Marylebone Journal December 2020 - January 20201

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01. Contents Cover: Christmas decorations in Portman Square Gardens, by Kris Piotrowski











04-17. Up front 04. Forward thinking 12. Local lives 16. My perfect day 18-43. Features 18. The Marylebone guide to Christmas 26. Once more, with feeling 32. Melting pots 40. The second Noel 44-51. Food 44. Q&A: Santiago Lastra of Kol 50. Food philosophy 52-57. Culture 52. Q&A: Shiro Muchiri of SoShiro 56. Book reviews 58-67. Style 58. Q&A: Charlie CaselyHayford of CaselyHayford 64. The look 65. Inside knowledge 68-71. Life 68. Q&A: Corin Mellor of David Mellor 72-75. Health 72. Q&A: Prof Prokar Dasgupta of The London Clinic 76-77. Space 76. Q&A: Simon Hedley of Druce

02. Editor’s letter


Marylebone Journal Twitter: @MaryleboneJrnl Instagram: marylebonejrnl Facebook: Marylebone Journal

I have a reputation—unfairly gained, I believe— for being a bit of a grinch when it comes to the festive season hullabaloo. My argument has always been that I love Christmas so much that I like to keep it safely locked away until Christmas Eve, rather than tiring it out by letting it run amok from the start of November. But I can see how that may on the surface manifest itself in a slightly scroogey bearing. My feelings this year, like literally everything this year, are a little different. Right now, I’m a veritable bundle of seasonal joy, ready to plunge wholeheartedly into the decorations and the advent calendar, the giftwrap and The Pogues, partly because having something familiar and fun to look forward to feels quite novel, and partly because the fundamental point of Christmas—the sharing of a little warmth, solace and joy in the bleak midwinter—could not be more welcome.

Editor Mark Riddaway Deputy editors Viel Richardson Clare Finney Managing editor Ellie Costigan

In this issue of the Journal, we’ve harvested tips from Marylebone’s retailers on how to set yourself up for some memorable festivities. Over the page, we’ve also set out how you can contribute to making the coming weeks a little easier for those in the community most in need of support. Lots of Marylebone’s brilliant independent retailers and restaurants are also featured, all of whom would benefit greatly from your gift shopping and celebrations having a local focus. Enjoy the edition, and a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all.

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04. Up front


A TIME FOR GIVING At a time like this, giving support to charities that work with the most vulnerable members of our community is even more important than usual. Here are a few ways we can help The Howard de Walden Estate’s Merry Marylebone campaign has made it easy for shoppers to offer their support to The Hidden Network. Made up of Westminster’s specialised services and six charity partners—St Mungo’s, Connection at St Martin’s, Turning Point, West London Mission, Look Ahead and The Passage— The Hidden Network is working to end rough sleeping in the borough by providing counselling, befriending and addiction recovery, and help with long-term employment and accommodation. A tap point has been installed outside 102-103 Marylebone High Street. To donate to the charity, all you need to do is tap your card. As a thank you to anyone who donates to The Hidden Network, either through the tap point or online, Howard de Walden is offering a gift of

a Marylebone Village tote bag or a water bottle. Simply forward a proof of donation to marketingandevents@, together with your address. With child food poverty reaching alarming levels, The Portman Estate’s charity partner City Harvest is taking part in The Big Give campaign, raising funds to provide 200,000 meals to London children and their families over Christmas. The target for public donations is £25,000—an amount that will be doubled through match-funding. Hurry, though: the deadline is 8th December. The St Marylebone Parish Church Changing Lives campaign is also focused on families in need. A £20 donation will buy a child a book, supplied by Daunt Books. A £50 donation will buy a family a Christmas dinner, supplied by Waitrose. Baker Street Quarter Partnership’s annual Christmas charity raffle is taking place online, with all proceeds going to North Paddington Food Bank. Prizes include a £500 voucher for Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, a champagne brunch at Jikoni, and a wine gift box from Vinoteca.

From top:Taka, Tiger of Sweden, The Organic Pharmacy

05. Up front

NEW OPENINGS As Christmas approaches and our thoughts turn to shopping, eating and drinking, it is a pleasure to be able to announce the arrival in Marylebone of several new retailers and restaurants. Cementing Marylebone High Street’s reputation for sharp but functional European design is Tiger of Sweden, a fashion house that has been operating at the forefront of style, comfort and quality materials for over a century, and has in more recent times become a sartorial champion for sustainability. They are being joined on the high street by The Organic Pharmacy, a natural health and beauty store that takes an interactive and educational approach to retail. Chiltern Street, meanwhile, has welcomed Anatome, a modern apothecary which promises to combine the best of science and nature to aid our sleep and wellbeing. Adding to the same street’s ever-growing offering for soon-to-be-weds is Quill, whose selection of immaculately crafted cards, invitations and notebooks will delight couples as much as it will seasoned stationery fiends, while budding calligraphers can attend their workshops on modern stationery. Overseeing it all will be Ace & Tate, a Dutch eyewear brand whose Marylebone High Street

pop-up offers an in-house optician as well as a unique range of stylish spectacles. Keep your eyes peeled too for William Crabtree & Sons on New Quebec Street: a family-run tailoring house offering made-to-measure outfits in beautiful, Britishmade materials. Months of limited travel mean that our tastebuds are crying out for new horizons, so it’s with no small amount of excitement that we have welcomed Taka, a highend Japanese restaurant on Marylebone High Street which promises both sushi and robata, and Kol on Seymour Street, the debut restaurant of Santiago Lastra, whose menu is shaped by his native Mexico but uses mainly British ingredients in highly inventive ways. We’re also celebrating the arrival of the acclaimed and globally famed Nobu, which has arrived on Portman Square in the form of a stylish hotel and Pacific fusion restaurant, as well as an LA-inspired allday eatery from the people behind the much loved high street pub The Marylebone, called Home Marylebone, and The Italians on Devonshire Street, a wine bar and bistro which offers what it says on the tin in the finest way possible: home-made focaccia, artisanal Italian cheeses and a menu and wine list focused on seasonality and sustainability.

06. Up front

DINING & SHOPPING THROUGHOUT THE CHRISTMAS PERIOD OFFERS AND PROMOTIONS Throughout December, many of the fantastic retailers and restaurants of Marylebone Village will be offering special Christmas promotions and online events as part of the Merry Marylebone campaign. For example, Joseph Cheaney & Sons has a complimentary in-store polishing service; Luca Falconi is sharing Saturday afternoon mulled wine, Christmas cake and live jazz, as well as 10 per cent off for first-time customers; Third Space is offering new memberships throughout December with no joining fee; and The Mandeville is offering 15 per cent off all bookings throughout the month. To keep fully apprised of the multitude of offers, visit the Marylebone Village website or follow on social media. Portman Marylebone is also awash with offers, as well as opportunities for late-night shopping. On 12th December, the independent shops and boutiques of Chiltern Street, New Quebec Street,

Seymour Place and Dorset Street will be celebrating with live music on the street, special activities and offers. Throughout December, the cafes in the Portman Marylebone Coffee Collective are each day offering a free hot drink to 150 customers who buy another item as well. All you need is a code, which you can get with either a DM to @portmanmarylebone on Instagram or an email to portmanmarylebone@ Elsewhere, Ssone is offering 30 per cent off in-store, Sunspel has collaborated with artist David Shrigley on a Christmas jumper collection, and Hyatt Regency London—The Churchill has recreated a ski lodge on its terrace, providing all the pleasures of après ski with none of the current traumas of international travel. The same hotel is also offering to cook a full Christmas dinner for you and deliver it to your home: its Turkey Me Home service is available through December. Marylebone Village Portman Marylebone

EXHIBITION UNTIL 13th DECEMBER THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL MISSION OF SISTER GERTRUDE MORGAN Born in Lafayette, Alabama, the artist, musician, poet and street preacher Sister Gertrude Morgan became a local hero for her proselytising and painting, the latter of which she did on every surface possible, including scrap card, window blinds, paper fans and serving trays. Having “received a call to preach” in the 1930s and subsequently moved to New Orleans, her prolific art output was soon noticed by art dealer and entrepreneur Larry Borenstein. It was he who introduced her to Rosemary Kent, editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, her feature in which resulted in major exhibitions, propelling Sister Morgan into national stardom. The Gallery of Everything 4 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PS


07. Up front James Fullarton’s 20th solo exhibition with Thompson’s Galleries since his debut show in 2000 is one that is very much rooted in this most extraordinary of years. Forced by the Covid lockdown to work from home throughout the spring, rather than taking his usual approach of roaming the landscape in search of inspiration, this

most expressive of Scottish oil painters discovered a universe of opportunity right there in his own garden, whose flowers, leaves, branches and buildings he has captured for this collection in all their colourful glory. Thompson’s Gallery 3 Seymour Place, W1H 5AZ

FOOD UNTIL 19th DECEMBER FELIZ NAVIDAD Taking inspiration from the Mexicans (because who throws a party better than the Mexicans?), Carousel will be hosting Feliz Navidad celebrations on dates throughout November and December, with as much Mexican food and fanfare as you can dream of. Think fried chicken with pumpkin seed mole, Baja-style fish tacos and chocolate tostada millefeuille—not strictly traditional, but sure to be delicious. There’ll be plenty of margaritas, micheladas and chelas to slurp too, while you listen and watch the live music and entertainment. Feliz navidad indeed! Carousel 71 Blandford Street, W1U 8AB

08. Up front

EXHIBITION UNTIL 24th DECEMBER RAPT BEAUTY WRAPPED Jaggedart’s new exhibition features stunning objects that would make perfect Christmas gifts: small, beautifully made, ready to be wrapped and sent. Jaggedart 28A Devonshire Street, W1G 6PS

ONLINE TALK 28th DECEMBER A VERY VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS Artist Millie Nice presents a free live stream from The Wallace Collection learning team, suitable for children aged seven-plus, exploring how Sir Richard and Lady Julie Wallace would have celebrated Christmas in late-Victorian Britain and uncovering works of art within the collection that have a hidden connection with the festive season. The event will be live streamed on The Wallace Collection’s YouTube channel starting at 9am. The Wallace Collection Manchester Square, W1U 3BN


MUSIC 20th DECEMBER MERRY MARYLEBONE CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERT The Marylebone Village Christmas celebrations are set to culminate in a carol concert at the beautiful St Marylebone Parish Church. Tune in to listen to uplifting Christmas songs performed by the church’s exceptional choir. Marylebone Village

09. Up front

EXHIBITION UNTIL 23rd DECEMBER CHRISTMAS EXHIBITION Cube Gallery’s Christmas exhibition features small and eminently collectable works from several of the gallery’s regular artists and some exciting new finds. Look out for Jessica Cooper’s deceptively simple paintings (left), Mart Schrijvers’ intricate unglazed porcelain objects and Penny Leaver Green’s evocative silk works, produced entirely from vintage kimono lining. Cube Gallery 16 Crawford Street, W1H 1BS

MUSIC 17th JANUARY BACH AND THE CREATION OF MODERN EUROPE: GERMANY Eamonn Dougan, associate conductor of The Sixteen, founding director of Britten Sinfonia Voices and music director of the Thomas Tallis Society, kicks off the second year of the Royal Academy of Music’s epic series Bach the European: from Ancient Cosmos towards Enlightenment. Performed on historical instruments and streamed live on YouTube, this concert includes The Sinfonia in D, performed here by a student soloist, and the extended cantata Die Elenden sollen essen, the first work composed by Bach following his move to Leipzig in 1723. Royal Academy of Music Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT

Eamonn Dougan

10. Up front

ONLINE EXHIBITION UNTIL 30th JANUARY YIANNIS EFTHYMIADIS: PALIMPSEST MOTHERLAND Greek poet and visual artist Yiannis Efthymiadis presents his first exhibition at The Hellenic Centre, consisting of a series of dramatic lithographic monoprints on metal. Efthymiadis says: “I tried to imprint the outline of the human figure and the space it occupies and encloses while its displacement defines the space which surrounds it. The human body thus becomes a primary matrix, which creates the secondary matrix on the metal, which in turn creates the tertiary imprint on the paper.” The exhibition can be viewed free of charge as a series of atmospheric videos on The Hellenic Centre’s website. The Hellenic Centre 16-18 Paddington Street, W1U 5AS

EXHIBITION 8th DECEMBER —30th JANUARY ENDURANCE AND THE GREAT WHITE SILENCE When Captain Scott set off on the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1911, his party included a photographer,

Herbert Ponting, who became one of the first people to capture colour photographs of Antarctica. Ponting didn’t travel with Scott on the final, fatal section of their mission, but Scott took his own camera with him, negatives from which were found with his body. This breath-taking exhibition includes images shot by both men, together with

11. Up front photos taken a few years later by Frank Hurley, who was with Ernest Shackleton on the ship Endurance when it became trapped in Antarctic sea ice, precipitating one of the great survival stories of the 20th century. Atlas Gallery 49 Dorset Street, W1U 7NF

The Matterhorn Berg profile with Erebus, by Herbert Ponting

EXHIBITION 19th JANUARY— 27th MARCH JOHN AKOMFRAH: THE UNINTENDED BEAUTY OF DISASTER Commissioned for the inaugural Ghana pavilion at the Venice Biennale and making its UK première at Lisson Gallery, John Akomfrah’s three-screen video installation Four Nocturnes (2019) uses Africa’s declining elephant populations as a narrative spine for exploring questions of mortality, loss, fragmented identity, mythology and memory through poetic visuals that survey the landscape of African cultural heritage. Akomfrah’s new exhibition will also debut a powerful series of photo-texts and a video installation that responds to the events of 2020, most notably the Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations against imperialist monuments. Lisson Gallery 67 Lisson Street, NW1 5DA

12. Up front

13. Up front


PEGGY AGNEW Peggy is a befriending volunteer for Age UK Westminster and has been a Marylebone resident for the past seven years. She is 93 years old and is currently teaching herself the recorder while also learning German INTERVIEW: JEAN-PAUL AUBIN-PARVU IMAGES: ORLANDO GILI

I grew up in Cheshire, outside Wilmslow, which was a small village back then. We had a lovely, happy family life in the countryside. Manchester was badly bombed by the Germans during World War II, so we would hear the bombers going over and we spent many nights in our air raid shelter, but we didn’t actually have any bombs drop near us. I remember very clearly when war broke out on 3rd September 1939, but I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was very ignorant about it really, and lived a fairly normal life. But for our parents it must have been dreadful because they’d already been through a terrible war and they knew what was coming. We had evacuees from Manchester staying with us for a time, but they all got fed up and returned to Manchester pretty quickly. I don’t think they

liked the country life. Rationing was one of the main things I remember. We had very little petrol and so went everywhere by bicycle. I had a cousin who was married during the war, a lovely cousin called Caroline, and we all gave our clothing coupons to her so that they she could get some nice clothes to go away with. I loved music, and played the piano. After leaving school I went to a college called the London School of Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Dalcroze Eurhythmics is a method for teaching music through movement, which I had got hooked on at school—we had a wonderful teacher—so I trained for three years and became a qualified music teacher. I taught throughout my twenties, and by the time I reached my early thirties all my friends were marrying and starting families—and I wasn’t

I received an email from Age UK Westminster asking if I’d like a befriender to come and visit me for a chat. I replied, saying thanks very much for thinking of me, but I didn’t really need one at the moment. I added that if they were short of befrienders then please do let me know

like that, I have never married. So I went off to Italy for a year, which was a marvellous experience. I lived with a family in a Palladian villa outside Venice for three months, looking after their children, and then moved with them to their house in Florence just before Christmas. I left that family after a month or two but stayed on in Florence teaching English and then spent the summer at the seaside as it was too hot in the city. I returned to my teaching at a co-ed school in Manchester and was also made secretary of a local music festival, which I enjoyed doing very much. I then decided to have a break from teaching, came to London and found a job in the small music department of the National Council of Social Service, as it was then called. Financed largely by the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, we were able to do a lot of research work on music teaching for disabled children and in prisons, youth clubs and that sort of thing. I loved that enormously, got to know many people in the music world and travelled all over the place, particularly down to Dartington College of Arts in Devon where we put on lot of courses. One of the advantages of being single with no dependents is you can just chop and change every now and then, so I finished up by working with the John Lewis Partnership. As social secretary I was responsible for organising leisure activities for the staff. We had a theatre next to my office on

14. Up front

Music is still one of my big passions. Don’t laugh, but at the age of 93 I’m making myself learn how to play the recorder. What the neighbours must think of it I shudder to think—poor things

Oxford Street where we put on operas, plays, films, lectures, recitals and an annual flower show. It was wonderful fun. We also organised sporting events including football, cricket and darts tournaments, although I didn’t enjoy the darts awfully because I’m not a great beer drinker. A couple of years ago I received an email out of the blue from Age UK Westminster asking if I’d like a befriender to come and visit me for a chat. Luckily, I lead a very full life and have lots of friends. I am registered partially sighted, but apart from that I’m very healthy. And so I replied, saying thanks very much for thinking of me, but I didn’t really need one at the moment. I added that if they were short of

befrienders then please do let me know. And that’s how I became a volunteer for Age UK Westminster. The charity put me in touch with a lovely, most interesting Indian lady who was in her late eighties. She lives nearby in Marylebone and I’ve been her befriender for two years now. I would ring her up to arrange a time to meet at a nearby cafe for a coffee or tea— hot chocolate was always popular—and the two of us would sit and chat for an hour every week. I’d get her to talk as much as possible about her life in India as a child, which was fascinating to me, and I think we’ve become quite good friends. During lockdown, we had to chat on the telephone instead. I get a great deal of pleasure from our

conversations and I hope she does too. But I suppose the reason I do it is because I feel I am so lucky. I have my health, my friends and family, and I know there are people out there who are less fortunate. Social isolation and loneliness can be a big problem among older people, especially in a big city like London. Some find it very difficult indeed, particularly this year. I used to visit my mother in her care home and there were people there who didn’t have any family visiting them. There are people who are very alone in the world, which is terribly sad. Age UK Westminster does an absolutely wonderful job, not only providing advice and information but also providing food

parcels, arranging for prescriptions to be collected or doing shopping—all the practical things. And in addition, they arrange a programme of events for older people, from armchair yoga to poetry readings. There’s always something people can be doing. This charity is working terribly hard, particularly now. Music is still one of my big passions. Don’t laugh, but at the age of 93 I’m making myself learn how to play the recorder. I never played one at school because I was the percussionist hitting the drum or the cymbals. I suddenly thought that I’d like to make some music. I used to have a piano which I got rid of and so now I’m trying to learn the recorder. What the neighbours must think of it I shudder to think—poor things. Sport is another great joy. Cricket is in the blood and when I lived in Cheshire I’d often go to Old Trafford with my brother, who was a very keen cricketer. And I’ve been to Lord’s many, many times since moving down to London. I was up in West Hampstead before moving to Marylebone and so I’ve been in this area for a long time. I love cricket and now watch it on my iPad because I can’t see it on the television very well. I also enjoy golf and tennis. I am also learning German and have two teachers who are keeping me very busy. Learning a language is very good for the old grey matter. You really have to think quite hard. AGE UK WESTMINSTER 020 3004 5610

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16. Up front


JACOBSON The Booker Prizewinning novelist describes his perfect Marylebone Day INTERVIEW: CLARE FINNEY

In my head, Ginger Pig sausage rolls are inextricably bound up with Paddington Street Gardens. I’ve eaten many other things in that park, but never with the zest with which I eat one of those sausage rolls

Though we have not been out much in the last six months, we have been in Marylebone a lot since things have opened back up. There are doctors and dentists—there are reasons to be in Marylebone, and there are people about! Soho, where we live, is very quiet these days, at least during the daytime. Fresh air I like parks, and I like park benches. I like reading what’s written on them. My last collection of independent essays was called The Dog’s Last Walk, and the essay of that name was simply a description of me sitting in Paddington Street Gardens, watching a lady walking a very old dog. My wife and I decided, from observing them, that it

must be his last day on earth—so I wrote about that. It was very moving. One of the things I have taken to doing lately, when my wife has an appointment, is going to the gardens via The Ginger Pig, where I buy a sausage roll. I wander down Moxon Street, find a bench in the garden— in the sun, if I can get it—and sit down to eat my sausage roll. I read dedications on the benches; check around to see if the old dog wasn’t, in fact, dying, then leave via the toilets—which rather takes away from the romance of it all. Now, in my head, The Ginger Pig sausage rolls are inextricably bound up with Paddington Street Gardens. I’ve eaten many other things in that park, but never with the zest with

The Conran Shop Above: Paddington Street Gardens

which I eat one of those sausage rolls. Coffee Finding somewhere to drink coffee outside is quite difficult, so sometimes it is as modest as Pret. We have recently discovered XR on Thayer Street, which is nice for a glass of wine or a coffee. Shopping After my sausage roll, I like to go to The Conran Shop. I have a son and a granddaughter in Manchester, and I can always find something in there for them. We also use The White Company for our bed linen, so a lot of what we eat, drink and lie in comes from Marylebone. New outfit I’m not very good at

spending money on clothes. I wasn’t brought up to. My wife, however, does like several clothes shops in Marylebone, including Matches and that little shop for woollen cardigans and jumpers: Brora. Anything else When I was in the Princess Grace Hospital 10 or 12 years ago, I could see the golden angels of the St Marylebone Parish Church from my window. Whenever my wife visited, she would look up at the angels on that church as she left, because she worried about me, and in a way they were looking over me. Now whenever we see those angels it reminds us of that time; that anxious but affectionate, caring time. They hold a certain importance.

17. Up front La Brasseria

The idea for An Act of Love began at 4pm on Blandford Street. I saw waiters finishing their cigarettes and going back inside to lay white tablecloths and shining glasses, and there was something very arousing about it

Culture It is The Wallace Collection for me. When I was writing The Act of Love, in which one of the characters volunteers as an art guide there, I haunted it. I had to edit out tens and tens of pages describing the gallery because it was just too detailed. My favourite painting is Thomas Lawrence’s Margaret, Countess of Blessington, in

front of which I set a major scene involving two of the main characters. Pre-dinner drinks Marylebone Lane is a particularly wonderful place to sit outside and have a drink. We usually go to 28-50: the people are nice, and there is a good wine list. We’ve actually had a glass of wine at the Golden Hind before: there was no space at 108 Brasserie, and the view of the lane and the high street is particularly good from that corner. It was just fish and chip shop plonk, but it was decent enough and the staff are very friendly. Eating in We go to La Fromagerie for cheese, of course: for birthday cheese and Christmas cheese. That cheese room has felt like

a really safe place; you close the door and it’s cool, distanced and you are in a wonderful world of cheese with assistants who know everything there is to know. We have bought meat from The Ginger Pig to cook at home, and we use that Waitrose too from time to time. It depends how much energy we have for lugging bags home. Eating out The idea for An Act of Love began at 4pm on Blandford Street, when I was walking down watching the restaurants reopening after their lunch break. I saw waiters finishing their cigarettes and going back inside to lay white tablecloths and shining glasses, and there was something very arousing about it. The whole scene was full of sexual promise;

of the day giving way, and the fact it was so close to The Wallace Collection, which is full of such saucy paintings—well, the whole novel came from that. I like the restaurant world of Blandford Street a lot, and when we do eat out it is there—at Fairuz, or Trishna—or on Marylebone Lane at the fish and chip place or Delamina, which is very good. That said, the very last place we ate in was La Brasseria on the high street. The manager found us a table outside, about 12 miles away from everyone else, which I liked, and we had a very good meal. I liked the atmosphere, and the view down Paddington Street from that corner. So, if my wife were to turn to me tonight and say let’s go out to eat, I’d probably say there.

18. The Marylebone guide to Christmas

Beyond Santa’s grotto, the people most attuned to the demands of Christmas are Marylebone’s expert independent retailers. We asked them to impart some of their hard-won wisdom INTERVIEWS: CLARE FINNEY

The Marylebone guide to Christmas

19. The Marylebone guide to Christmas

20. The Marylebone guide to Christmas The cheese Patricia Michelson of La Fromagerie on collating the perfect cheeseboard This year, instead of buying massive bags of cheese, the best thing would be to concentrate on two or three different selections: for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. There are cheeses that will last for the whole period—or longer—if you look after them. You just need to think about how much you want, and how to put those selections together. On Christmas Day, I think people generally want to see stilton, cheddar and brie on the table. The stilton we love most here at La Fromagerie is Colston Bassett Stilton, made with animal rennet rather than vegetarian, because the flavour matures better over time. One of my favourite cheddars is Isle of Mull Cheddar, which is made using milk from cattle who graze on land overlooking the Atlantic and mash from the local whisky distillery, which gives it an extra kick. A French brie de Meaux will keep slightly better, but if you want to go British you could get a baby Baron Bigod from Suffolk, have half on Christmas Day and keep the other half back. If you stock up on Tupperware boxes, your cheeses will keep for a long time in there. From Boxing Day onwards, you can add different cheeses: get a few continentals, and some aromatics, like a washed rind cheese. In Britain, you have Stinking Bishop and Rollright, or you can go for reblochon from France. I would also get a few cheeses you can use in other ways over the Christmas period, like a pecorino, a parmigiano and maybe a Spanish blue like a Picos de Europa: cheeses that you can use in salads or melted into sauces as well as enjoying on the board. Come New Year’s Eve, we sell a lot of vacherin mont d’Or. It’s a lovely seasonal thing, and creates a warm, festive atmosphere, and is perfect for serving as a shareable dish among a small group. LA FROMAGERIE 2-6 Moxon Street, W1U 4EW

The meat Lynsey Coughlan of The Ginger Pig on selecting your festive meats For Christmas Eve, most of our customers want something simple but decadent: lamb racks or cutlets, perhaps; things that are easy to prepare. In Ireland, where I’m from, it has become traditional to cook your ham on Christmas Eve. You have it that evening, with some salad and a nice white wine, then it’s your get-out-of-jail-free card over the whole period, there for sandwiches, salads, pies and buffets. As for the Christmas Day turkey, there are currently big concerns for those of us in the industry who care about doing things right by our producers and their animals. Some of our largest birds are whoppers— up to 13kg. There is so much meat on them, because they are so well raised; I don’t think you can find a better poultry producer in the country than our suppliers, the Botterills. But this year, with limits on gatherings highly likely, these big birds are going to be hard to shift. For the first time ever, we even talked about portioning the birds up, but doing that would go against everything we stand for. My challenge is to turn this into a positive and say: “This is why we do what we do.” One of the few good things that Covid has done is renew people’s appreciation of the countryside, of nature, and of cooking. We are going to be inside a lot this year, and cooking is one great way to pass the time—so buy a whole turkey and work your Christmas cooking around it. Get us to take the legs off, and bone them for you. You can stuff them yourselves, or we can stuff them for you. Use the breasts on Christmas Day, put the leftovers into sandwiches and Christmas pies, and boil the carcass for broths and soup. Come New Year’s Day it’s always beef: a centre cut, so you make your own beef wellington. Though to be honest, our bakery’s beef wellington is pretty hard to beat. THE GINGER PIG 8-10 Moxon Street, W1U 4EW

One of the few good things that Covid has done is renew people’s appreciation of the countryside, of nature, and of cooking. We are going to be inside a lot this year, and cooking is one great way to pass the time—so buy a whole turkey and work your Christmas cooking around it

21. The Marylebone guide to Christmas

The Ginger Pig Below: La Fromagerie

22. The Marylebone guide to Christmas The manicure Lauren Williams of London Grace on nailing Christmas

The drink Musa Ozgul of 108 Brasserie on the perfect Christmas cocktails

The wrapping Annabel Lewis of VV Rouleaux on the art of wrapping gifts

You might not be going out much, there might not be big parties to attend, you might not be going all-out on the beauty regimes, but getting your Christmas nails done is something that lasts and can help get you in the festive spirit. Even just typing away you can look at your nails, and it’s a nice pickme-up. Clients say to us now that getting their nails done provides a bit of escapism—a bit of (socially distanced) normality in the midst of everything else that is going on— and at Christmas, we really do try to create a festive atmosphere, with music and cocktails and so on. Though the London Grace style is pretty classic during the rest of the year, when it comes to Christmas we do have a bit of fun, and introduce some shades and styles we don’t have all year round. For example, we offer glitter nails with a 3D effect by layering a shimmering powder on top of the colour; we also use metallic effects, like foil, for a less glitzy, more sophisticated look. Some people have just one nail done; some go for the full set. The other thing we do at Christmas is apply motifs like stars and snowflakes, which can add a bit of fun to your colour.

For an extra special festive drink to make at home, I’d suggest going for an old fashioned made with bourbon, bitters and sugar—without forgetting the orange zest garnish for the magic touch. Last year, I created the Black Su, a twist on the old fashioned made with bourbon, Kahlúa coffee liqueur, pedro ximénez sweet wine and Angostura Bitters, garnished with a home-made chocolate. It will be the jewel of our cocktail menu this Christmas, without a doubt. Gin is the best spirit to invest in when it comes to stocking up your Christmas drinks cabinet: a perfect spirit for cocktails before dinner, and also after a delicious meal. Here at 108 we distil our very own gin. Made with a traditional distillation process, the botanicals—which include juniper berries, sweet orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seeds, prune, cardamom, basil and angelica root—are heated in our copper pot still, known as Isabella. Copper is used due to its exceptional heat conducting properties, which help to remove any unwanted impurities, ensuring a perfectly balanced final product. We sell 750ml bottles and miniatures, which are the ideal stocking filler, and we serve it in our own cocktails here at the bar, too. From December, we will be serving our special 108 Hot Gin Punch, made with 108 Gin, madeira wine, honey, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and other secret ingredients. All the ingredients are mixed and slow cooked to be served warm to our guests. We love the Christmassy smell it creates.

My best tip when it comes to wrapping is to use old maps. If you go to junk shops you’ll find hundreds of maps from different countries in Europe which won’t cost you more than about 30p, and if you combine those with a bright ribbon with a coloured edge, it is a very easy, cheap and striking way to wrap your gifts. If you want to create the perfect bow, you’ll need a wire-edged ribbon, of which we have a wide selection. Don’t tie it like a shoelace; tie it like you would a shawl around your neck, then tie something around the centre to secure it and you can get the perfect loops. You don’t necessarily have to buy new ribbons each time, though, or even buy a single length of ribbon for one parcel. If you’ve been saving ribbons from gifts and flowers and chocolate boxes over the years, you can use them and tie them together at the top. If you only have very, very short lengths, use garden twine to wrap the present, then create a pom-pom out of your ribbon lengths and tie that at the top of the parcel. Of course, VV Rouleaux is known for its ribbons, but we also have a lovely selection of decorations this year, including beautiful brass flowers, baubles, life-size parrots and little squirrels. Decorations are worth investing in this year, given that we aren’t going to be going out an awful lot!

LONDON GRACE 7 Seymour Place, W1H 5BA

108 BRASSERIE 108 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2QE

VV ROULEAUX 102 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2QDA

23. The Marylebone guide to Christmas London Grace Right: 108 Bar Below: VV Rouleaux Below right: Caroline Gardner

24. The Marylebone guide to Christmas The gift Mats Klingberg of Trunk on buying a present for the man who has everything

The card Caroline Gardner of Caroline Gardner on the importance of Christmas cards

Trunk LABS, our accessories shop, was created with ‘the man who has everything’ in mind. It’s not about buying lots of expensive things; it’s about focusing on the highest quality thing within a particular category. The best presents are always those things that you couldn’t quite justify buying for yourself. For example, our Scottish cashmere socks are so beautiful and cosy. They aren’t the most practical sock in the world, and you probably wouldn’t buy a pair yourself to go to work in every day— but they are the perfect treat. Men generally like gifts that have a function, things they can get use out of. It’s worth looking for something that will be used and appreciated for a long time, and that has a decent story behind it. The good thing about Trunk is that the people who make them get a good living from doing so. Items from a regular high street might look exciting, but their production doesn’t necessarily support communities and smallscale industries. For example, our new grooming products from Corpus Naturals are made from natural products using renewable solar and hydro-electric energy. Those cashmere socks come from a small family farm and factory in Scotland. The designs are timeless— they aren’t ‘fast fashion’—and because knitwear generally is flexible in terms of sizing, it tends to make for a very safe gift.

This year, cards are going to be more important than ever; it might be the only personal contact you have with your friends and even some relatives, so we’ve tried to design cards with real kindness and warmth. Choosing a card can be tricky, because they are so personal. We tend to sell ‘safe’ cards—which makes it sound boring, but they aren’t at all. They’re quirky, a bit whimsical, but not out there. They’re little bit different, but in a way we think most people will like. Rather than just Merry Christmas or Happy New Year, the messages inside are slightly more of the time, things like “sending love and kindness”, which is going to be a bit more meaningful. Another thing that is going to be even more important this year is our partnership with Age UK, which we’ve been running for a few years now, called Give to Give. If you send a message to us, we will write it in a Christmas card which we send to Age UK for them to hand deliver to elderly people who will be on their own at Christmas. It won’t be possible on the same scale as in previous years because of Covid, but we are hoping to be able to do it locally in Marylebone, with Age UK Westminster. Of course, while cards are very special, they do come with an environmental cost. You can minimise that by choosing cards which don’t come in cellophane—we use something called Fantastic No Plastic—or which come in paper, or in bags you can reuse. The glitter on our cards is eco glitter, which dissolves in water, so our cards are completely recyclable, and they are all made in the UK so we aren’t shipping paper around the world.

TRUNK LABS 34 Chiltern Street, W1U 7QH

CAROLINE GARDNER 17 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4NZ

It’s not about buying lots of expensive things; it’s about focusing on the highest quality thing within a particular category. The best presents are always those things that you couldn’t quite justify buying for yourself

25. The Marylebone guide to Christmas

26. Once more, with feeling

The director of Wigmore Hall, John Gilhooly, talks to the Journal about staying positive through the Covid crisis, enhancing the diversity of the venue’s programming and audience, and the importance of questioning everything WORDS: ELLIE COSTIGAN IMAGES: KAUPO KIKKAS


Somebody I spoke to told me his wife had a stroke in lockdown but they’ve been watching us all the time, twice a day at the moment, and they feel connected

27. Once more, with feeling

28. Once more, with feeling “There’s no point in looking backwards. We’ve got to keep looking forward,” says John Gilhooly, the director of Wigmore Hall. It’s a statement that neatly summarises his progressive approach to battling the impacts of coronavirus (“anybody who thinks we have had a soft landing is completely misinformed,” he continues). It also stands up as a synopsis of his entire 15-year spell at the helm of this famous institution, through which his ambition and passion have rung as clear as the Hall’s famous acoustics. An ordinary year would see Wigmore Hall play host to around 500 concerts, featuring both worldrenowned and emerging artists, as well as an extensive learning and outreach programme—perhaps the most obvious manifestation of John’s desire to engage with a much broader demographic than might traditionally be associated with the world of classical music— which includes laying on sessions for families, for people living with dementia, and for young people with autism spectrum conditions. This year has looked a bit different, for very obvious reasons. But through it all, John has been determined to embrace “the spirit of being positive”, doing everything he can to keep the music flowing. As early as June, the venue began live-streaming concerts from an empty hall, with the musicians alone on the stage and the most skeletal of technical crews on hand to manage the broadcast. The current 100-concert season, playing out (at the time of writing) to a small audience in the hall and streamed free of charge to thousands more, is, in the circumstance, hugely impressive in its scale and ambition. It’s an approach that has brought much-needed relief to musicians whose income depends upon a thriving international touring circuit. “Some of the people we’ve given work to hadn’t worked for six months,” says John. “The higher-level artists were just about okay, because they had savings. But junior artists, young artists, didn’t qualify for furlough or any of the established social welfare routes.”

Unpredictable and often lastminute travel bans and local lockdowns have made programme planning incredibly tricky. For every artist booked from abroad, Wigmore Hall currently has a second on standby. “We are constantly trying to keep up with the regulations, looking at international travel and quarantine and who can get here and who can’t,” says John. “There’s a lot of last-minute replacement programming.” Sensibly, many of the artists scheduled to perform in the Hall’s autumn season are UK-based. But while it is limited geographically, the breadth and depth of the programme is even more impressive than ever. The coronavirus has dominated the conversation in 2020, but the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities has also been high on the agenda. Improving diversity within both the programme and audiences of Wigmore Hall has been a priority for John for some time—indeed, prior to lockdown, he had signed off a five-year diversity strategy—but one of the few tangible benefits of the Covid disruption has been the opportunity it provided for accelerating that change. “What we’re doing is not actually a direct reaction to Black Lives Matter, it was going to happen anyway, but because there was such scope to do things at the last minute, I was able to draw into the autumn programme things that I might’ve done in 18 months’ time,” he explains. The first week of the new season featured music from Julius Eastman, a black, gay composer who lived in New York in the 1990s. “He was dismissed as a human being in many ways. He was forgotten. But there’s a sudden resurgence in his music and rediscovery of it in the last few years, so I was able to put in his work Feminine, which is his reaction as a black gay man to the politics of the 1970s and 80s and exclusion. It was an exceptional concert; it got a five-star review from The Times.” Golda Schultz, the South African soprano who performed at this year’s Last Night of the Proms, also took to the stage in October, along

with another world-class black soprano, Elizabeth Llewellyn. “She’s a magnificent singer—beautiful, really moving. She’s an incredible interpreter. Part of her programme was Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who was a black composer who lived here in London. He was very, very famous in the decade right before his death in 1912, throughout the UK and internationally. We wanted to bring some of his wonderful songs into a programme.” Acclaimed double bassist Leon Bosch, who at the age of 18 years old was imprisoned in his native South Africa for his anti-apartheid activism, recorded a powerful documentary on the Hall’s stage, talking about his life and work. “He has worked with all the world’s leading musicians but the most sobering thing he said was that until quite recently, and perhaps even still, when he’s with a band or an orchestra walking into an official function, they often point him towards the tradesman’s entrance. That sort of thing happened and is still happening because of the colour of somebody’s skin, even if you are a great musician and renowned for your work,” John laments. “Nobody in our profession is really a household name or world famous, but the fact that somebody would think a person was not part of the band just because of their lineage... Clearly there’s work to be done.” As well as race, John is determined to address disparities based on gender, disability and sexuality. “I’m looking at diversity in every sense,” he says. “I can think of famous female composers in the early 20th century who entered competitions in the UK under a male name, because they wouldn’t win it otherwise. Those days have gone, but some of these attitudes prevail.” Other positives have also come out of lockdown. Livestreamed concerts—as well as regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3—have drawn impressive audiences, in some instances hitting millions of views internationally. “The fact that we can put some of these things on the internet is giving them a life beyond our walls. Some of the younger artists

29. Once more, with feeling Golda Schultz Right: Leon Bosch Below right: Elizabeth Llewellyn

30. Once more, with feeling are making their debut—we’ve had young trumpeters and trombonists and all sorts in the past few weeks— and they would never have had this exposure if it was just a normal concert. So while, a lot of what’s going on is heartbreaking, there are some positives.” The Hall, which next year celebrates its 120th anniversary, has over the years garnered a fiercely loyal following, as well as a reputation for quality. People might come to the Hall to see a well-known or much-loved artist, but often they return to see something new. “There’s a quality threshold, even in lockdown,” says John. “In the next few months, if somebody cancels and I can’t replace them with somebody equally good, we will go dark. It’s much better to take a night off than programme something that’s not up to standard—that’s when you start to lose trust, and that’s when people won’t take the risk. My reputation as an artistic director is on the line and the Hall’s reputation is on the line if I start programming rubbish. That’s something that even in these desperate times, you cannot do.” The longevity of the free livestreaming service is questionable, (“we are first out of the traps in many ways and everybody else is going to follow us now, which means there might at some point be saturation in terms of the amount of music available online”) but in those long months of early lockdown—and indeed, continually for those who remain cautious about leaving their homes—they’ve provided a lifeline. “Somebody I spoke to earlier today, who used to be here all the time, told me his wife had a stroke in lockdown but they’ve been watching us all the time, twice a day at the moment, and they feel connected.” The Hall’s outreach and learning programme, which has continued, albeit in a reduced and virtual format, has proved similarly invaluable. “One of the things that really opened my eyes was that we work a lot with families and women who have suffered domestic violence and who maybe have left home as a result. That work had to stop for a little while, but we’ve been able to reengage with them and

just looking at the feedback from those women and their children... it’s quite moving.” It keeps him going, despite the huge amount of energy it takes from all at the Hall to keep it up, not just the streaming service and ever-changing programme, but the gargantuan effort that goes into fundraising. They have their fingers crossed for an emergency fund from the Arts Council, but otherwise are reliant on the generosity of the public. “It takes 10, 15 years to build relationships. If somebody gives you 100 grand it doesn’t just fall from the sky; that is usually somebody that you’ve cultivated, who trusts you, who sees what you’re doing and believes you’re worth saving—who sees that we will have proper governance and due diligence and all that sort of thing. That’s very important,” says John. “It’s a huge process to get to that level of competence and also the amount of writing that you’ve got to do, in terms of preparing a proposal, showing your financial need and showing how this is not just a stopgap, how it will actually inform a sustainable future from donors—that’s really hard. We’ve got to come up with all those arguments now. It’s not easy.” The payoff is getting a letter from a 14-year-old girl telling him she’s discovered music, thanks to Wigmore Hall; the person whose wife or husband found joy in their final days by listening to the venue’s music; paying artists a proper fee when they’ve had no income for months. “At the moment, that’s what drives me,” says John. “I love the music—you couldn’t do this if you didn’t love the music. And I really love Marylebone: the high street, St James’s Spanish Place. I love everything around here. But there’s also an international Wigmore community, the connections with whom have been strengthened through sharing experiences with colleagues in Vienna or Berlin or New York; sharing our failures and our successes and sharing tips about how to get through this.” Ever the optimist, when asked if he can possibly predict the future, John’s

answer is characteristically positive. “In a way, this will bring about a sense of renewal—a refreshing of things. There were industry norms in classical music that I think were never questioned, because they were too sacred to question. Do we always need an interval? Is a seven o’clock start better? Should concerts be shorter? How do we make people who’ve never been here before feel more welcome? How do we convert those who are visiting us virtually into real visitors when we hopefully re-open to full houses?” he ponders. “I think it’s a good idea to keep questioning.” WIGMORE HALL 36 Wigmore Street, W1U 2BP

There’s a quality threshold, even in lockdown. If somebody cancels and I can’t replace them with somebody equally good, we will go dark. It’s much better to take a night off than programme something that’s not up to standard

AUTUMN SERIES UNTIL 22nd DECEMBER Despite the many challenges currently involved in running a music venue, Wigmore Hall has pulled together a stellar autumn series, featuring 100 concerts and more than 200 artists, diverse in background and repertoire. All are available to stream online. Wigmore Hall 36 Wigmore Street, W1U 2BP

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32. Melting pots

One of the most compelling characteristics of London’s restaurant scene is its extraordinary diversity. Three Marylebone chefs with roots in other cultures reflect on how culinary influences cross borders to create something new and distinctive WORDS: CLARE FINNEY

33. Melting pots Ooty

34. Melting pots Ravinder Bhogal Jikoni 19-21 Blandford Street, W1U 3DH “The world is a very small place. People have taken ideas for recipes and stories and spread them like seeds” Being an immigrant is about survival—but it’s also about adaptation, and being open to change. When you are an immigrant, you are extremely precious about the things you leave behind, yet as you begin to make a home in a new place, you find the wonder in your new landscape and all the potential it holds. When you can reconcile those two things, and create a space and identity within your new home, that’s the survival story—and that has pretty much been my experience: coming from this wild landscape filled with colossal jaman trees to a haggard, grey urban area, preserving my old culinary traditions and reconciling them with those I found here. I love the idea of saying, “Okay, here is the recipe—but what makes it taste better? How can I tinker with it to make it more adaptable, more affordable, better suited to the place that I’m in?” There is no point in me trying to find jaman or green mango in England; they are either unavailable or come at a high price, and a high carbon footprint. I have to find whatever the closest substitute is and make good of it—Bramley apples, for example, offer the perfect level of sharpness to replace green mangoes for chutney. As a cook, I am not particularly interested in the idea of authenticity. People can get very rigid, and I think that makes food rigid. Besides, if you look at the history of relationships between countries, if you follow trading links, you will find that the world is a very small place. People have taken ideas for recipes and stories and spread them like seeds to so many different places—and that’s what we like to do here at Jikoni: find similarities as well as celebrating the richness of differences. For example, growing up as an Indian,

I always thought jalebi—which you make by frying flour batter in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup—were Indian. Then, here in London, I was browsing a parade of shops in West Kensington, and saw them in a Middle Eastern shop. I said: “Oh my God, you have jalebi!” And they said no: “These are zulbia, they are Iranian.” It turns out they came to India from Persia, and evolved slightly along the way. We created our own version: an apple jalebi soaked in a sugar syrup infused with rose water, which we served with fennel ice cream and candied fennel—because it was seasonal here, and fennel goes beautifully. That was me thinking as a cook, but also as someone with a real interest in delving into different cultures and telling the story of how they are linked. I think this comes very naturally to me: I am greedy and I want to try everything, so it makes sense that I would want to take the best from many cultures and see how they work together. I was born in Nairobi in Kenya and moved to London aged seven, and so grew up as an immigrant in a place where there were so many immigrants, all with their own mini settlements. The oriental supermarkets, the Turkish shops, the Polish delis and so on: if you’re interested in food and exploring and using what you find in a way that makes sense to you, it’s a wonderful thing to be inspired by and I think it gave me an amazing sense of liberty when it comes to food. Here at Jikoni, we are really interested in London’s diverse communities, particularly as reflected by our kitchen. My head chef is Polish, so that is a cuisine we often dip into. I remember creating the dish with her: I said: “Let’s make pierogi and stuff it with paneer”—and as we made it, she remarked on how similar paneer was to the fresh cheese they make for pierogi in Poland. Then I said we were going to serve it with a Turkish spiced hot yoghurt sauce with pul biber—and she protested that historically the Poles and the Turks hated each other. I said: “Well, they are going to get along on this plate.” The pierogi went down a storm; we

To be an immigrant is to be caught between one world and another, to live in a hinterland. Immigrant cuisine is about creating a space in that time and place. It’s a space which is physical, edible, interesting—and powerful, too

35. Melting pots Jikoni

36. Melting pots Delamina


37. Melting pots

Immigrants came to Israel in waves, and each wave brought an injection of ways and flavours—and I think that is what fostered our spirit of openness and creativity. There is no one way of making things anymore. Nothing is super-traditional

couldn’t make enough of it. I love presenting something that is familiar, but has a pop of surprise; my hope is to create something greater than the sum of its parts, that speaks to our views on immigration, diversity, pluralism, multiculturalism. To be an immigrant is to be caught between one world and another, to live in a hinterland. Immigrant cuisine is about creating a space in that time and place. It’s a space which is physical, edible, interesting—and powerful, too, because when you taste the food of a stranger, the stranger the press has made scary and ‘other’, when you are eating their spikey kimchi or dipping into a bowl of creamy hummus, you understand them for a moment. And that is transformative. Limor and Amir Chen Delamina 56-58 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2NX “We celebrate creativity, that fusion of east and west, and the way food is created and recreated” There are few cuisines that reflect the movement of people more than Israeli cuisine. It’s hard to even say what Israeli food is, it has so many influences. You might say hummus is an Israeli food, but it isn’t—it’s in all Arab countries. There are foods that are core to our heritage, but all around the world they are given their own local twist. Jews in France made slightly different food to Jews in Iran, say, or Poland, and though it might be called by the same name or similar— the gefilte fish, the chicken soup, the matzos—it would have local herbs, techniques and spices. The main reason Israel’s cuisine is so diverse is because Jewish people have lived in a diaspora for so long, and then when they came to Israel they brought their recipes with them, making the country a real melting pot of food. They didn’t all come at the same time either. They came in waves, and each wave brought an injection of ways and flavours—and I think that is what fostered our spirit of openness and creativity. There is no one way of making things anymore.

We cannot be precious, nothing is super-traditional. On the contrary, we celebrate that creativity, that fusion of east and west, and the way food is created and recreated. An interesting parallel here is the language. The language of the bible, Hebrew, was not a spoken language until the early 20th century, when it was decided we would make this ‘new’ language and speak it. Likewise with the cuisine, we reinvented something that was sort of there before, and made it new and different. That creativity is at the heart of Tel Aviv, where we are from. It’s so liberating. We cook with what’s available, and the rest is really down to the chef. Limor is the main cook here—she creates the menu— and she is very much inspired by her dad, who’s from Iran originally. He moved to Israel when he was 10 years old, but he still makes the family recipes using the same seasoning. It’s his kebab recipe we recreated for Delamina. It took quite a few goes to perfect it, and we still stress whenever he comes to eat here! Another dish inspired by Limor’s dad is our shawarma. It’s a traditional recipe, but adapted to Limor’s style of cooking, which is very much about keeping the flavour while avoiding unnecessary fat and sugar. So it’s made with turkey meat, which is very lean, and we’ve avoided the layers of fat that are typical of shawarma by adding things like dates and pine nuts. It is one of our bestsellers— people absolutely love it—but it is not what people who grew up with shawarma necessarily expect. We have taken something traditional and made it work for this London audience, who want to eat lunch and leave without feeling heavy. It is a great example of that fusion of tradition and creativity. Londoners are so openminded, so hungry for new tastes, that we don’t find ourselves changing recipes much beyond making them a bit lighter— and that’s something Limor does naturally anyway. Amir’s family is from eastern Europe, where the food has a reputation for being quite fatty, without much flavour—full of carbs and potatoes. When it came to

38. Melting pots Israel, however, it got twisted around with herbs and spices or combined with Middle Eastern ingredients. Sauerkraut, for example, is something everyone has in Israel—and pickles. We use lots of pickled vegetables in the restaurant. Some Jewish-Israeli staples are too ‘homey’ to serve in the restaurant—we would never serve pickled herring, for example—but there is a dish called charoset, which we have in Passover, and which I have adapted for dessert here sometimes: a sweetish dip, which traditionally symbolises the mortar of buildings the slaves built. It is lovely, with apple, honey and nuts. Amir loves it. It is his favourite thing. Our biggest influence is definitely family—you can see that from all the family photos we have in the restaurant—but we are also inspired by the other culinary traditions in Israel and the surrounding region. In our wine list we’ve embraced Palestinian wines , for example, and for last year’s Marylebone Food Festival we did a wine tasting with a Palestinian producer. It’s interesting when Arab customers come in: we’ll see women from the Gulf, who would never normally engage with Israelis, asking to speak to Limor so they have her recipe for a dish, or sharing a recipe of their own. All the barriers just collapse over food. It brings joy— and the moment someone comes here, and tastes and feels the love and the joy with which the food has been created, they forget about everything else. Manmeet Singh Bali Ooty 66 Baker Street, W1U 7DJ “Food has a harmony: people from different backgrounds, different industries, different cultures and countries connect and grow” For many of us from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, this was how it started: in the sixties and seventies people migrated here and set up restaurants, bringing a taste of their home with them and adapting it to British tastes. Ooty, however, is

a restaurant that has its roots in a part of India which already had a significant British influence. That place is Ooty: a hill station in the south, where colonial officers would go for a break to escape the heat during the days of the British Raj. Today, you can still see many traces of their influence there: libraries, old colonial houses, churches, as well as two cuisines: there’s the local, native cuisine of traditional recipes, and then one with more of an English touch—for example, fried bread with breakfast, and chicken dumplings cooked in coconut milk. Here in the restaurant, 80 to 90 per cent of our produce is English. We buy our spices from India, but our meat and fish come locally. Our techniques are a mix of British and European—I love to do a red wine jus, for example—with south Indian, and north Indian too, because of course there is a lot of movement within India also, mainly to cities but also to places like Ooty for a quieter life. All of this shapes the region’s food. I myself am north Indian. I studied in the south and worked there for a long time, but I still bring some of my mum’s cooking to the kitchen. I pan fry fish the way she does, for example, but then cook it in a south Indian spiced, tomato-based sauce. In the north we eat a lot of kohlrabi, and I love to cut that into small dices and toss with spinach and southern spices. I also worked in Scotland for a while when I first arrived to the UK, and that gave me a real appreciation for quality fish and meat. I have been involved with Ooty from the beginning: in designing the menu, shaping the place and the theme, so this is very much my food. It is a reflection of Ooty the place, but also of my own experiences. Food has a harmony: sometimes I come through from the kitchen and stand quietly at the bar, and watch people from this area meet and chat to each other. They’re from different backgrounds, different industries, different cultures and countries—but over food, they connect and grow together. Food creates its own community.

Food has a harmony: sometimes I come through from the kitchen and stand quietly at the bar, and watch people chat to each other. They’re from different backgrounds, different cultures—but over food, they connect

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40. The Second Noel

41. The Second Noel

Christmas 1814 saw Marylebone— and the rest of the country—waiting anxiously on the impending arrival of the Second Coming at a house on Manchester Street: a drama whose impact would continue to be felt for decades to come WORDS: JEAN-PAUL AUBIN-PARVU

42. The Second Noel On Christmas Day 1814, Joanna Southcott lay writhing around in her bedroom at 38 Manchester Street trying her best to give birth to the Messiah. It didn’t end well. Born in 1750 at Gittisham, Devon, Southcott spent her early years working as a farm labourer and domestic servant. In 1792, after the death of her mother, she became gripped by mystical fervour, and—claiming to be in direct communication with God—began making daily prophecies of a New Jerusalem and the Second Coming. This turn of events was very much of its time. The French Revolution of 1789 had ushered in a period of political and social turbulence in Britain. Wars raged across Europe and Napoleon stood poised to invade. For many religious dissenters, these events were a signal of the end of days and the imminent return of Christ. Visionaries were everywhere. As Southcott foretold how large proportions of the population would perish against Napoleon’s invasion forces and William Blake wrote of “dark satanic mills”, Richard Brothers overstepped the mark by prophesying the death of the King and the end of monarchy. This London-based Prince of the Hebrews was arrested for treason and imprisoned. Strange days indeed. In 1801, Southcott published a book, The Strange Effects of Faith, a mix of doggerel and prose relating to her conversations with God. Boosted by its significant sales, she moved to London and became a national celebrity. Dozens of societies were set up to discuss and interpret her works. Though often derided by both public and press, Southcott’s following included members of the clergy, theologians, scholars and artists. Thousands bought signed letters bearing her red Celestial seal, which were known as “passports to heaven”. Southcott made an unabashed claim to be the woman spoken of in Revelation (12:1-5): “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of 12 stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth and pained to be delivered ... and she

brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.” And so, in 1814, the 64-year-old prophet made it known that she was pregnant with the Messiah. The baby was due on 19th October and would be called Shiloh. It was, of course, an immaculate conception: no man had come anywhere near her; this was purely the work of God. The news sparked great excitement among her followers, many of whom uprooted themselves to London to await the Messiah. Supported by donations, Southcott moved to Manchester Street in the increasingly plush suburb of Marylebone, where, in preparation for the Second Coming, gifts began to arrive by mail coach, including an elaborate silver-mounted cradle, a gold font and large sums of money. As the midwives of London fought for the honour of delivering the Messiah, shops were filled with Joanna Southcott paraphernalia, such as cradles containing Shiloh dolls. The Russian ambassador and the Tsar’s aide-de-camp came to visit, as did more than 20 doctors, including both the French empress Josephine’s own gynaecologist and the royal physician, Dr Richard Reece. Upon examining the visionary, the majority declared that despite her age she did appear to display all the normal signs of pregnancy. The newspapers had a field day. The Napoleonic Wars were relegated to the inside pages of The Times and the Daily Monitor to make room for daily reports about Southcott and her Holy Shiloh. According to one newspaper: “Excitement could not have been more intense if the dome of St Paul’s had collapsed.” October came and went, yet no baby appeared. As Christmas approached, Dr Reece was called upon to examine the expectant mother. He was heard to mutter: “Damn me if the child has not gone.” Southcott was by now in great pain. On Christmas Day she stated that the pain was in her side and that the baby was attempting to enter the world. She soon fell into a coma and two days later took on what her followers called “the appearance of death”. At 3am on 28th December this was confirmed by a doctor as actual death. A postmortem examination resulted in the

discovery that Southcott had been suffering from dropsy, which caused internal flatulence and glandular enlargement of the breasts, giving the appearance of pregnancy. She was buried in St John’s Wood churchyard on 1st January 1815. Though many disciples became disillusioned, the inner core remained undaunted. They believed that Shiloh had been born on Christmas Day as Joanna had foreseen, but had been whisked straight up to the heavens to save him from the great red dragon of the Book of Revelation, “with seven heads and 10 horns and seven crowns upon his heads that would devour the child as soon as it was born”. Joanna and Shiloh, these disciples firmly believed, would one day return to lead them all into paradise. The most prominent of these followers was a farmer called John Wroe. In 1819, Wroe was struck down with a life-threatening illness but made a miraculous recovery, after which he began to experience visions and trances. By December 1822, Prophet Wroe had become leader of a Southcott-inspired sect known as the Christian Israelites. On 29th February 1824, at Apperley Bridge, north of Bradford, a crowd of 30,000 gathered on the banks of the River Aire eager to watch Wroe perform a miracle, although exactly what miracle he would perform was still being hotly debated. The clever money was on

43. The Second Noel

In 1814, the 64-year-old prophet made it known that she was pregnant with the Messiah. The baby was due on 19th October and would be called Shiloh. It was, of course, an immaculate conception: no man had come anywhere near her; this was purely the work of God

Wroe doing a Moses, by parting the waters of the Aire and walking across the dry riverbed. Others expected him to literally walk on water. Alas, the prophet sank like a stone into the freezing depths. A few months later, fresh controversy stuck to the prophet like Aire river mud. He and a girl named Sarah Lees found themselves “with child”, causing more than a little eyebrow raising among the congregation. Wroe tried to calm things by claiming that this would in fact be the coming of the boy Messiah. Again. On 17th July 1824 the moment came. The congregation rejoiced. Yet, the midwife’s cries of “It’s a girl!” were not quite what they’d been expecting. Wroe thought it prudent to skip town. His next stop was Ashton-underLyne near Manchester, which would, claimed Wroe, be the New Jerusalem. Luckily Ashton had plenty of wealthy Chosen People to pay for the construction of the Holy City, including a church, The Sanctuary, which was opened by Wroe and his followers on Christmas Day 1825. Here, women accused of “unchastity” would be taken to a “cleansing room”, beneath the pulpit, to be stripped naked then whipped raw by the prophet with a birch rod. Prophet Wroe received a command from God to take seven virgins to “cherish and comfort” him. The church elders stated that Wroe and the virgins would act in every way as

husband and wife, but without the sex. Perish the thought. Things soon turned sour: in 1827, a 12-year-old girl accused Wroe of sexual interference, and further allegations from other young women began to reach the ears of the Christian Israelites. Wroe left Ashton under cover of darkness, eventually settling in Wrenthorpe near Wakefield, where he built himself a fabulous private mansion. During Wroe’s lifetime he made many trips to Australia, building an impressive following. In the summer of 1862, he voyaged there for the last time. He died the following February at the Christian Israelites Sanctuary in Fitzroy, Melbourne. But that wasn’t the end of Joanna Southcott’s legacy. On her Marylebone deathbed, she had, it was claimed, left behind a sealed box, which should only be opened in a time of national emergency when the contents would reveal the country’s path to salvation. Along with other conditions, the prophet stated that it should only be opened in the presence of 24 bishops of the Church of England. There were repeated calls during both the Boer Wars and the First World War to have the vessel opened, but England’s bishops showed a marked reluctance to respond. There was also plenty of debate about who had taken possession of the actual box and where they might have put it. In 1927, Harry Price of the National

Laboratory of Psychical Research said that he had received the sealed box along with a letter stating its authenticity. He organised a public ceremony at the Hoare Memorial Hall, Westminster on 11th July to which he invited three archbishops and 80 bishops. Only the Bishop of Grantham attended. Instead, the hall was packed out with the press, psychic enthusiasts, mediums and a colourful assortment of crackpots. Followers from two Southcott societies caused a disturbance, declaring the event to be sacrilege. Gasps rang out as Price went at the box enthusiastically with a pair of metal shears. After cutting the bands he prized the lid open with a jemmy. The 56 items inside were held up dramatically to the audience. They included a lottery ticket from 1796, religious pamphlets, a selection of racy novels, a woman’s night cap, a dice box, a bone puzzle and a pair of gold earrings. The silence in the hall must have been deafening. The Panacea Society, based in Bedford, strongly denies that this box was genuine, and claims to have the real Southcott box in its possession. The society won’t reveal the exact location of the Ark of the Testament (said to be the size of a small coffin) but says that it is being held for safe keeping in a secret location in the Bedford area. The Panacea Society was formed just after the First World War by Mabel Barlthrop (known as Octavia), Helen Exeter, Rachael Fox and Kate Firth, who each felt that the world might be a better place if only the bishops would attend to Joanna’s legacy. They soon discovered that Barlthrop, who a decade earlier had suffered a mental breakdown, was actually the reincarnation of Southcott’s divine Shiloh child. Since the 1920s the society has taken out regular advertisements in national newspapers and on billboards. They carry the chilling message: “Crime, Banditry, Distress of Nations and Perplexity will continue until the Bishops of the Church of England agree to open Joanna Southcott’s Box of Prophecies.” As this past year of distress and perplexity makes abundantly clear, all such warnings have thus far been ignored.

44. Food

QA SANTIAGO LASTRA The chef behind the exciting new Kol restaurant on cooking Mexican food with British ingredients, working with René Redzepi, and the power of food to bring joy to even the most troubled of times INTERVIEW: CLARE FINNEY IMAGES: HAYDON PERRIOR, HDG PHOTOGRAPHY

Kol was initially scheduled to open in Autumn 2018. How did you end up opening two years and a global pandemic later? In total it has taken me three years to get the concept, find the investment, find the site and develop the menu. Even after I had business partners and had found the site, it was a year until we got it, during which time I was making research trips—to Scotland to find suppliers, to Mexico with my business partners—and working on the furniture and décor with our material designers. My house became a test kitchen; I lived upstairs and the entire downstairs—the dining room, the living room—was transformed. In the backyard we had a tent in which we set up a dining room. Over the course of 10 months we developed 150 dishes, inviting press every so often to try them. Then in March the opening was delayed again, so we took our whole management team to Mexico. We made mole with indigenous ladies, we visited taco stands and restaurants—it was unforgettable. Many of them had never been before. Then this whole virus happened, and we had to stop everything for six months, and that was really difficult. We had to wait until August before we could even start building again. You’re best known internationally for your work with René Redzepi on his Noma Mexico project, but here in Marylebone we know you

from your sell-out guest chef stints at Carousel. How important a role has Carousel played in shaping your career? The first dinner I cooked at Carousel was the very first time I had ever cooked my own food in a restaurant. I was working as a chef de partie in Sweden, and one night my friend and I decided to make Mexican dinner for 20 people, but we couldn’t get any ingredients, so we ended up making Nordic Mexican food. For some reason, Ollie Templeton at Carousel saw a post from the evening on Instagram, and reached out to us. My friend Alex couldn’t make it, so I came. It felt like a dream, arriving at 5am with my knives and walking out of Baker Street station. The dinner was so successful, and I’ve been back five times. I’m good friends with the Carousel team, and the guests seem to connect with me and enjoy it. So, when I was looking for locations I had a really nice feeling of home here. It felt comfortable. Marylebone is comfortable and not pretentious, but it has a stamp of quality. You describe your food as “Mexican soul, British ingredients”. You don’t even have limes or avocadoes in your store cupboard. How have you managed that? Mexico is such a big country; it’s 7,000km long, and the weather and the landscape change from one region to another. Yet the general flavour and spirit of Mexican food is the same wherever you go, because what links it is not geography or climate,

but people: the people that make the food, and the approach they have culturally. What I wanted to do was imagine that the UK is an island that is part of Mexico; to take the Mexican approach and create Mexican flavours with British ingredients. We bring dry ingredients from Mexico—corn, chilli and chocolate—but all the fresh ingredients are from the UK. Instead of mango, we use butternut squash, cooked to a certain temperature and then blended. Instead of limes we use kombucha, or fermented gooseberries or, at this time of year, unripe pears. Instead of avocadoes we use Scottish pine oil and pistachios to make a sort of guacamole. These are flavours which are Mexican, but which you couldn’t find in Mexico. They are unique to here. How does Mexico’s cultural attitudes shape and unite its cuisine? In Mexico, there is no point in eating anything that is not totally delicious—because it’s what we have. We don’t have the best economy in the world, we aren’t the most organised people in the world, but if you go to Mexico City at lunchtime, you will see office workers emerging out onto the streets, flicking their tie over their shoulder and eating tacos with tears in their eyes because they are so excited about it. And I think we share that feeling with other countries, like Italy and Spain. We live to eat; and if you live to eat, you need to eat amazing food. If it’s not super delicious, there is no point.

45. Food

If you go to Mexico City at lunchtime, you will see office workers emerging out onto the streets, flicking their tie over their shoulder and eating tacos with tears in their eyes because they are so excited about it

46. Food

47. Food

KOL MEZCALERIA Kol Mezcaleria, a cocktail bar specialising in mezcal and other Mexican spirits, will open on 12th December on Kol’s lower ground floor, headed up by Maxim Schulte, former head bartender at The American Bar at The Savoy.

That’s a stark contrast to Londoners at lunch hour, hunched over their desk with a shop-bought sandwich... It is different—but then, you get things done. You don’t stay eating for three hours; you eat and you keep working. I love the sense of ambition and achievement London has. Everyone here wants to change the world. In 2017, you led René Redzepi’s Noma in Mexico project. How did that come about? I was living in Russia, in St Petersburg, working for a restaurant group that wanted me to create a special Mexican menu. I was just in the middle of demonstrating the menu to the chefs—there was a guy filming, and it was difficult because of the

In this terrible time, instead of being stressed out by what is happening to the world, I am able to cook for people, to give good things to people, to create a moment that gets rid of this bad feeling

language barrier—when I got a Facebook message from Rosio Sánchez, then head of pastry at Noma, asking if I was in Copenhagen and free to meet. I didn’t understand why she was messaging— she had never messaged before—but I told her, yes, I was in Copenhagen. I finished my work and flew straight to Denmark the following day. I’d met René before, at events and conferences, but it’s like a priest meeting the Pope: you never think he’ll remember you. It turned out he did remember me, though. He is a machine— he remembers everything. We started chatting, he told me what they wanted to do in Mexico, and asked if I wanted to be project manager. It would mean going to Mexico, organising research trips

and finding ingredients from the whole country. It sounded amazing, but the thing was, I didn’t know anything about Mexico. I hadn’t been there for five years and I knew nothing about the country beyond the beach where I grew up. He said: “It’s fine. We will discover Mexico together.” What did the job involve? From that moment I had two weeks to organise our first research trip. There were seven us— René, me and the Noma R&D team—and we took 16 flights in 14 days. I contacted authors, chefs, farmers, producers. René would say: “I need this fruit or that vegetable,” and I would have to find people who could grow it. When we finally came to the first tasting, there were 200 or 300 ingredients involved, and I’d had to find them all. The pop up lasted 10 days, and I lost 10 kilos and my girlfriend, but it was incredible. There were 40,000 people on the waiting list. People flew over from Japan just to eat there. It was life changing for me in terms of understanding what we have in Mexico, and Noma’s approach: not Noma’s food, so much as the way it creates communities and showcases the quality of a culture and its cuisine. How have you gone onto apply that learning to Kol? I took that understanding of the importance of research trips, of making connections and finding suppliers. I know all our suppliers for Kol. I have been with them diving for langoustines and

48. Food

scallops, I’ve visited the small pig farmers and vegetable growers. To produce these things using bad practices is easy; but there are a small number of people doing the right thing, even though it is harder and more expensive, and people don’t always understand. To have the opportunity to champion these people is amazing. We are not a small restaurant, even with the social distancing restrictions, so we can really focus on who we support and make a difference to their lives and work. How did you come to be a chef? I didn’t always know I wanted to be a chef. I was working in an Italian restaurant, which I enjoyed, but I didn’t

know for sure it was what I wanted with my life. I just knew I wanted to travel the world, and to do something big. Then at 15, I lost my father and my grandmother within the same month. It was very sad, and I didn’t go to school for two or three weeks—but I did go to the restaurant. I felt safe there. I brought food home for my mum and brother, and then I cooked for them, and in that moment, we were happy. It wasn’t that we didn’t care, but we were excited about something that we were sharing and enjoying, and I thought, if we can be happy in this really sad moment, just by me making this food, then this is what I want to do forever. I believe hospitality has healing properties. To

How has that shaped your food? For some chefs, cooking is more about ego. They cook for themselves—and that’s fine—but for me, hospitality is a humble profession. You work for someone else to be happy, and that makes you happy in turn. It’s the same when it comes to food: for years, there has been a competition between fine dining, and traditional foods. But I think it is a false competition, because at some point tradition was innovation, and that innovation was so good, it lasted for generations. For me as a chef, the real question is: how do you do that? How do you create something that is so good, people taste it and it tastes both new and like it has existed forever? It tastes interesting, and exciting, but it also makes sense. For some chefs, cooking is more about ego. They cook for themselves—and that’s fine—but for me, hospitality is a humble profession. You work for someone else to be happy, and that makes you happy in turn

have a meeting with someone is one thing, but to have a meal with them is something else; it adds another layer of connection. Now, in this terrible time, instead of being stressed out by what is happening to the world, I am able to cook for people, to give good things to people, to create a moment that gets rid of this bad feeling.

What is the meaning behind the name Kol? Kol means cabbage in Spanish, and it came from us wanting to show that things that have been historically undervalued can be special if you believe in them. This is true of British ingredients, and it is true of Mexican culture and cuisine. That is how it started—but I think since the pandemic it has evolved somewhat, into a reflection of our generation and the times that we live in. We have had a chance to stop and look again at things that we previously undervalued; to put them back in context, appreciate them and—hopefully—create something unique. KOL 9 Seymour Street, W1H 7BA

Througout December get a free* coffee or regular hot drink when Join the Portman Marylebone Coffee Collective you buy any other item in participating coffee shops. Find out more at *Terms and conditions apply

50. Food

FOOD PHILOSOPHY ALEX POVALL The new head chef at The Cavendish, shares his thoughts on food


It’s all about flavour for me. We buy the best produce we can get and we’re really focused on the seasons—for so many reasons. The quality is better, the price is better. It’s a really nice way to work. I was born and raised in Dorset, in the countryside. We’d take the dogs out, go for a nice old walk and end up at the pub for lunch. So for me, the idea of the British pub is quite a romantic one. Because of that, I really want to make sure we offer some of the real classics here. People are increasingly aware of good food and ingredients and amateur cooks are getting better and better. For that reason, you need to keep things exciting. Anyone can make a pie at home

Previously, The Cavendish was very much a drinking pub—we want to change people’s perceptions as to why they come here

with a bit of cabbage, so it needs to be elevated. We take the cabbage, marinate it in buttermilk to give it an amazing acidity, then we grill it over coals to give it real depth of flavour. We then braise the cabbage with a veg stock reduction. I want people to come in, taste the food and say, “Wow, how did they do that?” Our pie with hispi cabbage epitomises that.

One of the hardest parts of the job is trying to manage stock. You’ve got to make sure that you’re covered in case you get busy, while ensuring that every product you have in is of optimal freshness and quality. My mum and dad were keen cooks—I grew up around good food. My brothers, dad and I would go fishing, catch mackerel, then go home to cook it. I cooked a lot as a kid. Working under Angela Hartnett at the Limewood Hotel was fantastic. I lived on site, so it became my whole life. I put everything into it. We would start in the kitchen at seven in the morning, to get the prep done. We’d visit the farmers to pick out the animals we wanted

51. Food and get them in whole. We foraged in the New Forest for mushrooms. We had our own smokehouse, so we cured and smoked all our own meats and fish. It was very demanding, but very rewarding. Working in restaurants is a hand-to-mouth business. At the lower ranks, it’s not something that pays well—you’re expected to perform 100 per cent of the time, work incredibly hard, and you’re not really rewarded for the work you put in. Previously, The Cavendish was very much a drinking pub—we want to change people’s perceptions as to why they come here. We try to cover every angle, from those who’re just popping in for a pastry and a coffee on the way to work, to those looking for an all-out dining experience with interesting food and great wines. Service charge wasn’t included in the furlough system, so chefs and front of house staff were cut down to minimum wage overnight. That was hard. On the flipside, people now really value their jobs, so they’re working even harder. For a long time, there was little respect for the job so finding the right staff was a real struggle. You’d get maybe 30 applicants. Of those you’d interview about 20, offer trials to 10 and you’d get maybe two or three people show up—if you were lucky. That’s been totally turned on its head. THE CAVENDISH 35 New Cavendish Street, W1G 9TR


1. Paul breadmaking kit If you’ve A) made so much sourdough during lockdown you can’t face feeding another starter or B) never managed to master it, this kit’s the one for you. It comes with flour, yeast, scrapers, a bread proving basket and even a ‘sac au pain’ to keep your lovely loaf fresh, along with a recipe booklet filled with various recipes put together by Paul’s bakers. We recommend ordering a couple of their dark hot chocolate kits too: thick, rich and delicious. 2. Trishna seafood experience Trishna’s DIY family feasting kits offer a taste of Mumbai cooking at home. Our favourite’s this seafood number, featuring jumbo tandoori mustard prawns, haryali (green chilli-coated) bream fillets, shahi salmon tikka fillet, garlic butter pepper crab, Malabar parotta, lemon rice, dal panchmel (spiced dal made with five kinds of lentil) and green chutney. It’d be rude

not to get a few garlic naans to go alongside—they come ready to roll out and pop into the oven. 3. Zoilo steak box One common misconception that Zoilo restaurant has sought to challenge is that Argentinian food is all about big hunks of red meat. But that doesn’t mean that big hunks of red meat—of the very highest quality—aren’t an important part of the picture. Big enough to more than satisfy two people, these include grass-fed Argentinian steaks (either rib-eye or sirloin), a tub of freshly made chimichurri sauce, some Maldon sea salt and a set of cooking instructions. You could get some veg as well, but frankly, why bother? 4. La Fromagerie Friday night supper Contain seasonal ingredients of the stellar quality you’d expect if you’ve ever perused La Fromagerie’s shelves, these simple but inventive multi-course dinner boxes have become a firm favourite with locals. The dish changes every week, but just as an example, one October offering included homemade pumpkin ravioli, followed by monkfish in prosciutto, with cannellini beans, fennel and rainbow chard, finished off with quince and apple crumble and (it goes without saying) a cheese board.

52. Culture

53. Culture

QA SHIRO MUCHIRI The creative director of SoShiro on working amid the chaos, considering the social impact of objects, and rescuing traditional crafts from the realm of the museum INTERVIEW: EMILY JUPP

Housed within a beautiful five-storey Georgian townhouse on Welbeck Street is SoShiro, a pioneering atelier introducing designs by Shiro Muchiri, the gallery’s creative director, which blend Italian craftsmanship with the rare crafting traditions of indigenous groups and craftspeople from around the globe. By bringing these timehoned techniques alive in beautiful yet practical objects, Shiro aspires to give longevity to these crafts and bring the stories of the people who make them to a wider audience. This global outlook reflects Shiro’s own life. Born and brought up in Kenya, Shiro studied interior architecture in Milan before going on to study at University for the Creative Arts in Farnham and then the London School of Economics. In 2000, she set up her architecture practice, serving international clients with multi-milliondollar projects. The SoShiro gallery, her latest venture, was established in late 2019. Not just a gallery, it also functions as a space in which to host collectors and artists and facilitate

new artistic synergies. During this year’s London Craft Week it was even used to present Japanese sake tastings alongside the new exhibitions. The two current exhibitions are called Pok, made with the Pokot women of Kenya, and Ainu, a collaboration with Toru Kaizawa, an artist with roots in the ancient Ainu culture of northern Japan. The upcoming exhibition, designed in collaboration with Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea, will be called Layers. Shiro says the best things she learnt on her interior architecture course were “light” and “ergonomics” and you see her skill in both in this space. So, Shiro, why Marylebone? Why London? The main reason is it’s a dynamic city, people from all over the world make it their home. I zeroed into Marylebone because it’s so outward-looking and has great energy. Did Brexit make you wobble in that belief? Well, London voted to remain, so that was comforting. Brexit and the pandemic have been a big part of what we are—I actually don’t know what it’s like to operate under normal, secure circumstances. I never tasted that stability. All I know is complete chaos. But I always think, even though it has been tough, I still have those memories of learning about the Pokot women, working with Toro, our last dinner in Hokkaido. Whatever happens, all of those things make it worth it.

How will you cope when things eventually settle down? Maybe I’ll be really bored! I won’t have to keep changing things around. But people being a bit less worried will be much better. Hopefully with a vaccine, that will come. I doubt everything will go back to normal, though. People have realigned their thinking and discovered how nice it can be to work away from the office. Do you think that change will be reflected in our homes? I hope so. Here, our message is to live in a way where you think about the social impact of the items you use, not just from an ecological perspective but also from the perspective of who created it. It is about having a different aesthetic. And taking your time. It shouldn’t bother you even if you move house and one room is empty— do it slowly, spend time selecting the pieces you want to put in there, and grow with it. How else will the pandemic change interiors? I think people will want pieces that speak to them and move with them from home to home. Small, versatile pieces that they love. I’m also hearing more people want more outdoor space and big, plush bathrooms. I think we won’t take gardens for granted any more—they will become more a part of our home rather than a separate space. It will be more about nurturing your existence in your home, and that means we

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will instinctively gravitate towards natural materials and textures. Pok is your first collection, created with Pokot women in northern Kenya. Tell us more about the traditional Pokot necklace that forms a motif for the collection. London Craft Week was fortunately an opportunity where we could reach out and share Pok with the community and that was a really good experience. The necklaces worn by the Pokot women are quite uncomfortable, but they will even wear them when they sleep because they are very proud of them. They denote their status in the community. The beading is very difficult to collect, especially the black beads. The Pokot create

Here, our message is to live in a way where you think about the social impact of the items you use, not just from an ecological perspective but also from the perspective of who created it

this detailed beadwork that adorns everything from their clothes to baby bottles—but the necklaces are their most prized possession. We try to stretch the aesthetic in all different ways: there is a threelegged stool and table on which we have these marble beads. They are a very small size, which is quite tricky to achieve by hand. But each grain of marble tells a story—it’s an alive material. It emulates the ornamentation of the Pokot beads. We also have a butler [a type of sideboard or console] which features beading made in Kenya. We are interested in synergies, so we used their beading and combined it with an Italian studio who worked on the butler. The Italians were quite amazed by the

quality of the beadwork, and the women in Kenya were impressed by the Italian leather because it is much more consistent than what they are used to. Among the Pok objects, there is a garment— a cloak. What’s the story there? We are calling this cloak ‘Marsupia’. It is a hybrid between a throw and a cloak. When you wear a cloak your hands are always occupied and you are trying to juggle, so why not have these giant pockets? You can put a book in there and go on your way. When I went to the factory where they make this, it smelt like a farm; it’s made of camel wool. The beading on the pocket is like the Pokot women’s necklace.

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Jar and vase, from the Ainu collection Above right: Marsupia cloak, from the Pok collection Below: Butler, from the Pok collection

Toru said he didn’t want his work just to be in a museum; he wanted his work to be in homes where it could be lived with. That made me know we should collaborate

Your second collection is Ainu, made in collaboration with Toru Kaizawa, who was also featured in London Craft Week. He is one of only a handful of people practicing Ainu art. What was it like to work with him? Toru said he didn’t want his work just to be in a museum; he wanted his work to be in homes where it could be lived with. That made me know we should collaborate. It was a huge learning opportunity for us. The collection is inspired by the Ainu of HokkaidÕ, the indigenous people of Japan, and reflects their connection to nature. They wanted a distinct recognition as a people; they have their own language, craft and food that is different from the rest of Japan. Wood

is considered an almost sacred material to them, and their interaction with it is very natural. They use this intricate fishscale technique on the wood that no-one else knows how to create. The skill is impressive and the work is very calming. The carved kimono in the collection is made from atni, a kind of elm and it was based on a design by Toru’s grandmother, Hagi, held in a museum in Hokkaido. The flexible belt is called a ‘tumus’ and it’s made from one single piece of wood. If you feel the hands, they have a lifelike feel. The light above it is my design, based on an owl called a Blakiston fish owl, believed to protect the Ainu culture. The ceramics and porcelain based on the owl design in this collection obviously have roots in this very ancient culture, yet the pieces also seem very fresh and modern. They would work in a contemporary home. Yes. There was a Japanese lady who came to see this whose father had made a documentary about the Ainu. She said: “I was expecting to see bears and wooden totems but it’s wonderful to see this work in a contemporary setting.” I was shocked because when you explore different cultures that aren’t yours, you don’t want to do the wrong thing and you have to be careful how you do it, so to hear that was very comforting. After that I thought, yes, we’ve got a sort of formula that really works. SOSHIRO 23 Welbeck Street, W1G 8DZ

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After the success of her wry, hilarious, insightful and exuberant 2018 memoir Everything I Know About Love, Dolly Alderton is back with her first novel, Ghosts. Part darkly hilarious social comedy, part meditation on memory, identity and meaning, and often both at once, Ghosts is the story of food writer Nina George Dean—named for George Michael—and a year spent on the London dating scene with an emotional life that’s generally falling apart. The successes of her memoirturned-cookbook Taste and its sequel The Tiny Kitchen have enabled Nina to buy her first flat, a ramshackle Victorian place in Archway marred only by the weirdness of the possiblyhomicidal man downstairs and the abandoned bidet in its eighties peach bathroom. Nina is single, and her relationships with her family and friends are changing, as they do in one’s thirties as parents age and friends pair off, reproduce and move to maisonettes in Bromley. Nina’s oldest friend Katherine is pregnant again, moving to Surrey and mostly interested in discussing motherhood with her “mummy friends”; Nina’s father has had a stroke; her mother is continually reinventing herself from the name up; her ex-boyfriend Joe may still be a close friend, but he’s marrying Lucy, who finds air-travel “glamourous” and has a ragdoll cat called Sergeant Flopsy; and Nina’s only solaces are the emotional support and increasingly desperate antics provided by her beautiful but eccentric Only Single Friend, Lola. Convinced by Lola to try dating apps, she meets Max, and at first things seem to go wonderfully—but what does that mean in these disconnected times, and can she really trust him? Honestly, the social observation

is top notch. The point at which I went from mildly entertained to full on spluttering was approximately five pages in, when Alderton observes that “most men think a good conversation is a conversation where they have imported facts or information that others don’t already know, or dispensed an interesting anecdote, or given tips or advice on an upcoming plan, or otherwise left their mark on the discourse like a streak of piss against a tree”. By the time Nina describes the Schadenfreude Shelf, the process whereby her thirtysomething friends see “every personal decision … as a direct judgement on their life”, I was actively wincing. Alderton’s set-piece dissections of social rituals like hen dos and weddings manage the neat trick of combining devastating accuracy with a genuine respect for the complexity of human feeling that underlies them, and this gives the novel a heart and depth that elevate it far above most novels that prefer the comfort of happy endings and familiar cliches to the nuance and discomfort of actual human experience. Alderton also deals with some serious and heartrending subjects. Nina’s father’s descent into Alzheimer’s is uncompromisingly sad, and its impact on Nina and her mother anatomised with kindness and grace. Similarly, the difficulties of singleness are tackled head on, without descent into banality or dismissal. Even Lola teeters on the brink of caricature without ever losing her essential humanity. Although Ghosts can be beautifully sharp, it has a warmhearted tolerance for human foibles that renders it genuinely moving.


To the End of the World is Rupert Everett’s account of making The Happy Prince, his passion project film about the last years of Oscar Wilde, which was released in 2018 to a respectable clutch of awards. You wouldn’t know about that happy ending (no innuendo intended,

57. Culture unlike in Everett’s text) to read the book, though. With blasé directness, Everett returns repeatedly to his “washed-up” status as a “wheezy matinee idol” with no influence in Hollywood, and substantiates it with this detailed account of his struggles to make this movie, while simultaneously telling blackly funny stories that suggest he’s hardly short of contacts, clout or inspiration. The book can come across as a little disjointed—we zoom from the present to Everett’s childhood to his expulsion from drama school to a succession of European locations and a rotating cast of more-or-less comic characters— but it’s difficult not to get swept up in Everett’s absolutely genuine enthusiasm for the film and his thoughtful yet emotional reflections on Wilde’s troubled final days. His interpretation of the tensions between Wilde, his fatal lover Bosie, and his sustained confidante and literary executor Robbie Ross is plausible, and his account of realising it on film engaging. Everett is often hilarious, at his own expense as often as other people’s, and his reflections on loneliness and the search for meaning—his own and Oscar’s—can be genuinely moving. Moreover, To the End of the World is also a fascinating warts-andall account of how a film gets made, even by such a rackety-yet-infamous luminary as Everett. Ultimately, To the End of the World is rather a touching tribute—whether to cinema, to Oscar Wilde, or the awesome power of a notorious old queen (Everett’s words) with a dream is up to the reader to decide.


Like most people who spend too much time on the internet, I am deeply familiar with the work of Allie Brosh, whose Hyperbole and a Half—a comic about dogs, depression, recalcitrant brains, and being a person in the world— launched a thousand memes and

serious stuff are stories about dogs, the child next door who wants Brosh to see her room, the man who won’t stop hammering, meditation, birds, Hans Christian Andersen. Sometimes it’s blackly, bitterly funny. Nevertheless, or perhaps accordingly, her evocation of grief and madness and depression and their associated states in Solutions and Other Problems is powerful and strange and relatable.


won a not dissimilar number of awards. After its 2013 release, Brosh effectively disappeared, and her follow-up comic, Solutions and Other Problems, explains why. Brosh covers big, dark, difficult human things with energy, paradoxical humour, and surprising relatability. Turns out that in the last seven years, she had been having surgery for “a fruit salad of tumours”, ending one marriage and starting another, and most traumatically of all, dealing with the unexpected suicide of her younger sister and its tragic impact on her family. Solutions and other Problems doesn’t pull its punches. There’s something comforting about the directness with which Brosh approaches trauma, her refusal to minimise, misrepresent or plaster over with platitudes the agonised grief of unexpected early death: “I don’t think either of us understood how much I loved her. It always seemed like there’d be time to sort it out. But we’ll never get to sort it out. And I’ll never get to say sorry. And I’ll never understand why.” It becomes completely unsurprising that Brosh is “mutilating my life like a weaponised rototiller on speed mode”. As fans of Hyperbole and a Half will guess, its successor is also pretty weird. Interspersed with the big

So, you’ve heard of Neil Gaiman. Maybe you’ve seen Good Omens, or American Gods, or Coraline. Maybe you’ve read The Wolves in the Walls or Fortunately, the Milk to your children. Maybe you follow him on Twitter, heartened by his politeness but mildly bemused by a lot of his posts. Maybe your partner, friend, child or postman is really into him but you wonder what all the fuss is about. Maybe you love him deeply, and know everything he’s ever written, including the comics bundle, but your partner, friend, child or postman doesn’t and you don’t know where to start. Never fear! In all these scenarios, the Neil Gaiman Reader is here to solve your problem. Spanning Gaiman’s career and a diverse range of his output, The Neil Gaiman Reader was created as an introduction and a guide. Containing an introduction by novelist Marlon James, short stories from 1984 to 2018, and extracts from Neil’s very different novels, the material here was voted for by fans across the world, and represents a decent cross-section of Gaiman’s insightful, fantastical, absorbing, and disquieting work. It’s an incredibly varied mix of genres and tones. The phrase ‘something for everyone’ is both overused and likely inaccurate, but if you enjoy wry, perceptive twists on tales and genres and human scenarios, you’ll have a marvellous time with the Neil Gaiman Reader.

58. Style out of your wardrobe in the morning. Do you wear a suit every day? I do most days, but I wear it very relaxed. I wear it like I would wear a tracksuit, with a t-shirt and trainers. There are all these old-world ideas of what a suit has to be, and they’re not applicable to a lot of people. What we have always tried to do is cater to the individual, rather than enforcing a specific code on everyone who walks through the door.

QA CHARLIE CASELYHAYFORD The co-founder of Casely-Hayford on slow fashion, London style tribes and continuing his father’s legacy in the family business INTERVIEW: LAUREN BRAVO PORTRAIT: RORY VAN MILLINGEN

Just what is it about the power of a sharp suit? Do you think that good tailoring can affect us psychologically? Very much so. A lot of people liken a well-cut suit to body armour. I think the confidence comes from something fitting you so well, and the fact that you’re part of the design process; it’s a collaboration between tailoring house and client. This gives the clothing a greater currency than the average garment in your wardrobe. Throwaway culture is so abundant now, clothing has been devalued within people’s lives and garments aren’t things that we hold onto for years and years, or pass down. But tailoring is different. There’s an amazing energy around each suit when you pull it

Lots of us are now ‘business on top, sweatpants on the bottom’. Do we need a revival of old-fashioned glamour, or are traditional dress codes dead? I’m into the high/low mix, but I also think there are moments when dressing up makes you feel good about yourself and that shouldn’t be forgotten. If you get too comfortable in your loungewear, it can have an impact on your state of mind— particularly as so many of us are now stuck at home most working days. It’s a positive thing, mentally, to make a bit more effort and create that separation between home and work... even if it’s just for a Zoom call. You’ve dressed an incredible rollcall of stars for the red carpet. Who have been your career-defining clients? It’s not necessarily about people being famous. On a personal level, I get just as much joy—if not more—from cutting

someone a suit for their wedding day. It means that we’re a small part of the happiest and most important day of someone’s life, and that really resonates with me. We also have a strong connection with the music industry and a lot of British musicians. It’s an integral part of the brand. What’s nice is that we’ve often dressed artists at quite pivotal moments, such as James Blake winning his first Grammy, The xx winning the Mercury Prize, or Sam Smith getting his first Brit Award. All of those figures were taking that next big step in their career, and it’s a real privilege to have been a part of that. Casely-Hayford is a family affair, and you come from a pretty incredible family. What was it like growing up in such a creative household? My dad [pioneering designer Joe CaselyHayford OBE] met my mum, Maria Stevens, at Central Saint Martins when they were 19, and they worked together running his label until he passed away just under two years ago. My sister and I spent a lot of time in their studios as kids, surrounded by clothes, going to runway shows—it was a pretty insane childhood in retrospect, but to us it was just normality. One time, Princess Diana turned up to my dad’s London Fashion Week show, and my sister and I got bumped from the front row to the second. That was quite an eye-opener.

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The brand is about duality; it’s a concept that has resonated with my family for generations. My great-grandfather wore traditional kente cloth when he studied at Cambridge, then would go back to Ghana and wear Savile Row suits

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My mum and my dad were like a single entity; it’s rare that you meet a couple who have worked together every single day since they met. So I hear a lot of my dad through my mum, which is wonderful, and of course I hear her own voice as well

You were only 22 when you and he created the Casely-Hayford label together. How did your styles influence each other? There’s always the assumption that I brought the youthful element to the table, but actually it was the other way round! I was more classic and my dad was always the one pushing the boundaries. That was just who he was. He was incredibly engaged with culture, always willing to learn and unlearn. A lot of the design process was about the conversation between father and son, experiencing the same thing from different perspectives. The brand is about duality; it’s a concept that has resonated with my family for generations. My greatgrandfather [eminent

lawyer and journalist JE Casely Hayford] would wear traditional kente cloth when he studied at Cambridge, then he would go back to Ghana and wear Savile Row suits. That idea of double consciousness runs through our brand, and also through our family history. Do you still hear your dad’s voice when you’re designing? Oh yes. My mum and my dad were like a single entity; it’s rare that you meet a couple who have worked together every single day since they met. So I hear a lot of my dad through my mum, which is wonderful, and of course I hear her own voice as well. I feel more like a torchbearer, carrying on this family legacy to the next generation. It’s

certainly not a lonely journey.

the same as someone in Bognor Regis.

It’s been said that your clothes “sell London to the world”. What makes them a sartorial reflection of the city? The socio-economic hierarchies in Britain have always created retaliation, rallied up incredible movements and spawned unique subcultures. Whether that’s mods, teds, skins, new romantics, nu rave, Britpop… there are just so many, and they’ve all been a reaction to the establishment. But I do feel that has changed over the past 10 years. Access to infinite information stifles that kind of creativity. A tribe is physical, it’s parochial—but the internet negates that. Now you can have someone in Kyoto dressed exactly

The Casely-Hayford label started out in Dover Street Market and then moved to Chiltern Street two years ago. What made you choose Marylebone? We like the community, and the neighbourhood feeling that is quite unique to Marylebone. You don’t get that same sense of togetherness in Mayfair. There’s a real sophisticated intelligence in the people who live and work in the area, and the Marylebone man and woman are very much aligned with the Casely-Hayford man and woman. It just felt very natural. I still can’t think of anywhere else we would have wanted to open our first store.

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Your wife, interior designer Sophie Ashby, designed the store. Does it feel like an extension of your home? Yes, we pretty much designed it around that idea. Often when I go into luxury stores or tailoring houses, they’re quite austere and intimidating. We just wanted to create the warmest environment that we could, and we came to the conclusion that emulating our apartment was the natural way to make someone feel relaxed, so my wife set about creating this wonderful little world. The store is very small, but the intimacy is part of its charm. And everything is for sale—the furniture, the artwork, not just the clothing. So we’re allowed to pop in just for a browse?

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Just because you’ve decided to save up and invest in a bespoke garment, why does that mean it needs to be a suit? Why can’t it be a bomber jacket, or a jumpsuit, or a trench coat?

Absolutely! We once had a client—who wasn’t even a client yet—come in, sit downstairs in the fitting room and read a book for half an hour. Then he left without buying anything. It was a wonderful moment. Sustainability is one of the most crucial topics of conversation happening in fashion just now. How do we best counter the speed and excesses of the industry? It’s such a complicated subject, because there’s no blanket answer. There’s a lot of waste in terms of excess stock, both on the high street and at a luxury level. You’re secondguessing your customer and committing to these huge orders, and then there are piles and piles of clothes at the end of each season and everything is

on sale all the time. It’s a model that doesn’t work on a number of levels, not least for the environment, and it’s the antithesis of what we do. A lot of our pieces are made to order, we don’t make much of each style, we respond to the client base, we work with small artisans, and when we need more, we make more. We use a lot of deadstock fabrics too. It’s impossible to scale that kind of thinking up to the size of the big guys, and that’s where the problem lies. But we’re not trying to take over the world. I’m happy where I am. Racism is another longoverdue conversation in fashion (and pretty much everywhere else). How do we create a genuinely inclusive fashion industry?

I’m conscious that the easy win for a lot of brands is just to put a model of colour in your campaign and tick the box. But it’s about so much more than that. A lot of the problems stem from behind the curtain. It’s about a lack of diversity in the boardrooms, and that’s where it needs to be addressed first and foremost; then it can trickle down through the hierarchy. But whether people are doing it for the right or wrong reasons, we can’t deny that there is change happening. It’s at a glacial pace, but we are going in the right direction. What’s next on the Casely-Hayford to-do list? We’re trying to build the idea of modern

personal tailoring. The word ‘tailoring’ is often associated with formal suiting—but just because you’ve decided to save up and invest in a bespoke garment, why does that mean it needs to be a suit? Why can’t it be a bomber jacket, or a jumpsuit, or a trench coat? Something casual. We’re opening up that market in quite a unique way, with a more relaxed offering alongside our suits. And we’re getting amazing reactions from clients. To be able to have a range of pieces created in collaboration with you is an exciting way of building your wardrobe—and more sustainable too. You value your clothing more if you’ve been a part of its creation. CASELY-HAYFORD 3 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PB

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Kate Allden of KJ’s Laundry on a Spanish label that gives a feminine feel to masculine forms Masscob is a Spanish label whose clothes are very pretty, but with a masculine edge to them; it’s like a feminine take on masculine shapes and styles. The volume sleeves and the loose shoulders of the Kalinda shirt are very Masscob, as are these Benton trousers: but beautifully tailored, they hold their shape, and are slightly cropped, which is on trend. The wool is stunning, with a perfect finish, and the rise is medium—not too high, which women often prefer. At Masscob, they spend a lot of time on craftsmanship and detailing: like this shirt, with its pretty pin-tuck at the front and embroidered cornflowers. The shirt is cotton, and there is just enough volume in the sleeves for it to nod to the volume-sleeve trend. If it’s cold, you could put a crew neck jumper over the top. I’m not sure a cardigan would work, but Masscob do have beautiful knitwear. Finished off with some subtle jewellery—perhaps something by Marissa Irwin—and it’s the perfect Zoom meeting shirt. KJ’S LAUNDRY 74 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PW

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Marylebone Lane which would be the London home of the Tissa Fontaneda collection and a carefully curated selection of brands we love.

Q&A: Corin Mellor The CEO of David Mellor on the art of laying the table

With Nappa Bubble bags, it was Tissa’s dream to create something classic, timeless and luxurious, but with a twist. She worked very closely with leather technicians to develop the idea, and spent a long time finding highly skilled artisans to produce it. The Nappa Bubble bags are made from the finest buttery soft nappa lambskin which is sourced from the top tannery in Spain.


THE NAPPA BUBBLE BAG Raffaella Zoppelletto on Tissa Fontaneda and her iconic Nappa Bubble bags Originally from Munich, Tissa Fontaneda began her design career in Paris before relocating to Madrid and joining the Spanish luxury brand Loewe. There, she learned about handbag manufacturing and leathers from some of Europe’s greatest artisans. She launched her eponymous label in 2010, and her signature Nappa Bubble collection is now one of the most distinctive and intriguing luxury brands in the marketplace. Though I am Italian by birth, I have spent 20 years in London, running a fashion business. I fell in love with Tissa’s handbags, and managed to establish her brand in Chelsea, in my shop Ella Boutique. Tissa and I discovered that we were women who shared a very similar vision. I love her style and approach to fashion, and I love that she is a woman who wants to support other women: women make up 99 per cent of the people in her company. We decided to partner and open a flagship store on

The bubble effect is achieved through a lengthy and complex steaming process, where each section of leather is individually handcrafted. Each bag takes about three months to produce, a process characterised by impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail. Because of the quality of the leather, these bags age like a fine bottle of wine; they get better and better over time. I travel everywhere by public transport and although I have lived in London for over 20 years, I always forget my umbrella. Yet even when I get caught in the rain, the bag remains beautiful and perfect. Use lukewarm water and a natural soap with a soft cloth to clean the bag every two to three weeks and don’t forget to always store your bag inside the dust bag when not being used. We were supposed to open just before lockdown hit, but everything was delayed. Throughout the first lockdown, I went to the store once or twice a week to dress the mannequins in the window. I would style them in colourful dresses, bags and accessories, and leave the lights on. When we finally opened in June, I had so many people coming in to thank me for brightening up the lane. The reaction still moves me to tears. Times are tough, but we will get through it! TISSA FONTANEDA 39 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2NP

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Signature Stripe drawstring backpack Paul Smith, £475 Heart cufflinks Cox and Power, £575 Swedish military trainers Trunk Clothiers, £175 Cashmere two tone textured jumper Brora, £375

Washed jeans Sandro, £165 Fine texture knitted polo shirt Sunspel, £108 Zipped bomber sweater Slowear, £805 Lounge socks Hamilton and Hare, £22

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QA CORIN MELLOR The CEO of David Mellor on the art of laying the table INTERVIEW: CLARE FINNEY

In recent years, have you noticed people putting more thought into their table when it comes to dinner parties, celebrations and so on? I would say certainly over the past 10 years we have seen in our shops a general move to tableware. It’s regarded as quite an important thing to invest in—especially at Christmas. Anything red or green just walks out of the shop. That said, there has been a definite move away from the more formal table setting. You see far less of the white tablecloths and five million pieces of cutlery, and far more bare table tops and nice bowls Are there any specific trends that you’ve seen developing? We’ve seen no trends as such—we’re not really a

trends place. Our designs are about constancy and timelessness. There are two interesting developments, though: one is a move toward craftsmanship. People love the idea of dining with something handcrafted. They are interested in where their crockery, their mats and so on are made, and who by—and that’s really good. Of course, this

has now been picked up by large manufacturers, who have started mass producing items that look handcrafted. The second is an appreciation for absolute design classics. We have a beautiful range called Thomas by Rosenthal, which we never used to sell much of. Now people appreciate the amazing Bauhaus history behind it.

One thing that has gone ballistic is steak knives. I don’t know who’s eating all this steak, but we now have about five different varieties of steak knife. Ten years ago we only had one. By and large, though, the range of cutlery people buy is much more pared down. There are a few odd fads, like cake forks, which have become strangely popular. I’ve never owned

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a cake fork, but we do sell a lot of them now. How has the ongoing pandemic influenced people’s approach? For one thing, because people are spending so much time in their houses, they are looking at their tables more, critiquing them and looking for change, either because they are bored or because

One thing that has gone ballistic is steak knives. I don’t know who’s eating all this steak, but we now have about five different varieties of steak knife. Ten years ago we only had one

they finally have the time and money to invest. Earlier this year, we had a couple who had to cancel their holiday to Greece, so decided to spend that money on a new set of cutlery. People are also eating out less, which is really sad, but it has forced them to re-evaluate their own dinner table. Part of the joy of eating out is the table setting—the

cutlery, the glassware, the plates and so on—so they’re looking at how they can bring some of that restaurant experience back home. The other thing is that people have become a lot more serious about food. They are having fresh fish delivered, special cheeses, making their own bread, so they care a lot more about how it is served.

70. Life and do Christmas in a big way—albeit on a far smaller scale.

Each of your cutlery designs seems to have its own distinct personality. How should I go about choosing what style is right for me? Cutlery is a tool, and a tool needs to perform a function. So the first thing to make sure of is that the cutlery you choose is performing the function it is supposed to fulfil. Every spoon will work to some extent, but some spoons will annoy you; and if it annoys you, it will annoy you three or four times a day. So that’s the first thing—it needs to work, and you need to enjoy using it. We have people who come in and try out cutlery in their hand two or three times before deciding. Then it’s about aesthetic, and that’s a personal thing. You want to choose a style that you will really fall in love with. The other thing to consider is longevity, because you want something that will still work in 10, 20 years’ time. My design philosophy is to design for the test of time; our designs aren’t trying too hard. They are just aesthetically correct. How important is consistency of style?

Consistency is so important. There is nothing worse than when you go to someone’s house, and you see different makes of plates, all slightly different tones and sizes. That is partly a result of trend-driven, money-led mass manufacturing— factories following fashions and launching new colours, sizes and shapes every year. I’m a firm believer that, if you buy a range of plates or cutlery, you should be able to buy the same in 10 years’ time, otherwise you find yourself buying a whole new range just because one or two plates have broken. I don’t think things like cutlery and crockery should fall into that sort of fast fashionstyle manufacturing. What are the basic principles of a well laid table? I think the main one is to respect the food, the cooking and the occasion. The table is ultimately there to promote conversation and good food. You can do a lot with simple things like place mats and simple centrepieces. Pick an accent colour, use that for the place mats and the candelabra or candle

I’m a firm believer that, if you buy a range of plates or cutlery, you should be able to buy the same in 10 years’ time, otherwise you find yourself buying a whole new range just because one or two plates have broken

holder, and you have something that just brings the table together and puts a bit of fun into things. Even just nice stainless-steel candlesticks can transform a table. The most common mistake is to litter the table so that it becomes something of a visual nightmare. I tend to think of Coco Chanel’s quote about looking in the mirror and then always removing one thing. Do you think people will bother investing in Christmas table decorations this year? I actually think Christmas this year will be quite an extravagance. I’ve just expanded our mail order department in anticipation of such. We’ve had such a terrible year, we will want to splash out

What do you advise people to invest in so they can have as jolly a Christmas as possible? I think everyone should have a really good sharp knife, because there is nothing worse than trying to carve a goose or a turkey with a blunt knife. Then there are candles, which are a fine and inexpensive way of making your Christmas special. We have some beautiful Finnish candles from a firm called Finnmari, which have a solid colour all the way through rather than being white on the inside. They’re a design classic, and they work beautifully with the range of 1960s-style cast iron holders we sell—always popular at this time of year. At home, do you have a certain range of cutlery that only makes an appearance at Christmas time, or do you use the same set throughout the year? I usually bring out our set of Pride cutlery, but I have recently brought out a whole canteen of Embassy sterling silver, so I think we might use that this year. The idea of having a set of cutlery for best is very traditional, of course, but I think there are people who like that. It’s like getting out a dress you don’t often wear. It makes the experience special. The only issue with silver cutlery is the chore of polishing it all... DAVID MELLOR 14 New Cavendish Street, W1G 8UW

71. Life


Clockwise from top left: Yali glass gelato spoon Mouki Mou, £30 Ame mirror Caravane, from €135 Ilex Studio avocado vase The Conran Shop, £40 Abbatt Toys calendar Margaret Howell, £15 Moroccan mint tea candle Cire Trudon, from €85

72. Health

QA PROFESSOR PROKAR DASGUPTA Consultant urologist at The London Clinic and this year’s recipient of the prestigious St Peter’s medal, talks robotic surgery, innovation and the search for synergy INTERVIEW: VIEL RICHARDSON PORTRAIT: JOSEPH FOX

What is robotic surgery? Robotic surgery is a form of keyhole surgery where the surgeon carries out the procedure by controlling miniaturised surgical instruments through a series of robotic arms. Sitting in front of a console, the surgeon’s hands are secured to the controls by Velcro straps. The surgeon then controls both the robotic arms and surgical instruments while viewing the procedure on a high definition video screen. From a prostate surgeon’s perspective, what is the benefit of using robots? With traditional open surgery, we made one cut long enough to allow access to the prostate. The patient often lost quite a bit of blood. This meant more time in hospital and more pain for the patient.

With a robot, we make six small holes, so there is much less trauma for the patient. The robot’s tiny instruments give you better access and also allow you to be much more precise with your cuts. Also, no matter how good a surgeon is, there may be a slight amount of tremor at the tip of a cutting instrument; the robot can filter this out completely. We first talked about this field in 2015. How has it progressed since then? While the idea behind the technology remains very similar, there have been real improvements. The 3D HD screens provide even clearer images, magnified by a factor of 10, giving us a wonderful view. The prostate, which is the size of little chestnut, looks the size a football. There has also been the development of image guided surgery. We transfer scans of the prostate into the robot and plan the best route for accessing and removing the tumour before the procedure starts. The ability to 3D print the prostate from very accurate scans is hugely beneficial in planning tumour removal. It gives me a very accurate reproduction of how the tumour is located and where I need to go to make sure I get all the cancer. The combination of image guided surgery and 3D printing had led to very intelligent surgery. What else has improved? Connectivity has taken a major step forward. By this, I mean the ability to virtually transport an expert surgeon from one part of the world to the other. This is made possible

by the development of low-latency, high-speed lines of communication. A technology which does that very well is called PROXIMIE, an augmented reality secure platform for virtual surgical collaboration. It has already been used during the pandemic to allow a surgeon from Seattle to guide a very complex procedure here in London. Finally, there is artificial intelligence (AI), which was not available to us back in 2015. One extremely useful use of this is assessing a procedure. We attach what is essentially a small computer to the robot, which tracks the surgeon’s movements. Having tracked a series of procedures, it can see which surgeon is making the most economical movements. It can also be linked to how the patient does after the procedure. For example, if I remove someone’s prostate, they’re concerned about losing erections or bladder control for a period of time. AI allows us to determine which movements lead to better patient outcomes, to a level you couldn’t do with the human eye, which leads to better surgical practice. What is the state of play with automated operations? The principle of automating part of a procedure has been around for a while. There is a robot called STAR which has been shown to stitch bowels far more accurately than any human can. But we are nowhere near a point whereby I press a button and robots in parallel rooms do the procedure. We will need

human judgement for a very long time to come, as there is always the potential for something unexpected to occur. The robots are getting better at carrying out some techniques, but they are still carrying out a set of predetermined steps. You still need a human to deal with the unexpected, sometimes quite quickly, during a procedure. There is also the fact that machines fail, and when they do, a surgeon needs to be able to take over. This interface between robot and human seems to be a complex area. Yes, we call this branch of thinking ‘humanics’. It is the science of understanding what a machine can do better than a human, but equally and more importantly, what a human can do better than a machine. Many people worry that these machines are going to replace surgeons completely. A time will come when with machine learning we can train the robots to do more and more complex surgical procedures, but I’m not certain that this will happen very soon because there can be so many judgement calls about which direction to take during any single operation. That’s why you go to an expert surgeon: to make the correct judgment call in real time at the operating table. It’s about building a synergy between the surgeon and the robot, with increased patient welfare being the ultimate aim. Does robotics make it easier to operate on obese people? Yes and no. Physically,

73. Health

74. Health it is easier, no question: you can access the organs more easily. But that does not mean that we should. The correct thing to do is help the patient lose weight and get optimised for surgery, because this is not just about their cancer, but their overall health. If a man is obese, his risk of dying from heart disease, diabetes or other obesityrelated illness can be much higher than the risk from prostate cancer. To say, “I’ll cure you of your cancer and not tackle your weight” is not the right thing to do. Getting ready for robotics procedures is not a walk in the park. The operating table is at an angle which has the feet elevated above the head. This leads to pressure on the heart and lungs during the procedure. The fitter the patient, the better they come through it. You need to stop drinking alcohol, stop smoking and lose excessive weight. What percentage of prostate operations are done robotically? When I started, it was one per cent. There were two robots in the whole country, at Guy’s hospital and St Mary’s, both NHS hospitals. The London Clinic was the first private hospital to invest in robotics, which was a very bold, forward-thinking move. The Royal College of Surgeons recently released data saying that the percentage is now up to 90. That is an extraordinary uptake. Is it value for money as well as clinically effective? That is an extremely good question, which has taken

The robots are getting better at carrying out some techniques, but they are still carrying out a set of predetermined steps. You still need a human to deal with the unexpected, sometimes quite quickly

an extraordinary amount of time to answer. I have been heavily involved with pushing the boundaries of robotic surgery and have seen great progress, but as a scientist, you constantly question yourself as to whether these advances are a cost-effective way to improve patient safety. This is extremely expensive technology, and shorter patient stays in hospital is not enough in itself. So, what is cost effectiveness? You look at the greater societal costs known as ‘out of pocket costs’, of people being off work and unable to engage in their normal economic and cultural activities. Earlier this year, I was involved in a publishing a paper in the JAMA Network Open journal, looking at patients who had undergone either

an open or robotic radical prostatectomy, hysterectomy, partial colectomy, radical nephrectomy, or partial nephrectomy for a solidorgan cancer. Having looked at huge amounts of data, we found out that for treating prostate, gynaecological and bowel cancer, the out of pocket costs were lower with robotic surgery than they were with traditional open surgery. After many years, I feel relieved! Are you still involved in robotics research? Luckily, I have managed to remain at the cutting edge, and there are some really exciting developments coming through. There’s something called hyperspectral imaging, where you can analyse high resolution scans using computerised algorithms with such accuracy that you would not have to stain a biopsy to determine the presence or level of a tumour. That would be an incredible advance. Then we have some very exciting work based on machine learning, whereby if you are doing a robotic colonoscopy—examining the bowel with a robotic colonoscope—you can train a machine to spot tumours or polyps which the human eye would miss. I’m also involved with the National Clinical Entrepreneurship Programme, and along with colleagues I mentor a number of biomedical start-ups. One is an AI company called who have worked with us here at The London Clinic. They are developing AI algorithms that can lead to more consistently accurate

interpretations of MRI scans. At the moment, the algorithms are around 87 per cent accurate and getting better. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be involved in medical robot technologies. How do you see the field changing in the next five years? For the benefits of robotic surgery to reach many more patients, the costs have to come down. If prices continue to rise, I don’t think this is sustainable even for the wealthier nations. The machines are also becoming smaller and more modular, which is good. Connectivity means ultra-low latency connections, allowing us to virtually transport surgical expertise to more areas of the world more easily. We can use 5G to shorten lag times and then AI to cut it even further. Thirdly, there is AI itself. This is a very interesting space. At the moment, I would characterise its future direction as a bag of unknown unknowns. There is such enormous potential, but we have to ensure what we do is of real benefit to patients, not just satisfying scientific curiosity. Otherwise you get wonderful technical advances gathering dust in libraries. Humanics will play a crucial role in the direction of surgical AI. Ultimately, there will be an increasing degree of automation in many procedures, but the surgeon will still play the central role for a long time to come. THE LONDON CLINIC 20 Devonshire Place, W1G 6BW


The London Clinic is the UK’s largest independent private hospital, with a leading weight management unit, featuring some of the best medical experts, facilities and services available. Our expert team assess and treat each person individually, building a weight management plan that helps you achieve your goals.

To find out how we can help you, call +44 (0)20 8108 9622 or visit

76. Space

QA SIMON HEDLEY The director of Druce on the impact of Covid, the development of video viewings, and the Ronnie Corbett connection INTERVIEW: ELLIE COSTIGAN

Tell us about your background. How did you come to be an estate agent? I grew up in the Derbyshire Dales and joined a management programme there with the very progressive Olympus Sports, the sports retailer, during their early days. As the company grew, I progressed and moved around the country, eventually finding myself managing a large concession in Selfridges and then ultimately the flagship Olympus Sports store on Oxford Street. Having settled into London life, I then moved to an estate agency in Hampstead for a couple of years before coming to my true love, Marylebone. How did you come to head up Druce? For seven years I was with a good independent agency in west London, before being commissioned to bring Druce back to Marylebone. Marylebone was Druce’s spiritual home, having opened in Baker Street in 1822 and expanded into Manchester Square during the mid1900s. Little known fact: Ronnie Corbett used to work in that office. He was, as he put it, “the Xerox

At Druce, we have all been through downturns of different natures, and we all believe in Marylebone as an area. We are all 100 per cent committed to what we do boy”! Druce disappeared from Marylebone for around a decade, but in 1997 I opened the office in Weymouth Street. We are still here today—so far, despite Covid! How has Druce been impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown? We certainly have fewer visitors coming into

our office. For the full lockdown we had to stay away from the office, but the non-furloughed staff were able to communicate and work from home. Although unfortunately four agreed deals fell through during lockdown, we managed to agree two new ones. We have been able to advise clients and keep them updated. On a positive note, we’ve also

77. Space can be very selective. Sales are more erratic. Unusual or rarer properties are still attracting good attention and reasonable bids. However, the more routine units are gaining very little traction and, in some cases, require significant reductions to create demand. The main problem is the uncertainty. The stamp duty relief certainly helps, but given that it is only worth up to £17,000 and properties often sell for more than a million in the Marylebone area, it is not really a deal changer.

Our videos are something we are proud of. We have a film maker who is currently not working and therefore at our disposal, and the results have been fantastic

had more time to catch up with clients, as well as buyers we had lost touch with. How have you managed to adapt? The buyers we are dealing with often ask for high quality videos, and this does help restrict unnecessary risk. Our videos are something we are proud of. We

have a film maker who is currently not working and therefore at our disposal, and the results have been fantastic. For social distancing reasons, we also cannot have a full complement of staff in each day, so we have a rota that splits the team between working in the office and from home. When showing flats, we always wear face masks

and sanitise our hands frequently. What about the market— how have sales and lettings been affected? In different ways. The lettings market has been affected by fewer overseas executives arriving into Marylebone, as well as fewer international students, and the number of units on the market means tenants

How do you see things developing in the long term, both in terms of the market and Druce’s plans to weather the storm of further lockdowns, should they occur? I think we shall continue to have a lack of certainty for the next period—perhaps until the end of the first quarter next year, when hopefully the world is able to emerge from the uncertainty of Covid. As we saw with the short-lived ‘Boris bounce’, there will be pent up demand and I believe that could stimulate the market in terms of unit sales, but not necessarily lead to capital gains initially. Fortunately, Druce is in a strong position, with very experienced staff to see through this difficult period. We have all been through downturns of different natures and all believe in Marylebone as an area. We are all 100 per cent committed to what we do. DRUCE 61 Weymouth Street, W1G 8NR

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