Charming and relaxed, The Picture House, located just off Canal Street, offers a unique fine dining experience. Pioneering a new payment method – tweets, statuses, and Instagram snaps – the restaurant is the first pay-by-picture eatery in the world, allowing customers to pay for food and drink by uploading images of their dishes to social networking websites with the hashtag ‘#BirdsEyeInspirations’. Last week, The Mancunion were invited to experience The Picture House, and we were pleasantly surprised by the food’s high quality, the venue’s intimate ambiance, and the friendly, approachable staff that added to the night’s success.
Ourhai and Zoe, the first of a number of the event’s focused and attentive staff that we met, were quick to get us seated and settled in, and their colleagues at the restaurant quickly took our food and drink orders. The service was professional and measured; the night ran smoothly as the food and wine were swiftly delivered.
The presentation of The Photo House venue and the food that it served were quirky and fun. The bread was presented to the table in a minimal but fashionable bag, desserts were served in recycled jam jars, and paper menus were ditched for a more stylish interactive iPad app. All of the food was cooked in an open kitchen in the side of the restaurant, and the chefs were happy to engage with the members of the public that passed them, offering cookery tips and suggesting complementary wines that would best suit each dish.
Throughout the meal, we were actively encouraged to take pictures and upload them to our social network accounts, and all related messages were displayed on a big screen through a streamed newsfeed; a interesting feature that added a social aspect between the diners within the venue. We appreciated the effort that the organisers had made with the live stream, and enjoyed looking at the other pictures that the other guests were taking.
The venue was small but quaint. The dining experience was low-key and intimate as The Picture House catered for only a few people at a time, adding to the event’s overall sense and feel, which was further complemented by the room’s lighting.
My friend and I both chose the garlic and herb chicken breast from Bird Eye’s new Inspiration range, and were pleasantly surprised by both the portion’s size and taste. The piece of breaded chicken was large, set on top of a bed of flavoursome peas. The initial cut into the breaded chicken breast released the meal’s garlic paste, which provided adequate moistness to the rest of the dish. Furthermore, both desserts that were on offer (a chocolate mousse with blood orange and ice cream, and strawberry shortcake with lemon sorbet) were delicious.
Overall, The Picture House offered a unique and wholly enjoyable dining experience. The venue’s atmosphere was calm, its staff kind and helpful, and its promotional products tasty and fulfilling.
Atmosphere – ****
Service – *****
Food – ****
The products in Birds Eye’s new Inspirations range can be found in all major supermarkets at currently discounted prices. Free samples of their range and the opportunity to experience the world’s first pay-by-picture restaurant can be attained through the company’s website at: http://picturehouse.birdseye.co.uk/