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Winter 2012 Issue 18 of your FREE guide to everything that is anything in Covent Garden




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Where the City meets the West End

Quite literally dominating the Strand and a perfect backdrop to Covent Garden, the Strand Palace Hotel offers stylish Club and Executive bedrooms and provides an excellent service with four restaurants and bars to select from. Situated in the heart of the West End with Charing Cross, Covent Garden and Waterloo stations close by, it is the perfect base to enjoy the capital!

t: 020 7836 8080 | e: Strand Palace Hotel 372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ

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Winter 2012 Issue 18 of your FREE guide to everything that is anything in Covent Garden


02 04 32 40 48 52 EDITOR’S LETTER






04—Colour vision The multi-coloured world of Rabeanco. 10—Toy story One of the Apple Market’s more singular craftspeople. 14—Gift guide All of your Christmas gift needs from one little quarter of London. 20—Are you experienced? From French cheese to flower arranging— experience gifts. 22—Woolly thinking An artist at Aubin & Wills. 24—My fashion life Nick Ashley, designer at Private White VC. 26—Expert eye Dressing for parties. 27—Union Jack Cro’ Jack. 28—Hamming it up Brora meets Michael van der Ham. 30—Bass jumping Ben Bastin of the Ben Bastin Gypsy Trio.

32—Recipes in excess Recipes from Jamie Oliver, Peter Gordon, J Sheekey and Opera Tavern. 36—Dark arts The secrets of extraordinary chocolate, as told by Venchi. 38—Complete bullocks Kerrie Tokens of Woodwards Farm. 39—Buyer be aware A guide to coffee-based gift buying.

40—A tough nut to crack Up close and personal with one of the rising stars of ballet, and the bearer of a world-famous surname. 44—Satanic verses Robert le Diable at the Royal Opera House 45—From the crew room SAD times. 45—Julia Caesar Shakespeare without men. 46—Exhibit Forthcoming exhibitions.

48—End of the line Glyn Brown tells the story of the decline and fall of Aldwych station, from war hero to empty shell.

52—Block party A Lego advent calendar and the rest of Covent Garden’s Christmas highlights. 56—Special agents Savills. 58—Directory

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Useful websites

EDITOR’S LETTER /Mark Riddaway

A famous name can be a terrible burden. When I was growing up, one of the local dads had the misfortune to be called James Bond. Shortly after Mr Bond’s christening, Ian Fleming had, with a few strokes of a pen, promptly ruined his entire life. Crippled by the fear of having to introduce himself to strangers, especially women, he spent his life studiously avoiding any circumstances in which he might be forced to give his details to the police, secure in the knowledge that to do so would risk, at best, an entirely undeserved night in the cells. At least he had the good sense not to try his hand at the espionage game. In this issue of CGJ, we interview two men who have shown the wherewithal to live up to their famous surnames. Nick Ashley, son of Laura Ashley, followed his mum into the rag trade and is currently doing great things as the designer for Private White VC. Yonah Acosta, meanwhile, has pursued the same path as his uncle Carlos, the world’s most famous dancer, and is now living up to his name at the English National Ballet. Nick was possibly our most entertaining and uninhibited interviewee of the year, while Yonah is a man of such composure and fearlessness that a career in lion taming could easily beckon should the whole ballet thing not pan out. The burden of a famous name is something they carry almost as lightly as those ballerinas Yonah chucks about on stage which such devastating grace. Metaphorically speaking, these two men have taken their famous names with them to the bar and ordered a martini.

Editor Mark Riddaway 020 7401 7297 Deputy editor Viel Richardson 020 7401 7297


Assistant editor Clare Finney 020 7401 7297

E a r

Advertising sales Donna Earrey 020 7401 2772 Steve Charles 0844 800 4121 steve@lscpublish


Publisher LSC Publishing Unit 11 La Gare 51 Surrey Row London SE1 0BZ Contributers Jean-Paul Aubin-Parvu Holly Cox Shannon Denny Joseph Fox Jonny Garrett Angela Holder Antonia Michel Design and art direction Em-Project Limited 01892 614 346 Distribution Letterbox Printing Buxton NEXT ISSUE: MARCH 2013

To Editor of the Year, Winner 2011 Writer of the Year, Winner 2011 (Viel Richardson) Designer of the Year, Winner 2010

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2213 DC

A glass of complimentary Champagne with each Afternoon Tea quote ‘Journal’

Dine in Style in the West End Enjoy a delectable Afternoon Tea or pre theatre dinner at The Bloomsbury Hotel perfectly located away from the hustle and bustle. Relax in the sumptuous lounge or the neighbourhood style restaurant before heading out to your favourite show. Afternoon Tea | Pre-Theatre Dining

| Express Lunch Menu | À La Carte | Cocktails

16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN

To make a booking contact us on +44 (0)20 7347 1000

For more details please visit BOSTON

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COLOUR VISION Rabeanco’s creative director Bella Den on Patti Smith, risqué colours and the worst crimes of handbag design

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LIFE Rabeanco 25 Long Acre

Their leather is Italian. Their aesthetic seems quintessentially European. Carine Roitfeld and Lara Stone are numbered among their fans. But the distinctive jewel coloured bags of Rabeanco, which have been dangling from the arm of many a discerning shopper since arriving on Long Acre a year ago, are not European in design at all. They’re Asian. Founded in Hong Kong in the 1980s, Rabeanco’s arrival in Britain was heralded not so much by forward planning, as by sheer circumstance: “We were not actively seeking to open a London store at this time, it just seemed to make sense to do it and everything else has fallen into place,” explains director Andrew Ng. The brand now has 16 stores worldwide, with its combination of colour, function and quirk having proved irresistible to women of all nationalities. It’s little wonder, therefore, that the brand’s creative director Bella Den is so open minded when it comes to her inspirations, and her style. CGJ: Your muses range from Carine Roitfield to Abbey Lee Kershaw. If you could see your bag on the arms of anyone who would it be? Bella Den: We do indeed have a large range of muses scattered across the time spectrum, the majority of whom are musicians. A few include Norah Jones, Sade in the 1980s, and—though I guess not many might be able to pick this out— Patti Smith during the 70s! Patti has been our secret muse for quite a few seasons already: in fact, she has inspired many of our best sellers. We love our muses and their music and I would find it very flattering to see any one of them wearing our designs.

Who in fashion design do you most aspire to emulate? Well I own a lot of Diane Von Furstenberg’s wrap dresses, and these cowboy boots I am wearing now are from Isabel Marant. I absolutely adore them—I have always had a love for cowboy boots. My favourite pair was found in a vintage market in Florence. What is your fashion forecast for bags in SS13, and where does Rabeanco fit into it? For us fashion forecasts are only relevant to a certain degree—we work with it to a point that it doesn’t interfere with our ethics. Simplicity and timelessness hold a lot more importance. We also care a lot about the lightness our bags bring to our customers, whether it be a physical lightness or a type of lightness a customer feels visually. This is something that we have always gone for, and it will remain so.

What sets Rabeanco apart from other brands? Our ever-expanding range of styles, leathers, and variety of colours. We are all about experimenting with new concepts and combinations. What do you think about when you design a new bag? Ultimately we design to complement, for a handbag to emerge gracefully with its wearer. Imagining outfits in mind always helps! Where else do you find inspiration? This is quite a difficult question, as for most of the time inspiration happens pretty much wherever I go. I must admit though, that being inspired whilst on holiday is the best! 07 Covent Garden Journal Issue 18 Winter 2012

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How does fashion design differ between Asia and Europe—if at all? Do some bags sell better in some countries than in others? In fairness, global taste is actually not as fluctuant as we sometimes like to think, although it does secure certain boundaries of what people do and do not like within a certain period of time in fashion. The tendency would be for Asians to prefer smaller, colourful bags while Europeans generally prefer darker colours. Another significant difference is to do with the European club culture—clutches sell really quickly in Europe!

What do you look for in the perfect handbag? Amazing leather that is full of character, great structure, fine construction, great hand feel and amazing compartments. What is in your handbag? My phone, my purse, and I am never without my cherry lipstick and scrapbook.

What are the risks of brightly coloured bags—any sartorial no-nos? I thought fashion was all about going for the no-nos! Are bright bags too risqué? I myself like to go for the full spectrum, but maybe that’s just me. How did you get into fashion design? My father was a tailor, and I have been making my own clothes ever since I took an interest in fashion as a teenager. I started making frequent trips to Milan and Florence around 15 years ago and I remember getting these intensely exciting artistic inspirations after leather exhibitions every time we went. That was how my taste in leather eventually developed. What is your favourite city or country in terms of style? I am not sure I have a right answer for you on this one —each city has its own unique atmosphere and character, and depending on the design I am working on I use different atmospheres for reference. But I do certainly love a good Turkish cuisine! What’s the worst crime you can commit in terms of handbag design? There are too many to count, but a terrible one would be a bag that loses its designed structure and shape once it is filled up. This type of an error does not happen to my designs. 08 Covent Garden Journal Issue 18 Winter 2012

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Culture shots at ST MarTin’S courTyard this Christmas

T h r o u g h o u T T h e f e s T i v e s e a s o n s h o p p e r s aT S t M a r t i n ’ S C o u r t ya r d i n C ov e n T g a r d e n w i l l b e T r e aT e d To a fa b u lo u s f e a s T o f e v e n T s , Ta k i n g p l aC e b e low T h e s pa r k l i n g C h r i s T m a s d e C o r aT i o n s . Jamie’s iTalian will be serving hoT pork belly sandwiChes and mulled wine in The CourTyard.

Thursday 29 November 5-9pm The Opera Works group from the English National Opera saTurday 1 december 2-4pm

London Community Gospel Choir – a spirited performance of soulful carols

Thursday 6 december 5-7pm

Mariachi Mexteca – An authentic Mexican mariachi band       

saTurday 8 december 2-4pm

Bollywood Dance London – A colourful and vibrant dance performance

Thursday 13 december 5-7pm London Community Gospel Choir saTurday 15 december 2-4pm The English National Opera Community Choir – expect everything from Lady Gaga to Queen as well as traditional Christmas carols Thursday 20 december 5-7pm London Community Gospel Choir S t M a r t i n ’ S C o u r t ya r d i s C ov e n T g a r d e n ’ s n e w e s T s h o p p i n g a n d d i n i n g d e s T i n aT i o n w i T h 2 0 f l ag s h i p s a n d b o u T i q u e s , 5 u n i q u e r e s Ta u r a n T s , a yo g a C e n T r e , day s pa a n d f low e r aC a d e m y.


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TOY STORY Glyn Brown meets Apple Market stallholder and soft toy maker Justina Dewhurst-Richens, and hears a tale of sewing, teenage rebellion and bank robbery

With her impeccably kitsch 1950s style— faux-ocelot swing coat, jet curls, blood-red lipstick and Veronica Lake eyeliner— Justina Dewhurst-Richens doesn’t look like a woman who spends her time making soft toys. But then these are no ordinary playthings. Retro and idiosyncratic, Bea’s Beastlies are soft toys with attitude. All have names, and for every endearing Penny Whistle (a felt bird with a shaky quiff), there’s a Sid Split (as in personality), or the frankly alarming Toxic Twins—the stuff of a Blair Witch Project nightmare. Or maybe I’m just too suggestible. After all, when Justina decks out her very theatrical stall at Covent Garden’s Apple Market on Sundays, mums turn up to buy the toys in bucket-loads for their kids, teens admire the badass attitude (a couple of these could try out as voodoo dolls) and Baby Boomers coo over the lovable designer collectables. But I maintain there’s a left-field appeal, like Clangers

with unstable personalities. Speaking to Justina in her tiny docker’s cottage in Greenwich, things start to fall into place. Shelves of vintage dressmaking and style magazines, neatly filed by decade. A wall of vinyl rock ‘n’ roll. And everywhere, freaky toys and stuffed animals (“Don’t look,” she insists, “I live like a hobbit!”). She leads me to the kitchen, where I sit at the table (red 1950s Formica), next to the Bernina sewing machine (“That’s Betty.”) Justina bustles round making tea, clad in leopard-print jumper, furry tiger slippers and a floral apron, a charm bracelet tinkling deafeningly with every move. Justina was born in Croydon, then her parents moved to Wandsworth (“Which was not quite the way it is now...”). The unusual double-barrelled name is a mix of her mum and dad’s surnames. “There were no Dewhurst boys in the family, so it was the only way to keep the name going. My gran had just one child, a girl;

same with my mum; and I’ve had a daughter, Amber, and that’ll be it. We’re all quite batty.” Whether or not that’s the case, there is definitely a sewing gene. “My nan, Nelly, now 92, was a court dressmaker, so during the 40s she made clothes for members of the public who attended royal functions. Beautiful formal dresses.” She hands me steaming tea in a bone-china cup. “She left when she had my mum—but was later called back to work on a panel of the Queen’s wedding dress, one of a handpicked group who stitched the beadwork.” And did she teach you to sew? Justina lights a roll-up. “She tried to teach me to knit, but I was hopeless. My mum made theatre costumes and was also a milliner, but neither of them taught me needlework. I was already making clothes for my toys on an old treadle sewing machine. That was just one of the things in the house, and you were expected to know how to use it—by osmosis, I suppose.” So the sewing was in place. Inspiration

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Bea’s Beastlies are at Covent Garden Apple Market on Sundays, 10am to 6.30pm. See more at

I was actually selling art, plus working on commission and doing portrait photography. And then, two days before Christmas, I got held hostage in a bank robbery at a branch of the Woolwich. At gunpoint.

for what might become the Beastlies happened around the same time. “The house had a long garden, and at the end was a piece of land, a neighbour’s garden which had been left to go wild.” Justina’s mother bought it. “And that was my playground. It was proper woodland, with trees and ferns— you couldn’t see the sky—and I virtually lived there.” She took assorted toys and invented a parallel universe, making homes for them in the tree roots. Something many of us have done, except this alternative world would return quite interestingly. Her parents split when Justina was 15. She left school with one O-level, in art (“I messed up”) and got a job in The Cavern, a mod clothes store in Carnaby Street. While her mother was an ex-art student who dressed in psychedelics, Justina sported mod girl gear of buttoned-down collars and tailor-made suits. “I’d walk in in a twinset, with a granny handbag and Hush Puppies. She’d just look at me.” It was a wild time of

scooters and parties. She got pregnant at 19, and at 20 was a single mother, living with a baby on the 21st floor of a Woolwich tower block. She rolls another cigarette. “Which was quite a wake-up call.” Needing a career, she enrolled in a string of art and design classes, including a foundation textile course at Goldsmiths, and followed this with exhibitions of paintings and photography. “I was actually selling art, plus working on commission and doing portrait photography.” She moved to Greenwich, and things began to come together. “And then, er...” She exhales a stream of smoke. “Two days before Christmas, I got held hostage in a bank robbery.” Sorry? “At a branch of the Woolwich, believe it or not.” She laughs and shakes her head. “At gunpoint.” Fairly predictably, a breakdown followed. And when she picked herself up, she turned to her trusty sewing machine, the vintage

The Apple Market, which is open seven days a week, is home to high quality, British-made arts, crafts and antiques.

fabrics she’d collected for years, and the little things that had lived in her happy childhood garden, and which she’d been doodling in sketchbooks. Thus appeared Triple-Ply Ted, a woolly bear who, says the website, is a “loyal friend, noble, able to the end”. I mention that, with his uneven stare and wobble, he looks incapable. “Nah, he’s a solid kinda guy.” There is also Manic Manx, a cross-eyed cat without a tail, based on Justina’s British Blue, Inky: “The daftest animal, totally posh and ditsy and great.” Penny Whistle, the bird, is a tribute to her granddad, who had a tame blackbird. “He’d have loved these little beasts, I’d have had to make him hundreds.” Unfortunately, we must then turn to the likes of the Beastly Boos and my bugbear, the Toxic Twins: “A Frankenstein experiment that went wrong.” All are made from recycled yarns and knitwear, with vintage button eyes. Justina explains that, since they’re handmade oneoffs, they can’t be sold as toys because they can’t be safety tested. It doesn’t seem to stop mums buying the Beastlies for babies (“They shrug and say, There are buttons on their cardigans...”). Other buyers have become collectors; some even take the creatures to global locations and, in Amelie style, send home snaps. “I’ve got pictures from Honolulu, New Zealand...” I’ve seen one of Triple-Ply Ted outside the SengenTaisha Shrine in Japan. He is not looking suitably subdued. Justina is in her third year at Covent Garden’s Apple Market—a market selling British-made art and crafts. “The atmosphere’s great, and I’ve made some brilliant friends among the other stallholders. The footfall is immense— standing in front of the stall, you occasionally feel like a pinball because of the crowds! And if it’s quieter, I sit and sew, hand-finishing things, so even a slower day isn’t wasted.” New ideas happen all the time. Taking off like a rocket are The Misses, rag dolls with a 1960s look—all come-hither winks, side partings and psychedelic dresses, possibly not a million miles from Justina’s mum. And, as in Toy Story, do you think the lot of them get up to tricks at night? “Oh yes. In fact, I’m hoping to do a book about that.” She gets up to make more tea as sunshine streams through the kitchen door, open to the garden. “It’s fabulous sitting here sewing.” Bracelets jingle as she reaches for the milk. “I’m amazingly lucky!” For someone who’s had their share of life events, the optimism is infectious. “Hang on, I haven’t shown you the horse I’ve just made, Horsekey.” Is it me, or did I hear a tiny neigh?

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What’s New in 2012

Fashion Lifestyle

Cro’Jack | Foxhall London | Private White V.C. | Le Coq Sportif TOMS | Topman General Store | Gudrun Sjödén The Diner | Wildwood Kitchen | Wild Juicery | Ceri Hand Gallery

Seven Dials, Covent Garden’s only village, brings you seven streets of independent boutiques, heritage brands, vintage stores and indulgent beauty & grooming salons, all carefully selected for shoppers of discerning taste. Shops Fred Perry, Diesel, All Saints, Bolongaro Trevor, Albam, Wolsey, Kiehls, Coco de Mer, Poste Mistress, Baracuta, Carhartt, Orla Kiely, Miller Harris, Tatty Devine, Superga, Murdock London. Cafés, bars and restaurants Monmouth Coffee, Mon Plaisir, Dial Bar, Canela, Euphorium Bakery, Hotel Chocolat Roast & Conch, Kopapa, Neal’s Yard Dairy, Pix, Covent Garden Hotel, Mercer Street Hotel.

Exclusive offers available at

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1—Hackett, Horse and Hound dog, £85 2—Space NK, Japanese wash cloth £18


3—Laura Lee, Hexagon reversible coin necklace yellow gold, £405 Laura Lee, Hexagon reversible coin necklace silver, £200



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4—London Transport Museum Underground, Cuff Links, £35 5—Jaeger London, cufflinks, £55

6—Ted Baker,cotton print bauble, £7 7—Murdock, Pure Badger Brush, £25 Pre Shave Oil, £24

8—Barbour, Bolam tweed hunter, £49.95 9—Paul Smith ‘LOVE’ Snow Globe, £169







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10—Ted Baker, Decoupage printed umbrella, £25 11—Pretty Ballerinas, Faye leopard loafer with tassles, £189 12—Hoss Intropia, necklace, £80 10

13—Shu Umura, Ministar glitz false eyelashes, £15 14—Kate Spade New York, chain bracelet, £70 15—Joules, navy floral print willies, £36.95






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16—Kate Spade New York, Call to Action tote, £210 17—Duo, Gabrielle red boots, £220 18—The White Company, Mandarin Orchard bath oil, £28

19—Banana Republic, Evan convertible leather crossbody, £85 20—Eileen Fisher, Glovelettes, £50.00 21—Tatty Devine, Enamel Gingerbread Heart Earrings, £24


22—Cos, Metallic clutch, £59 23— Tatty Devine, Cracker Bang necklace, £33








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24—Paul Smith and Kashimax collaboration, Fluorescent Green Leather Bike Saddle, £160 25—Opening Ceremony, Opening Ceremony book by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, £40

26—Specialized Concept Store Hot Pink Girl Bike, £250 27—See Do Shop, Birds, £25

28—Ted Baker, fairisle dog jumper, £59 29—T Shirt Store, laptop sleeve suitcase, £29 30—Roast & Conch, Magical Milk Chocolate Christmas, £6.50








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/What to give the person who already has everything

Cheese and wine tasting Give the gift of knowledge—cheese knowledge, to be precise—courtesy of Mon Plaisir, London’s oldest French restaurant, which is offering the chance to taste five different cheeses, plus five accompanying wines, for a mere £32.50—a price which also includes an aperitif maison, coffee and a fascinating insight into each cheese. Once appetites are sated, customers will leave with a recipe using one of the cheeses they’ve tasted so they can try it at home. It’s a perfect gift—especially if you tag along with them...

The course lasts all day and like the best lessons, should leave your loved one feeling inspired to continue the activity well beyond the academy—although, if she or he isn’t the jewellery type, there are plenty of other flower design courses to choose from instead. See the website for details of the lessons available. The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers 9 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard

Mon Plaisir 19-21 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials Sex salons One of those classic gifts-for-you-but-reallyfor-me, looking at the nature of the classes: Sensual Spanking, Giving the Perfect Blowjob: An Oral Sex Masterclass, Tricks to Thrill a Man, Bedroom Pleasure Toys—to name a few. Still, there’s plenty for them to get out of it, not least the much-needed champagne and nibbles they’ll get before meeting their ‘experienced’ instructor, and after two hours they’re bound to have learned something. Who profits from that newfound knowledge remains to be seen. Coco de Mer 23 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials Champagne tasting Like Mon Plaisir, except that at Champagne & Fromage the cheese plays second fiddle to the flutes of beautiful, premium champagne that will be available during this two-hour session, in which you’ll learn both about the bubbles but also how to pair them with cheese. For just £40, you’ll try four different premium champagnes and sample the best regional cheese, courtesy of the Une Normande à Londres cheese retailers. Through this, you will be expertly guided by one of the founders of French Bubbles, whose knowledge seems unparalleled in the UK. Rest assured, you’ll be full to bursting—but if you do stick around, we guarantee you’ll find the discounted prices ticketholders get hard to resist.

Champagne and Fromage 22 Wellington Street, Opera Quarter Oriental and Asian cookery courses Do you know someone who is constantly craving Chinese or salivating for sushi, but can’t always afford to satisfy their needs at a restaurant? Then head to School of Wok—the cookery school whose signature dishes include the aforementioned along with a towering range of Asian cuisines, from Vietnam noodles to Indian curries, to Malaysianstyle thali to Thai fish cakes and many, many more. And yes, you do get to eat your creation at the end. School of Wok 61 Chandos Place Making jewellery out of flowers (and other flower courses) No, we’re not talking daisy chains. We’re talking quality bracelets, necklaces, earrings and hair pieces made out of the finest quality plant materials and flowers that the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers has to offer. After all, how often do we find flowers and clothing combined?

Chocolate tasting Are you and chocolate an item? Are you prepared to do anything for the sweet stuff? If so, then Roast & Conch, Covent Garden’s finest chocolate makers, can show you the way. Offering insider knowledge and tasting tips, the Chocolate Tasting Adventures course has been created “especially for chocolate lovers who would like to take the next step in their appreciation of chocolate”. They’ll show you how to pick out the nuances of flavour and texture, influenced by the type of cocoa, the terroir and the conching time, and they’ll teach you all the whens, the whys and whats of the chocolate trade. It’s two hours and chock full, so great value for money at £45— though frankly, who’s counting? When it comes to chocolate, there’s not many who can say no. Roast & Conch 4 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials Yoga and pilates If Christmas planning starts earlier and earlier each year, then it stands to reason that post-Christmas fitness planning for you and your family should start earlier too. Brand new, state of the art yoga and pilates centre Yotopia features a hot studio for a deeply detoxing experience that will burn fat, tone muscle and increase cardio fitness— and because it offers a wide variety of classes for every level, everyone from yoga babies to fully fledged yoga bunnies can take part. Yotopia 13 Mercer Street, St Martin’s Courtyard

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McClintock is different to the average opticians, we source beautiful hand made eyewear. Our exclusive spectacles and sunglasses are from some of the greatest innovators of the glasses world.

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Tanning Shop Bloomsbury

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The Tanning Shop Bloomsbury has recently had a fantastic new makeover and to celebrate we would like to offer all customers a 20% discount off all store products and Tanning Packages excluding the Sun Angel which is offered at 6 sessions for the price of 4. This offer also includes The Body Temple beauty treatments and South Beach Skin Solutions products. To qualify for this discount pop along to our shop and register with us quoting reference CGJ2012. This offer is only available until 31 January 2013.

52 - 56 New Oxford Street, Bloomsbury WC1A 1ES

6/5/09 12:24:17

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Telephone 020 7323 0623

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It was pottering about the garden with his grandfather that sparked Stuart Semple’s interest in art. It was a near-death experience that made art his career. Now he has branched out to create a chunky fairisle cardigan—inspired by grandfathers, made by Aubin & Wills


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LIFE Aubin & Wills 12 Floral Street

What was it like growing up in the countryside? Childhood was pretty homely—it was basically home and school, much like any kid. We moved about a fair bit but mum made wherever we were feel good. I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but growing up outside a city I think you tend to be quite imaginative—and with the coast and fields I think you inevitably develop a relationship with nature and so your play is very different. I live outside London now after a seven-year stint in the city. I have the beach a stone’s throw away and I have the forest 15 minutes in the other direction. I feel brilliant here, really inspired. The city, I feel, connects you with people and the country connects you with nature and the planet—it’s a different energy. I’m a big daydreamer and I seem to daydream bigger when I’m outside a city. It’s hard to ever feel really alone in a city. How did your grandfather encourage you into art? Did your parents or teachers object to you going into the creative industry? I think with my granddad I never really saw it as art—it was just stuff that we made together: chess sets, bird tables, magic tricks. I’d paint them though—I loved doing that. It was my grandmother who was the really arty one and it was she who really encouraged me with art books and materials and stuff like that when I was really young. My mum also encouraged my work, always gave it praise, but she was pretty against me making it my life choice, so I had to really fight for that. She’s really behind it now though! My teachers got it. I was excused from German and allowed in the art room. I was always roped in to design the poster of school plays and things. I was definitely the arty one at school. What was it that made you decide to pursue your dreams? I had been making art since I was a small child, so in a lot of ways I always was pursuing my dream. It wasn’t until I was 19 when I had a near-death experience that I said to myself that if I survived I’d just do the art and live like that. It was so terrifying. It was a bit of a wake-up call—I realised that

as none of us know how much time we’ve got, I was going to spend what little I might have doing what I love. Can you sum up your particular aesthetic? Aesthetics are easy. If it makes me feel something on an emotional level, it’s working. It’s got to cause an experience— there’s no bigger plan than that. It’s a feeling thing. I enjoy clever art that makes me think, but I’m much more interested in art that can make me feel. As for my artistic philosophy, I don’t know if it’s that developed. It’s moving and evolving all the time but I do know that I believe in the power of art almost as much as anything else. I believe in artists, and I don’t necessarily think that art and artists are inseparable. There are great artists who make rubbish art and rubbish artists making great works of art, but either way society desperately needs both of those things. Art and artists can go places that other professions and objects can’t. I believe art and its power should be accessible to everyone from any walk of life—I really don’t want to make things that are hard to understand. What is your own personal style when it comes to dressing? That’s really hard. I just wear things that I like, I don’t think about it too much, but I like distinctive, well-made things. I’m a massive knitwear fan, so a lot of jumpers and cardigans, even in the summer. I guess I’m quite like an old man. I like colour—I think the days are so grey in England that a dash of colour can go a long way. How did you end up designing a cardigan for Aubin & Wills? The second I saw Aubin & Wills, which was a few years back, I fell in love with it. The classic shapes and cuts with incredible quality and then these little eccentric flourishes in the detailing—trust me I was obsessed. It was as if someone was making clothes just for me! So we got in touch and browsed some clothes for a shoot. Then we made friends and I helped them set up their art gallery in Shoreditch and ran that with them for a couple of years. The idea hatched to make something in memory of my granddad and I’d fallen head over heels for a fairisle jumper they made

a couple of seasons ago, so it all seemed to make sense. It’s just really nice to be working with a group of people who share the same values and creative outlook. I’m so proud of what we’ve made together. The cardigan is honestly everything I dreamed it could be. Maybe I’m biased, but it is really special. Is fashion design something you might be interested in returning to? Absolutely. I’ve got literally a million ideas. It’s a fantastic way to make my work accessible and functional. I feel like I’m just getting started. It’s not so different to making art at all—it’s the same way of thinking. It’s very exciting. You designed very deep pocket s on the cardigan in memory of the one your grandfather wore. What did he keep in those pockets, other than tissues?! He had all sorts in there—pencil bits, tools, little things he’d pick up like coins, little washers, screws. He used to walk a lot and find things, things you and I wouldn’t bother to pick up, all sorts of random stuff. I’ve put a pack of seeds in each cardigan so its new owners can plant them. Has your grandfather influenced any other areas of your work? He’s influenced almost everything. First off, I was a pretty lonely kid: quite insular, a dreamer, and my granddad was really my best friend. He’d been through the wars, literally! So I had a huge respect for him. I learned a lot—for him to go through all he went through and to be at the bottom of his garden planting seeds or making clocks, there’s a lot of sense in that. It wasn’t so much hiding from the world as making the most of it. The things he made in his garden were all so honest and probably more heartfelt then a lot of art. Quite often when I’m in the studio on my own I can sort of hear his voice, or when I do something like a show or project that goes well I think of him and wonder if he’d be proud. It’s strange, but a lot of what I do I do for him, even though he’s not here.

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/Nick Ashley, designer at Private White VC

When young City boy James Eden decided to go back up north to save his family business—the struggling Private White VC—you came on board as his designer. Why Private White? Apart from the fact that it’s a proper functioning business with a very smart young businessman running it, it’s British. Not the Hackett or Burberry faux-British thing—we’re an actual British company. Private White has been making outerwear since 1918, when the actual Private White left the army and started making raincoats. There used to be thousands of similar factories, a whole canal from Liverpool to Manchester to make all the coats and ship them out. Now this is the last one in Britain. The cotton comes from Lancashire, the wool from Yorkshire, so it’s all very northern. In fact, the guy who runs our Yorkshirebased woollen mill considers me southern shite—I have to go with Michael, the factory owner, so he can translate what I say into Yorkshire-mill-owner-speak. I’m just some “funny designer bloke”. It’s brilliant! How did you get involved? I got a job at Dunhill menswear as head of design and stayed there for three years. They were getting stuff made in Italy, so I got them to start producing some clothes in the UK—in the Private White factory. When I got a phone call telling me that this lovely British factory was in trouble, and that they were about to revive it and put it back on the map, I got on the next train to Manchester. For the last 18 months I’ve been putting collections together exclusively for them. I think I’m on the third collection. How do you go about designing clothes? I’m designing right now. Yes—someone may come in from the rain and have a paper over their head or something and I’ll think, oh that’s clever, that’s an idea... I always give everyone an eyelash-to-toenail look. When someone is coming towards you and you really want to check them out, look at the pavement and then pull your eyes up. Like a scanner. You’ve clocked everything they’re wearing. I’m a fashion Terminator and sometimes highly unsubtle. I’ll either memorise it in my head or write it down on my hand, or I’ll sketch it. At St Martin’s I learnt how to do fashion sketches, and at

Private White they find it all quite charming. Everything is done on computers, but I do old fashioned drawing. Who would you most like to see your designs on? I think Prince Harry’s cool and he’d LOVE my designs! I just know it! William is cool in his own, dutiful way. I have a strong sense of duty myself, having worked for my family for 10 years, because that was the dutiful thing to do. The cool thing to do was to have my own business, and I’ve been more cool since I’ve worn my own shoes. Harry has always been able to wear his own shoes, but he shouldn’t wear clothes that aren’t British and I know I make everything that he’d like. As the son of Laura Ashley, how has your name affected your career? I have a duty to be good! The most excited and stressed out experience was opening the Nick Ashley store, launching my own label. There was so much pressure because I was coming from such a pedigree—there’s no hiding, no pseudonyms. It was Nick Ashley... TA-DA! I wanted to do Laura Ashley menswear a while ago, but they just weren’t interested in doing that at the time. Too busy flogging girls’ stuff to get behind me. Once my mother died, things went a bit pear-shaped so I jumped ship and started doing my own thing. It was so stressful I got shingles. I ended up wearing an eyepatch, like a pirate. How would you describe your ‘signature’? I specialise in techno-retro. I’m not a complete revivalist, but take a little bit of the past and modernise it with new fabrics. Just reviving something is missing out on the fact we’re modern people. With Private White, my brief was to do raincoat, outerwear, workwear, but with my own twist on it. It’s machine-washable, it’s durable. What’s your first memory of clothes? When I was about five years old my mother took me to Carnaby Street. There was a shop called Gear which was really cool, and another called Kids N Gear which was really cool stuff scaled down. She bought me a flowery Engelbert Humperdinck-style shirt, cream jumbo flares and a big patent leather hipster belt, so I looked like a little pop star.

I always give everyone an eyelash-to-toenail look. When someone is coming towards you and you really want to check them out, look at the pavement and then pull your eyes up. Like a scanner. I’m a fashion Terminator and sometimes highly unsubtle Oh, and these patent leather chelsea boots. I had shoulder length hair anyway, and I was going to this primary school in Wales looking like a girl. I’ve been twisted ever since. What about your style now? There’s a picture of me back then with a pair of Hawkins walking shoes—classics we sell at Private White—Levi’s 501s, an American army flight jacket and a crew cut. I’ve been wearing that look right up to this day. It’s my ‘pick up off the floor’ thing. My kids are beginning to say, “Dad no! You can’t wear jeans and leather jackets anymore! You look like Jeremy Clarkson!” I’m middle aged, so I have to be careful. How do British men approach fashion? British men are not interested in fashion per se, but much more interested in styling themselves. Sometimes as a uniform—for example, everyone in Shoreditch wears the same uniform—or as an expression of how they’re a rulebreaker—they may have a gothic bohemian stockbroker look. Of course, you’re only qualified to break the rules if you know what those rules are. And the British know the rules inside out. What are the Nick Ashley rules? You need a really good raincoat, singlebreasted, in a honey colour (we do these at Private White) from Lancashire. That’s a classic staple. A nice hat, maybe a trilby from Failsworth. A pair of nice boots, perhaps short cut-off wellington boots. I designed some for Hunter and they’ve just come out now. A good pair of moleskin slacks always work too, slim with frock pockets, and a fresh cotton shirt. Done.

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LIFE Private White VC 46 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials

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The Wardrobe Consultant is the resident stylist at St Martin’s Courtyard and offers VIP shopping and styling sessions.



It’s Christmas time, and there’s no need to be afraid of picking a party outfit. Eliisa Makin, Wardrobe Consultant, stylist and jewellery designer guides Expert Eye around the rights —and manifold wrongs—of festive dressing

The entrance alone—containing an impressive 21-globe chandelier, black and white photography and oil paintings— makes it difficult to believe Hackett was a brand born of selling second hand clothes. And that’s before you get to the rest of the store. Everything is bespoke, from the wallpaper (English garden, naturally) to the feature fireplace. The store’s ‘concept’ is to create a residential feel, with a different collection in each room, and remarkably—despite the abundance of accessories, sportswear and suits and the fact that it’s a Grade I listed building—it succeeds. But this is no ordinary retail store, and the brand, for all its references to its humble origins, is no ordinary label. Hackett is the official supplier of clothing to the Boat Race, the British Army polo team and Aston Martin. It can count among its brand ‘faces’ some of the most famous gentlemen in the world—Jonny Wilkinson, Matthew Goode, Guy Robinson (who isn’t so much famous as just fine). It describes itself as ‘Essentially British’, but is stocked in over 50 countries. Hackett is, in short, something of a new traditionalist —and this store reflects that in its blend of old world luxury, modern furnishings and the sort of quirky add-ons that we’ve come to expect of Covent Garden: a personal tailoring room, a barber shop and sketches by contemporary artists. If only they did the same for girls...

/Eliisa Makin, Wardrobe Consultant

When it comes to dressing for the party season, the major error is wearing something you don’t feel comfortable with. If you normally wear trousers, then wear trousers—maybe get jazzy ones, like black leather skinnies from Cos or patterned ones from Paul Smith, and pair with a nice tuxedo top. If on the other hand you normally wear a dress, wear a dress. Twenty8Twelve has some lovely fun ones, as does Hoss Intropia (pictured right). Don’t wear something you wouldn’t normally want to wear just because it’s a special occasion. A key part of looking good is feeling relaxed and happy. For sparkly bargains H&M is generally your best bet, but Hoss also does very nice dresses with the occasional understated sparkle. LK Bennett is very good for your more ‘classic’ things, as are Hobbs and Jaeger London. As for shoes— well personally, I would always, always opt for heels, but if you are calf-conscious like me then head to Duo: they do great, heeled, knee-high boots. When you’re going out, pop a pair of their flats in your bag—the Shirley from Pretty Ballerinas is bendy so will fit in really easily—and when it all gets too much you can just slip them on. They’re so pretty that even if you find yourself doing that after an hour it won’t ruin your outfit. Rich, opulent prints are a very accessible (and glamorous) trend for party wear.


Rich dark reds, purples and blacks are all very slimming, while subtle brocade or dark printed patterns add interest. I have quite a boyish figure so would personally opt for a pair of luxurious brocade trousers from Opening Ceremony and team them simply with very high heels, a black silk vest top and perhaps a studded clutch or heavy earrings from Banana Republic. One last thing, and it’s an old rule but it’s a good rule—don’t do boobs and bum. Show some leg or some cleavage. If you do both you will probably end up feeling a little bit uncomfortable. But in the end it depends what you’re looking for. Never say never!

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LIFE Kors for celebration You don’t get much more American than Michael Kors. Born to the model Joan Hamburger in New York in the fifties, he has for the past two decade at least been almost solely responsible for dressing the socialites of the Hamptons and Palm Beach. He’s appeared on a reality TV

programme. He outfitted Rene Russo’s character in The Thomas Crown Affair. Yet when his store opened at 28 James Street a few weeks ago to reveal 2,523 feet-worth of clothing and accessories, shoppers on theis side of the Atlantic found they were by no means immune to his appeal. As well as a luxurious

Hackett 30-31 King Street

mixture of jewellery, eyewear, watches, and fragrances from MICHAEL Michael Kors, the store will also play host to the MICHAEL Michael Kors collection—the chilled out, downtown, no-sweat sister of his headily high fashion main brand.

Cro’ Jack 38 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials


The apostrophe remains something of a mystery, the name an enigma wrapped around it. Nevertheless, the arrival of Cro’ Jack in Seven Dials will make even the sturdiest of hearts swell with national pride. For this is a menswear store, and not just any menswear store but one whose patriotism and localism is legendary. ‘Made in England’ is the game, whatever the name actually means. The brainchild of Dean Batty and Daljit Mehat, two textile industry experts, the brand unites their love of authentic fabrics with their experience of making them—many of the jackets are inspired by military and utility garments and some are even made using the same fabrics—Ventile, first developed during the war; British based Mallalieus 100% Pure New Wool; Liberty’s Tana Lawn; and Harris Tweed oiled wool. The outerwear is produced in Cro’ Jack’s own Midlands factory—a facility first established by Dean’s father. Other product groups such as knitwear, bags, trousers and jeans are sourced from other local factories. Dean and Daljit’s commitment to British manufacturing means using the best components—a quilting and webbing plant, a dye house and an onsite embroidery service are all based at their site—and drawing inspiration from British history. Their originality, however, lies in their prices. The fact that a quality jacket can be bought for under £300 in London is almost as surprising as that apostrophe. 27 Covent Garden Journal Issue 18 Winter 2012

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Scent sent Let’s face it—it’s never exactly a chore to have to go to The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers’ beautiful store in St Martin’s Courtyard, with its entrancing scents and floral selections. But there are times—forgotten

birthdays, emergency apologies, Mother’s Day panics—when sparing the time to actually go there in person can be hard. Three cheers, then, for their new online store, launched this autumn and blooming with a variety of special, handmade bouquets and

product ranges. The former can be delivered anywhere in London, and the latter—which includes candles, throws, ceramics, mugs and gardening tools— can be sent to loved ones nationwide.


We’ll admit our first reaction was one of bewilderment. Michael van der Ham, the luxury designer famed for combining hundreds of different fabrics, teams up with Brora, the cashmere boutique whose clothes largely depend on one? That can’t be right, we thought—then we saw the lookbook. And as marriages of colour, class and creativity go, they don’t come much better than that twixt Victoria Stapleton and Van der Ham. The former brings beautiful, high quality, British cashmere direct from Scotland’s finest factories, together with a know-how born of a childhood spent between there and London town. The latter brings the Van der Ham signature—innovative texures and complex collaging, colliding, clashing, and exploding in colour. Yet while the style is bold, the effect is femininity itself. The clue is in the detailing—another area in which one can trace the strong hand of Van der Ham, who has said of the work: “I love that with knits you can control every detail from the core fibre on. I started with stitches, all different types and weights, so I could mix them within the pieces and the range. For instance, it was fun to mix lace stitches with heavier moss stitches.” Their stripes, colours and squiggles are marvellous. “He loves a quirky twist,” says Stapleton—and with Brora, he’s really gone for it. Her only problem? “I can’t wait to own a few pieces myself, and I’m just not sure which one to choose first!”

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Brora 42 The Market Building

Eileen Fisher 4 Slingsby Place St Martin’s Courtyard

A WARM AND /Eileen Fisher

Yes that model’s body is indeed in the shape of an ampersand, but that isn’t the only exciting thing about Eileen Fisher’s new adverts. As with everything else about this brand, the beauty is not just skin deep. Ever since August, Eileen Fisher print adverts have featured the Ampersand symbol to signify that there is more information about the sustainable choices behind the clothing featured alongside it. In this image, for example, the model wears a hand-loomed sweater, knitted out of organic cotton, created on looms that Eileen Fisher donated to artisans in Peru. This family-friendly supply chain has been conceived from field to factory: “If we cannot give them work, we are no help,” explains Jessica Rodriguez, Eileen Fisher’s key Peruvian contact. As well as furnishing local workers with looms and work, the partnership also encourages them to be entrepreneurial by offering no-interest loans for purchasing new materials and training courses to develop their knitting skills. This is Fair Trade as it should be—fair wages for work, not straight charity—and if you head to, you’ll find that this is just one of the many inspiring ways in which the New York-based designer uses her clothes to help people around the world.

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/Ben Bastin of the Ben Bastin Gypsy Trio

At primary school we had auditions to see who would be allowed to learn to play the violin, but I failed and was told that I was tone deaf. In the end, I probably became a musician more out of spite than anything else

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LIFE Ben Bastin Notes Covent Garden 36 Wellington Street, Opera Quarter 020 7240 7899

Have you always been a gifted musician? No, I’m a bass player. At primary school we had auditions to see who would be allowed to learn to play the violin, but I failed and was told that I was tone deaf. I went home very upset because my friends were going to be allowed to learn the violin. But you persevered with music. In hindsight the teacher did me a favour, because I probably became a musician more out of spite than anything else. We’d always had a guitar at home and my parents got me lessons. I progressed onto other instruments, firstly the trumpet, then euphonium and trombone. I became involved with the county youth orchestras, which had summer schools, and we played in Europe, the Edinburgh Festival and the Royal Albert Hall, an incredible experience. I eventually got into jazz and discovered the double bass. How did you discover jazz? I was about 16 or 17. A few friends had started getting into jazz, and I didn’t really know what it was I was hearing, but I enjoyed it a lot. The first two albums I bought were Thelonious Monk’s Straight, No Chaser and Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool—just the sound of it was shocking to me, like nothing I’d ever heard before. I then discovered the classics like Kind of Blue, which everyone gets into at some point, the coffee table jazz albums. Jazz is such a broad word, much like classical and pop, and perhaps an easier way to describe it is just as music with some sort of improvisation element. That really appealed to me, because up until that point I was a classically trained musician, where everything was written down on the page. Didn’t you do a degree in jazz? Yes, I graduated from Middlesex University in 2007. It was an incredible three years, meeting people and being exposed to some of the best musicians in the country who teach there. I actually started there as an electric bass player, but really wanted to play double bass, and managed to get hold of one during my first month. So I went for it, locked away in a practice room, making my hands bleed for a few hours a day. You just have to get through the hard work. Then you get calluses—and they never go away.

Pluck one highlight from your career. I was really pleased when I launched my album—that was a fantastic gig. The album is called The Missing Piece and was released in March 2011. The gig had everybody who’d appeared on the album. It says the Ben Bastin Trio, but in addition to double bass, piano and drums, there’s also a cellist, violinist and a singer called Amelia Tucker—one of her songs, Scissors Paper Stone, is on the album. It was nice to do something for myself, and under my name, because most of my work is as a sideman. Really that’s what I’m quite good at, being a sideman. I’m effective as a musician in somebody else’s band. Where has being a sideman taken you? I’ve been very lucky to play with a great singer called Sarah Gillespie for six or seven years now. We’ve toured all over the UK and Europe, and this year headlined Ronnie Scott’s. I’ve been very fortunate to play many of the big UK festivals and some lovely places in Europe. This summer I had a couple of tours in Sicily, which were particularly nice. But even just touring in this country is one of the most beautiful things to do. You discover just what an amazing country this is, and for all the doom and gloom we see on the telly, when you’re driving around and seeing gorgeous places like the Yorkshire Dales and Dartmoor, you can’t help but be happy doing it. Tell me about the Ben Bastin Gypsy Trio. This trio consists of violin, guitar and double bass. Kit Massey is an incredible violinist and Ducato Piotrowski is one of the best gypsy jazz guitarists in London. Notes seemed like a good fit for this kind of music, which isn’t too complicated and has a nice happy feel to it that hopefully will bring people in off the street. The music is largely inspired by people like Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli—I guess you’d call it gypsy jazz. We play a few originals, plus lots of tunes people will recognise, and hopefully some they won’t. It’s always good to keep things fresh. How does Notes rate as a live venue? I think it’s a great place. Sometimes you show up to a venue and the owner or promoter is breathing down your neck, but

things are nice and relaxed here. Notes is a café first and foremost, so people can still chat and have their night out, but they’re also listening to the music. It feels like a nice balance, and it’s the sort of music that people should be able to drop in and out of as they please. The atmosphere is warm, friendly, and people are happy to engage with you. Notes is just a nice place to be, let alone play, and when I’m in town I’ll pop in for a coffee. How do you rate the food and drink? The best coffee you’ll find and the food is lovely. And if you just want something to snack on they’ve got all these nice hams and cheeses—their cheese is particularly good. Notes has a wonderful selection of wines and I’m a big fan of the craft beers. When will the Ben Bastin Gypsy Trio be back at Notes? It’s always a Wednesday, and our next three dates are 12th December, 30th January and 27th February. It must be wonderful to earn your living doing something you love. I feel very fortunate. I also teach at a special needs school, and it’s brilliant. The kids are wonderful, and it gives you a perspective on why you do music and what it really means to people. I’m very lucky to play with all sorts of incredible musicians, but you appreciate it even more when you teach children who get such pleasure from music and yet can find it such a struggle. I’ve had a couple of students for the best part of three years who still can’t quite get the concept of blowing into something to make a sound. When you make progress with these kids it feels like a massive victory. Not bad for a tone deaf person. I guess so. Luck plays a huge part in the music industry, but also perseverance and a lot of hard work. And, touch wood, at the moment it’s still working out. I’m off on tour in November with a guy called John Wheeler, who’s releasing a single, so we’ve got two weeks on the road with him. I’m making a couple of new albums in December, with more touring in the New Year. At the moment, while I’ve got the work, it’s all good.

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Four top Covent Garden restaurants, four delicious recipes—fantastic dishes from the new cookbooks by Jamie Oliver, Peter Gordon, the chefs at J Sheekey and the Opera Tavern team

EXCESS Christmas is of course a time when vast amounts of mental and physical energy are expanded on finding that special something for your nearest and dearest. It is also a time when your culinary expertise can be pushed to the limits as the party season hits. Thankfully help is at hand on both counts. Several of Covent Garden’s best restaurants are releasing cookbooks in time for Christmas allowing you to wow your family and friends, or alternatively giving them new and tasteful ways to wow you in return. In these extracts, we get a hint of the fantastic fare on offer at Kopapa, J Sheekey, Jamie’s Italian and the Opera Tavern —four very different establishments united by shared geography, unimpeachably high standards and an eye on the Christmas book market.

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Chorizo carbonara Catalan market salad from Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals By Jamie Oliver Michael Joseph, Penguin, £26 Photography by David Loftus

Jamie’s Italian 11 Upper St Martin’s Lane, St Martin’s Courtyard

At this point most of the mussels will have opened. Remove those ones to a colander sitting in a bowl. Cook the rest for another 2 minutes, then take off the heat. Discard any that haven’t opened and tip the rest into the colander. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove half the mussels from their shells and put to one side. Strain the juices through a fine sieve and taste—if very salty, use less in the sauce. Sauté the onion in the olive oil until it begins to caramelise. Add the chorizo, garlic and eggplant and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the eggplant begins to colour. Add the tomatoes and 200ml of the mussel cooking juice (less if the juice is salty) and bring to a simmer, then cook for 10 minutes. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil and drop the noodles in. Bring the water back to a gentle boil and cook until al dente; around 12-15 minutes. If using pre-cooked noodles, boil for 1-2 minutes until heated through, then drain. Add the noodles to the chorizo stew along with the mussels both in and out of their shells. Simmer for 1 minute and taste for seasoning. Divide among four large bowls and sprinkle on the parsley.

Mussel, chorizo and eggplant udon noodles By Peter Gordon of Kopapa For 4 main courses or 6 starters

Kopapa 32-34 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials

Udon noodles can be found at any Japanese food store. They’re mostly dried but sometimes come pre-cooked in a tightly sealed bag; the latter take much less cooking. If you can’t find them, use spaghetti or linguine instead.

Sheekey’s fish pie By Tim Hughes and Allan Jenkins of J Sheekey Serves 4

the chicory and click apart the upper leaves into a serving bowl—Peel and finely slice the clementines, add to the bowl with the baby spinach, then pick over the mint leaves— Shave over a tiny bit of Manchego and scatter with the hot nuts, returning the frying pan to a medium heat. In a cup, make your dressing with the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and honey, then season to taste and put aside—Finely slice the chorizo, chilli and rosemary leaves and put into the frying pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of pepper, then squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and move everything around until lightly golden. Beat the egg, lemon juice, yoghurt and remaining finely grated Manchego together in a bowl—Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the starchy cooking water—Toss the pasta into the chorizo pan, remove from the heat and mix well with the creamy sauce, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed, then season to taste—Dress and toss the salad, then serve with the pasta.

Chorizo carbonara Catalan market salad By Jamie Oliver Serves 4 For the salad —25g pine nuts —1 red chicory —1 green chicory —2 clementines —100g baby spinach —4 sprigs of fresh mint —45g Manchego cheese —2 tbsp sherry vinegar —2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil —1 tsp runny honey For the pasta —320g dried penne —70g chorizo —½―1 fresh red chilli —2 sprigs of fresh rosemary —olive oil —4 cloves of garlic —1 large egg —½ a lemon —2 heaped tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt

—1kg mussels (the ones in the photo are lovely green-lipped mussels from New Zealand) —1 red onion, peeled and sliced —2 tbsp olive oil —300g cooking chorizo, peeled and sliced ½cm thick —4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced —1 eggplant, cut into 2cm dice —4 tomatoes, diced —300g dried udon noodles, or 400g pre-cooked —Salt and freshly ground black pepper —1 handful picked parsley leaves

Ingredients out—Kettle boiled—Large frying pan, medium heat—Large lidded pan, high heat. Toast the pine nuts in the frying pan for a few minutes, tossing often—Put the pasta into the lidded pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions—Finely slice the stalk ends of

First prepare the mussels. Discard any that are open or have damaged shells. Pull the beards off the rest, then wash thoroughly in plenty of cold water. Place in a pot with 100ml water, put the lid on and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Shake the pot from time to time to help the mussels open.

Still the bestseller on the J Sheekey menu, our fish pie is rightly as famous as some of our customers. A true theatre dish. Some people add lobster, prawns or peas to their pie. We prefer this purer version. —200g cod fillet (or another white chunky fish such as halibut or monkfish), skinned and cut into rough 3cm chunks —200g salmon fillet, skinned and cut into rough 3cm chunks —200g smoked haddock fillet), skinned and cut into rough 3cm chunks —½ small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped For the sauce —50g unsalted butter —50g plain flour —125ml white wine —500ml fish stock —90ml double cream —1 tbsp English mustard —1 tsp Worcestershire sauce —½ tsp anchovy essence

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TASTE Mussel, chorizo and eggplant udon noodles from Peter Gordon Everyday By Peter Gordon Jacqui Small, £25 Photography by Manja Wachsmuth

—½ lemon, juiced —Salt and ground white pepper For the topping —1kg floury potatoes, peeled, cooked and dry mashed —50g unsalted butter —50ml milk —Salt and ground white pepper —20g fresh white breadcrumbs —10g grated parmesan To make the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy- bottomed saucepan over a low heat and gently stir in the flour. Gradually add the wine, stirring well. Slowly add the fish stock until you have a silky smooth sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes. To finish, add the cream and briefly bring to the boil again. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy essence and lemon juice. (Add more mustard and Worcestershire sauce if you like it spicy.) Check seasoning. Gently fold the fish and parsley into the hot sauce, and pour into a large pie dish, leaving a space of about 3cm from the top of the dish. Leave to cool, so the topping will sit on the sauce when piped. Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Mix butter and milk into the mashed potato until soft enough to spread over the fish mixture. Season. Pipe or gently fork to cover the fish. Bake the fish pie for 30 minutes. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and cheese, and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden.

Sheekey’s fish pie from

Mini Ibérico pork burger from

J Sheekey FISH By Tim Hughes and Allan Jenkins Preface, £25 Photography by Howard Sooley

Salt Yard: Food & Wine from Spain & Italy By Ben Tish, Sanja Morris and Simon Mullins Piquillo Publishing, £30 Photography by Jason Lowe

J Sheekey 28-35 St Martin’s Court

—8 guindilla peppers to garnish —Olive oil for cooking —Sea salt and black pepper

Mini Ibérico pork burger By Ben Tish of Opera Tavern Makes 8 small burgers

Mix the Ibérico pork with the milk, breadcrumbs, shallots and season with salt and pepper. Quickly grate in the frozen foie gras and mix again. Shape into eight patties and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Soak the onion rings in milk and drain well. Dredge the onions in a mixture made of equal quantities of smoked paprika and flour. Heat some olive oil in a pan and shallow fry the onion rings until crisp and golden brown. Drain well and season. Drizzle some olive oil onto both sides of the burger and season. Grill or fry for 3 minutes on either side until nicely browned and still pink in the centre. Rest the burger for a minute or so in a warm spot and sprinkle on some grated manchego. It will melt slowly over the burger. Grill the burger bun on both sides until lightly charred. To assemble the burger, spoon some alioli onto the base of the burger bun. Top with a lettuce leaf, a dollop of the onion marmalade, the burger, two crispy onion rings and finally the top of the burger bun. Slide a small wooden skewer or toothpick through the middle of the burger to secure everything in place. Serve with the guindilla peppers on the side.

When we opened Opera Tavern in 2011 this burger was an instant hit. Regular customers have even competed to see who can eat the most! It’s an Iberian version of the classic burger, made luxurious by the addition of foie gras and melted Manchego. Pork shoulder is the best cut as the fat-to-meat ratio is just right for a succulent burger. You could use a good quality, rare breed pork mince instead of Ibérico pork, but will need to make sure you cook the burger until it’s well done. —600g Ibérico pork shoulder mince —2 tbsp milk —2 shallots, finely chopped, sweated in olive oil —2 tbsp breadcrumbs —40g foie gras, either buy frozen or freeze for ease of grating —1 red onion, cut into fine rings —Milk —Sweet smoked paprika —Flour for dusting —50g aged Manchego cheese, grated —8 x 8cm burger buns, cut in half —2 tablespoons alioli —8 small lettuce leaves —3 tbsp red onion marmalade

Opera Tavern 23 Catherine Street, Opera Quarter

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TASTE Venchi 20The Market Building 020 3632 1668


Stevie Martin meets Niccolo Cangioli, retail manager of artisan chocolatiers Venchi Artisan chocolate and gelato brand Venchi was established in 1878 and, just for the record, Venchi is pronounced “ven-ki” as opposed to “ven-chy”. Retail manager Niccolo Cangioli has given up trying to correct everyone. “I think I’m going to start calling it Venchy when I’m in England,” he says wistfully, “just so people know what I’m talking about.” This isn’t the only linguistic issue that arises in the two-month-old Covent Garden Market shop, which contains every chocolate you can think of and many you couldn’t pronounce (unless, of course, you’re Italian). Venchi does not sell ice cream. It sells gelato. I am gently corrected on this approximately four times during the interview. “Ice cream is usually made starting from an industrial base,” Niccolo waves a hand dismissively, “but gelato must be made in-store, and naturally. Many who say they produce gelato use these industrial bases and some even pretend they make it in-store, but ship it in from Italy.” Niccolo gives me a scoop of hazelnut and a scoop of dark chocolate, takes pistachio for himself. “The Venchi motto is that all our ingredients are natural,” he announces proudly. “Our base basically contains sugar and carruba [carob fruit] flour, which has been used in gelato since the 18th century. Without the carruba flour it would melt right away.” He swirls the now-soupy ice cream around its tub and laughs. “As you can see it melts quite fast anyway and it’s cold outside—but this is because it’s true gelato.” They also source English cream, which took a long time to find considering almost all our whipping creams contain stabilisers, such as carrageenan. It’s all rather embarrassing, to be honest. Especially when you start comparing your average English chocolate to the Venchi equivalent which is, as you can imagine, 100 per cent natural. In fact, when Niccolo gets started on his confectionery, it positively

turns into a superfood. “Cacao is one of the healthiest ingredients in nature,” he declares, leaning forward enthusiastically and looking over his glasses. While there are plenty of other brands peddling dark chocolate, Venchi include nibs—pieces of cacao in a less processed, purer form, which have the same concentration of polyphenols (very strong antioxidants) as broccoli. It’s worth adding that not only are the ingredients natural, but all the chocolates are gluten free, and there’s even an extensive sugar-free range too. Oh, and not forgetting the Italian signature: hazelnut chocolate. Niccolo jumps up to pick out his favourite example of hazelnut chocolate for me to try: “Giandujotto is based on a 33 per cent hazelnut paste, but the nuts we use are from Piedmont [where the Venchi factory is based] and have many more antioxidants than normal hazelnuts,” he says as I practically inhale it. Health food or not, eating Venchi’s Giandujotto is an experience that comes highly recommended. For a man so passionate about chocolate and gelato it’s surprising that, before joining the Venchi family in 2007, Niccolo worked in textiles. “The company I worked for had a retail section,” he says, “but I much prefer chocolate to textiles!” He’s not so much cagey about his background, as adamant that it’s boring. “Yes, I grew up in Florence, went to university, did all the normal things...” another wave of his hand, and then it’s back to the chocolate. He tells me that the Italians are famous for using hazelnuts in chocolate because of a lack of imports during the 18-19th centuries, thanks to permanent wars between the British and the French, and the so called ‘Napoleon blockade’ of the ports. They substituted a lot of cacao, which they couldn’t find, with hazelnuts. After finishing this story, he goes to get me some more gelato to try—this time it’s Azteco (chocolate) with strawberry sorbet.

We’re now a world away from 1997, when the Italian business was reduced to no more than a little factory in Piedmont and consequently bought by its current owners. “It was a small, but healthy company. Venchi had 6,000 clients across Italy, but it was all wholesale. In 2007 I was brought in.” Now there are 22 shops in Italy and two over here—aside from Covent Garden, Venchi has a pop-up at the Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush. Now Niccolo’s looking to expand in other places around the capital. Covent Garden is perfect because of the central location and constant flow of people, but it’s his job to come up with more destinations. “At the moment we’re concentrating on London, we want to open five shops. We’re looking around, but haven’t decided on anywhere yet.” There’s a pause. “You know that chocolate gelato you’re eating isn’t made with cream, just water? It’s dairy-free and even healthier than the normal gelato we sell.” It’s clear there’s no point in trying to steer Niccolo Cangioli away from gelato. “While I couldn’t choose a favourite type of chocolate, cream gelato is probably my favourite. The British don’t tend to like it.” Made with egg-based cream, it’s the most popular flavour in Italy, whereas we in the UK prefer dark chocolate gelato instead. There’s only, really, one question left to ask. And he is politely evasive as to what he thinks about English chocolate. “It’s very sugary,” he laughs. “Very, very sweet.” The thought of a bar of Cadbury’s must seem bizarre in comparison to the artisanal chocolates he’s used to producing. “You said that, not me!” he protests. “All I’m saying is that it’s very sweet. And I care about my health...”

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Woodwards Farm The Real Food Market Every Thursday until 20th December (11am-7pm) East Piazza

/Kerrie Tokens of Woodwards Farm Have you always been a farmer? No, I don’t think I’d ever really been on a working farm until I met Will, my partner. I was a PA for an interiors company in Cambridge called Cambridge Blues and then moved to London to work in facilities at Morgan Stanley, so I’d always been around office work. So how did the career change to farming and market stalls come about? I met Will and absolutely loved his family’s farm. At that time he was a farm consultant at Bidwells, a big estate company in Cambridge, while I was in property management at the same firm. Will wanted to leave his job and go back to the family farm, but because the farm is only around 220 acres he knew he’d have to think of another business to run alongside it. So we decided to kill a couple of our bullocks one Christmas, to see what people thought about the beef. The meat went down a storm—everybody loved it. They were used to buying supermarket beef, but home reared beef is very different. We thought we could make a business out of this, and that’s how it started. Where is Woodwards Farm? In a little village called Winwick, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. The farm is down the bottom of a little lane—there is no passing traffic whatsoever, so having a farm shop wouldn’t be very feasible. We are set in an orchard and have beef cattle and also our free range chickens.

go to the abattoir. We have various breeds—Aberdeen Angus, Herefords, Continental crosses. We also have around 400 chickens at the moment. We have some little ones, pullets, coming along and they should be laying some decent sized eggs by December time. We don’t raise our own pigs, because the land in our area of the country isn’t suitable, so we buy in Gloucester Old Spot pigs. They roam around in large paddocks and enjoy a lovely life. We also buy in Suffolk lamb. Does the way you treat you animals get reflected in the taste and quality of the beef? Yes, absolutely, and we never take any of our bullocks to the abattoir until they are ready to go. There would be no point, because the taste and quality of the meat just wouldn’t be up to standard if we took them too young or if they weren’t fat enough.

Who works at the farm? Will’s dad still runs the farm and looks after all the cattle, along with Will, and is basically in charge of the farming plus the arable side. Then there is Will’s mother, who makes our jams and honey, and tends to the bees. My mum also works at the farm now. She works with me in the office and also helps out in the butchery.

And just how good is the quality of your meat? We do get amazing feedback from customers at all of our markets—our butchery is in competition with the best butchers in the capital, and lots of our customers say that they’ve been to the others and that ours really is the best. That’s why they come through the rain and snow, because they just won’t buy their meat anywhere else.

Tell us about your livestock. At the moment we have about 100 head of beef cattle. They are just part of the family really and have plenty of room to roam around. They are bullocks. We buy them in young from the markets and then rear them until they are big and fat enough to

What products do you sell at the Real Food Market? We sell our fresh beef, the whole range, from rump to rib eye to fillet to roasting joints, stewing packs and mince packs. We also have the pork, lamb and free range eggs. We also sell our homemade gourmet beef

burgers. The burgers are available raw, but we also cook them for lunch and have long queues whenever we are down in Covent Garden. What do you enjoy most about having a market stall here? Meeting all the different types of people who come along and buy our products. It’s nice to get away from the farm at least once a week, because otherwise you tend to just be talking to your animals. We have a range of customers at Covent Garden, from tourists just here for the day to the many office workers who come down and grab their lunch from us. They love the Real Food Market, because obviously they can go to a variety of stalls for some really fantastic produce. It’s lovely to get the feedback direct from the customers. We wouldn’t get that if we sold to the supermarkets—we wouldn’t hear anything. It’s great that people appreciate what we’re doing and understand all the hard work that’s involved in getting our products to the market. Are you a fan of Covent Garden itself? Covent Garden is fantastic. What a fabulous location—and so diverse. There are lots of shops and some lovely restaurants, plus

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TASTE Middle Eastern promise Born in Dubai and brought to the UK this year in the shape of a new flagship store on Monmouth Street, Just Falafel is by no means the first restaurant in London to base its entire menu concept and name around a single dish—nor is it

likely to be the last. Yet what Just Falafel does reflect is the phenomenal growth in our appreciation of a food which up until recently would barely have been recognised. It’s made of chickpeas and—shock horror!—it’s vegetarian, but ever since its herby, warming smell

and flavour graced the stalls of Middle Eastern markets and kebab shops it has made our mouths water. Look out burgers and hot dogs: falafel—crispy, nutty, nutritious falafel—in a variety of styles and dishes, is right on your tail.

/Coffee column


/Angela Holder on what to look out for when buying coffee-based gifts

you’ve got the Royal Opera House and all of the theatres. Covent Garden is just one of the nicest places in London. Presumably you’ll be very busy on your stall in the run up to Christmas. Christmas is a very busy time for us and we start taking orders in November. Naturally we offer our entire range of beef and pork, for example, but we also have free range poultry from a fabulous farmer based in Wisbech. Geese, cockerels, ducks, turkeys, chickens, you name it, any poultry that customers want we can get from him. And the poultry is fabulous. It’s all down to the way he rears his birds—that’s the key to it. We tend to give out brochures with order forms on from November time. People just fill them in, saying what they want to order, which market they’d like to pick it up from, and then they come and collect. Do you ever miss the comfort of an office? Perhaps during mid-winter when it’s freezing cold, then I would quite like to be sat behind a desk in a warm, cosy office. But no, I don’t think I could ever go back. The freedom of running my own business with Will is something I could never give up. I would never want to go back to an office, working for somebody else.

Christmas bells! It’s that time of year! Again. It’s a busy time of year for us roasters. Flagging shoppers need their pick-me-up, foodies need their after dinner-party beans and closer to C-Day, the desperate are looking for the gift that shows they actually put some thought into it. And this year the pennies really count as the country hovers timidly above a triple dip recession. With that in mind I will issue my now traditional exhortation to avoid spending a fortune on novelty coffees. Now, I know what you’re thinking—is that coffee that comes with a little plastic gift? No, the way that you can spot a novelty coffee is that it costs a fortune for a very small amount and you can’t try it before you buy it. It is tempting to equate quality with price and in the coffee industry it is true—up to a point. Better quality coffee does command a higher price due to the time, effort and skill involved in its production. But beyond the quantifiable factors of cost of production, shipping, roasting and the premium paid for better flavours as analysed by professional cuppers, there lie the murky waters of marketing, which has little to do with actual quality. For true coffee lovers, the quality of the flavour is what is prized, as expressed by its mouth-feel, sweetness and acidity. Peculiar production methods for the sake of being amusing and selection based on the shape of the coffee bean hold no appeal. Ultimately, there is no substitute for tasting a coffee in order to understand if it is worth the price you are being asked to pay for it. In blind tasting sessions I’ve attended

where some well known and very expensive coffees have been on the table, no-one has ever selected those coffees when asked to pick out the coffees that taste the most expensive. Now there’s some food for thought. If you really want to impress your foodie friends with your knowledge rather than your wallet, look for: 1—Arabica beans. Of the two commercially grown species of coffee, Arabica coffee beans have more desirable and pleasing flavours and half the amount of caffeine of the other species, Robusta. 2—Freshly roasted beans. Roasted coffee is an ephemeral product. It’s best drunk within two weeks of the date that it was roasted. Look or ask for the roast date, not the ‘best before’ date. 3—Provenance. Look beyond the mass market labels and marketing—a portion of what you pay is literally going into the label. Independent roasters often have their own direct trade strategies which mean they can source better quality coffee at a premium price to the producer, but at an affordable price for the consumer. Also when buying for others check their preferred method of making coffee and whether they have a grinder, or your carefully sourced present will be left in the kitchen cupboard. A happy, caffeinated Christmas to all!

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Yo n Na ah t A on ionacos e l ta in of t Ba , on th h lle e en e w e m t’s of t d o o C h wo les rld. st p hris e s r s B r tm ta He ld-fa com ut c omi as rs o f a s m ab leav ou pari n h ing prog the so es s u so e e you ra En lu M n ns ve ng mm gli te a cle w r e d ly rk C ith s a e, sh no Ri a h ca nc is do dd rlos is pe ers th ub aw ? e t t ay ha w t h ith ec an


ARTS /18

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There can be few paths in life more prone to dead ends and disappointments than those that follow the footprints of a famous family member—not that Carlos Acosta, just about the most graceful man on the planet, treads heavily enough to leave much of a mark on the ground. Sharing the genes of one of the giants of your field guarantees that your success will forever be compared not to that of your peers but to someone who is, by definition, pretty much incomparable. And it doesn’t help if, like Yonah Acosta, the 23-year-old nephew of Carlos and a junior soloist at the English National Ballet, you share an appearance so striking as to be slightly disconcerting. Yonah is a few inches shorter and less rangy of limb, perhaps, but packed with the same supple strength and quiet intensity as his famous uncle. It is that intensity—which makes itself apparent even within the confines of a tiny office in the ENB’s rehearsal space and despite Yonah’s discomfort with English— that makes any fears that he might play out his career lost in the shadows of another man’s reputation almost entirely redundant. As one of the most promising young dancers in the world, Yonah is already making a mark of his own—and he’s not going to stop doing so any time soon. “I’m never completely satisfied,” he insists. “I never sit back. There is always something else. There is always more to give.” The lives of Carlos and Yonah Acosta have been intertwined since Yonah was a child. Despite being gripped by his uncle’s performances whenever he’d watched him on stage, the 10-year-old nephew had never even danced before when Carlos, already a major success, persuaded Cuba’s National Ballet School—one of the largest and most dauntingly successful dance academies in the world—to offer him an audition. Yonah was taken to that audition by Pedro, his uncle’s father, the man whose ruthlessly straightforward version of tough love had driven the once wayward Carlos from feckless street kid to ballet superstar. “My uncle’s father was a very strong character, and when he said, ‘You will pass the exam, you will go to the school, you will work hard and you will succeed’, I did what he told me. Every day that I did my lessons I had that in my memory.” The ballet school was a tough place for an adolescent boy to be, with its steely, disciplinarian culture and a workload that left little time for the fripperies of childhood. “There was a lot of sacrifice,” says Yonah. “I didn’t get to play like other children my age. For the first few years it made me very unhappy. Every day I had to be up in time to start school at seven in the morning and I

Yonah Acosta is appearing in the lead role of the Prince in Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum on 10th and 15th January. He is also appearing in The Nutcracker—check the ENO’s website for details.

wouldn’t get home until seven or eight in the evening—there was no time for games. I could only play on Saturday and Sunday. I wasn’t very focused at first as I just wanted to be out there on the street with my friends.” It was in his fourth year, at the age of 13, that Yonah came on a trip that changed his life. His famous uncle, now based in London, had written a ballet, entitled Tocororo: A Cuban Tale, a loosely autobiographical coming-of-age story, and wanted Yonah to play the part of Tocororo as a child, with Carlos himself playing the adult character. For a young man whose life had revolved almost entirely around the stifling classrooms of a Havana ballet school, it was to prove a seminal experience. He exhales hard. “Oof. It was the first time I had taken a plane, the first time I had ever left Cuba. London was like nothing I had seen.” He mimics the expression of a goggle-eyed ingénue taking in the scene. “In Havana we have nice buildings, but here everything is so big, so impressive. It took my breath away. I said to myself, I want to work here.” Not that it was all good. “I would go out wearing 15 jackets,” he laughs, “and I would see people with only one and I would think, oh my God, why don’t they die of cold?” Yonah enjoyed working with his uncle, even though the transition from beloved nephew to junior cast member was occasionally a hard one. “It was difficult because I was just a kid,” he remembers. “Sometimes in rehearsals I would get things wrong and my uncle would stop everything and tell me off in front of everyone, and as I kid I would get upset, but now I realise how essential that was for my career.” Despite the ballet itself garnering a mixed critical reception during its run at Sadler’s Wells, the wiry young man given the thankless task of sharing a role with the most famous dancer in the world was rapturously reviewed. “Yonah Acosta is a superb dancer, and an equally fine actor,” proclaimed the Guardian. “The anguished, dignified set of his body as he leaves his rural home is profoundly and startlingly moving.” When Yonah returned to school in Cuba at the end of the summer, he did so having made a promise to Carlos. “My uncle came to me and said, ‘I want you to give me a present.’ I was thinking, what present could I give you? You are a man who has almost everything, and I’m just a boy with nothing. And he said, ‘The only present I want is that when I phone I want to hear that you are the best dancer at the school.’ And I said, ‘If that is what you want as a present, that is what I will give you. I will try.’” And try he did, knuckling down to his craft with a focus that had previously been sorely

lacking. The Subways Heand no longer (previouspined spread) for the friends Charlie Simpson: thestreets without him. who played outTwo onofthe acts whose careers have been Instead, his heart set on repeating rejuvinatedwith by PledgeMusic the searing thrill he’d experienced on the London stage, he set about keeping his promise. “When my uncle called for the second time,” he smiles, “I had the highest marks in the class.” Over the next three years, Yonah became a regular face on the international competition circuit, travelling the world— Beijing, Shanghai, Italy, Korea—winning Grand Prix after Grand Prix, gold medal after gold medal. “Competition and pressure makes me dance better,” he says. “It gives me energy inside. It makes me feel like exploding, and that comes through in my dancing.” He found himself given special one-to-one tuition at the school, gaining the favour of Ramona de Saa, its legendary director. Upon graduation he was immediately offered a place at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. If Yonah’s story is beginning to sound like one of smooth, easy progress, lightly oiled by the valuable lubricant of powerful family ties, this is where the gears crunch, the tone changes, and Yonah’s eyes darken. “It was very strange,” he says, shaking his head, recalling his arrival at the company. “I didn’t fit in too well.” After several years of being the great hope, the shining star, the centre of attention, Yonah found himself isolated and ignored, deliberately sidelined for reasons he couldn’t fathom. “For a whole year I didn’t even dance. I just trained every day. It was very depressing—it is only with dancing on stage that you really feel the adrenaline and the excitement, and I had none of it. The company would go on tour and I would be left behind, never dancing. It was a very strange time, a very difficult time.” This wasn’t, he insists, some accepted rite of passage for raw young recruits to the company. “There were people my age who arrived at the company with me, and

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ARTS tbc

The name Acosta has power. And you have to respond as the audience expects—you have to live up to the name. The problem is that people compare us all the time. They look at me and they see my uncle. But we are different, we are not the same person—and we are not the same dancer

the top of the profession in Cuba. People would come to see me as much as to see the performance. But here in London I have to start at the bottom again. I felt a bit bad, as I had done so many roles as a soloist that I can’t do here, but that is what everyone has to go through. I had to run that risk.” A steely, self-absorbed determination exudes from this quiet, diffident young man, and since his arrival at the Coliseum this has continued to coalesce with a vast reserve of natural talent and a work ethic that would usually be described as ‘protestant’ in somebody less evidently Cuban. He has already become the recipient of the ENB’s emerging dancer award, presented by a panel of terrifying ballet luminaries, as well as the People’s Choice award, voted for by audiences. As befits a man who can jump really bloody high without seeming to try, finding metaphors for the speed and trajectory of his ascent is almost too easy to be worth bothering. So what does he thinks defines him as a dancer? “My jump is very strong. My pirouette too. Also the strength with which I dance. My physical strength and,” he taps his chest, “in here.” He is, he says, an actor as well as a dancer. “The key to my success is the acting. I have the technique, but also the emotional delivery. There are so many other dancers they were dancing,” he says. “Everyone else with wonderful technique, but not all of them was dancing and I was not, and I was asking have so much drama.” myself why. What have I done? Am I doing The same has long been said of the other something wrong?” Acosta—the man whose vast shadow Yonah And was he? He looks down at his feet. is striving to escape. Although his love and “No. Nothing.” So what did he do? “I just respect for Carlos are deep and profound, worked hard. My level went down and I was Yonah wants to be his own man rather than very depressed. But I kept on working. I another man’s nephew. “Being an Acosta talked to my uncle and he told me not to worry is a blessing and a curse,” he says. “When and that this was not the end, that if I kept on people see the name, they will come and working and improving it would be okay.” see you, so it will give you opportunities. The name has power. And you have to respond By the time his chance finally came, with as the audience expects—you have to live the role of the Joker in a performance of up to the name. The problem is that people Swan Lake at the famous Gran Teatro de La Habana, Yonah was a coiled spring, shaking compare us all the time. They look at me and with potential energy. He laughs. “It was five they see my uncle. But we are different. We look alike, but we are not the same person— years ago, and still today in Cuba they talk and we are not the same dancer.” about my performance.” After that he became, he says, “a true The only way for Yonah to escape such part of the ballet”, rapidly progressing to comparisons is to carve out a reputation as become principal dancer and the company’s large and as singular as that of his famous main draw. On a tour of London, he caught uncle. That’s certainly what he plans, and the eye of Wayne Eagling, then artistic the quiet intensity of his personality brokers director at the ENB, and, with the blessing of little dissent. “I want to be a principal dancer the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, a contract was here,” he insists. “Then I want to dance with offered and accepted. So Yonah packed his the Kirov, the Royal Ballet. I want to become 15 jackets once more and arrived back on a true artist.” And perhaps by then people will talk of these frigid shores at the start of 2011. “I wanted to increase my level and grow Carlos as Yonah Acosta’s uncle and the as an artist, and I thought there would be shoe—a ballet shoe of course—will be on nowhere better to be,” he explains. “I left at the other foot. 43 Covent Garden Journal Issue 18 Winter 2012

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Covent Garden Hotel Film Club Ah, Christmas. A time for feasting, family, and the sort of sugary film fests you would only ever indulge in at a time when everything is designed to be done in excess. Covent Garden Hotel’s film screenings take this to an extraordinary

new level, by allowing guests to combine a festive film with afternoon tea or a three course meal—mulled wine included of course—within the sumptuous, cosy surroundings of Brasserie Max. From there, the cinema is but a quick jingle away, with such treats as White

Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and The Holiday to ensure a thoroughly seasonal sugar high.

Satanic Verses Robert le Diable Royal Opera House 6th December—21st December


/Royal Opera House

It was not, one suspects, without a tinge of envy that Berlioz said of Meyerbeer he had “not only the luck to be talented, but the talent to be lucky”. Not only did his opera Robert le Diable (Robert the Devil, to us) meet with immediate and enormous success when it premiered in 1831 but its fortuitous timing just after the July revolution meant that the hype surrounding it quickly became associated with the sense of liberal optimism that followed. It influenced government policy. It attracted the bourgeoisie to opera houses which traditionally had been the preserve of the aristocratic classes only. Yet if Berlioz was jealous, it wasn’t just because Rober de Diable was successful, but because it was also exceedingly good. The music was astonishing, a blend of Italian lyricism and German force that left its early audiences reeling. Its story—a tale of love, betrayal, swordfights in forests and supernatural powers—was exciting and mercifully free from the dry history that dominated operas of yore. Now brought back to Covent Garden for the first time in over a century, Laurent Pelly’s production recreates that world via a stage inspired by medieval France and a musical score that remains nonpareil. Starring Bryan Hymel, John Relyea and Jennifer Rowley this is not to be missed.

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ARTS The Nutcracker A Christmas without The Nutcracker is a Christmas devoid of festive cheer, so it’s a relief to see the London Colisuem filling the gap. The ENO’s production of The Nutcracker (which premiered to critical acclaim two years ago) is

performed by the English National Ballet and is choreographed by Wayne Ealing, its former artistic director. Together with designer Peter Framer, they have produced a Nutcracker more than worthy of its reputation. Set in the suitably frosty and elegant era of the Edwardians,

the captivating story of Clara and her strong-jawed companion is spun through sumptuous scores, dazzling dances and costumes richly embellished with Swarovski crystallised elements. The English National Ballet has established a tradition of performing The Nutcracker

every single December—making it almost as venerable a Christmas institution as turkey. Long may it continue.

Julia Caesar 29th November—9th February Julius Caesar Donmar Warehouse


JULIA CAESAR / Donmar Warehouse

/Inside Story Our anonymous West End insider gives a backstage view of life in Theatreland

inspection. Seasonal Affective Disorder which goes by the delightfully prosaic acronym of SAD is now a recognised problem. Those affected suffer from a form of depression caused by the reduced levels of natural light in the winter months, which can be so severe as to seriously affect people’s lives. I generally refer to my work backstage Now while the backstage clan can be taking place behind the ‘Velvet Curtain’, fractious to a point where it can be difficult in reference to the giant drapes with their to tell when a particularly moody beggar is velveteen glisten that have traditionally being even more moody than usual, the law greeted an audience on their entrance of big numbers suggests that some of the into the auditorium. As well as adding a backstage brotherhood are affected by sense of grandeur to the occasion they also SAD. For them, spending those brief hours generate a feeling of mystery as to what of winter sunlight effectively underground will be revealed when they glide smoothly can be a real trial. heavenwards. Now there is help for this—in the form, There is however a less lyrical pseudonym ironically, of an electric light. You can get applicable to the techie’s chosen world—the specific SAD light boxes, which used for black hole. Let me explain. Very few people a few minutes a day can make a genuine other than techies have ever been in a difference, and you can also fit Daylight theatre with all the lights off—show lights, bulbs which are not as effective but may corridor lights, exit signs, everything. If you help some people get by. But here is the brought your hand towards your face it would thing, while these bulbs have been around hit your nose before you had a hint of its for quite some time, you could spend years approach. This complete absence of light backstage and never encounter one. almost feels like a physical thing. In a world awash with artificial light designed to do everything—draw emotional This generally innocuous fact can, responses from the audience, signal however, gain some distinct relevance, especially if the winter months coincide with various cues, and of course simply stop you bumping into things—lights designed to help a long production period. In the depths of members of the fraternity collapsing into an winter, it becomes entirely possible to both emotional black hole, are almost entirely enter and exit the theatre in the hours of absent. I have seen them once. It was in the darkness, and not see the outside world in wardrobe department of a friend I popped between for days on end. And even if you in to see. She was in a large, airy room do manage to venture outside, your situated at the top of the building and encounter with sunlight often lasts for blessed with a series of large windows the length of time it takes to walk from the theatre to the pub for a brief ‘lunch’. All of this looking out onto the outside world. The irony of it all was lost on no one. means that a winter production period can So if during this festive season you see be a life lived almost entirely in darkness. a group of techies erupting from the bowels And this can go on and on. Now while this may appear to add a of a theatre like bad tempered barbarians bit of the famous West End glamour to with violence in their hearts, cut them a little proceedings, it is—as with most things slack—it may be more than just a bad day at glamorous—slightly less shiny on closer work that’s making them miserable.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all— As You Like it set in a transvestite’s changing room, King Lear rendered through the medium of interpretative Chinese Dance, Lady Macbeth played by a six-foot, hairy man—along comes a take on Shakespeare that floors you completely. In a complete reverse of the bard’s day, when all roles, male or female, were performed by men, this winter the Donmar Warehouse is hosting an all-female production of Julius Caesar, directed by Phyllida Lloyd of Mamma Mia! fame. This is Loyd’s first theatre reproduction since The Iron Lady—and while some might see a link between Margaret Thatcher’s political demise and the messy end of an over-powerful Roman emperor at the hands of his own friends, it is still remarkable to imagine Harriet Walter as Brutus and Frances Barber in the title role of a play whose characters are predominantly male, and markedly masculine. Remarkable—but brilliant. These are some of Britain’s finest actors, and the Donmar Warehouse one the most exciting London stages. How this most macho of plays will evolve with the addition of a feminine touch will be fascinating to see. Artistic director Josie Rourke’s debut season at the Donmar has gone from sellout to sellout since she joined earlier this year. That this should be another hit feels pretty inevitable—Shakespeare, done well, is a guaranteed crowd puller, a controversial interpretation of his work can only assist with this—yet given the quality of talent, direction and of course original writing, its success will almost certainly be justified.

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EXHIBIT VALENTINO: MASTER OF COUTURE 29th November—3rd March /Somerset House Somerset House Strand 020 7845 4600

Frankly, it was enough to know that Jackie Onassis’s wedding dress, Princess MarieChantal of Greece’s pearl-encrusted ivory silk wedding gown and the vintage dress worn by Julia Roberts when she won an Academy Award are going to be there. “Stop there!” we said to the press release, “We’re completely sold!” But it continues. From a room full of previously unseen personal photographs and couture invitations from Valentino’s private collection, the visitor proceeds onto an actual catwalk created by Somerset House for the occasion, from which they can feast their eyes on the entire history of the designer’s clothes. The garments—gowns, dresses, trouser suits, minis, capes, kaftkans and more— will be grouped by themes rather than chronologically—for example, tones of black and white, volume, or Valentino red. Because they are on open display, the incredibly fine craftsmanship will be clear for all to see. Finally, the visitor will descend the stairs into a wonderland of films and interactive content exploring Valentino’s legacy. Valentino is a legend of significance, style and wealth. This is his tribute.

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National Portrait Gallery St Martin’s Place 020 7306 0055

Ceri Hand Project Space 71 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 5482

London Film Museum 45 Wellington Street 020 3617 3010

The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize is back, and more beautiful than ever—if indeed the word can be used to describe this uncanny mix of Mennonites, ventriloquists and a naked woman in a derelict house. It’s certainly brilliant—famous faces meet with those of total strangers, rendering them new almost to the point of being anonymous in the process—and the subjects explored range from the poignant to the absurd. Works include a picture of Ai Wei Wei holding a cat, which represents his lives—all nine of them—and places a clever, comic lens on his frequent clashes with the Chinese authorities. One guaranteed highlight of the show is a portrait of Mo Farrah, looking unusually serious in his customary running vest against a dark, moody background. Plus, of course, there’s the token ‘nude’ portrait for the voyeurs among you. Says photographer Jennifer: “There is an interesting shift in the consciousness of the sitter during the slow process of making these portraits , a moment in the quiet where they become unaware that they are naked.” All in all, this 60-strong collection is well worth the two quid ticket, and has all the bases covered when it comes to portraiture. Or uncovered, as the case may be.

Matthew Holding is inspired by modern architecture, formalism and a childhood spent in East Africa—and if that sounds eclectic, you should see his work. Mixed media—Perspex, cardboard boxes, garden fencing, kitchen work tops, railings—come together to recreate imaginary buildings, and through them the experience of architecture and its forms. Contrasting geometry is framed by bold, primary colours, casting a cheerful glow over a structure that might otherwise appear foreboding. Always it is the architecture itself that holds the interest in his works. He makes his scale models out of common packaging materials—a debt to East Africa no doubt— and fills the more severe, disconcerting ones with luxurious associations, as if to shout: “There’s a Swiss chalet which appears to be falling apart, which you enter via a rubbish chute. Still look at the flowers!” Holding has never stated whether these houses are dreams or nightmares: they are free of people, and to some that speaks volumes. It’s not a point we need dwell on. It is enough, for the artist, that we look on and not learn.

Tire of London and you tire of, not just life, but all the many films to which the capital has played host. Based at the new London Film Museum, this exhibition shows how the city has been the setting—and often the star—of films for a hundred years or more. Using extracts, stills, props and rare costumes Light! Camera! London! celebrates the capital’s debut television appearance (Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, which garnered an early global box-office success) before exploring the reasons for its continued stardom: diverse communities, famous markets, vital contributions to music and fashion during the sixties, the long tradition of London criminals and the detectives who pursue them—the list continues, and that’s before you get to Shakespeare and the major role he played. They can’t do it all of course—it’d take another city to fit it in—but by focusing on iconic factors like the monarchy and British humour they tick all the best boxes, before wrapping it up with an eye to the future of London’s continuing involvement in filmmaking and post production technologies.


10th November—30th June /London Film Museum


Until 17th February /National Portrait Gallery

11th January—9th February /Ceri Hand Project Space

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Glyn Brown tells the story of the decline and fall of Aldwych station, from war hero to empty shell I passed Aldwych station the other day. There it stands in the Strand, a little bit grubby and unassuming, just along from King’s College and the illustrious Somerset House. You wouldn’t notice this disused tube station, might not even know that’s what it was. But within it is the tale of a nearly-station, a place that breathed briefly, yet managed to be a minor hero. It’s a twig off the end of a branch of the Piccadilly line, a museum piece, a timebox of memories. But there’s just the slightest possibility that its story isn’t over quite yet. The Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR) first proposed a station on the Strand in a private bill presented to parliament in 1898. It was to be the southern terminus of a new underground line running from Wood Green station (now Alexandra Palace) via King’s Cross, and would be located at the corner of Stanhope Street and Holles Street, just east of Drury Lane Theatre. But the lower sections of both streets were scheduled for demolition as part of London County Council’s great plans for slum clearance, and subsequent construction of the gleaming Kingsway and Aldwych. So it was suggested the station be sited at the junction of the two new roads. But in 1901, the GN&SR was taken over by the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR), which planned to build an underground line from

South Kensington to Piccadilly Circus via Knightsbridge (these were the underground’s Wild West days). Both companies were owned by American entrepreneur Charles Tyson Yerkes, who’d made a fortune building tram lines in Chicago. Yerkes’ business methods were dubious, but he got things moving, and under his new unified company, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL), he linked the two lines and got tunnelling permission. But it was here, in a morass of paperwork and adjourned legislation, that the fate of yet unborn Aldwych (then called Strand) was sealed. In the gold rush of new stations and what they might do, a proposal surfaced to extend the line from Strand south to Temple; but the Duke of Norfolk, under whose land the tunnels might run, refused. In 1903, Yerkes sought permission to run a Piccadilly line branch through Leicester Square and Strand to Fleet Street and into the City. This would have meant travel via Strand was possible in three directions, but the Royal Commission deliberated so long that the plan was dropped. Finally, in 1905, Yerkes returned to parliament. He re-presented his bill for the extension to the City, asked to relocate Strand station to the junction of Strand and Surrey Street, and requested

to run the line from there south to Waterloo. The first and third options would have kept Strand station vibrant and alive—but once again, delays saw the options founder. Only the relocation was passed. Strand’s eventual doom as a tiny terminus was inevitable. The site where Strand was built had been an art gallery, then a non-conformist chapel, and was finally the Royal Strand Theatre. This was demolished in 1905 to make way for the station—but there have long been rumours that the station is haunted by the ghost of an actress, and line engineers have claimed they’ve seen a ghostly figure on the track. Fitting the theatre’s footprint, Strand is L-shaped, with two facades—a narrow one with a window on the Strand itself, and a wider entrance in Surrey Street. Yerkes brought in his British architect Leslie Green, who’d devised a distinctive look for UERL stations—an Arts and Crafts style, with frontages in dark red glazed terracotta blocks. Each building stood on a load-bearing steel frame strong enough to take the weight of the lift winding equipment—an American innovation first pioneered in the skyscrapers of Chicago. In anticipation of a new line link, three lift shafts, by American firm Otis, were sunk; only one was ever used. The lifts in the station now are original, the only surviving

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nouveau lettering. Building began in late 1905. Tunnelling moved at a cracking pace, complete by 1906. The station opened on 30th November 1907. Strand threw open its doors, but traffic was light from the start as, without the proposed connections, it was bound to be. Bus and tram services in the area were good, Temple and Holborn stations were close and local office developments didn’t progress at the speed predicted. Not just that, but the station lost its name. There was examples on the underground already a station at the more system, since all others have salubrious end of the Strand, and been replaced (early tube stations were built before reliable so this became Aldwych—and escalators had been developed). the other Strand station changed It was these lifts that caused the its name to Charing Cross. By 1908, an all-day service ran at final demise of the station. On ground level, the passenger Aldwych with just one two-car train shuttling back and forth (not ‘customer’) facilities in the booking hall included a cloakroom to Holborn; a few months later, the late-night theatre train was (toilets and washroom), which withdrawn. After WWI, even the still exists un-modernised, booking office closed. Soon, a newsagent’s kiosk and a the station was run by one staff tearoom, closed in the 1930s. member, the lift operator who sold Platform walls were tiled in distinctive cream and dark green, and collected tickets on the way up and down. with the word ‘Strand’ in art

And then, in the late 1930s, a second war with Germany began to look inevitable. Official estimates suggested that, with the Germans using longrange bombers, thousands of Londoners could be killed in just the opening days of a full-scale war. Fears grew as newsreel footage during 1937-8 showed German and Italian air raids decimating Spanish towns and cities. The government prepared for war, but what it didn’t do is build deep shelters. Despite this, using tube stations as shelters was discouraged; officials worried that if Londoners sought sanctuary on the platforms, they’d refuse to come back up again, morale would collapse and the city’s transport system would be paralysed. The war began in September 1939; but systematic attacks on British cities didn’t start until a year later. In the interim, the disused second tunnel and platform at Aldwych were given to the V&A and British Museum for storage. Deep-level and able to be closed without affecting the rest of the network, Aldwych began to show something of what it could do. Thousands of paintings and antiquities were moved in; most famous of all, the Elgin Marbles, weighing 100 tons, were taken by railway wagon to Aldwych for safekeeping.

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But that wasn’t the station’s finest hour. In October 1940, as the Blitz devastated London night after night, people bombed out of their homes took matters into their own hands and began to lead their families into the deepest stations. Churchill’s new home secretary Herbert Morrison finally announced that tube stations would be organised as shelters ‘insofar as it does not interfere with the transport of London’s workers’. Over 100,000 Londoners were already sleeping on platforms every night. And as a shelter, little Aldwych was one of the very best. Though other stations couldn’t withstand the impact of 1,000lb bombs (when it received a direct hit, many died at Bank; the same happened at Balham, and Bounds Green), Aldwych could. Officials assumed Aldwych would never be used, because it sat in a business and theatre district—but from the first night it was packed. On 21st September 1940, the tube service there was suspended and Aldwych began saving lives. Not that it was palatial, or even pleasant. In the first weeks, up to 300 people a night slept not just on the platforms but between the rails. With no water supply, no mains drainage and no toilet facilities, people couldn’t wash, and relieved themselves in buckets they were told to bring with them. It was suggested you

2013 will be the 150th anniversary of London’s underground system. The London Transport Museum will be celebrating this milestone in style. Check the website for details.

put sawdust in your bucket so no one would hear you go, but that was the least of your worries. People still remember the stench of Aldwych then—a mix, someone said, of a gents’ urinal and the monkey house at the zoo—but gradually conditions improved. By November, three-tier metal bunks were installed, along with chemical toilets and a ticketing system to control numbers. By 1941, with much of central London turned to rubble, Aldwych could accommodate over 1,500 people a night. There was a first aid post, a canteen, even a makeshift library. Because this was life. For those who’d lost their homes, it was their address. It wasn’t impregnable or without fear, but during raids, as bombs fell, survivors remember sing-songs in the candlelit dark to drown the sound. Each morning, you’d get up and go to work. Community spirit developed: one pregnant girl had to be ordered out of the station to give birth, though she’d got so close to everyone else she’d hoped to do it there— and to name her baby ‘Aldwych’. The war in Europe ended in May 1945, but services on the Aldwych branch weren’t restored until July 1946. And the same old issue of underuse occurred. There was a revival of the plan to

extend the line south to Waterloo; again it was dropped. Meanwhile the disused second platform was used as a guinea pig to plan future station designs. You can still see ideas for the new Victoria line in the 1960s, bits of tiling tried and left there, 1970s ads to test poster glue—one for DH Evans, apparently “London’s new young fashion destination” (looks like the glue was pretty good). Things limped on until 1994, when the original 1907 lifts needed urgent replacement work. That would cost £3 million, which couldn’t be justified with just 450 people using the station each day. Closure was set for 2nd April 1993, but objections delayed that until 30th September 1994, when finally, after 87 years, Aldwych shut up shop.

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Since then, it’s starred in numerous films, including Quantum of Solace and Atonement. The video for The Prodigy’s Firestarter was shot in a tunnel and Lara Croft hurtles around Aldwych in a particularly heady Tomb Raider video. Because it’s so popular for filming, the platforms at Aldwych are kept neat. And because it’s used as a training site for London Underground’s Emergency Response Unit, the track remains operational, connected to the rest of the system at Holborn. If anyone wanted it, it’s almost ready to go. No one wants it. Or do they? In July 2005, architects Ove Arup produced a report, DLR Horizon 2020, examining schemes to expand and develop the DLR during 2012 to 2020. One proposal was to extend the DLR from Bank to Charing Cross via City Thameslink and Aldwych, which would become a brand new station on the line. Cost in 2005 was £232m for the infrastructure (updating, new escalators), and the scheme was described as “strongly beneficial”, attracting customers from the underground’s east-west routes and local buses, and reducing overcrowding at Bank. Aldwych is down there, obediently waiting. Is yet another way to give this heroic station life going to be forgotten about again?

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This Christmas, the Covent Garden Piazza is playing host to one of the more unusual and spectacular Christmas decorations—a giant advent calendar constructed from Lego, with doors that will open at 4pm every day revealing a different gift, also made from Lego. Duncan Titmarsh, professional Lego engineer (yes, that really is an actual job), gives us the lowdown


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Lights on King Street

CGJ: How did the construction of your Lego advent calendar in the Piazza pan out? DT: Well, as often happens with these things there were a few more bricks needed than we anticipated! All in all its 3m tall, 5m long and about 85cm wide, with possibly 600,000 bricks. It’s mainly the picture that’s taken up all the time though—there are 250,000 bricks in that one alone. It’s of an outdoor Christmas scene. The grid framework is made out of standard Lego bricks. We’ve inserted window boxes filled with Lego surprises inside that. We started in October, and there’s a team of six of us. What other projects have you done recently? Well we built a tall Christmas tree last year for St Pancras station, which was fun. Largely though we do things for corporations— handbags, vacuum cleaners tooth brushes and the like—or for families, like portraits or models of their dog. Anyone can ring and ask for something—we just give them a cost and then go away and build it. And do you just use standard Lego pieces? No special allowances? No, it is no different from what anyone can build at home. We can order as many bricks as we like, but there is nothing special produced for us that anyone else can’t get from sets. What sort of training do you have to go through to be a Lego engineer? No training really—I certainly didn’t do engineering or anything like that. It’s all self-taught. I was in bathroom and kitchen building, but I wanted to do something different, and I’d played with Lego since I was three or four. My dad didn’t really help—I just sat there on my own and had a play with it. I followed instructions at first, but then I went into making my own things and that was how it all started. I was a member of an adult Lego club for a while.

Then, in 2007, I won a commission from the BBC to build a model. I made another one for someone else, and another one, and then it just grew from there. Are you employed by Lego then? No, although a lot of our projects are commissioned by the Lego company because we generally do things a bit quicker than the model shop in Legoland can. Anyone ever told you that you have possibly the coolest job in the world? Most people say that, but it is hard work sometimes. If you’re on a deadline and you’re sitting here building at 10 or 11 at night it’s not much fun.

What do you think to all the fancy Lego sets? Well, I don’t particularly buy the sets myself, but some of the sets you can get are really great. The Star Wars stuff is a huge hit for Lego obviously, but the other new ranges are good too. Kids love them, and that’s the main thing—and for us, the new Friends range for girls is good because we get different coloured bricks—pink, purple, different shades of blues—giving us much more variety to play with.

How has Lego changed in the time you’ve been playing with it? Lego does things for sets, largely. You get some new parts out for a new set but then some get deleted, so it’s swings and roundabouts for us. One minute you’ll So what is the best part of it? think, great, I’ve got a new part, and be I think it’s when I’m unveiling it—when I’ve really excited about using it—then you’ll finished and people say, “Wow, look at that!” find something you’ve used for ages isn’t and you sit back and think, yes, I built that. being made anymore, which is annoying Because I’m often building in a rush, to when you’ve planned something out using it. meet deadlines, I don’t really appreciate There is always something new coming out the building—I just have to get on with it. though. It keeps things interesting. So it’s nice to see people’s reactions and just look. What’s next for Lego? Well, we’ve a six-week live build in Basingstoke How much planning and designing do you in February, and we’re currently waiting for do before you start to build? confirmation on what that’s going to be. We Not much at all. I have to order the bricks in did it in February 2012 and I did model of advance of course, but there’s nothing really Basingstoke House. It’s great that it’s live— drawn or designed on a computer apart from it’s such good publicity. After that we just don’t rough pictures. Everything just comes out of know though: the orders come in as and when. our heads. How do you transport models when you’ve How do you find new Lego builders to help finished them? you? We generally get a haulage company if it’s Well I knew my business partner, Nick, a large model, otherwise we just hire a van from the adult fan club of Lego. We’ve got ourselves. We build fairly robustly, and if a builder part-time on board who I knew anything breaks we can fix it the other end. before, then other than that students who come in and help. What are the best things you’ve ever built? I think probably the Christmas tree in There’s an adult fan club of Lego?! St Pancras, or the Rolls Royce model we did. Yes, it’s called the British Association of It was half the size of a Rolls, and it moved Lego. There are plenty of adults doing Lego. and everything. It was great.

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Music in St Martin’s Courtyard


/Christmas in Covent Garden

Chances are by the time you read this you will already have been dazzled by the lights of thousands of coloured bulbs strung together in a variety of patterns around Covent Garden. You will have emptied your purse (and your pockets) at Seven Dials’s Shopping Evening, where Mastercard’s Priceless London presented a night of music, merriment and 20 per cent off in 120 stores, and you will more than once have stumbled out of Detroit Bar with the feeling you went one Twinkle cocktail too far. Christmas, with all conceivable festive trimmings, is most certainly on its way. To ensure you get the most out of it, we’ve rounded up everything that’s left to see, hear or do in Covent Garden over the festive period—from the traditional singsongs, right through to the area’s more novel venture into the world of Lego. There’s something for everyone, and at a time when all about you are losing their heads—and limbs—to Christmas shopping that’s something to be grateful for. It is a holiday, after all. The Tree We’d say this is a must see, but to be honest that would be a somewhat redundant statement—it’s kind of impossible not to catch sight of this 60 foot beast of a pine tree complete 50,000

The Covent Garden Piazza

red LED lights. It is, without a doubt, the most traditional part of the Covent Garden Piazza’s Christmas offering. If you were there for the evening of 7th November, you would have heard the London Gay Men’s Chorus accompany the big switching on of the tree’s lights, and the choir is set to become a regular fixture, maintaining the seasonal cheer every Saturday with a medley of festive tunes old and new. Meanwhile, along the surrounding streets there will be over 150,000 pea lights lighting up the way toward the Piazza and its tree. The Reindeer Another market staple, this 30-foot work of extraordinary topiary will this year be made even cuddlier by the addition of a Lyle and Scott beanie and a herd of equally adorable—and live—reindeer friends. Between noon and 4pm each Saturday kids and adults alike can pet, cuddle and even feed the reindeer, providing Kodak moments aplenty for those thirsty for Facebook profile pictures. Just watch out for red noses—it’s never a good look. The Lights Seven Dials’ seven streets have been lit up in a festive glow with a new Christmas light display featuring close to 20 sparkling light curtains and sticks in striking orange, candlelit yellow and gold, surrounded by silver holographic snowflakes suspended high above the streets. In homage to London 2012 and the gold medals collected by Team GB, the display also boasts Olympic-themed gold stars filled with lights. The peaceful, elegant space at St Martin’s Courtyard has also been adorned with a delightful array of decorations and lights in glittering gold and silver, adding the highly welcoming ambience of the place.

the best of the UK’s handmade crafts and collectibles, for Christmas gifts with a quirk. Here you’ll find all manner of pressies and decorations you won’t find in the your local supermarket—it’s a veritable feast for the eyes and spirit, and what with that and the gluhwein you’ll have plenty to mull over. The Music All manner of music will be playing in St Martin’s Courtyard this Christmas, from the colourful sounds of an authentic Mexican mariachi band on Thursday 6th December, to the more seasonal finale from the London Community Gospel Choir on 20th. In between times, keep your ears tuned for the sounds of Bollywood Dance London on the 8th December, and the English National Community Choir performing anything from Lady Gaga to Queen on 15th. The Whiskey Barrel Christmas isn’t Christmas without a giant whiskey barrel tree—at least, it isn’t according to the folks of Tennessee where Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg Distillery has been carrying out the tradition for some years. Now they’re sending us one, to sit on the east side of the Piazza all the way through Christmas. Consisting of 140 white oak barrels, all of which were originally used to mature whiskey, the tree took 11 people two days to construct and light up—three of whom came from the Lynchburg Distillery itself. The lights were switched on by veteran distillery worker Randy ‘Goose’ Baxter, and the tree allows festive shoppers to buy bottles of the highly limited edition Jack Daniel’s Holiday Select 2012 whiskey— allowing the merriment inspired by the vision to continue flowing long after you’ve left it behind.

The Market Food, Christmassy food will be served on the Real Food Market every Thursday from 11am to 7pm. Fill up, warm up, then head to the Apple Market, home of

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23/11/2012 11:23



Savills 020 7578 5100


Savills is an estate agents best known for dealing with some of the most desirable high-end properties in the capital, and it has recently taken on two apartments in Covent Garden. Claire Reynolds talks to us about these exciting properties.

There’s always a lot of celebrities staying at that hotel too, so it’s great for people watching if you enjoy that kind of thing.

Tell us more about the Monmouth Street property... It’s a three bedroom apartment above Mon CGJ: What made you decide to branch out Plaisir, the beautiful French restaurant, and into Covent Garden? it’s the perfect place for a family. The owners CR: We are seeing more clients looking recently refurbished it, so it’s beautifully to buy in Covent Garden than ever before, decorated with lovely warm interiors, both British and International. The loft-style exposed brickwork and original fireplaces. properties you get on Macklin Street you just Oh, and every bedroom has an en suite, don’t have in Mayfair or Knightsbridge, but which is always a plus. the demand is certainly there, so we wanted to hand-pick a select few we think we have And what about the Macklin Street flat? the buyers for. Also it’s a bit unique—Savills It is a loft-style warehouse conversion has a reputation for high-end properties which our client bought about 10 years and, while Covent Garden is still high-end, ago. It’s contemporary, and beautifully it’s got a bit of an edge. decorated. She was actually the first private individual to commission Finchatton, Are those interested in apartments in the interior designers, to design her flat. Covent Garden different to those looking at There’s also a lovely outdoor space, it’s Knightsbridge and Mayfair? got a massive reception room with high They want something a bit more edgy, tend ceilings, underground parking—which is to be younger and they just want to be in the really rare—and has an airy, open plan feel. heart of London. They want to experience The location is just perfect—sort of tucked lots of different aspects of the city merged away, yet only minutes from the hustle and together in this one unique area. In Mayfair bustle of central London. you’ve got the beautiful shops, the quiet mews—it’s a different feel. One of the Which would you prefer to live in? two properties we’re dealing with is on Both! I’d prefer to live in Macklin Street now, Monmouth Street and directly opposite The I think, as the building is incredibly cool and Covent Garden Hotel. It’s really trendy and the location is ideal. Monmouth Street is very different to anything we’ve done before. more suited to a family as it’s huge, with

loads of different areas—you can have study rooms, kids’ playrooms, that sort of thing. Both are great for entertaining but in different ways—Macklin Street is more open plan, which would suit my life at the moment, and Monmouth Street is so spacious and grand. There’d need to be a few more people living there than just me... What do you enjoy in Covent Garden? Mon Plaisir is excellent for both lunch and dinner, and The Covent Garden Hotel opposite has a great bar. My favourite places for shopping are on King Street or Neal Street, which offer a good mix of designer and high street brands, together with one-off boutiques. The Piazza is great for soaking up the atmosphere from the street performers and also for people watching. Oh, and I love The Royal Opera House—it’s such a beautiful building. What do your clients think about living here? Our clients on Monmouth Street have been in Covent Garden for 10 years and absolutely love it! They’re a French family and we recently asked them what they do with their 10-year-old son. She said that the best days out they have during half term involve going to the Apple store in Covent Garden, playing all the games, watching all the street performers on The Piazza. You can often forget, or just not see, what’s going on around you because you live there. Even if you’re not a tourist, it’s a really fun place to be.

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23/11/2012 11:23 A fAbulous flAt IN coNverted wArehouse wIth terrAce macklin street, wc2 Entrance hall  open plan reception room/kitchen  master bedroom suite  2nd bedroom  shower room  terrace  lift  underground parking space  132 sq m (1,430 sq ft)

Guide £2.65 million Leasehold, approximately 113 years remaining

Savills Mayfair Charles Lloyd

020 7578 5100

stuNNINg duplex wIth roof terrAce monmouth street, wc2 Open plan double height reception room with study area  galleried reception room  kitchen/dining room  master bedroom suite with steam room  2 further bedroom suites  roof terrace  245 sq m (2,645 sq ft) Guide £3.9 million Leasehold, approximately 125 years remaining

Savills Mayfair Claire Reynolds

020 7578 5100 EA Shaw Guy Passey

020 7240 2255 cgj_issue18_pp52_64_place.indd 57

23/11/2012 11:23




7 For All Mankind 11b King Street Womenswear Accessorize The Market at Covent Garden 22 The Market Building 020 7240 2107 agnès b 35-36 Floral Street 020 7379 1992 Womenswear & menswear Albam 39 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 9391 Menswear All Saints 5 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7179 3749 57 Long Acre 020 7836 0801 Womenswear & menswear Aubin & Wills 12 Floral Street 020 7240 4024 Banana Republic 132 Long Acre, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7836 9567 Womenswear & menswear Barbour 134 Long Acre, St Martin’s Courtyard Womenswear & menswear Base 55 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 8914 Womenswear Ben Sherman 49 Long Acre 020 7836 6196 Menswear Betsey Johnson 4-5 Carriage Hall, 29 Floral street 020 7240 6164 Womenswear Birkenstock 70 Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 2783 Shoes Brora 42 Market Building 020 7836 6921 Womenswear Burberry Brit 41-42 King Street Womenswear

Calvin Klein 120 Long Acre 020 7240 7582 Womenswear & menswear Camper 39 Floral Street Shoes Carhartt 15-17 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 1551 Womenswear & menswear Cos 130-131 Long Acre, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7632 4190 Crazy Pig Designs 38 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7240 4305 Jewellery Crocs 48 Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 2505 Shoes Desa 6 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7836 6055 Leather & womenswear Diesel 43 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7497 5543 Womenswear & menswear Dune 26 James Street 020 7836 1560 DUO 21 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard Footwear East 16 The Piazza 020 7836 6685 Womenswear Eileen Fisher 4 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard Womenswear Energie & Killah 47-49 Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 7719 Menswear Fat Face Clothing Thomas Neal’s Centre, 35 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7497 6464 Womenswear & menswear

Formes 28 Henrietta Street 020 7240 4777 Pregnant womenswear Foxhall London 20 Earlham Street 020 3142 6248 Fred Perry 14 The Piazza 020 7836 3327 6-8 Thomas Neal’s Centre 020 7836 4513 Womenswear & menswear Freddy 30-32 Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 5291 Womenswear & menswear G-Star 5-11 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7240 3707 Womenswear & menswear Hoss Intropia 124 Long Acre 020 7240 4900 Womenswear Jack Wills 136 Long Acre, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7240 8946 Jaeger London 2 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 3328 9441 Womenswear and menswear Joules 3 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard Womenswear & menswear Kabiri 18 Market Building 020 7794 0754 Jewellery Karen Millen 22-23 James Street 020 7836 5355 Womenswear Kurt Geiger 1 James Street Laird London 23 New Row Hats Laura Lee 42 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7379 9050 Jewellery L K Bennett 138 Long Acre, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7379 9890 Womenswear

Lollipops 55 Neal Street, Seven Dials Women’s accessories Lyle & Scott 40 King Street 020 7379 7190 Massimo Dutti 125-126 Long Acre, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7935 0250 Womenswear & Menswear McClintock 29 Floral Street 020 7240 5055 Eyewear Monsoon 5-6 James Street 020 7379 3623 Womenswear Nicole Farhi 11 Floral Street 020 7497 8713 Womenswear & menswear Oliver Sweeney 14 King Street Shoes Orla Kiely 31-33 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 4022 Womenswear and homewares Original Penguin 8 North Piazza Menswear and womenswear Pandora 23 Long Acre Jewellery Paul Smith 40-44 Floral Street 020 7836 7828 9-11 Langley Court 020 7240 5420 Womenswear & menswear Pop Boutique 6 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7497 5262 Vintage womenswear & menswear Poste Mistress 61-63 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7379 4040 Shoes Pretty Ballerinas 7 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard Shoes Rabeanco 25 Long Acre Bags

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Replay 32 Long Acre 020 7379 8650 Rugby Ralph Lauren 43 King Street Womenswear & menswear Q Menswear 10 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 4365 Menswear Size? 37a Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7379 7853 Shoes Skechers 2-3 James Street Shoes Sole 72 Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 6777 Shoes Stone Island 34 Shelton Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 8402 Menswear Superga 53 Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 6935 Shoes Super Superficial 22 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7287 7447 Superdry 24-25 & 28 Thomas Neal’s Centre, Seven Dials Womenswear & menswear Tatty Devine 44 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials Jewellery Ted Baker 1-4 Langley Court 020 7497 8862 Womenswear & menswear Topman General Store 36-38 Earlham Street, Seven Dials Menswear Twenty8Twelve 8 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7042 3500 Womenswear Tzar 15 King Street 020 7240 0969 Womenswear UGG Australia Long Acre Accessories

UNCONDITIONAL + 16 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 6931 Womenswear & menswear Urban Outfitters 42-56 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7759 6390 Womenswear & menswear Vilebrequin 9 King Street Men’s swimwear Volcom 7 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 3353 Surf and skate fashion Whistles 24 Long Acre 020 7240 8195 Womenswear


Adee Phelan 29 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7240 3777 Hair & beauty salon Bare Escentuals 40 Neal Street, Seven Dials Skincare and cosmetics Benefit 19 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7379 0316 Cosmetics The Body Control Pilates Centre 35 Little Russell Street 020 7636 8900 Covent Garden Dental Practice 61g Oldham Walk 020 7836 9161 Covent Garden Dental Spa 68a Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 9107 Covent Garden Physio Ground Floor, 23-24 Henrietta Street 020 7497 8974 Physiotherapists The Covent Garden Salon 69 Endell Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 8362 Hair & beauty salon Crabtree & Evelyn The Market at Covent Garden 3 The Piazza 020 7836 3110

Erno Laszlo 13 Market Building 020 3040 3035 Skincare Good Vibes 14 -16 Betterton Street Yoga, Pilates, Power Plates Hair By Fairy 8-10 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials 020 7497 0776 Hair & beauty salon Karine Jackson 24 Litchfield Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 0300 Hair & beauty salon Kiehl’s 29 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 2411 Skincare L’Artisan Parfumeur 13 Market Building 020 3040 3030 Perfume L’Occitane 6 Market Building 020 7379 6040 Lush 11 Market Building 020 7240 4570 Mac 38 Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7379 6820 Cosmetics Melvita 17 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard Skincare Miller Harris 14 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 9378 Molton Brown Emporium 18 Russell Street 020 7240 8383 Skincare & cosmetics Murdock 18 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 3393 7946 Barbers Neal’s Yard Remedies 15 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials 020 7739 7222 Natural remedies & skincare Nickel 27 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7240 4048 Men only spa

Pro Health Store 16 Drury Lane 020 7240 1639 Sports nutrition and health supplements relax 7 Mercer Street, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7871 4567 Beauty and massage centre The Sanctuary 12 Floral Street 0870 770 3350 Women only spa Sanrizz 4 Upper St Martin’s Lane 020 7379 8022 Sassoon 45a Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 6635 Hair salon Screen Face 48 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 3955 Cosmetics Shu Uemura 24 Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 7635 Skincare & cosmetics Space NK 32 Shelton Street, Seven Dials 020 7379 6384 Skincare & cosmetics Stuart Phillips 25 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7379 5304 Hair salon The Tanning Shop 52-56 New Oxford Street 020 7323 0623 Thai Square Spa 25 Shelton Street 020 7240 6090 Toni & Guy 4 Henrietta Street 020 7240 7342 Trevor Sorbie 27 Floral Street 0844 445 6901 Hair salon Walk in Back Rub Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials 020 7836 9111 Massage Yotopia 13 Mercer Street, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 3405 8888 Yoga and pilates studio

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Aram Designs 3 Kean Street 020 7240 3933 Furniture Artbox 14 Thomas Neal’s Centre, Seven Dials 020 7240 0097 Fun accessories Berghaus 13 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7379 9313 Outdoor clothing and accessories Cath Kidston 28-32 Shelton Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 4803 Homewares Coco de Mer 23 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 8882 Womens erotic boutique Covent Garden Academy of Flowers 9 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7240 6359 Flower design courses The Dover Bookshop 18 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 2111 Design books Ellis Brigham 3-11 Southampton Street 020 7395 1010 Mountain sports Field & Trek 64 Long Acre 020 7379 8167 42 Maiden Lane 020 7379 3793 Outdoor pursuits Frances Hilary 42 Market Building 020 7836 3135 Gardening Kathmandu 26 Henrietta Street 020 7379 4748 Outdoor pursuits Kidrobot 19 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 4074 Designer toys London Marathon Shop 63 Long Acre 020 7240 1244 Running equipment The North Face 30-32 Southampton Street 020 7240 9577 Outdoor pursuits

Patagonia 6A Langley Street 020 3137 6518 Outdoor pursuits SJ Dent 34 Great Queen Street 020 7242 6018 Sporting memorabilia Slam City Skates 16 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials 020 7240 0928 Skateboarding equipment Specialized Cycles 11 Mercer Street, St Martin’s Courtyard Bikes and cycling equipment Spex in the City 1 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7240 0243 Eyewear Stanfords 12-14 Long Acre 020 7836 1321 Maps The Watch Hut 128 Long Acre 020 7292 1247 Watches The Tintin Shop 34 Floral Street 020 7836 1131 Tintin memorabilia The White Company 5 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 8166 0200 Homewares

FOOD RETAILERS & CAFES Battersea Pie Station 28 Market Building 020 7240 9566 Pies Ben’s Cookies The Market at Covent Garden 13a The Market Building 020 7240 6123 Candy Cakes 36 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 30 Market Building, Lower Courtyard 020 7497 8979 Bakery Crème de la Crepe 29 The Market Building, Lower Courtyard 020 7836 6896 Crepes

Double Shot Coffee Company 38 Tavistock Street, Opera Quarter 020 7240 9742 Ella’s Bakehouse 20a Market Building Euphorium Bakery Thomas Neal’s Centre, Seven Dials, 020 7379 3608 Bakery French Bubbles 22 Wellington Street, Opera Quarter Champagne Gelatorino 2 Russell Street, Opera Quarter Italian gelato Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop 25 New Row 020 7240 2341 Traditional sweet shop Hope and Greenwood 1 Russell Street, Opera Quarter 020 7240 3314 Sweets Kastner & Ovens 52 Floral Street 020 7379 6428 Bakers Ladurée 1 Market Building Macarones La Gelateria 27 New Row 020 7836 9559 Italian gelato Monmouth Coffee 27 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7379 3516 Coffee Neal’s Yard Dairy 17 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7240 5700 Cheese New Row Coffee 24 New Row 020 3583 6949 Coffee New York Deli The Market at Covent Garden 24 The Piazza 020 7379 3253 Notes Opera Quarter 36 Wellington Street, Opera Quarter 31 St Martin’s Lane Wine, coffee and music Patisserie Valerie 15 Bedford Street 020 7379 6428 Patisserie Primrose Bakery 42 Tavistock Street, Opera Quarter Cakes

Roast & Conch 4 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials Chocolate Scoop 40 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7240 7086 Italian gelato Sweet Couture 23a New Row Cupcakes, cakes and small bites The Tea House 15a Neal Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 7539 Tea Tea Palace 12 Market Building 020 7836 6997 Tea Whittard The Market at Covent Garden 38 The Market Building 020 7836 7681 Yu-foria Frozen Yoghurt Co 19a Market Building, Lower Courtyard 020 7240 5532 Frozen yoghurt


Axis at One Aldwych 1 Aldwych 020 7300 0300 Modern British Belgo Centraal 50 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7813 2233 Belgian Bill’s 13 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7240 8183 Cafe & deli Boulevard Brasserie 38-40 Wellington Street 020 7240 2992 Modern European Busaba Eathai 44 Floral Street Thai Café des Amis Bar & Restaurant 11-14 Hanover Place, Long Acre 020 7379 3444 French Cantina Laredo 10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7240 0630 Mexican

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61 Covent Garden Journal Issue 18 Winter 2012

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KF Cov




RESTAURANTS CONTINUED Carluccio’s Garrick Street 020 7836 0990 Italian Chez Gerard 45 Market Building 020 7379 0666 French Christophers American Bar & Grill 18 Wellington Street, Opera Quarter 020 7240 4222 Modern American Clos Maggiore 33 King Street 020 7379 9696 Quality food French Côte 17-21 Tavistock Street, Opera Quarter 020 7379 9991 French bistro Daawat at Johnstons 2 Burleigh Street 020 7497 4185 Indian Dalla Terra 25 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard Italian wine and food Dishoom 12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7420 9320 Bombay cafe Le Deuxieme 65a Long Acre 020 7379 0033 Modern European The Forge 14 Garrick Street 020 7379 1432 Modern European Great Queen Street 32 Great Queen Street 020 7242 0622 British Hawksmoor Seven Dials 11 Langley Street 020 7856 2154 Steak and cocktails Hi Sushi Izakaya 27 Catherine Street, Opera Quarter Japanese The Ivy 1-5 West Street 020 7836 4751 Modern European

The Marquis 51/52 Chandos Place Pub classics J Sheekey 28-32 St Martin’s Court 020 7240 2565 Fish and seafood Jamie’s Italian 11 Upper St Martin’s Lane St Martin’s Courtyard 020 3326 6390 Kitchen Italia 41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 020 7632 9500 Kopapa 32-34 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 20 7240 6076 Fusion food L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon 13-15 West Street 020 7010 8600 French Les Deux Salons 40-42 William IV Street 020 7420 2050 French Loch Fyne Restaurant & Oyster Bar 2-4 Catherine Street, Opera Quarter 020 7240 4999 Fish and seafood Masala Zone 48 Floral Street 020 7379 0101 Indian Mishkins 25 Catherine Street, Opera Quarter Jewish deli with cocktails Mon Plaisir 21 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 7243 French Opera Tavern 23 Catherine Street, Opera Quarter 020 7836 3680 Tapas Palm Court Brasserie 39 King Street French PJ’s 30 Wellington Street, Opera Quarter 020 7240 7529 Bar and grill Porters English Restaurant 17 Henrietta Street 020 7836 6466 British

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Restorante Aurora 3 Catherine Street, Opera Quarter 020 7836 7585 Italian Rossopomodoro 50-52 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials 020 7240 9095 Italian Rules 35 Maiden Lane 020 7836 5314 British Sagar 31 Catherine Street, Opera Quarter 020 7836 6377 Sarastro 126 Drury Lane 020 7836 0101 Turkish/Mediterranean Simurgh 17 Garrick Street 020 7240 7811 Persian Sitaaray 167 Drury Lane 020 7269 6422 Indian Sofra 36 Tavistock Street, Opera Quarter 020 7240 3773 Turkish Sophie’s Steakhouse 29-31 Wellington Street 020 7836 8836 Steak Souk Medina 1a Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials 020 7240 1796 North African Strada 13-15 Tavistock Street, Opera Quarter 020 3077 1127 Pizza Strand Palace Carvery Exeter Street 020 7497 4160 Carvery SUDA 23 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard 020 7240 8010 Thai Square 166-170 Shaftesbury Avenue 020 7836 7600 Thai Wahaca 66 Chandos Place 020 7240 1883 Mexican Wild Food Café 14 Neal’s Yard Raw food


Arts Theatre 6/7 Great Newport Street 020 7836 2132 Theatre Cambridge Theatre 32-34 Earlham Street, Seven Dials 0844 412 4652 Theatre The Courtauld Gallery Somerset House Strand 020 7848 2526 Gallery Delicate Mayhem Gallery 3 Russell Street, Opera Quarter Gallery Donmar Warehouse 41 Earlham Street 0870 060 6624 Theatre The Funny Side 33-35 Wellington Street 0870 446 0616 Stand up comedy Grosvenor Prints 19 Shelton Street, Seven Dials 020 7836 1979 Antique prints London Coliseum St Martin’s Lane 020 7632 8300 Opera London Transport Museum Covent Garden Piazza 020 7565 7298 Novello Theatre Aldwych 0870 950 0940 Theatre The Poetry Cafe 22 Betterton Sreet 020 7420 9887 Poetry Royal Opera House Bow Street 0207 240 1200 Opera Somerset House Strand 020 7845 4600 Tenderpixel Gallery 10 Cecil Court 020 73799464 Visual arts Vaudeville Theatre 404 Strand Theatre

K 1 W 0 K c

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KF Covent Garden Journal Mag Ad:Layout 1



Page 1

Perfectly in tune with Covent Garden With 19 offices across London and an unrivalled international network of 245 offices in 43 countries, Knight Frank can show your property to the highest quality applicants, wherever they are in the world. This unique reach is just a small part of what makes us globally known and locally loved.

Knight Frank 120a Mount Street W1K 3NN 0207 499 1012

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75 Offices • 5 Continents • 11 Countries

• Russia • Italy • France • Spain • South Africa • Australia • Singapore • UAE • Barbados • Gibraltar • United Kingdom

Tottenham Street W1T £2,895,000 freehold

King’s Mews WC1N £1,999,500 freehold

Hanway Place W1T

Bloomsbury Street WC1B £1,299,500 leasehold

A stunning Victorian house situated in one of the West End’s most sought-after locations. Comprehensively refurbished by the current owners to offer a central London retreat, within close proximity to Charlotte Street.

£1,995,000 leasehold

An exceptional loft style duplex apartment, found in this exclusive converted school development, just off Oxford Street. Comprising 2 bedrooms, an en-suite & guest bathroom, superb double height living room with mezzanine & a large roof terrace.

Sales 020 3040 8300 cgj_issue18_pp52_64_place.indd 64 Che 3263 Covent Garden J 250x200 v2.indd 1

A luxurious newly refurbished mews house of considerable quality & style. Found in a choice location between Chancery Lane & Coram’s Fields, offering 3 en-suite bedrooms, a magnificent kitchen & family room & sound & lighting systems throughout.

An exceptionally spacious penthouse apartment in this exclusive portered development. Arranged over 2 floors with 3 double bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large reception room leading to roof terrace & underground parking. 23/11/2012 11:23 07/11/2012 22:35

Shorts Gardens WC2H £1,150 per week

Tavistock Street WC2E £995 per week

Henrietta Street WC2E £995 per week

Denman Street W1D £725 per week

A modern well presented maisonette divided across 4 floors & located in the heart of Covent Garden. Comprising a reception room, large kitchen & dining room, 2 double bedrooms, 2 shower rooms (1 en-suite), a roof terrace & guest cloakroom.

A large penthouse apartment found just off the Covent Garden piazza boasting views across Central London. Comprising a reception room with dining area, kitchen, master bedroom with en-suite, 2 double bedrooms, bathroom & roof terrace.

Lettings 020 3040 8400 cgj_issue18_BC_IFC_IBC.indd 1 Che 3263 Covent Garden J 250x200 v2.indd 2

In a quiet enclave, just off Covent Garden’s celebrated Piazza this property has breathtaking modern architecture. With a great open plan living space this 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment is finished to an excellent standard.

A modern split level apartment found within in the heart of Soho. Boasting a large open plan reception/kitchen/dining room & benefiting from a projector unit & reading corner, master bedroom with en-suite & walk-in wardrobe & a roof terrace. 23/11/2012 11:41 07/11/2012 22:35

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23/11/2012 11:41