Series one, episode one
Pablo Picasso bought a TV to watch the marriage of Princess Margaret. This gem is probably worth the price of admission on its own here, because otherwise this trawl of the archives is rather workaday, with little in the way of mood-brighteners.
The problem is one of history. By the time these artists who were at their most incisive from 1900 to 1939 were appearing on TV, they were old men. In the ’60s, TV interviews were conducted by old men: they had the requisite authority for this culturally suspect medium. So: a lot of old men. And Joan Bakewell.
She tackles Marcel Duchamp with aplomb. Malcolm Muggeridge can’t think of anything to ask Salvador Dalí apart from what happens to his moustache overnight. Future episodes should be more fluid, though a three-part series how art has been presented on TV through the decades could be great.
James Cochran EC3
Bevis Marks: a peculiarly named street on the eastern edge of the City, full of ugly offices and dingy sandwich bars, but also home to the country’s oldest synagogue – and a much newer arrival, the first permanent restaurant under the aegis of one James Cochran. After five years at The Ledbury and a residency at BYOC in Soho, he’s picked the Aldgate/Liverpool Street interzone to put his name over the door. James Cochran EC3 is a light, spacious sort of a place, with big round tables and some harmlessly horrible paintings: just right for a smart-casual business lunch. It might struggle to stand out in the square mile if it weren’t for two things: the quality of the cooking (high, consistently) and the prices (low, relatively). Sourcing all your produce from English suppliers is one thing, but JC’s imaginative approach – hat-tipping to his Jamaican-Scottish heritage – is something else. When you go, order the jerk buttermilk fried chicken with just the right balance of scotch bonnet heat and coriander coolness – get two portions if possible. Smooth and creamy goat’s curd came on a cracker made of porridge oats and marjoram (that’s English for oregano), and the salsify fritter was basically a big, truffly, rooty English croquette: again, get a couple. A parsnip dish (one of just a couple of veggie options) and a quince-and-honey dessert were solid too. My one big nitpick was aesthetic: enough with the Pollocky sauce dribbles! But strong food, affable service (they found us a
Venue says: “Beer Tasting evening Thursday 25th May, 5-Courses paired with beer, £45pp 6-8pm”