Not that long ago, we had the rather less interesting Restaurant In Our Living Room paving the way for shows about entrepreneurial sorts making a few quid out of turning their homes into “pop-up” restaurants.
And I have to say, minutes into this new BBC offering last night, I was hooked, largely thanks to the fact that Mike and Tina Pemberton – the old hands at the business of turning their home into a restaurant – were sent in to advise newbie and wannabe restaurateurs Matt and Marie.
The chemistry between the couples was instant, and it was entirely antagonistic. Brilliant. Watching their ‘relationship’ unfold as Tina and Mike attempted to give advice to Matt that was entirely unwelcome, and eschewed in no uncertain terms, was far more interesting then the foodie side of the show.
Matt’s one of those people who knows it all; in fact, if you looked in the dictionary under know-it-all, there he would be. His partner Marie was prepared to listen to the advice of others but nonetheless, in her small, quiet way, she was as determined as Matt to take advice only if it was what she wanted to hear.
And given that they were planning on making one of these trendy pop-up restaurants out of a flat in Hackney that’s about the size of my daughter’s hamster’s cage, they had a rather mammoth task on their hands. And Tina – being the chef of their operation – had lots of advice to give Matt, who would be doing the cooking in theirs, and again, he took absolutely no notice and resolutely stuck to his culinary guns.
In that regard, there was absolutely no point in Mike and Tina being there, but they are a couple made for TV. Mike is especially intriguing; I imagine he’s probably got a rapier wit and an acerbic tongue, and I hope we get to see more of him on our screens.
Tina is the perfect complement to Mike’s acidity too. She’s mellow and calm with an underpinning of solid steel, and I’d really like to see more of her too.
Matt reminded me rather a lot of Angus Deayton’s character in One Foot in the Grave, Patrick. He was lofty, aloof and sneering but in all honesty, this show might have fallen on its backside were it not for him. It really wouldn’t have been much fun at all if Mike and Tina had gone to the aid of a couple who hung on their every word and did as they were told.
And ultimately – forgive the oft used phrase here – but the proof of Matt and Marie’s pudding was literally in the eating, and eat heartily their guests did, raking them in a profit after expenses of nearly £400. Not bad for a night’s work.
That said though, we saw how the couple had to pretty much move everything out of their living room and put it into storage in order to accommodate the tables for guests, but no mention was made of the cost of doing so. And is it even practical to do so on a regular basis? Well, I don’t know about the logistics of it but I do know that I’d watch this show again, and considering the glut of foodie/cooking shows that we have thrown at us, that’s going some.