Understandably, comparisons have been drawn between Jason’s adventures and those of various Saturday teatime predecessors, including latterly ‘Merlin’ and before him ‘Robin Hood’. Certainly production values, performances, youthful cast and simple storylines chime with those, with the magical elements also bringing back memories of Buffy and her merry band of evil-slayers.
But the playing field’s changed drastically since those innocent days; when a psychopath as monstrous and chilling as ‘Game of Thrones’s’ Joffrey comes into the game, pipsqueak bullies like Heptarian, introduced tonight as the Queen’s nephew and chief baddie, just don’t cut it.
Tonight Jason, Hercules and Pythagoras make some new friends in prison after standing up to the charmless bully in public, but will they survive trial in the arena when the queen gets wind of Ariadne’s affection for our young hero, an affection that could scupper her Machiavellian plans for power? Would that we could say we cared, but it’s all a bit too silly and one-dimensional to engage us that much.
With the welcoming feel of a brasserie, this large, bright, airy and cool dining room – the walls decorated with painted murals of Vietnamese scenes and the ceiling hung with paper lanterns – is a pleasure to visit. This holds true even when the place is crowded, as it often is with a largely western clientele that includes a high percentage of fashionable locals. Service is generally prompt and efficient, and the menu fairly extensive, if a little predictable and short on vegetable dishes. The kitchen prides itself on using fresh ingredients and the food reflects this – but we found ourselves needing to make liberal use of the table sauces provided (something that rarely happens in a Vietnamese restaurant). For example, a stunningly handsome, piled-high platter of sizzling seafood failed to measure up to its looks as, although perfectly cooked and a textural treat, it seemed almost totally devoid of added flavourings. On the plus side, there’s an attractive selection of oriental-themed cocktails – such as Vijito, a minted mix of rum, and lime and passionfruit juices – though a fairly limited choice of wines.