The Bear, Masterchef and Goodfellas: Why more restaurants are offering TV and film experience meals

We’re a nation of TV and film lovers, so why not combine our favourite shows with a slap up meal?

I don’t recall being allowed to eat my dinner in front of the TV often. When I was young, it was more of a treat

on a Saturday night, a one-off McDonald’s in front of the Generation Game. These days, I spend almost every night I eat at home with my dinner on my lap in front of the TV. I do have a dining table in the living room but unless I have friends over, or it’s a special occasion, it sits covered in post and folded washing, while I sit on the sofa eating anything from pasta to curry, watching the box. Thanks to streaming services, there’s always something on to binge watch or dip in and out of. And I am not alone. According to research from U TV, which launches this month, the average Brit spends four and a half years watching TV in their lifetime, with over 208 million TV dinners eaten in front of the television every week. When it comes to TV dining habits in the UK, a whopping 93% of Brits admit to having eaten dinner in front of the telly. Even a Sunday roast is susceptible to being eaten in front of the box, with more than a third (36%) of Brits admitting to having done so at least once in the past year whilst one in five (20%) admit to watching TV during their Christmas dinner.

In response to this the ‘world’s first’ TV Dinners restaurant is set to open in Holborn in London this month, in response to study findings, using food science to enhance viewing experience. Food scientist Dr Stuart Farrimond has devised an exclusive menu of dishes, pairing food with a curated list of TV shows available on the new streaming service, U. The restaurant will provide guests with a specially curated menu, informed by science, to enhance and elevate the TV viewing and dining experience. Once diners have selected their U show of choice, they’ll be invited to pop in their headphones and settle in to enjoy their ‘TV dinner’. Programmes include Masterchef Australia and Holby City.

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This certainly isn’t the only venue to combine a watch-along experience with food. In early June, I went along to a screening of four episodes of season two of The Bear at Hazel restaurant in Glasgow, ahead of the launch of season three. The event was billed as an immersive experience where guests eat dishes inspired by the hugely successful Disney+ show. While some dishes wouldn’t have made Carmy’s menu, others were good but it was the theatre and event of the night (not to mention a chance to re-watch the excellent programme without having to turn the oven on) that would make me want to rebook. We’re not a generation of experience-chasers for nothing.

Kyloe in Edinburgh also has a film club, which, in the past, has included screenings of Goodfellas, The Goonies and Pulp Fiction - all of which diners watch while eating five courses paired with drinks. London’s Taste Film is also due to announce eat-along screenings in Edinburgh soon, proving that TV dinners have come a long, long way.

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