First Night: Planet Hollywood: Tinseltown glamour of the burger experience

THIS was a restaurant where it was unwise to ask for the bill. It was about pounds 250,000 for the launch party; it was dollars 1.5bn for the lawsuit. Never has pounds 6.75 for hamburger and chips seemed so reasonable.

Planet Hollywood opened last night in Piccadilly Circus, London, billed as 'the world's only dining experience inspired by the world of film'.

Only Planet Hollywood has a handprint room. Stationed in there waiting for Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Melanie Griffith et al to place their palms in a tray of cement, it was time to make a mental note not to eat a single brownie that they had touched.

The movie memorabilia restaurant on three floors of the Trocadero has set new standards in hype. As the Hollywood stars, most of whom seemed to be co-owners, arrived last night, it was difficult to determine whether their eulogising of this burger bar was more outrageous for its over-statement or under- statement. Bruce Willis managed to combine the two, saying: 'Planet Hollywood's like no other place in the whole world. The food's great and I get a table straight away.'

It is difficult to believe that these two attributes make a restaurant globally unique. But as the lavish party for 250 guests continued into the small hours, no one was disposed to pick an argument.

Except, that is, the owners of the Hard Rock Cafe in America who are suing Planet Hollywood's principal owner, the restaurateur Robert Earl, alleging conceptual similarities between the movie memorabilia meal and the music memorabilia meal. Ironically, Mr Earl was one of the key figures behind the expansion of the Hard Rock empire.

Last night party guests mingled around memorabilia that seemed to have been collected by a sado-masochism fetishist - Charlie Chaplin's cane, the whip from Basic Instinct, the handcuffs from 91 2 Weeks, the axe wielded by Jack Nicholson in The Shining, and a whole section of the restaurant shaped as the barrel of a giant version of James Bond's Walther PPK handgun.

Thankfully, among all the Hollywoodese, some of the waitresses remained resolutely British, looking miserable enough to have come from a Mike Leigh film, an unintended piece of movie memorabilia.

After Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Michael J Fox and Co disappeared into their limos and open-top yellow Buick convertibles, there lingered the suspicion that this 400- seat, 25,000 sq ft restaurant was, for all its glorious technicolour, just a burger bar.

But that, as they say in the movies, is to destroy the illusion.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas