25 September 2011

Sunday in SoMaRo

After spending most of yesterday in Soho and SoBa (OK, the South Bank!) with The Ex, today I didn't roam beyond the quartier. On the way back from my Hyde Park run, I stopped by SoMaRo's newest (and possibly only) espresso bar, The Borough Barista, on Seymour Place, which opened just over a week ago. There are plenty of cafes in Marylebone but not very many places to get really good coffee, as evidenced by the fact that only one Marylebone purveyor of caffeine made my top eight.

I only had enough money for an espresso and although it was pretty good, with a decent crema, I have obviously been spoiled by my recent trip to New York where, these days, it's fairly easy to get a really excellent espresso that is rich, smooth and almost chocolatey. The BB's was a little bit bitter but still much better than the other options nearby. I'll definitely be back to try out a macchiato and maybe a pastry. There are a few small tables inside for drinking in (perfect for a Saturday morning post-run coffee-with-the-papers session), and, for now, some on the pavements. With the newish branch of Vinoteca and Homemade London, a new craft centre, which runs classes like book binding for beginners or making your own shoulder bag, plenty of interesting new places are popping up in this part of Marylebone.

After a shower, it was back down Seymour Place to the ill-designed and badly lit multiplex of doom Odeon to watch Drive (well, as I've seen Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Page One was only showing in Brixton, this was my best bet), which was interesting. It isn't the kind of film I'd normally rush out to see but Ryan Gosling as the mechanic/movie car stunt man by day and getaway driver by night was strangely compelling, despite the fact that his character barely speaks and we find out almost nothing about him, as he builds up a relationship with his neighbour, single mom Irene (Carey Mulligan).

I liked the juxtapositions of high energy car chases and graphically violent fight scenes with very calm interlude where Gosling's character just drives in contemplative silence, while inappropriate '80s synth pop pumps along on the soundtrack. I also liked the chemistry between Gosling and Mulligan, although I found it harder to care about--or even keep up with--the developments with the various "bad guys." Oh, and Christina "Joanie" Hendricks's ten minutes of screen time were fun, if only to see Hendricks playing the white trash hired to take part in one of his jobs. Overall, though, Drive was a beautifully shot and well executed but ultimately unsatisfying movie.

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