They used to be called Europuddings: the sort of multinational TV ventures that aim too widely and duly miss most of their targets. And ‘Jo’, from ‘Law and Order’ showrunner Rene Balcer, is a truly scattershot affair. The ever-lugubrious Jean Reno holds things together as the obsessive Parisian cop of the title, fighting crooks, drug addiction and the loneliness of his situation, with a recently deceased wife and a long estrangement from his damaged daughter. But otherwise it’s a mess.
The opening case – a corpse left in a crucifixion pose outside Notre Dame – is workaday. Director Charlotte Sieling seems to have mislaid the tension and atmosphere she brought to ‘The Killing’ and ‘The Bridge’. And, while it’s not unusual for dialogue in a foreign TV series to be spoken in English (‘Zen’, ‘Falcón’), it seems utterly perverse to make an almost entirely British cast speak in cod-American accents. Still, it could find a second life as a Ukip recruiting tool.
Fancy playing a game of guess the ingredient? I went off-menu at Scout and sampled a red-hued drink made from... wait for it... beetroot. Scout’s mantra is: ‘Live off the land.’ Cocktails are crafted from items foraged in the UK in the bar’s quest for sustainability. Never mind the British Isles, the menu reads like a whip around the aisles of Waitrose, with Parsnip, Asparagus and Knotweed among the names of drinks. One drawback is that it’s not clear what booze is in each. Ask those questions when ordering. That beetroot tipple was a subtle, almost chocolatey nightcap with only a faint whiff of earthy veg. More conventional was the sea buckthorn, a long, citrussy gin drink using coastal berries as a substitute for lemons. They’re also cultivating yeast to make their own ‘ferments’, brewing a range of Scout beers and applying wine-making techniques to fruity ingredients. All the trickery happens below in a metallic lab. But nerdy stuff aside, the ground floor is kitted out in Scandi pine with terrariums perched on ledges – I wish my front room looked like this. Hunky staff sit down to chat through the menu for more of those hygge vibes. Don’t worry though, those adventurous, often edgy drinks will keep you from getting too comfortable.
Venue says: “Just opened in Shoreditch – come and try the new bar from the man behind Peg+Patriot, Purl, and Worship St Whistling Shop.”