While much time is spent on outdated protocols and silliness – with an alarming number of real-life ’Enry ’Igginses trying to mould a Stepford-like army of English ladies – thankfully the baffled, tongue-in-cheek responses from our self-confessed unladylike presenter makes it all rather fun. Stick around for some interesting era-relevant discussion from the likes of Debrett’s, with a modern, feminist viewpoint adding a nice counterbalance to the book-balancing of the first half. We might not need those side-saddles after all. Claire Winter
With the Swedish Church across the road and the embassy around the corner, Marylebone watering hole The Harcourt Arms was always popular with our friends from the north. So much so that they’ve gone and bought it. The new Swede owners have dropped the ‘Arms’ from the name and turned it into more of a high-class ‘dining room in a former pub’ style set-up, but not much else has changed. The wood-panelled walls, bar and bustling atmosphere (heavy with Scandinavian voices) are still evident; but now the customers are here for cross-Nordic fine-dining rather than just öl (that’s beer in Swedish, Scandophiles). Tempting starters include sliced heritage beetroot, burratina and walnuts, glazed ox cheek and house gravadlax. Mains feature the inevitable reindeer, potato and sage dumplings, and Swedish meatballs, pink in the middle and flounced on a bed of homemade pasta. Private dining areas are also available and, if you still hanker for a beer at the old ‘Arms’, the smokers’ area at the back has been transformed into a swish, enclosed bar area. We’ll cheers – or rather, skål – to that.
Venue says: “Join us for a Scandanavian 'fika' selection. £12.50 for a choice of sandwich, cake or bun, and tea/coffee.”