The pitch must have been something like ‘Entourage’ meets ‘The Sopranos’: a tough-guy troubleshooter with family issues solves the problems of LA’s rich and famous by any means necessary. The reality isn’t quite as enticing. Ann ‘Southland’ Biderman’s writing is as one-note as Liev Schrieber’s performance as the titular hardman – unreadable doesn’t automatically equal intriguing.
So thank goodness for the supporting cast, most notably Hollywood old stagers Elliott Gould (as Donovan’s doddery mentor) and Jon Voight (our hero’s gangster daddy, fresh out of prison), who bring the series to vivid life. Voight in particular is as engaged and gripping as he’s been in a good while: whether executing a priest or leering at a breastfeeding mum, he’s repulsively compelling.
This week’s cases – a basketball player wakes up next to a corpse, a singer is troubled by a stalker – serve more to showcase Ray’s traits than hold much inherent interest in themselves, but there’s bags of potential here if the cast are given room to breathe and the lead can shake off his apparent ennui.
Bike Shed Motorcycle Club
Just off the North Circular in Brent, the Ace Café is in its seventh decade serving up coffee, rolls and rock ’n’ roll to the leather-clad faithful. It’s the oldest biker bar in London. And the newest? Welcome to The Bike Shed: originally a blog and forum for custom bike nerds, now IRL and occupying two big railway arches right next to Shoreditch Town Hall. Alongside a shop selling biker bits and bobs (and a rockabilly barbershop) this Shed contains an upmarket cafe/bar/restaurant for bougie bikers and dedicated pedestrians alike. In fact, it’s only the faint smell of engine oil and the choppers parked up outside that give the game away. With a wooden bar up one side and red leather booths down the other, The Bike Shed looks like any other trendy arch-based London eatery. Burgers, bangers and other biker caff staples share a menu with superfood salads and detox juices. There’s an extensive breakfast/brunch selection, a long list of cocktails, and beers that range from Peroni to Beavertown, including non-alcoholic options for anyone actually on wheels. To drink after 8pm you need to either order food or become a member, which should keep the bikers safe from rowdy City boys. Both our burgers – one meat, one veggie – were accomplished and generous, piled high with onion rings and served in brioche buns with homemade gherkins and coleslaw. Crispy mushroom and polenta fritters made a great starter. Prices are decent for Shoreditch, and the portions are hefty enough to refuel e