If Attenborough’s second and final rummage through Chinese fossils – subtitled ‘Dawn of the Mammals’ – proves anything, it’s that man is truly the magpie species. Big Dave communicates this remarkable tale of Darwinism über alles with his usual cogency and sense of gentle awe.
Not that it’s all about us, even if we are the logical culmination of his investigations; there are plenty of diverting asides on everything from echidna to wallabies, as well as an intriguing theory on the extinction of giant mammals. And we never thought we’d see the day that he’d experiment on a puppy, even if it’s only putting one on a table alongside a lizard to demonstrate the difference between warm and cold-blooded animals. We’ll miss him when he’s gone.
Opera-themed restaurant TWID is a picture of old-school opulence. Everywhere you look there are velvet swags and gilt flourishes. Squint and you can imagine it’s the ’80s and that’s Andrew Lloyd Webber in the next booth, taking his latest leading lady for a slap-up dinner. But TWID's nightly opera performances are more than enough to blow any lame retro cobwebs away. The night I visited, a seriously talented soprano was making the restaurant ring to the sounds of everything from to Rossini to jazz standards – even the odd Disney song. Like its star performer, TWID works best when it blends old and new. Generous ‘small plates’ of cod and roasted duck had a French-accented allure that was heightened by their delicately flavoured accompaniments of Jerusalem artichoke and pickled cauliflower. And the hefty plateful of plump, tender scallops was worth starting a fork-fight over, especially with the unlikely but delicious addition of fresh raspberries. TWID's modish collection of vegan and raw food dishes felt a little less assured. The kimchi was the star of the show, resplendent in two dainty, cabbage-wrapped towers, and bursting with zesty flavour. By comparison, the slightly soggy stuffed mushroom had all the charisma of a diva caught in a rainstorm. And although tarty daubs of raspberry sauce made the raw chocolate cake look just as naughty as the divine salted caramel torte, its wholesome taste was a little frumpy. Still, it feels ungenerous to carp on about the occasional
Venue says: “Enjoy our succulent Sunday roast lamb with crispy roast potatoes, silky gravy and all the trimmings, every Sunday, for £12.50.”