No previews were available of the final part of this fly-on-the-wall series. Which is a shame because, although the idea is well-worn, the participants in this series have offered considerable charm and insight. Ultimately, these families have affirmed values that most of us share and, even if that’s arguably slightly lazy as a TV concept, it’s hard not to be cheered by their stoic functionality.
Tonight, the Tahirs encounter that most universal of relationship issue – the troublesome in-law. But we’d expect the episode to centre around Mel and Kris as their renewal of vows looms. Their relationship has often seemed stormy: challenged by financial issues and, at times, hanging by a thread. But we’d be surprised if this finale (and, given how likeable they seem, dismayed) didn’t manage something uplifting.
The Shibuya district of Tokyo is one of those places that slap you round the face on your first encounter. Department stores tower over you and neon signs blink relentlessly while a mass of tourists and trendy Tokyoites surge across what’s said to be the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. By comparison, its new namesake on Shaftesbury Avenue seems sedate. Blaring East Asian pop notwithstanding, the vibe at this diminutive Japanese restaurant is serene – pale colours, minimal decor and plenty of blond wood. There are small seating areas on the ground floor, at mezzanine level and in the basement. On our visit, the menu was also filled with contrasts. Among the ample selection of Japanese classics were highs such as well-made nigiri sushi with pearlescent rice, fresh fish and a decent choice of toppings, including o-toro (the fattiest cut of tuna) and sweet, firm-fleshed surf clams. The broth in two soups we tried was also of fine quality. But there were lows: in particular, lukewarm, claggy takoyaki (fried batter balls of diced octopus). And then there were the knockout Korean frozen desserts (bing or bingsu). From our vantage point on the mezzanine above the counter, we watched as staff poured milk into a gleaming silver gadget that transformed the liquid into tiny shards of ice. These were layered with toasted soya bean powder, drizzled with condensed milk and topped with red beans. Sweet, rich, nutty and refreshing, this alone is worth popping in for. Almost. That