The opening few episodes of this series have presented an object lesson in the risks of not equipping a TV cop with a turbulent private life and an unorthodox approach to crime-fighting. Look out though, because ‘The Young Montalbano’ does perk up a touch this week.
Firstly, thanks to Montalbano’s case, a mildly diverting one involving a village idiot, a loan shark and some local politics. But mainly because we are given some big clues to our man’s past tonight, via a visit from his dad and a heart-to-heart with his new girlfriend Livia. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll start giving us a reason to care about a character who had previously been a closed book.
Elsewhere, significant flaws still remain: the glacial pace and odd tone – for example, Cantarella is so obviously used as a mere prop to provide comic relief that it’s hard to imagine anyone actually finding him funny. But we’re learning to live with these downsides.
James Cochran EC3
Bevis Marks: a peculiarly named street on the eastern edge of the City, full of ugly offices and dingy sandwich bars, but also home to the country’s oldest synagogue – and a much newer arrival, the first permanent restaurant under the aegis of one James Cochran. After five years at The Ledbury and a residency at BYOC in Soho, he’s picked the Aldgate/Liverpool Street interzone to put his name over the door. James Cochran EC3 is a light, spacious sort of a place, with big round tables and some harmlessly horrible paintings: just right for a smart-casual business lunch. It might struggle to stand out in the square mile if it weren’t for two things: the quality of the cooking (high, consistently) and the prices (low, relatively). Sourcing all your produce from English suppliers is one thing, but JC’s imaginative approach – hat-tipping to his Jamaican-Scottish heritage – is something else. When you go, order the jerk buttermilk fried chicken with just the right balance of scotch bonnet heat and coriander coolness – get two portions if possible. Smooth and creamy goat’s curd came on a cracker made of porridge oats and marjoram (that’s English for oregano), and the salsify fritter was basically a big, truffly, rooty English croquette: again, get a couple. A parsnip dish (one of just a couple of veggie options) and a quince-and-honey dessert were solid too. My one big nitpick was aesthetic: enough with the Pollocky sauce dribbles! But strong food, affable service (they found us a
Venue says: “Beer Tasting evening Thursday 25th May, 5-Courses paired with beer, £45pp 6-8pm”