How the hell do you illustrate a phenomenon so utterly bewildering. With a diver on the edge of a cliff? Some lights flashing in a dark wood? A neon sign reading ‘black hole’? This documentary tries all of these approaches and a few more, but nothing quite works. In fact, the visual gimmickry is mildly distracting, particularly in the context of a subject that requires 100 percent concentration. This might have been better as a radio doc, but it’s still fascinating, headspinning stuff.
TPH of Chelsea
Since this review was published, Painted Heron has changed its name to TPH of Chelsea and updated its menu. Time Out Food editors, March 2018. Popular with well-heeled local residents, this classy destination is smartly furnished in a restrained grey-brown palette. The menu is much more flamboyant, although dishes are seasoned with classic spice blends. Deep-fried soft-shell crab, coated in a ground rice and sesame-seed batter, was outstanding for its crisp crust that yielded to reveal the sweet flesh below. We were also taken by a heap of juicy shrimps tossed in raunchy red chilli and tamarind masala – with a garlicky flatbread obligingly soaking up the juices. Mains were not in the same league. Tangy goan fish curry, although studded with sizeable scallops and juicy prawns, was let down by a heavy onion-ginger sauce that overwhelmed the seafood. Sri Lankan chicken curry – spiked with ginger, dried chillies and fried onion masala – made a much better impression with its toasted coriander spicing and tender strips of softened gourd. The Painted Heron’s left-field signature dish of strawberry curry has become an annual summer spectacle: strawberry juice, reduced, seasoned with toasted cumin and lime juice and studded with squishy berries; it was as delectable as it was wacky. Service seriously needs to spruce itself up if it’s to match the fabulous cooking.
Venue says: “It may be off the beaten track, but the Painted Heron is worth hunting down for its inventive, offbeat take on contemporary Indian cuisine.”