For an hour and a half on New Year’s Day, Twitter might just break. Two long years have passed since Sherlock’s tumble from the roof of St Bart’s – the truth is revealed tonight. And boy, does writer Mark Gatiss have fun with it, pre-empting the inevitable quibbles by gently teasing the terminally obsessed in a manner that will have you howling with laughter when you aren’t scratching your head. Frankly, there’s enough mystery and misdirection to have you half-believing Moriarty’s alive as well. (He isn’t.) But really, all this is a sideshow. So, more surprisingly, is the case itself – a rumoured terrorist plot targeting London, involving establishment figures and a sinister puppetmaster.
Tonight is all about the reunion between Holmes and Watson: two men who struggle to articulate their emotions, yet find themselves in a situation that demands exactly that. This contretemps is cleverly extended by Gatiss and brilliantly delivered by director Jeremy Lovering, who revives a few old editing tricks to tease out the humour and pathos of the situation. Central to all its success, of course, are Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, still finding new and surprising facets of these now familiar characters, while Amanda Abbington is a striking addition as Watson’s intended. It’s the biggest resurrection since 33AD; most miraculous of all, it doesn’t disappoint.
Tongue and Brisket
Located at the end of Leather Lane Market close to Holborn road, Tongue and Brisket offers an array of hearty lunchtime sandwiches and bagels including salt beef and tongue. During World War II, Londoners complained about American GIs in Britain by saying they were ‘oversexed, overpaid, and over here.’ London has recently been swamped by another American horde: themed restaurants in the lower price brackets. You can hardly walk down any major thoroughfare without spotting a new burger/barbecue/pizza/chicken joint/deli. The problem? They’re too often overhyped, overpriced, and overrated. The complaints don’t apply to Tongue and Brisket, even though its menu bears a resemblance to New York deli food. It’s a reminder that London has its own long-standing tradition of northern-European Jewish cooking, and that we don’t need to ape the delis of Murray Hill or Williamsburg. Tongue and Brisket keeps its menu very short – a few sandwiches, a few soups, a few sides, a few puddings. I was raised on this kind of food, and I am delighted to report that T&B does everything just right. The brisket (aka salt beef) is brined with skill, cooked to melt-in-the-mouth tenderness, and sliced – as it should be – with its outer layer of fat intact. A sandwich costs £4.90, and it’s of tasteful but filling size. But there’s more here than salt beef. The tongue sandwich is just as good, also meltingly soft and supremely flavourful. Pickles are fine. Chicken noodle soup with a diminutive matzo bal
Venue says: “The home-cured, hand-carved meat at Tongue and Brisket is a tribute to salt beef sandwiches done simply and perfectly..”