REVIEW: Planet Hollywood is certainly a star attraction
After a day out sightseeing in London, the Sims family was ravenous and having considered several places for sustenance we decided to give Planet Hollywood star billing.
Following a 16-year stint based in the Trocadero centre you can now find this restaurant in Haymarket following its move in 2009 - just a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus Tube station.
Not only was the food eagerly anticipated after a long day trudging around the capital, but the entertainment and razzmatazz associated with this famous venue had whetted our appetites too.
After taking our seats we were presented with the menu - a rather thick document which left us all a little bamboozled about what to choose.
It’s well worth planning ahead checking the menu out at http://www.planethollywoodlondon.com prior to your visit if, like us, you have a tendency to spend an eternity starring at a menu when there’s so much choice.
In the end we opted for a VIP platter starter, which gave us a selection of many of the dishes on the appetisers section, plus a plate of nachos.
With an eight and ten-year-old in tow who never seem to like the same food (much to mum’s annoyance!) this shared platter - buffalo wings, Texas tostados, chicken crunch, parmesan spinach dip with tortilla chips and potato skins - had something for everything.
I enjoyed the buffalo wings (although they were a tad spicy for a young palate) and the Texas tostados had a lovely sweet barbecue flavour. My son voted the chicken crunch his number one, mum loved the impressive mound of nachos and the masses of topping, while my daughter said she loved all of it!
By the end of this initial helping my daughter had already asked “can we come again?”.
We were also pretty full and needed a bit of time before the next course so it was a good chance to stretch our legs and have a stroll around the various items of movie memorabilia adorning the walls.
My Star Wars-mad son made an immediate beeline for the stunning Han Solo in carbonite prop out of The Empire Strikes Back and also spotted the Stormtrooper helmet above the bar. Other treats included Bruce Willis’ blood-stained vest from Die Hard, a hideous looking creature out of Gremlins 2, handprints from a host of celebrities, and (beam me up Scotty) Captain Kirk’s communicator out of Star Trek which was right next to where we were sitting.
While we waited for our mains to arrive there was no chance of getting bored as there was plenty of amusing film clips and popular music videos being shown on the numerous TV screens dotted around the premises.
This had the kids bopping in their seats to the music - and dad too if I’m being honest, especially when some S Club 7 pumped out the speakers!
Watch out too for the restaurant camera beaming you onto the big screen. Give it a smile and a wave and it soon moved on to the next table of victims - just don’t get caught unawares embarrassing yourself as you cram food into your mouth at this inopportune moment.
My son opted for a main of spaghetti and meatballs which he declared was delicious but could only eat half of it such was the generous portion size.
Meanwhile my daughter had intended to try the fajitas off the adult menu but as she was feeling quite full after round one she changed her mind to the tomato Penne Pomodoro which she polished off from the children’s menu.
I selected the prime sirloin steak which went down a treat as I carved off every morsel of meat, and thought I’d give the sweet potatoes fries a chance which made a nice change from the usual chips most places serve up as standard.
Also of note was that the side orders had options for green veg such as broccoli, green beans, peas and salad, which is more than most restaurants tend to offer and a reason why some health-conscious families maybe try not to eat out too often.
My wife did go for the fajitas (chicken) and handed out “top marks”, although she did try to palm off some of the rice and chicken on me as she too was starting to get full.
I declined her kind offer as I was desperate to save some room for dessert. And I was glad I did. I was the only one who felt they could take on one of the many pudding options.
I have to say I’d come back to Planet Hollywood again on the strength of the Toblerone cheesecake alone which was so smooth and creamy. I had to fight off my son to get my fair share as he looked on drooling after I gave him a sample.
The restaurant chain was launched in New York in 2001 with the backing of Hollywood stars Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And, in the words of the Terminator star, after such feast of food in such a superb setting, I’m certain “I’ll be back” in the near future.