The Restaurant, TV3 review: 'Marco is fine. What's not fine is the relentless, tedious product placement by sponsor Aldi'
There’s a vital ingredient absent from the new season of The Restaurant: the late Paolo Tullio, whose ebullient presence alongside Tom Doorly at the judging table is sorely missed.
His old seat is now filled by Marco Pierre White, whose Courtyard Bar and Grill in Donnybook is the series’ new venue.
Marco is fine; he was funny, engaging and charming, even when trashing the disastrous rainbow cake dessert served up by this week’s celebrity chef, the hilarious Rory Cowan, who confessed at the start that he’d never cooked for anyone but himself in his entire life.
What’s not fine, however, is the relentless and tedious product placement by sponsor Aldi.
The Restaurant expanded from a half-hour to an hour (which is far too long for a programme of this type anyway) when it switched from RTE1 to TV3. The sole, cynical reason for doubling the running time seems to be to squeeze in as many loving, lingering shots of Aldi products as possible.
The diners have been given more screen time and there’s even a short, utterly pointless segment where we get to meet some of the supermarket chain’s suppliers.
The result is that what used to be modest, entertaining little show is being stretched to snapping point. My patience, however, has already snapped.