The lively promise of this French comedy-drama about Sophie, a slightly snooty housewife (think Kristin Scott Thomas’s less viperish sister) who inherits her late husband’s smut empire, has been largely wasted as this six-part series has progressed. What started out as a kooky Gallic trip through the brittle two-way looking-glass that separates suburbia from sleaze has settled into tittersome X-rated ‘Shirley Valentine’ knock-off for Left Bank existentialists. And les giggles have steadily dried up too.
This closing chapter sees Sophie edging from porn queen to pimp as she whores out her stable of male wang-wranglers to the mademoiselles of Paris while attempting to reconcile her business life with her personal affairs (again). Still, it’s not often you get to see a male porn star dressed in Sergeant Pepper gear introduce himself with the line, ‘Want to fuck? I am Paul McCartney is my name.’ Worth it for that alone? Non.
This Finchley branch of Shikumen – an authentic Chinese restaurant – is situated on the first floor of The O2 Centre, within convenient reach of the Vue cinema next door. The decor, like the food, combines flourishes of both East and West. Within the long, spacious dining space there are mahogany screens and benches typical of Oriental interior design, beside exposed brick walls and marble counters, which lead to a floor-to-ceiling window at the end that overlooks the bustle of Finchley Road. Food includes quality steamed dim sum, robata grilled meatballs, spicy Singapore noodles, wonton soup and other East Asian staples. To wash your meal down there are five teas to choose from (including oolong and jasmine) and for something a little stronger, browse Shikumen's selection of cocktails, wines, mixers, sake, beer and cider. Shikumen has three other links in its mini-chain, in Shepherd's Bush, Ealing and Aldgate.
Venue says: “Shikumen exclusive gifts now available to purchase securely online. See website for more.”