Soho’s Bob Bob Ricard

As you probably already know, I have expensive taste when it comes to restaurants. Bob Bob Ricard has been on my list for about a year now. I considered going there for my birthday last year but I tried to make a reservation very last minute and it didn’t work out. This year, I pre-booked a table weeks in advance and planned a whole outfit around it – which you can read about here. You guys probably know all about the famous ‘Press for champagne’ button. It’s actually famous for pouring more champagne than any other restaurant in the UK. Unfortunately, I don’t like champagne so I didn’t press my button. If I did, I probably would have been charged £1,000 a drop anyway so it was for the best… This is a very pricey restaurant. I would actually say that it was more expensive than Hutong at The Shard. I rarely look at the prices of food when I go out, but I definitely noticed the prices on this menu!

Slow roasted pork belly on rolled cranberry, served with baked apple and apple sauce – £27.50
Flaming crème brulee, flambeed at the table – £13.50

It was a toss up between the chicken and champagne pie (I’m drooling just thinking about it) and the pork belly. But if you know me well enough, you’ll know that I absolutely cannot resist pork belly. I think it’s one of those things that’s quite difficult to do well, whereas a pie is pretty easy.

I have to say that although it tasted lovely, the pork really wasn’t anything mind-blowing. I enjoyed the taste of the rolled cranberries but I found them to be quite dry, even with the sauce. The baked apple felt a little bit random to me and I don’t think it went that well with the pork. I would have preferred to have some vegetables or mashed potato – the commoner in me is coming out but I don’t like my apples baked with my mains, sorry!

The crème brulee, however, was the best crème brulee I have ever had. I only ordered it because it’s flambeed at the table and it was my birthday so I had to order the most fun dessert on the menu. But I have to say that it was honestly insane! It was deliciously creamy, with a perfectly caramelised layer of sugar. It was honestly heaven, with just the right amount of sweetness.  

Hendrick’s Gin and tonic – £15.00
Rhubarb gin and tonic – £15.00

There are specific wine and cocktail menus but you don’t have to stick to these. They can make anything you want really, which you would expect from a restaurant that charges this price. I had two drinks (gin obviously) – a pink rhubarb gin and a Hendricks gin and tonic. I love a gin and tonic but I was disappointed to find that I could hardly taste the gin in either. I felt that they were watered down a lot with not much flavour and way too much ice. Disappointing considering that they both cost £15 each.

Overall, I think this is a lovely restaurant for an occasion. The décor and service is top standard. I was an hour late for my reservation due to the crazy traffic getting there but they didn’t ask me to give up my table or rush my friend as she was waiting for me to arrive. The service dropped a little towards the end of the night as they got busier but overall it was exactly as I expected. Based on the food I had, it could definitely be improved but I would like to go back again to try a few more things and to get somebody else to press for champagne!

Any takers?

Insidious: The Last Key Review

When I saw the trailer for this film on Facebook, I was so excited about it. I’ve watched every single Insidious film there is without fail. The first film had me terrified – I still get a little bit freaked out thinking about that demon with the red face sometimes… And that’s exactly why I watch horror films, because I want to feel scared. Yet with this one, I just felt underwhelmed.

James Wan takes us back into Elise’s past, which is a nice idea because she is such an integral part of every Insidious film there’s been. Just as we expect, Elise’s abilities have been present since she was a young child. She would see ghosts around the house and she would be very vocal about it when she did. Inevitably, this would really scare her younger brother and surprisingly, it made her father extremely angry. An anger that turned volatile when he used to punish her for saying she had seen ghosts by beating her and then locking her in the basement. It was in this basement that she was enticed by a demon to unlock a door. 
When the door opened, Elise let out a very evil entity. Hearing her screams, her mother ran down to the basement to find her but ended up being hanged by the demon. Something that added fuel to her father’s fury, who now also blamed her for killing her mother. When Elise reached her teenage years she saw a woman in the laundry room. She told her brother, her father overheard and when he started shouting at her, Elise finally reached breaking point and ran away. But what she didn’t do, is close the door that she unlocked. 
The film centres itself around Elise’s journey to close this door. Well partially, as it seems to have a sub-plot running alongside it of men locking women in basements and beating them until they die. Elise’s dad did this, which she later realises when she finds out that the woman she saw in the laundry room all those years ago wasn’t actually dead, but was alive and trying to escape her father’s wrath. And then we see history repeating itself with the new owner of the house. With the help of the spirit of the woman Elise’s father kidnapped all those years back, Elise is able to uncover the secret that there is another young woman being trapped there by the new owner. Thankfully, she manages to save this one. 
I just struggle to understand how this actually links to the point of the film? Which is supposed to be that Elise opened the door all those years back and now needs to close it. Throughout the film we get the usual jump scares. There’s a demon that pops up behind the police officer when Elise is being questioned and this is almost identical to the scene in the first film, when the demon appears behind Josh in the dining room and terrifies his mother Lorraine. There are a couple of decent scares, but they definitely weren’t good enough to make me jump or scream. There’s always too much going on beforehand in the music and the camera angles, forcing you to expect that it’s coming soon. 
I also wasn’t a fan of the quirky scripting for Elise’s two sidekicks Specs and Tucker. They just weren’t very funny and I don’t really watch a horror film for it’s comedic elements. In fact I expect there to be none. The only film it works for is It, which struck up a healthy balance between being funny and scary at the same time.
What’s worse is the fact that nothing really happens. Elise’s nieces are employed pathetically as pretty screaming girls. Even when one of them goes into the other side to try and save Elise, she doesn’t do very much apart from walk around to find her. When she does find her and consequently the demon finds them both, she is of absolutely no help! Elise has to whistle for her mother, who I assume is resting happily in peace, because she is able to force the demon away from her daughter with a few simple words. Slightly touching, but also slightly random as I thought that it would have to be Elise herself who got rid of the demon considering that she was the one who let it out. 
The demon looked terrifying, I will say that. With it’s keys for hands and it’s extremely sinister face and distorted movements. I really did find the way that it locks your voice box with it’s fingers when you scream, quite chilling. However, the way it locks your heart seemed too gentle of a way for a demon to behave. Or did it? I can’t quite decide on this one. In any case, once I’d seen the demon once, it didn’t do anything terrifying or surprising and so the scare factor wore off pretty soon. 
Sometimes I think that Insidious compensates for its lack of fear factor with it’s incredibly loud sound effects. We always know when a demon is on it’s way, this is unquestionable. The only question we find ourselves asking is how long we’re going to focus on this one scene before it pops up for a few seconds and disappears. Or before we cut abruptly to another scene. The horror films that have the jump scares nailed are the ones that weave them into normal, everyday tasks. If we’re focused on a dark colour palette in a small enclosed space and a character is alone, we know that a demon is coming. I challenge you to find me one scene in any of the Insidious films that invites demons into a brightly lit kitchen or a backyard during the day. If it did, I would be sufficiently terrified. We all know we’re not as safe in the dark as we are in the light – Insidious just overplays this.
Besides, once you’ve been adequately disconcerted and you actually consider what happened to cause this, you realise that it’s doing nothing different or extraordinary. Take the claps in The Conjuring for example. They strip everything back to complete silence, yet the sound of these claps really is truly terrifying. And we never see the demons for long enough either. They don’t stick around, they just go out of their way to lead you on long paths to the truth so that they can pop up and disappear again. We never hear from them what they actually want and the demons themselves never have a backstory. Are you bored? Are you bitter? Do you think this is fun? What exactly is your problem?
And lastly, we must not forget that this is a prequel. At the end of the film, we circle back to Elise receiving a worried call from Lorraine about her grandson Dalton. So what was the point of this whole film? It’s called the last key, but it wasn’t really the last key because nothing that Elise did even worked!! After this film, Dalton is still being terrorised by a demon and Josh is still facing his childhood fears when his own demon returns.
Don’t get me wrong, I love these films and I always keep coming back for more. But the storylines just aren’t that great and they do not weave well together. You would think this prequel would have filled in any narrative gaps between the different films, yet it has me asking questions I had never even thought of asking before. 

Film Review: Me Before You (2016)

One evening last week I took a bowl of Ben and Jerrys ice cream to bed with me and decided that I was in the mood to watch a romantic film. When Me Before You popped up on Netflix, it felt like the right time to give it a chance. I wasn’t keen on the book. Having said that, I didn’t really give it a fair chance. I started Me Before You maybe a year ago now, got about two chapters in and gave up. Maybe I was tired or stressed but it seems obvious that I made a mistake, because I absolutely loved the film.

Being a huge Game of Thrones fan (honestly really is one of the best TV series ever made!) I was interested in seeing how Emilia Clarke settled into a very different role. Daenerys Targaryen is very stoic and statuesque, whereas Louisa Clark is a bit of a scatter brain, dresses in all colours of the rainbow and has a very vibrant and chatty personality. It was really strange to see Emilia Clarke acting as what seemed more like a young girl than an actual woman and although at first I wasn’t entirely convinced, I did manage to build a strong likeability for Louisa’s character.

For those like me who haven’t read the book, the film follows the story of two characters – Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. When the film begins, Louisa is working happily in a café. Until she gets made redundant that is and is forced to find a new job elsewhere. Louisa’s quirkiness makes it difficult for her to fit into a bog standard office or professional career, so she ends up going for an interview to be a carer instead. Her client is Will – who has been left paralysed from a motorbike accident. As I’m sure you can imagine, we then follow their journey to falling in love with one another as they grapple to consider how a relationship like theirs could work.

There was nothing overly special about the casting choice of Sam Claflin as Will Traynor, apart from the fact that he is very obviously quite beautiful. There didn’t seem to be any real chemistry between himself and Emilia Clarke, but they portrayed the chemistry between Louisa and Will exceptionally, regardless. The romance of the film was established perfectly. As was the issue of physical intimacy – which was neither overplayed nor underplayed. Visually, everything really did feel as if it was slotting into place.

Overall, the film was oddly quite a joy to watch. Although there are some notable sad parts to it and it will make you weep uncontrollably as it approaches its end, it is an enjoyable experience overall. Most of you have probably seen it by now but for those of you who haven’t, I really don’t want to give too much away. But it will be going in my box of romantic films to watch on a rainy day, with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for sure!