This, surely, is where the transatlantic remake bonanza must pause and take a good, long look at itself. The original UK ‘Mistresses’ felt, in the first place, like a provincial British rejoinder to ‘Sex and the City’. The show’s US transfer feels even more pitifully attenuated as the Chinese whisper returns to source.
The result is a show composed almost entirely of symbols without substance: consequence-free sex, consumer freedom, high-status careers etc. What it entirely fails to do is suggest any dimensions to its characters besides the ones we’re shown. Savi, April, Karen and Joss are all high-flyers, fascinated with primped, tanned, central casting uber-hunks.
They’re all vaguely dissatisfied with their careers and beset by a panoply of first world problems. Essentially, they need to pull themselves together. And so do you if you find yourself even vaguely interested in their banal doings.
The Green is a clattering and attractively airy corner pile of a gastropub just off Clerkenwell Green, owned and operated by the folks behind Aldgate East’s Culpeper. It’s good. In fact, it’s startlingly great, dishing up the kind of hearty, fad-free seasonal cooking that dominates conversations and fills your thoughts for days after. Schlepping up on a weekday evening, my meal was relentlessly brilliant, with echoes of Brit food pioneers The Eagle and St John (both nearby neighbours) in among the more delicate touches of its alma mater. Cauliflower cheese croquettes were a killer snack, heady with mustard and the slight sulphurous hum of brassica, the cheesy béchamel within a dead ringer for that on a slab of faultless Welsh rarebit, caramel brown and served with a teeny pile of heavily reduced and sticky onions (and clearly in thrall to St John’s version). I would do dreadful, dreadful things to eat both again, piffling £3 price tags notwithstanding. Starters proper were better still. A plate of raw chopped beef strung with anchovy and rosemary was a grand pared-down tartare. But a dish of smoked ’n’ smeared cod’s roe with zhoug (a Middle Eastern green chilli paste), radishes and black olive tapenade was stupidly good, the initial salty thwack of roe seguing into a refined maritime flavour after a few seconds. Aquatic alchemy. The mains? Guess. A hunk of glazed lamb fell apart on sight of the fork, collapsing into a heady gravy strung with petit pois (slightly mealy, and