The BBC must’ve been delighted with the first series of Russell Kane’s ‘Live at the Apollo’-for-yoofs – a third season is already in production, before the second batch has even aired. The format remains largely unchanged for ‘Live at the Electric’ 2.0: Kane introduces a mix of character comics and sketch acts with a younger, trendier edge than McIntyre’s relatively geriatric affairs.
But, wisely, most of the pre-edited VTs that lead the first series have gone, replaced by greater focus on the ‘live’ part of the title. Welcome new additions to the line-up include suave French misanthrope Marcel Lucont (the character creation of Alexis Dubus), who dishes out some inventive sex advice, and weirdo Northern Irishman Paul Currie, who silently, and absurdly, recreates the iconic Russian roulette scene from ‘The Deer Hunter’ with the help of a monkey puppet and some theatrical gestures.
Not all the skits hit the mark, though. YouTube star Chris Kendall (know as ‘Crabstickz’ on the interwebs) spoofs Robert Pattinson’s ‘Twilight’ turn about five years too late, and Kane’s own ‘The Only Way is Shakespeare’ sketch has one joke: saying rude words in a thespian tongue. But the rotating cast make this well worth sticking with, and there are some cracking acts to come later in the series.
Ever onwards the poké trend rolls, with peddlers of marinated fish popping up across town like wholesome little whackamoles. Soho’s decent joints (Tombo, Ahi, the excellent Island) are now joined by Dean Street’s Honi Poké. It’s a neat, airy little spot, with a clean Asiatic look and breezy surf vibes (emphasised by the actual longboard outside the door). The process is familiar: either choose a preconceived house bowl (of cured tuna or salmon, octopus or tofu) or build your own. Choose a protein, then a base of brown or sushi rice, veggies or leaves; plus ahi, chilli garlic, kimchi or ginger soy sauces; and myriad sprinkles and garnishes, from sunomono cucumber (a kind of half-pickled cucumber salad), nori, kimchi or fennel, through to crunchy onions and togarashi (a Japanese dry chilli mix). Clean eating pick ’n’ mix, basically. I hit the house bowls: a Honi Poké of tuna, cucumber, nori, kimchi and salty mango (an ace idea, though a bit subdued in practice) on brown rice was a dense and flavoursome pile of food, both fresh in flavour and nicely filling. As it should be for nearly a tenner. Simpler was an Octo Poké, the moresome little sucker briefly flame-licked and popped onto a pile of sticky sushi rice, flecked with togarashi and kimchi sauce. A dinky side pot of wasabi peas were slightly soft – the kind of thing that’d pass in a bigger bowl, but not solo. Still, it was a sole misstep. Seating is limited, but this is a fine spot for a grab-and-go lunch or quiet early e
Venue says: “Build your poke bowl your way. Try tuna, salmon, octopus or tofu!”