photograph courtesy of Planet Hollywood
Every Londoner must at some point ponder the eternal question: where can I scoff a man-sized hamburger, washed down with the campest umbrella ornamented cocktail whilst listening to the High School Musical soundtrack??? The answer, dear friends, is Planet Hollywood.
Recently re-launched and re-branded, PH - the artist formerly known as Planet Hollywood - has moved from its old HQ at the Trocadero to shiny brand new premises just down the road on the Haymarket. The party line remains that the lease simply ‘expired’ at the old flagship venue, but amid doubts about the financial solvency of the franchise, this £5 million venture is considered by many as a last ditch attempt to successfully modernize the brand and bring it back to its glory days as one of London’s highest grossing restaurants.
Open for just over two months it would appear that the plan is working. At 6.30pm on a Thursday night the place was heaving. With five different ‘rooms’, it’s a big place to fill, but the tree main dining areas; the main diner, the Bond room at the back and the ‘best of British’ room upstairs, were all packed with the usual assortment of tourists and pre-teen birthday parties. The PH bar is front of house and is aimed at the after work crowd. All neon, Perspex and scantily clad waitresses it has an impressive cocktail menu but it’s not cheap and likely will struggle to compete with the happy-hour trade of its immediate surroundings.
There really is something old (the trademark glittery ‘planet’ ceiling lights), something new (formica orange chairs and some menu revisions), something borrowed (Ursula Andress’ bikini from Dr. No) and nothing blue, as the old PH signage has given way to the new orange branding. The old style concrete celebrity handprints have been replaced by new glowing neon versions, and the place is rigged up with superbowl-style video cameras which hone in on tables as they eat, plastering the ‘lucky’ patrons scoffing gargantuan burgers in their faces all over a big screen.
It’s cheesy and overpriced but overall enjoyable (that is if an inter-Planetary experience is your cuppa). The VIP room upstairs would be great for a private party, the service is friendly and efficient and the food is very good. What’s more the portions are so large that you almost don’t resent paying £18 for steak and chips almost!
Written by Amy Grier