Dendy Premium cinemas

13 Feb

Lots of people rave about Dendy Premium in Canberra – basically the equivalent of Gold Class cinemas that exist everywhere else in Australia. It had been a long time since I’d been (quite sure my last experience was seeing Breaking Dawn, I’m sorry to say) and Boyfriend had never gone, so I gave it a whirl again.

If you want a movie watching experience, Premium is definitely the way to go. The cinema’s no longer crowded – the most you’ll get is 30 people in the room. Better yet, apart from your companion with whom you share a seating area, you’re far away from everyone else. The chairs are comfy and are electric recliners, meaning you can choose a position that best suits you to watch the movie. Premium still has the less desirable (to most) seats up the front, so being able to recline to see the screen instead of straining your neck is a big plus. The chair covers appear a little dated with that second-hand couch feel, and my pro tip is that you do NOT put your hands down the sides of the seating cushion (there are some nasty surprises).

With Premium, you pay a nice sum of money for the movie experience, and there’s a lovely little lounge they seat you in before you head into the movie. It’s recommended you arrive quite a bit earlier than you normally would for a movie, because once you’re there you might want to have a drink or a snack before you go in. And, of course – the best part of the whole experience for food-loving me – is that you can order what food you want and specify exactly when you want it to come out during the movie (eg ‘ten minutes before the end’ or ‘at 5pm’).  The menu is a tempting one, with a large range of reasonably priced dishes.

We spent a significant amount of time debating what we were going to get (so it might be worth factoring that in, time-wise!) while we each had a beer in the lounge area. The ‘trap’, if you could call it that, is that depending on how much you want to eat and drink – a hard decision for people like me! – Premium can turn into an expensive excursion. The prices make it tempting to order more than you can eat. However, it pays to remember that the cinema is dark, and that it can be quite difficult to see what you’re eating!

We eventually decided on nachos ($11), peking duck pancakes ($15), fresh fruit and Australian cheese board ($25) and chocolate dipped strawberries ($11).  My one disappointment was that the food didn’t necessarily come out when we’d ordered it too – particularly our first two dishes. It’s hard to get into a movie when 20 minutes have passed since the time you expected the dish to come out, and you’re wondering whether you should be asking someone where it is. The peking duck pancakes is just two pancakes and nothing special – I wouldn’t order them again. The nachos were very tasty, but the chip to cheese ratio was out of whack, with a tonne of cheese. However, the fresh fruit and Australian cheese board was great, and well worth the money (being one of the most expensive dishes on the menu). The platter was huge and it took us a long time to finish it – but we did! The chocolate strawberries, to finish up, were a great end to the experience, and there were enough so that we weren’t arguing over the last one!

My one final tip is that if you really want to get the most out of your Premium experience, it’s worth taking note of how long the movies are and picking a movie that goes for a while. I really don’t reckon you’re getting your money’s worth if you’re only seeing a 90 minute movie (for the record, we saw J Edgar at 137 minutes).

Attendees: T1 and Boyfriend

Date: Saturday, 28 January

Where: Dendy Cinemas, Canberra Centre

Cost: $64 for two tickets ($32 x 2 because I am a Club Dendy member), $62 for food, and $48 for drinks (4 x James Squire, 1 x red wine)

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile, as long as the movie goes for 2+ hours!

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One Response to “Dendy Premium cinemas”

  1. Mary February 22, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    When I used to visit Canberra, I would always make an effort to go to the Dendy Premium cinema. Mostly because there is nothing similar in Townsville.
    I also get worried when the food doesn’t come out at the time you ordered it. So that can be a bit distracting.
    Its a great way to relax if you’ve spent the day being a busy tourist, and just put your feet up.

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