The hints have been dropping heavily that Miranda Hart’s Chummy might be on her way out of Nonnatus House, although she begins to have second thoughts as the strain starts to tell on PC Noakes. But the focus tonight is on Cynthia when a routine delivery goes badly wrong and she’s thrown into a personal crisis so deep that she can’t even ride her bicycle properly. ‘Call the Midwife’ has settled into the comforting Sunday-night formula of tragedy then redemption (with a sprinkling of larky humour, of course), but laces the sentimentality and inevitability of the plotting with just enough real-life grit to get away with it, while the uniformly impressive performances keep things on an even keel. But here’s hoping it doesn’t get too comfortable – that way, the graveyard of ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Where the Heart Is’ lies…
Signed photos from many of Britain’s best-loved actors line the walls at l’Etoile, forming a great sea of thespian endorsement that fills every available space. The restaurant itself has been around for over a century, and its aesthetic is firmly of the old school; etched glass, red banquettes and starched linen remain the order of the day. The food is resolutely classic too: a ham hock terrine starter with apple chutney and sauce vierge is straight from the Left Bank; and a delicate double-baked mushroom soufflé is a well-judged French staple, served with a cool twist of chive crème fraîche. Main courses satisfied without enthralling. A light, fresh salmon and leek fish cake arrived with mushy peas and an endive salad, and corn-fed chicken accompanied by a mini kiev and red wine sauce was hearty yet undistinguished. There’s more imagination at work in the desserts. A light lemon tart came intriguingly topped with popping candy, and a hefty portion of rice pudding was decked with great shavings of caramelised pineapple. Elena’s faded grandeur and traditional dishes are part of its charm: this is a place for a nostalgic feed rather than an inspiring one.
Venue says: “Pre-theatre dining – two courses at £12.95 per person.”