Abandoned due to high radiation levels, Namie is a ghost town, but while the younger generations have sought a new life elsewhere, the older inhabitants such as Miyake’s aunt have clung to the naive hope that they will one day be able to return to their homes. Her gradual transition from this unfounded optimism to the far more daunting reality is hard to watch, but thankfully there’s enough promise at the end to suggest that the situation, while tragic, isn’t completely irredeemable.
From Fluid Movement, which brought us Purl and the Worship Street Whistling Shop, VOC occupies a smallish, cosy space in one of north London’s most restaurant-intensive precincts. The name derives from the Dutch East India Company, and there’s a nautical and historical theme to the drinks list. Punches based on old recipes figure large, though modern technology brings them right up to date. Playing it safe with the classics is by no means the inferior option, however, as textbook martinis and caipirinhas proved. It took us a while to get our drinks because of lack of staff behind the tiny bar (barely five feet long), and there’s no table service, so you have to queue. But no one seemed to mind. Interestingly, more people were drinking beer or wine than cocktails, at least on our visit. VOC now has a restaurant too, majoring on grilled meat.
Venue says: “New small plates introductory offers: two dishes £9, three dishes £12 and set menu £20 - Nibbles, two dishes, dessert & drink.”