constantly coming and going, becoming a real distraction when you’re trying to enjoy the film but surprisingly I didn’t find this at all. The food itself was excellent, the burgers and Paninis are superbly prepared and have a fantastic array of flavours which really speaks of restaurant standard ingredients and preparation, a far cry from the bag of popcorn and a coke of yesteryear.
With tickets to Theatre by Rhodes costing 160AED up from 120AED at the old VOX Gold is the increased cost represented in the quality of the lounge, the environment inside the screen itself and the food being served? I would say most definitely, the team really have thought of every little detail. Even the 3D glasses which look more like expensive ray bans have been redesigned and upgraded. If there is a fantastic film that you simply can’t afford to miss spending the extra dirhams is more than worth it, the whole experience really adds something extra special without detracting from the movie itself. There are already plans to expand Theatre into other VOX cinemas across the UAE where I’m sure they will be a huge hit.