Episode three of ITV2’s ancient Roman take on ‘The Inbetweeners’, with Marcus (Tom Rosenthal) displaying all the mannerisms of Will McKenzie – but in a very tight tunic. For his birthday, slave and Shaun Ryder doppelganger Grumio is given an early Playboy prototype – a porn vase – thus opening the floodgates for much titillation. Stylax, meanwhile, has a dilemma – should he continue to sleep with his first cousin? His confession scores points with libertarian boss Flavia (Doon Mackichan), but his friends think not: ‘We’re ahead of our time!’ enthuses his pretty relation. ‘Or behind our time?’ he retorts.
'Plebs' is no history lesson: you’ll learn more about the Romans from watching ‘Life of Brian’. Yet it works, even with its ska soundtrack and modern lexicon, because human relationships are a constant. Those of a delicate ilk may recoil at some toilet humour but the poo jokes are, thankfully, not a mainstay. With a fluid, pithy script and some cheeky interplay between the ensemble, ITV2 has produced an ‘Up Pompeii!’ for Generation Y that would make Frankie Howerd titter.
100 Wardour St Restaurant & Club
With prices per square foot in Soho reaching ever more ludicrous heights, the D&D restaurant group (owners of 26 other prime spots in London) has turned its cavernous holding on Wardour Street into a high-end restaurant/bar/lounge/music club aimed squarely at well-heeled media types. No one’s going to miss mock-Cuban venue Floridita that was here before, though this big-but-slightly-bland replacement feels like a slightly missed opportunity to do something really exciting. After all, the site was once home to London’s rock ’n’ roll mecca, the Marquee Club. The basement area, now 100 Wardour’s ‘Restaurant & Club’, still has a stage for live music. It was loungey jazz on our visit, though the programme stretches to pop and electro (all unknown artists). The extensive menu has an intercontinental flavour, from decent robata-grilled skewers (baby octopus, grilled corn-on-the-cob) to a crisp-skinned salmon with sweet harissa potatoes that was downright delicious. The kitchen puts care into the little things: top marks for a side of pak choi garnished with subtle lemon and chilli. As the eye-popping champagne list suggests, this a place for belt-busting, diet-destroying client dinners. There was only one veggie option, but a gamut of calorie-stacked desserts. It’s all proficient, polished and pleasant, if a bit old-fashioned. And though there are plenty of places in Soho that are more cutting-edge than this, not many of them serve dinner right through to 2am. 100 Wardour Street: