WINTER 2019 | FREE
In this issue:
'TIS THE SEASON,
THE ART OF
& SOHO'S 2020
MARK POWELL Bespoke Tailor
Follow us online @mysohotimes #MySohoTimes WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK
The winter season is a great time for reflection. With our official 'coming
out' and the new roaring 20s just around the corner, this couldn't be a
more fitting time for us to launch. It's been a whirlwind of a journey since
the summer of 2019 when I took on the challenge of turning my long
standing blog into a lifestyle magazine (and accepting that I cannot be the
Carrie Bradshaw of Soho)!
So it's with the greatest of pleasure, much enthusiasm (plus a healthy
dollop of blood, sweat and tears), that I welcome you to the 1st issue of
My Soho Times magazine.
We kicked off the season curating our cover story, The Art of Looking
Dapper - spotlighting Menswear designer Mark Powell. For foodies,
Michelin Star chef Nieves Barragan of Sabor Restaurant speaks about
her connection to London with a particular fondness for Soho (on a side
note, the grilled octopus is a must-try!) Call me a bit of a Scrooge but I
decided to go more festive than Christmassy. Festive is a way of life -
Christmas is only one day a year. That said, we snuck in a Holiday menu,
paid Mr Mullan's General Store a visit (Soho's very own Santa's one-stop-
grotto for your gifts!), and we crossed over to Bloomsbury to experience
The London Cabaret Club scene!
Faith is an important part of many people's lives and we become more
aware of it this time of the year - even as the capital gets ready to party.
So we've highlighted some ways to make that soul connection; from
church to meditation, refuge at Soho Recovery Centre, and 50 years of
the Radha Krishna Temple - come to Soho, all ye faithful!
And so as 2019 comes to a close, we're using our 2020 vision to predict
the next decade of our little corner of London. That's quite a challenge for
the crystal ball, and the truth is, no-one knows exactly what the future
holds in these turbulent times. For us here at My Soho Times, it's an
exciting time to launch and be part of a new decade - and an iconic one at
that! For us the 20's look hopeful. We want to be a voice for small
businesses and a conduit for the larger ones to give back to our
community. Our tagline LIVE WORK PLAY embodies in just three words
what Soho and neighbouring areas mean to so many of the hundred of
thousands of people who pass through these streets daily... My Soho
Times is Yours too!
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank this issue's amazing contributors,
all those who've supported us from the very beginning, as well as the
ones who've only just jumped on board. It's an exciting time to be a Soho
gal - the future is looking bright!
T x Kai Lutterodt
Editor in Chief
MY SOHO TIMES 03
35 3322 36 43
10 The Asian Fusion 13 Gourmet Pasta 17 El Sabor
We discover why Londoners Our selection of restaurants Nieves Barragan talks about Spanish
are obsessed with the flavours serving the favourite winter flavours, gaining a Michelin Star and
of East Asia... and share a few warmer - pasta! giving back.
of our favourites.
20 Buy Fresh This Season 24 The Art of Looking 32 The Gift of the Word
Berwick Street Market has a 300 Our guest blogger shares her top
year history. This season is the Dapper than ever... Soho's books to read this holiday season
perfect opportunity to buy fresh legendary tailor Mark Powell
and support its vendors. reveals the secrets of dressing up
34 Mr Mullan's 35 Your Guide Through Soho 36 The Talentbanqer
We join My London Walks on a tour Ray Jones is known as Mr
London, but we prefer to call him
Tucked away in Smith's Court, we through Soho... If you think you the Talentbanqer. Find out why.
stumbled upon this gem of a shop. know the area well, bet there are
Lose yourself in the eclectic world some secrets you're yet to discover!
of Mr Mullans General Store.
39 Oh Come All Ye Faithful 42 Soho's LGBTQ 43 2020 Vision: Re-imagining
We explore Soho's places of Friendly bars Soho's Next Decade
spiritual wellbeing, faith, and Photographer Samuel Sasiharan We bring out the crystal ball to
religion. shares his picks on gay-friendly predict Soho’s future in 2020 and
beyond, with the help of people who
bars for a great night out in Soho! come here to LIVE, WORK and PLAY.
Contributors: Ari Gurdon Lindey @ari55 | Ivo Belohoubek @dogoodfilmsworldwide | Gillian Smith | Freya Starr @freyastarr | Syahna
Yahya @syahnayahya | Sabrina Hamilton @iamsabrinaham | Samuel Sasiharan @samuelsasiharan | Maria Vole @miamariasv | Lewis
Inman @lewisinman_ |For opportunities to contribute articles and reviews please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Shot in Photo: Clancy Gebler Davies
Soho EXHIBITION 05
18 OCT 2019 - 09 FEB 2020
Although the area of Soho is relatively small (one square mile) and
bordered by some of London’s richest and most commercialised
streets, it has remained a complex place of unorthodoxy, diversity,
tolerance and defiance.
Shot in Soho is an original exhibition celebrating Soho’s diverse
culture, community and history of creative innovation as well as
highlighting its position as a site of resistance.
This exhibition will be a rare opportunity to see outstanding images
from renowned photographers including William Klein, Anders
Petersen, Corinne Day, alongside other photographers whose work in
Soho is lesser known such as Kelvin Brodie, Clancy Gebler
Davies and John Goldblatt. The show also includes a new commission
by Daragh Soden.
The exhibition draws on the history, the myths and the characters of
this hotbed of unpredictability, disobedience, eccentricity and tightly-
knit communities. Part movie-set, part crime scene, part unfolding
spectacle, Soho in recent decades has been the centre of the music,
fashion, design, film and the sex industry – a place of unresolved
riddles, a place of shadows and also somewhere to call home for
incoming French, Italian, Maltese, Chinese, Hungarian, Jewish and
Bengali communities – perhaps here is the prototype for multicultural
Astonishingly Soho has remained a village at heart – maybe due in
part to the way it was purposefully hidden from view behind Nash’s
sweeping Regent Street crescent – there tucked away and locked
within a tight street grid that has remained unchanged for centuries.
In many ways Soho has remained London’s rebellious teenager. It has
been a place where anything goes and as creative as it has been
16 - 18 Ramillies Street
MY SOHO TIMES
COMING YOUR WAY!
SOHO & W1
My Soho Times is a new hyper local We have you covered - in Soho and W1
lifestyle magazine, published quarterly from Our varied distribution in Soho and other parts
Winter 2019 onwards. With Soho as the beating of the notable W1 & WC1 postcodes (Mayfair,
heart of London in location and vibe, My Soho Marylebone, Fitzrovia and Covent Garden) will
Times magazine aims to curate the very best of have a massive impact on the responses our
Soho businesses for the benefit of Londoners advertisers get, and we expect to grow a loyal
and visitors alike. We want to be accessible to readership for both our seasonal and online
you - not just online. publications in a very short time.
Take a look at our back pages to see which
businesses stock copies of our print magazine.
MY SOHO TIMES 07
THE ASIAN FUSION
Why Londoners have an obsession with the flavours of East Asia...
Written by Syahna Yahya | IG: @syahnayahya From the moment you step into the area, it feels
different from the rest of West End. From the ‘no-frills’
It’s probably safe to say London would not be the multi- hole-in-the-wall eateries, through the lines of street food
cultural wonderland it is today without the influence of parlours to the fanciest of fusion restaurants, the cuisine
Asian culture. The upcoming Chinese New Year has had space to experiment and develop, which means
ceremonies (2020 is the Year of the Rat), are a true every taste is catered for.
testament to the culture’s direct influence on the big city.
Performances take place throughout the holiday and This perhaps is its main attraction, because the only
decorations are displayed along streets from Trafalgar rules when it comes to the food is to provide delicious,
Square to China Town, involving not only those who come palate-pleasing dishes aimed at delighting customers.
to celebrate the event, but also tourists and Londoners.
Along with all the festivities, comes an incredible cuisine Even for those who are not as familiar with this culinary
with a cornucopia of flavours to tempt the tastebuds. subculture, one of the main challenges when strolling by
is withstanding the wonderful aromas emanating from
Food is a highly regarded aspect of Asian culture and is inside the various eateries. Resistance is futile so come
very much embedded in its identity. East Asian cooking, in in, draw up a chair and work your way down the menu!
particular, has made an indelible mark on London’s culinary
world with Soho’s very own China town at the forefront.
THE OLD TOWN 97 CHOTTO MATTE
SINGAPULA TONKOTSU WAGAMAMA
THE OLD TOWN 97 CHOTTO MATTE YUU @ ICE BAR
Good food with no fuss. This low-key Fusion taken to the next level, Chotto With a residency at Ice Bar London,
eatery located in the heart of Matte offers you dishes with a twist Yuu is a sublime union of Japanese,
Chinatown offers an array of tasty like their Peruvian-Japanese crossover South East Asian and Filipino dishes.
Chinese staples from chicken lo otherwise known as ‘Nikkei’. If you’re From Taiwanese-style bao buns to
mein to crispy duck. Guaranteed to looking for something a little different, Filipino flavoured braised pork belly,
cure your Asian food cravings. this one’s for you. it makes for the perfect night of over-
indulgence with friends.
SINGAPULAH TONKOTSU WAGAMAMA Noodle Lab
Adding Singapore to the map of London’s If the bustling and brimming crowd As one of the largest pan-Asian chain
vast array of Asian outlets, Singapulah inside this place doesn’t intrigue you restaurants in the UK, Wagamama is
could be said to be the new kid on the enough, get yourself a table and let a 21st century success story. With a
block - but not quite. Co-created by the the food speak for itself. With an large, extensive menu including their
founder of the Macclesfield Street area open kitchen giving you a front row own vegan range, there is usually
Malaysian/Singaporean “Rasa Sayang”, view of the homemade noodles, you something for everyone.
this new venture is a celebration of the are pretty much guaranteed to leave
often overlooked dishes of the island city. highly satisfied and with a full www.wagamama.com
www.instagram.com/singapulah_ Feeling inspired? Search 'Asian cuisine' on
london/ www.tonkotsu.co.uk our website www.mysohotimes.co.uk
MY SOHO TIMES 11
It's that time of year again that
can only mean an exciting
festive addition to the menu!...
Catch these Christmas treats
while you can!
REFUEL AT SOHO HOTEL GELUPO ZELMAN MEATS
FAFA'S HONEST BURGER CINNAMON BAZZAR
Read our full
The Italian community in Soho is one of the most established gourmet
and extensive in London. Since the 1860s when the first major pasta
inrush of Italian political refugees hit the city, diaspora from
the boot-resembling nation have helped shape the
geographical and cultural landscape of central London. When
one thinks of Soho-Italia, food and drink comes straight to
mind. It was the introduction of pizza, pasta and espresso that
became the community’s calling card in the UK. From the now
iconic Bar Italia, family-run since 1949, to neighbourhood
favourite Lina Stores Deli - Italy continues to dominate the
Today Soho is home to over 30 Italian restaurants, and at the
core of each menu is a hearty pasta selection. Italy's most
famous export to the world has a special place in the hearts
(and stomachs) of Londoners... Here are some of our picks on
where to get your pasta fix in Soho!
Written by Freya Starr | IG: @freyastarr
40 DEAN STREET
PASTATIO MELE E PIERE
PRINCI LINA STORES OBICÀ BOCCA DI LUPO
Read our full
MY SOHO TIMES 13
A night in
The Nadler Soho makes your visit to this thriving district of London easy. Whether
you're in town to explore some of London's hippest bars and most innovative
restaurants, or Theatreland is on your bucket list, The Nadler Soho, located on
Carlisle Street, is a great central base for any direction you decide to take. Guests
can enjoy a range of partner benefits including 20% off drinks at 68 & Boston, and
10% off the bill plus a welcome cocktail at the modern Swiss restaurant Heritage.
The Soho Girl shares her experience, for one night at The Nadler Soho...
Don't get me wrong, I love my home. But Ideal for pulling an all-night work The Soho Girl: a night in The Nadler Soho
there's also something I like about being marathon without disturbance...
away from it, even if it's just for a night or or a night on the town treat to Use code 'PARTNER' to
two, then coming back to rekindle my get 10% discount.
home-buddy status. Hear me out. I'm not feel the energy of Soho!
married (I can only go by Carrie Bradshaw www.nadlerhotels.com
and Mr Biggs' example unfortunately), And also no restaurant or room service, but
however I can somehow imagine my do you really need them when you can get 10 Carlisle St, Soho, W1D 3BR
relationship with my home being a bit like 20% off at Ceviche, or a a complimentary www.nadlerhotels.com
an understanding - if I ever lose the 'je ne Pisco Sour cocktail on arrival at Chotto
sais quoi', I need to take a break and after Matte? Written by Kai Lutterodt | IG: @the.soho.girl
a few days apart, I return to the nest feeling
revived and renewed. And the same goes if you decided to use 15
this stay as a work-focused get away - why
Hence I loved the idea of staying at The have the distractions? If anything, taking a
Nadler Soho - even if just for a night. I break for a stroll in the fresh air (well, let's
figured it could go two ways; I take my let's leave it at air - this is Soho after all),
laptop with me and utilise their ultra-fast will do you some good, and who knows,
wifi - goodness knows I love my apartment Soho's weird and wonderful characters
but my wifi isn't one of its best features - or could provide a much needed source of
I use it as my base for a fab night out. After inspiration.
all, my motto is work hard, play harder!
Tough choice considering I have deadlines When you finally do decide to get some
to meet, but as you've probably guessed, I sleep, cozying up in The Nadler Soho hotel
went with the latter! room offers a few of its own charms. I loved
my handwritten thank you note with a bottle
Somewhat unusually, I actually like the fact of wine and a box of Nadler Hotels’ Harry
that The Nadler Soho has no amenities Specters Chocolates. The hotel rooms are
that might have you trapped within the designed to offer maximum functionality,
confines of the building. They partner with even where they lack space (basic kitchen
a host of local businesses offering facilities are tucked away behind sliding
complimentary or discounted services. So door for example).
no gym, but then a Marshall Street Leisure
Centre pass is included. Overall, my night night at the Nadler Soho
was a welcome treat. I know where to book
into next time I have a deadline to meet!
MY SOHO TIMES
DINNER DATE WITH THE SOHO GIRL
at INKO NITO: My unexpected vegan date
One of the perks that comes with my role as editor of a magazine
is the opportunity to feed my foodie persona! For this date night, I
invite Estelle, a model from Paris living in London. What I didn't
realise however is that she's vegan. Tricky, I thought, for a
restaurant specialising in grills. Luckily, INKO NITO had us sorted!
What was your favourite dish?
The chargrilled broccolis were undoubtedly some of the best I’ve
ever tasted. I did not expect that all. The sweetness of the onion
sauce was the cherry on the cake
When did you become vegan and why?
In mid- 2017 I had a spiritual awakening and started asking myself
questions about how I could make this world a better place.
Veganism is something I'm passionate about and I’d like to raise
awareness and educate people around me on how it works in day-
How easy is it for you to find vegan dishes in restaurants?
It's much easier today to find vegan options on the menu than it
was two years ago. Demand equals supply. The more customers
ask for a vegan option, the more restaurants are going to consider
re-thinking their menus. It's the same for gluten-free options.
How do you make being vegan a lifestyle?
A vegan lifestyle isn't all about food, contrary to popular
assumptions. It’s also about ethics. It's also the clothes we wear,
the cosmetics we use, the activities we take part in. These all need
to be taken into consideration.
Read about our full dinner date experience at
NIEVES A rising star in London’s culinary orbit, chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho is a
BARRAGAN: Spaniard with an infectious smile, boundless energy and a love for food that has
earned her and her team at Sabor restaurant a much prized Michelin Star.
On gaining a
Michelin Star, I met Nieves in Bangladesh where we visited refugee camps for the displaced
growing up in her Rohingya refugees from Myanmar with Action Against Hunger. Nieves is an
mum’s kitchen and enthusiastic supporter, and we formed an instant friendship, cemented over
giving back evening meals in the suffocating Bangladeshi heat.
MY SOHO TIMES I'd heard so much about Sabor that I was intrigued and keen to visit. Sabor is a
restaurant Nieves with her business partner José Etura opened in Heddon Street
(off Regent Sreet) almost two years ago. This is where flavour meets a unique
personality, in the heart of London's West End.
Witten by Ivo Belohoubek | @dogoodfilmsworldwide
SABOR IS SPANISH FOR FLAVOUR
“This was the first site we saw when we looked for a place” José
explains. "In Heddon Street you can feel like you are in Spain. And this
space with its beautiful bricks felt very rustic and Spanish.”
Nieves and José met at London’s acclaimed Barrafina restaurants,
where Nieves was Executive Chef for the group for nine years. In
2014 Barrafina Soho was awarded a Michelin Star for under her
watch. The pair both come from Spain, Nieves from Bilbao and José
from Valladolid in Castile. They founded Sabor in 2018, with the aim of
taking their diners on a journey from the tapas bars of Andalucía via
the asadors of Castile, all the way to the seafood restaurants of
When you get into Sabor you could be forgiven for thinking you have
been transported into Spain. The place is abuzz, and the atmosphere
friendly and relaxed. It feels down to earth compared with many top
end eateries, with people sitting comfortably at large tables in the
upstairs restaurant or at the counter downstairs. Instead of the
isolation of tables for two, you become a part of an ongoing
celebration of Spanish cuisine: A fiesta de Sabor! The open kitchen
radiates inclusion as waiting staff weave in and out amongst the tables
with smiles on their faces - and the skill of slalom skier.
Spanish food is the core of Sabor’s DNA. From its origins in Nieves’
mother’s Basque kitchen, through its rustic décor to its layout. “There
are three distinct areas reminiscent of different parts of Spain,” José
shows me around. “The downstairs bar takes you to Southern Spain
where you can sip Sangria while waiting for a seat. The counter with
its open kitchen is all about seafood from Costa Verde and other parts
of Northern Spain.” El Asador upstairs is the only place in Sabor
where you can pre book (downstairs is first come first serve) and that’s
where the magic happens. The Segovian Suckling pig roasted in a
wood fired oven is definitely Sabor’s signature dish as well as the
pulpo a feira, croquettes, and other Spanish classics. If you think you
know Spanish food then this place is for you. Not because it will
fundamentally change your view of Spanish cuisine, but because you
will probably have some of your best tapas, your best pork, seafood or
beef here. And to add to that some unexpected gems like goats
cheese ice cream. Yes, you read it right - it shouldn’t work but it does!
Eating at Sabor means you are as close to the action as it gets. The
chefs cook in front of you, the waiting staff dance around you in the
tight space between tables with plates full of food and enthusiastically
recommend their favourites. The team vibe is that of staff who enjoy
their job and take pride in doing it well. “You need to be their friend,
their family.” Nieves explains. “They call me mommy Nieves! We do a
lot together, we all sit down together for breakfast and dinner. With the
open plan at Sabor, there is no front and back of house, we are one
Cooking the best food means using prime ingredients, which means GIVING BACK
fresh. That’s why the core menu is simple but the specials - fish, Nieves is an enthusiastic ambassador for Action Against Hunger UK
shellfish and other treats, change daily depending on what can best (AAH). In Bangladesh she was totally hands on with the giant pots of
be procured at the market in the morning. simple food that fed tens of thousands of Rohingyas every week.
During autumn Sabor participates in the charity’s Love Food, Give
FROM MUM’S KITCHEN TO MICHELIN STAR Food campaign, adding a pound to every bill that goes to the work
Nieves’ food career and philosophy is firmly rooted in her own AAH does around the world. Nieves regularly cooks at AAH’s events
childhood. “I grew up in my mum’s kitchen. She cooked with that help raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to secure the right
everything: liver, kidneys, brains. She gave me small jobs so I was nutrition for the world’s poorest. “I think as chefs we do this because it
involved from a very young age. Over breakfast we were already makes us feel good to see the difference we can make and it’s
talking about what we were going to have for lunch. And before lunch amazing to see that the generosity of people is still there. And we
was finished, we were already planning dinner.” need to keep pushing.”
Almost as a testament to that, the Michelin Star arrived quickly - within You can find Sabor on Heddon Street, a stone's throw from Soho.
one year. Sabor however, is not a once in a lifetime tick on a list of
expensive indulgences. With it's delicious food and warm atmosphere,
it's simple a place you will want to come back to again and again.
“We didn’t focus on getting a Michelin Star” Nieves tells me. “Of
course I want to keep it and the whole team works for it hard.” Sabor
doesn’t create elaborate plates that look amazing but fall apart the
moment you put fork in the food.
"Sabor is all about the flavour. What I wanted to achieve was our
guests having an amazing time and when they go out of the door, they
want to come back. When people talk about the great time they had at
Sabor, that’s the best feeling you can have as a person, as a chef and
as a team.”
With the coveted Michelin Star Nieves knows all too well that talent on
its own is not enough. “There is a big difference between love of
cooking and being a chef. As a chef, you have to stay focused, you
have to become a leader.” When Nieves started, she was often the
only woman in the kitchen but thankfully times are changing now. The
conversations have evolved and the machismo and chauvinism of the
high end food industry are becoming a thing of the past. Women are
claiming their place in the limelight."
MY SOHO TIMES 35-37 Heddon St, Mayfair, London W1B 4BR
BERWICK STREET MARKET
Wandering around a market, coffee in hand,
looking for the perfect bouquet of flowers, some
beautifully ripe peaches and topping it off with a
tasty takeaway from a food stall, is one of my
favourite things to do in London – and you won’t
find a better spot for it than Soho’s own Berwick
Situated in the heart of Soho, this historic
market is one of the oldest in London, dating
back to 1778. The most special part of the
market is the independent traders selling fresh
fruit, vegetables and flowers. Many of these
vendors have sold at the market their whole
lives, and some families have been vendors for
generations. You’ll find the most beautiful
bouquets made from an array so seasonal
flowers at Ronnie’s Flowers – the oldest floral
market stall in central London. “We’ve been here
since 1959," owner Mark tells us. "Started with
my dad Ronnie, now I’m running it, and I just
hope we can continue for a long time to come."
Local vendor Anna described Soho as a “microcosm
of London”, and highlighted Berwick Street Market as
a piece of local history. She explained that the
market used to be a mix of fresh produce, flowers,
bread products and book stalls – but in recent years,
many of the traditional stalls have had to close up
shop and new stalls selling an array of prepared
food have taken their place.
Robin of Soho Dairy, who has had a stall selling
locally sourced dairy products at Berwick Street
Market since 2013, has campaigned on behalf of the
market and its traders for years. He tells My Soho
Times, “The market has a fantastic history and is
culturally vital – a commitment to the market is a
commitment to Soho.”
Berwick Street Market is an important slice of Soho’s
history and the wide variety of choice and great
quality of food, veg and flowers makes this the
perfect spot for an authentic, affordable London
Written by Maria Vole | IG: @miamariasv
Photograpgy by Ari Gurdon Lindey | @ari55
MY SOHO TIMES
FERNANDEZ & WELLS While the initial two cafes were located in Soho central
DOES GOOD COFFEE... (Lexington and Beak Streets), when the time came for
AND FINE further expansion the decision was made to venture
outwards. Today the four Fernandez & Wells
The name Fernandez & Wells. Ring any bells? Trigger establishments are situated in Somerset House,
any memories of a glass of white and a light bite, Exhibition Road, Dover Street and finally the Denmark
followed by an aromatic, artisan coffee sipped in a Street premises, their last Soho bastion.
café bar strongly reminiscent of one you frequented This choice of location – after the closure of the two
on a recent European trip? original venues - was an almost serendipitous one, as
Wells explains: “We came across this across this because
Just for you, MST decided to do a little detective work, we opened a big place in Somerset House. Over the
which led us to Soho’s own Tin Pan Alley - Denmark years, we spent a lot of time walking between the two
Street and genial former journalist Rick Wells, the locations and we noticed this site, which had been a job
guvnor. He parted company with original co-founder centre specialising in the catering trade, coincidentally. I
Jorge Fernandez a few years ago now but the name love it because it’s a very historic area of London - you’ve
endures, as does the ever-popular combination of got St Giles’s Church, Centrepoint and the street itself -
simple food, wine and coffee. Tin Pan Alley and guitar shops, It’s got a real sense of
history and people know it for that. It is changing
Wells explains its provenance: “The concept came though… the whole of Denmark St is being refurbished
from a creative standpoint, not so much a business so it’s really been quite tough for the last year or two year
plan. When Jorge and I met in 2006 the independent but hopefully it will be a lovely area when it’s finished.
coffee revolution was just starting; we added to that Just got to be patient.”
the idea of simple, good quality foods that we loved - And while you’re waiting… the cheese board and a nice
good bread, good cheese, good ham, good wine. rioja perhaps?
What you might like to have at home but we would Written by Gillian Smith
share with friends and customers. So it was a very Fernandez & Wells
unpretentious notion.” 1-3 Denmark St, London WC2H 8LP
And it’s a notion that’s endured. The menu has stayed WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK
largely the same over the more than decade that’s
passed since Fernandez & Wells began. An
impeccable range of cured meats, chorizos and
morcillas from the Iberian Peninsula and Italy is
complemented by a seasonally changing array of
cheeses from all over Europe.
When it comes to wine, Wells is a huge fan of the
continental variety. “I’ve always seen wines as
something you have with food so for me European
wines generally tend to be more subtle and gentle,
particularly in terms of alcohol, so the other flavours
don’t overwhelm the food.I also bear in mind the
menu when it comes to pairing. We’re not a
restaurant, we just have simple cafe style food. So you
might have sardines on toast and to go with that a
nice dry wine from Northern Spain, Galicia for
example. That’s the kind of thing I always have in
Let's do brunch
at My Place
If you want to experience the real Soho, it makes sense to go where the locals go. And this little gem
has fast become a local hangout from morning to night, that it's difficult to believe it's only been around
for five years.
My Place is the ideal location for your spot of brunch by a window whilst people watching out onto
Berwick Street's market. Or hide away at the back area for a more intimate date setting. If you're a
breakfast or lunch person (or somewhere in between) - you're in luck as they offer a wide selection of
hearty brunch selections with a curated cocktail menu to match... At My Place, there's no judging if you
have a cheeky 11am cocktail on a weekend - or weekday!
Whether you visit for an expert cup of coffee and pastries or a relaxed evening date with a pick from
sharing platters and a glass of wine, My Place Soho hits all the right spots with a warmth that makes
people feel completely at home. This is a place where the barista knows your name and remembers
your favourite dish. While their equipment is state of the art, the interior is reminiscent of old Soho charm
with an environmentally friendly spirit; as is evidenced by the use of recycled design details and walls
featuring an array of artworks by local artists.
Maintaining its rank in the top places for Brunch in Soho, it's a no brainer... Let's do brunch at My Place.
table for 2 My Place Soho
21 Berwick St, Soho W1F 0PZ
Treat yourself to the seasonal Winter Special; grilled
Goat’s cheese, beetroot and perfectly poached eggs. Or www.myplacesoho.com
go for something more classic like the Eggs Royale;
poached eggs with delicious smoked salmon on toasted 23
sourdough bread smothered with a healthy serving of
hollandaise sauce. My place is well known for it's brilliant
coffee - and that also extends to their espresso martini!
MY SOHO TIMES
Suited & Booted:
The Art of
Soho’s larger-than-life personalities are the stuff of legends. Artists, bohemians,
musicians, and mavericks of all persuasions have long called Soho’s narrow
streets their home. Even though many are being driven out by the relentless
commercial pressures, there are still those who stand the test of time...
After 35 years in the business, Mark Powell upholds class and style.
Mark Powell wears his own design and Ascot Shoes.
Photography by Lewis Inman | @lewisinman_
Words by Ivo Belohoubek | @dogoodfilmsworldwide
MY SOHO TIMES 25
Few people embody Soho’s unique position in London ON HIS OWN TERMS
– and the world - as well as Mark Powell. A tailor to the Mark did a stint as a night club owner, but went “Some people have got style while others
stars, he oozes class in his stylish suit - accessorised back into bespoke tailoring in his studio in D’Arblay
with cufflinks and a neat hanky - as he greets Street in the 1990s and his career took off. “I had may wear the most fashionable or
customers at his Mark Powell Bespoke shop on
Marshall Street. An East End boy, Mark has the them all coming in: Naomi Campbell, George expensive gear from head to toe and there
charisma of a cockney geezer that puts you both in your Michael, Brian Ferry.” In the early 90s Mark starred
place and at ease simultaneously. His clients range in several episodes of the Soho Stories: an early would still be something not quite right
from global A-listers to local personalities, from Mick
Jagger and George Clooney to George Skeggs aka reality TV series based on Soho characters. “There with it. It’s being easy with yourself really...
Soho George. His life story has all the ingredients of a
unputdownable memoir. is an episode called Brush With the Law, where I Dapper is style, elegance and coordination.
get done for a driving offence” he laughs. “The cliff-
NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION Dapper is looking sharp.”
Mark’s creative journey started with the subculture of hanger at the end of the episode is whether I go to
the 1970s, when new fashion styles meant alterations
and improvisations. “I was too young to be the original prison or make it to a fashion show.” EMBRACING CHANGE
skinhead but I was certainly a suede head smoothie.
And when I wanted a double breasted jacket for the Mark is a maverick and his life is a testament to it. “Bespoke tailoring is a dying craft.” One might think that
Gatsby look, I had one made; when I was a soul boy
and needed peg trousers, I went to a tailor’s.” At the “I was doing things on my own terms. I wasn’t these words from a guru of bespoke tailoring is
age of 24 Mark got his own shop (in true Soho style his playing games or kissing arses, I wasn’t part of a
landlord ran sex shops around Old Compton Street) clique.” His philosophy would sound like a cliché if equivalent to throwing the towel in the ring or going on a
and the Mark Powell brand started to take shape. “At it wasn’t rigorously tested by his own life story. trip down the memory lane. “People want an instant hit
this age you have the confidence to do it,” he laughs,
“we had no money and we were winging it.” “You do things the way you want to and believe you and don’t have time to wait for an expensive bespoke
can do it!" suit.” But Mark is not a man stuck in the past. He is handy
with his Instagram, comfortable with the change and
ON LOOKING DAPPER enjoys embracing the times. He has designed his own
"There is an art to having style” Mark spills his secrets. ready-to-wear range and has a few words for those
“It has to look easy. You don’t have to look too try- blaming the times.
hard.” And if you want a proof, just look at Mark Powell. “Having a shop in the centre of town is difficult,” he
The suit, the shoes, the hanky, the cufflinks… They all admits, “But when you had things in your life like I had,
suit him like a second skin and one would struggle to you just have to adapt. People complain about how
imagine Mark looking anything other than dapper. His corporate everything is nowadays. And you know what, it
style is effortlessly class. is! You have to embrace it because it’s not going away.”
MY SOHO TIMES SOHO 2020 VISION
Mark has seen Soho evolving throughout the decades and just like time,
he has no intention to slow down. “Soho has always had a strong
individual identity and has been home to mavericks and individuals.
There is - and will be - some of that still going on.” People forget that
Soho is also a residential area, Mark calls it a village, "full of characters
and they are not going away.” According to Mark the key is to keep the
identity of the place and nurture the nonconformists.
“I see young people doing
interesting and important things for
the area. I hope Soho will remain a
friendly place for individuality.”
Mark Powell outside his shop Mark Powell Bespoke Tailoring
Photo: Kai Lutterodt | @the.soho.girl 2 Marshall Street, Soho, W1F 9BA
THE NEW ARRIVAL ON
OLD COMPTON STREET...
MY SOHO TIMES 29
ROBATA meaning ‘fireside’ specialises in robata grilled charcoal
cooking, a Japanese tradition that was first introduced by ancient
fishermen who took boxes of hot coals with them on their boats to
warm their food as they gathered their day’s catch. While the
cooking method has largely stayed the same, the menu is a modern
interpretation of some of Japan’s most prized dishes as well as a
number of ROBATA signatures.
The concept is straightforward; the menu is broken down into 5
sections where guests are advised to share a number of dishes
between them. Sections include: Raws and Sushi, Small Plates, Bao
Buns, Robata Skewers, and Robata Large.
The Head Chef Charles Lee has worked in a number of Michelin
starred restaurants during his career before arriving at ROBATA.
Possessing a strong command of Asian cuisines from across the
globe, Chef Lee has devised a menu which shows the diversity of the
country’s food, highlighting traditional cooking techniques and
contemporary flavours, along with using the best of British produce.”
BRINGING THE FLAVOURS OF
JAPAN TO THE HEART OF
THE WEST END
The izakaya-style restaurant is not just a place to satisfy hunger 31
cravings as the bar keeps guests well-oiled with its extensive
selection of sake and sake-based cocktails. Alcoholic libations
include: Sake Mojito (Sawanotsuru sake, jasmine syrup, lime
juice and mint leaves); Ume Ocha (Umeshu plum sake,
pineapple juice, peach liqueur and Sakura tea foam); and
Umetini (Roku gin, Umeshu plum sake and orange bitters).
ROBATA has sourced some of the finest sake, and proudly
stocks a selection of old favourites along with new editions.
ROBATA is an independent restaurant where each menu item
is created with care, passion and love. Everything about this
place is built on Japanese principles; friendly service, fresh food
bursting with flavour, natural cooking techniques and food
which is enjoyed with all five of the senses.
Monday – Friday 12:00 – 15:00, 17:00 – 11pm
Saturday – Sunday 12:00 – 11pm
*Friday & Saturday Evening – 11:30pm*
56 Old Compton Street, Soho, London W1D 4UE
020 7287 5766
MY SOHO TIMES
The gift of
Tipping the Scales lifetsyle blogger, Sabrina Hamilton shares
her 'must-reads', which also double up as great gift ideas.
For The London Girl… For the Romantic Feminist...
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams Adichie
This book follows 20-something Brixton-born Ifemelu - the protagonist - is one of the strongest
Queenie as she navigates through family, people I ‘know.’ I fell in love with her, wanted her
dating, friendships and career whilst battling to be my best friend and rooted for her all the
some childhood demons. With Brixton’s West way. Americanah is a passionate love story. It
Indian community as its backdrop, the book tells the tale of family adoration, flirtations with a
successfully highlights gentrification, racism, new city, the fondness for the place you call
and the community’s thoughts on mental health. home and the one true love you never let go of.
Through it all, the book is wickedly funny, I’m
talking laugh-out-loud-on-the-tube funny.
For The Risk Taker... Be More Pirate For the Budding Activist...
Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s
by Sam Conniff Allende Stone by J.K. Rowling
To be clear, we’re not talking about murderous In this current climate - a story about a group
kidnappers, or fictional walk-the-plankers. The of school kids taking on the evils of the world
OG pirates were the original industry disruptors. and winning couldn’t be more pertinent. Plus,
They didn’t like the way their ships were being it is magical, fun and always feels like
run, so they went off, did their own thing and Christmas!
were successful too. In this book, entrepreneur
Sam Conniff explains how we can all learn a
thing or two from a bit of pirate mentality.
Get featured using INSTA-BITES
SERVING A DOSE OF FOOD
@sasarcola at @londongirlmunches @ljapes_uk @sweetchicklifeuk
@boulevardsoho at @linastores
@thirsty_foodie at @lovechikn @wunstearoom @sasarcola at
For the Young Reader... For the Beauty Queen…
Oh My Gods (OMGs) by Alexandra Palette by Funi Fetto
Sheppard Billed as the Beauty Bible for women of colour,
This debut YA novel from Alexandra Sheppard Palette is a must for anyone wanting a definitive
has been showered with awards nominations, list of hair, skin and make-up products that really
and incredible reviews since it was released. work for melanated skin and curly hair. As the
It’s a coming of age novel following teenage Executive Editor and Beauty Director of Glamour
Helen - half mortal, half Greek god - as she UK, Funmi has earned her beauty strips. To top it
moves in with her old dad and older sibling all off each product is elegantly illustrated, making
who just happen to be Greek gods living in it the perfect coffee table book for the fashionista
London incognito. Throughout the book she in your life.
works through keeping her family's secrets,
trying to have a normal social life and what to For The Instagrammer...
do when she meets a cute boy! An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This book received critical acclaim, went on to win
For the Learner... the Women’s Prize for Fiction and has had is
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White gorgeous orange and blue cover plastered all
People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge over instagram. It’s a sad story of wrongful
This book was born from a blog post written by conviction, torn relationships and what it really
the author in 2014 which ironically sparked means to be married. The characters are so well
hundreds of conversations, topics and a whole rounded, there is no clear right or wrong, no
book on the very subject. Whether read by definite heroine or hero - just humans doing
someone just beginning to awaken their thinking, human things.
or someone much further down the line - this book
promises to be an enlightening read.
Written by Sabrina Hamilton | IG: @iamsabrinaham
My Soho Times
on the radio Hosted by
The Soho Girl
Tune in for the new monthly show
starting 19th November 2019
MY SOHO TIMES 33
Mr Mullan's General Store
YOUR ONE-STOP-SHOP THIS FEASTIVE SEASON... AND BEYOND!
Soho has its own mini version of Covent Garden’s Unlike Father Christmas though, Mr Mullan is also an
Neal’s Yard, it comes in the form of Smith’s Court, a international hairstylist and creator of skin and hair
hidden gem just off Brewer Street. Within the quaint care brand Mr Mullan's Apothecary. “Working in the
courtyard space, home to a select few retail, food hair industry for 26 years, I just wasn’t happy with what
and beauty units, lies Mr Mullan’s General Store. I was achieving with the products I was using so I
Number 18 is a one-stop shop for independent started playing around with my own in the kitchen at
fashion and lifestyle brands you won’t find on the home. And over the past five years that’s kind of
High Street. If you're lucky enough to pick the right developed into its own brand.” All beard oils and
day you might meet its namesake owner, waxes are made from natural ingredients
John Mullan who, with a little bit of Christmas magic and Mullan is developing an even wider range of
could easily pass for a modern day Santa products for grooming needs.
Claus. With his signature groomed beard, friendly
persona and Harley Sleigh-vidson parked outside the Intrinsic to his products is the concept of
store, his emporium is a Santa’s Grotto stocked sustainability. “I wanted to do something that was
with personally sourced independent brands. natural, sustainable, clean and good for the
Mullan's inspiration comes both from the people he environment. We believe in refills as well. All of our
works with and the destinations he's travelled to. packaging uses as little plastic as possible, so we rely
“They’re kind of international - we on glass. We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel, we’re
take products from Japan, America, France, just do things a little differently.” Tis the season to be
Sweden, England - all over. Things that you won’t jolly… so drop by and support independent businesses
find in your average shop.” not just for Christmas, but throughout the year.
Written by Kai Lutterodt | @the.soho.girl Get 10% off on Mr Mullan’s skin and haircare
Photography by Ari Gurdon Lindey | @ari55 range when you mention ‘My Soho Times’!
18 Smith's Ct, Soho, London W1D 7DP
You might think you know Soho, but Nika Garret is guaranteed to show you
something you’ve never seen before in the capital's former hunting ground of
centuries ago. Specialising in delivering tailored guided tours around London,
especially in Soho, her 'love affair' with the area started in 2011 when she was
commissioned to deliver a tour specifically about Victorian Soho for a group of
secondary school students studying The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. Today Nikka
incorporates her passions for coffee, history, art and quirky tales into bespoke tours.
I joined Nika for an express Soho tour starting at Soho Square and ending at My Place
Soho. And I have to admit, I am one of those people who thought they knew Soho,
but it turns out there's much more beneath the surface...
Secrets of Soho Soho Coffee
Once a grazing farmland, it was taken as a royal park A fascinating tour full of the history of coffee in
by Henry VIII. It is said that Soho was named after a Soho. Discover when the very first espresso bar in
hunting call! Soho in London became famous all London opened and where you can find the oldest
around the world and gave its name to similar areas Gaggia machine. Step into a Victorian shop and
in the cities like; New York, Hong Kong, Palermo and enjoy possibly the cheapest and one of the best ‘take
Buenos Aires. Here in London's Soho you can listen away’ coffees in the area. Discover where you can
to tales about kings, artists, actors, anarchists, book- get your cappuccino at 5 or 7am in the morning.
sellers, heroes, Huguenots, inventors, lovers, losers, Listen to the tales of coffee and rock n’ roll of the
musicians, murderers, mistresses, painters, 1950s and meet Soho writers, artists, eccentrics and
prostitutes, restaurateurs, writers... coffee enthusiasts in their favourite haunts today.
Georgian Soho tour David Bowie
Discover 18th century Soho and meet some of the Explore how Soho shaped David Bowie's career.
fascinating characters of Georgian era. Listen to the Bowie was only 14 when he was first introduced to
story of London's first 'private' club. Find out where Soho and its artistic and possibly also seedy places
famous visitors like Casanova and Mozart stayed in by his older half - brother Terry. In the 1960s Soho
Soho. Listen to the story of the notorious Chevalier was a creative hub. It was a place where you could
d'Eton a spy, writer, swordsman and a transvestite, get inspired, meet other musicians, agents and
who lived here as a woman for over 30 years. Meet journalists, buy your instruments, play gigs, record
18th most famous, talented and clever woman your music and obviously let your hair down. Soho
painter Angelica Kauffman who amassed a fortune was an exciting place of endless opportunities.
and fell victim to a bigamous conman. Finally,
imagine travelling in a sedan chair past some of the Did You Know...
rare 18th century architecture that you can still find in The space beneath Soho Square was used as a
Soho. bomb shelter. Leslie Hardcastle from the Soho
Society remembers that: "It could take about 150 to
Get 20% discount 200 people initially although that became less when
when you mention they put tiers of bunks in. The only facility was a
'My Soho Times' toilet and it could get quite smelly with all the people
down there." In 2015 there were reports that
Westminster Council offered the space for sale.
Photography by Kai Lutterodt | @the.soho.girl
MY SOHO TIMES 35
Ray Jones is
The Talent Banqer
He has earned the nickname 'Mr London' for his hard graft in the hospitality
and entertainment industry over the decades. At My Soho Times, we call him
The Talentbanqer... Ray Jones is on a mission to bring great live music to
unexpected venues across London!
Written by Kai Lutterodt and Ivo Belohoubek
Photography by Ari Gurdon Lindey
Ray Jones walks into L’Escargot restaurant bang on time. Of course, I MAGIC TOUCH
made sure to be there earlier as if there’s anything I know about Ray, Ray’s life story will one day become a memoir worth reading. He is one
he’s punctual - and if he gives you his time, he must like you. I sit of the lucky people who turns his passions into opportunities. His
wondering how he does it - radiate such warmth and humour, as he beginnings in the hospitality industry made him one of the youngest head
jokes with the waiter. concierges of his generation at the age of 21. In 1988 he took on an
empty office in Piccadilly Circus with no money and no business plan but
For years Ray has been my mentor and friend, an advisor and listening a passion for theatre and 9 years later he sold his successful business
ear, so it was only a matter of time I'd one day turn the tables to find out packaging hotel accommodation and experiences. Dubbed “Mr London”,
how a London boy of humble Irish heritage honed his craft in the West Ray continued to build up an empire selling London attractions, tickets,
End hospitality industry and earned himself the nickname Mr London. restaurants, travel, you name it - “If it happened in London, we were
Other work hats he’s worn include business developer (he’s closely involved in it!” he exclaims.
linked with Time Out) and CEO of TalentBanq, a live music agency that
represents some of the best independent and emerging musicians out It was no surprise then to anyone that Time Out London headhunted Ray
there. Ray Jones has an eye for spotting talent, which to me makes to help build the business - and Ray developed his love for live events.
him the Talentbanqer.
“I loved TimeOut because our readers wanted us to be adventurous.” “We collaborate, not compete” explains Ray. “We don’t want to be
he confides. With his finger firmly on the pulse of London and a stepping on toes of other promoters of new music talent and that’s
penchant for cultural innovation, Ray’s latest entrepreneurial path has why Talenbanq has opened two new intimate venues where people
led to another project that he hopes will excite London audiences. can experience live music in a unique way.”
THE TALENT BANQER For 2020 Talentbanq is planning to bring to the stage some of the
Ray’s latest venture - Talentbanq - combines his passion for music biggest names of the next decade in music - being fashioned in the
and live events with an unparalleled knowledge of the London scene. Talentbanq laboratory as we speak.
It is an agency for new, raw and unsigned musicians and bands. “We And on Ray’s 2020 vision for Soho? “The first thing is that
didn’t follow any established business model. It’s a completely novel L’escargot won’t have changed. It will still be this beautiful,
scheme for discovering, nurturing and promoting unsigned talent and comfortable, bohemian hangout. And I hope that that applies for the
making them available to play wherever needed.” rest of Soho too.”
MY SOHO TIMES For Talentbanq events and news visit www.talentbanq.com
Location of interview: L'escargot, 48 Greek St, Soho, W1D 4EF
THE LONDON CABARET CLUB SCENE
Written by Syahna Yahya | IG: @syahnayahya
It’s 1886 and Le Chat Noir has just opened its London itself is no stranger to the scene, with the be called beautiful - to have the audience
doors in the bohemian district of Paris known as very first Cabaret and Jazz Club, Murray’s, being applaud her, ” Doni remarks.
Montmartre. Initially home to poetry readings, introduced in Soho’s Beak Street in 1913. The
shadow plays and comedy skits, it was quickly club was known to have been one of the driving Along with their commentary on the current state
replaced by what we know primarily as Cabaret forces behind the Swinging 60s with its of society, they strive to capture the true
today - the somewhat infamous Moulin risqué performances and homage to its Parisian essence of British culture. “I think both of us
Rouge. Scantily clad dancers graced the stage roots. Now, of course, it is sadly a thing of the being foreigners knew what Britain looked like
entertaining their wealthy and predominantly past with its closure in 1975. from an outsiders perspective which is why our
aristocratic audience, dreaming up their wildest whole show is about showcasing the often
fantasies, as they enjoy dinner with a glass of Founders of London Cabaret Club Evelina Girling overlooked potency of British talent and
red on the side. As the first of its kind, the and Doni Fierro saw this gap in the market long incorporating British themes.” Taking notes from
original Modern French Cabaret, it was a huge before they could have envisioned the huge Brit-pop through the years with music from
success. success they have today. “The days of people artists such as Jessie J and Ed Sheeran
going out dining and being entertained seem to integrated into the performances, as well as
Almost a century and a half later, the hottest be a forgotten pleasure from the day television Bollywood-style segments commemorating
ticket in town hereabouts is an enactment of the came along, and we really wanted to bring it India’s influence on Britain, you’d better believe
three longest-reigning queens of England back.” says Evelina. Initially hitting London’s this is no boring history lesson.
dancing their way across the stage as part of the entertainment scene six years ago as a pop-up
latest concept from the London Cabaret Club. before finding a home in the Bloomsbury For all we know (what with the competitive
Evidently Cabaret is far from being an artefact of Ballroom, the Cabaret has both a traditional and a nature of the entertainment business) the day
a bygone era. uniquely modern twist to it. may come when people will no longer enjoy the
simple pleasures of a tasty meal and a riveting
The word Cabaret encapsulates the art of With this newer incarnation, performances are show, but as it's looking now, the curtains aren’t
performance from burlesque dance to fire- curated to mirror the state of our vastly changing closing anytime soon…
breathing shows, leaving a great deal of room society. “There’s so much misconception with the
for interpretation. It could be your earliest word Cabaret nowadays. Yes, striptease can be a What's On this Winter...
memory of seeing can-can dancers on stage or part of it but what we’re proud of, what we’re here This winter step into a glittery and magical
a first trip to a strip club. The art form has to show is that we are in this new age where an wonderland for a unique entertainment
successfully retained the interest of patrons in attractive girl doesn’t need to be half topless to be experience as The London Cabaret Club
almost every corner of the globe. presents 'A Gatbsy Christmas'.
The Bloomsbury Ballroom
Victoria House, Bloomsbury
Square, WC1B 4DA
Oh come all
SOHO IS THE PLACE TO
ST. ANNE'S CHURCH THE HOUSE OF ST BARNABAS
BY REV'D SIMON BUCKLEY BY KAI LUTTERODT | @THE.SOHO.GIRL
RECTOR OF ST ANNE'S CHURCH, SOHO
St Anne’s is the oldest centre of religious faith in Soho. Though the building is The House of St Barnabas located on Greek Street has a long and rich
relatively new, having been completely rebuilt in 1991 (50 years after its history in Soho, having stood as a house of charity since the mid 19th
destruction in the blitz) there has been a St Anne’s on Dean Street since 1686. It Century. Today, it is a social enterprise members’ club which supports its
was the church that founded the local primary school in 1699 and fortunately both Employment Academy created to break the cycle of homelessness. With a
church and school continue to thrive. Now of course the Church of England is not ‘secret’ chapel located at the back still in use, I was intrigued to learn about
the only Christian denomination in Soho, nor indeed is it the only religion. Soho how 'the House' still brings a sense of faith to those who come through. I met
is often viewed as a very secular neighbourhood and not generally seen as being with Jenny Barley, HoSB’s Membership Community Manager to learn more
a magnet for the religiously-inclined. about how 'the House' brings a sense of faith to its community.
But the truth is that in despite the hustle of this part of London, behind the façade "When the time came for us to open this as a private members’ club it
of the few remaining sex shops and day-glo doorways, above the bubble tea seemed very natural for us to continue that connection with charity, because
emporia and outside of the heaving cocktail bars, are ordinary people living their it’s been established in Soho for so long as a house of charity.
day to day lives. Lives touched by illness and grief, loneliness and self-doubt to Consequently the private members club here is a pioneering social business.
which the Christian faith can try to offer help, answers or even just The private members club funds the Employment Academy on the second
companionship as we work out what being human, and indeed divine, is really all floor of the House, which is working to break the cycle of homelessness by
about. virtue of an 8-9 week programme, which takes a really holistic approach
to providing programme participants with the support and training they need
55 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 6AF to find lasting paid employment.
www.stannes-soho.org.uk The chapel has always been integrated into what the House does, no matter
what it’s done over the years. And now in terms of what we do here, there
MY SOHO TIMES is still an element of faith or spirituality. We’re all about community and I think
at its core, that is what a lot of faith and spirituality is about.”
1 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4NQ
SOHO RECOVERY CENTRE THE LAST SOHO
BY TONY SHRIMPLIN | @THEMUSEUMOFSOHO
Soho is a yin and yang universe. Crowds of In March 2020 the Soho Theatre will have been at 21 Dean
tourists bring pick pockets and beggars, night Street for 20 years. The theatre had been awarded an £8
economy feeds vices like drugs and sex. With million lottery grant in 1996 and through this and match-
Soho’s hedonistic image come those who funding it was able to open a purpose-built 150-seat venue in
abuse alcohol and drugs. I am not here to 2000. What most people don’t know it that prior to its current
point a moralistic finger at those battle with incarnation, the site was home to the West End
addictions. I am one of them. And no, we are Synagogue (West End Talmud Torah) which was established
not just the few who sleep on park benches in in 1880 at 10 Green's Court and then Manette Street, before
Soho Square. We are parents, teachers, eventually moving to 21 Dean Street in 1941.
decorators, artists and millionaires. Addiction
crosses party lines and social class. I am one There has been a Jewish presence in Soho since the
of the thousands of anonymous addicts, 17th Century; rate books of St Anne’s Parish show that
alcoholics, bulimics or sex addicts – you name during the 1750’s there were Jews living in Berwick Street,
it - who walk Soho’s streets every day with a Broad Street, Carnaby Street, Great Windmill Street, Greek
new lease of life in sobriety. Street and Rupert Street.
FESTIVE & SOBER In the latter part of the 19th Century, Jewish refugees arrived
The festive season has been an ambivalent time for me for a long time. First it was a ticket to from Eastern Europe fleeing the pogroms and persecution of
guilt free oblivion with parties galore. Everyone gets smashed so I was allowed. Except that I Czar Alexander III. Many settled in Soho, forming their own
didn’t stop with the morning hangover. I went on and on, days turned into weeks long binges and neighbourhood. Berwick Street Market was predominantly
mornings into rituals of self-loathing. In early recovery the party season was a minefield. Should I Yiddish-speaking from the 1890’s right up to the first half of
go, fight peer pressure and risk a relapse? Or should I stay home and be a scrooge? I obsessed the 20th Century with more than 70% of the businesses
about having to explain I no longer neck double gins and tonic from lunchtime. The more time being Jewish-owned. Tradesmen included tailors,
has passed since my last drink, the less I care what people think. I have a life, career, kids who dressmakers, cloth merchants, haberdashers, milliners and
love me and a partner who is proud of who I am becoming. I also have thousands of friends who lace makers, many of whom worked long hours. There were
meet and support each other all over the world. also Jewish butchers, delicatessens and grocers.
By the mid-nineteenth century many institutions were
Will I be joining the party crowd? Maybe. I will keep it in the day and if I feel like it, join in with my established in Soho, including The West Central Jewish
tonic water. And if people ask me why I don’t drink I tell them I stopped a few years back. They Girls' Club founded at 71 Dean Street in 1893.
won’t hear a lecture from me about my mad years in addiction and hopefully I won’t hear the
broken record about their own drinking habits. And if I feel like not going out I won’t. I have the Today there is little evidence of the once thriving Jewish
freedom to choose now without being a slave to substance that almost killed me more than community and Soho's last synagogue closed in May
once. The amazing thing is most people don’t give a toss whether I will get smashed at a party 1996, but if you ask nicely next time you visit the Soho
or not. Theatre you can see a ‘Mizrach’, a reminder of the theatre’s
HOPE & RECOVERY
The Museum of Soho is an independent, community-
Where there is madness of addiction, there is also serenity of recovery. I made Soho my home based group committed to creating a safe haven for
artefacts, documents, etc, relating to Soho, London
in sobriety and discovered a new world or church halls filled with hope and like-minded crowd of
people in recovery.The Soho Recovery Centre is without doubt recovery’s beating heart with
dozens of meetings every week for all of us who want to kick addiction, whether we are men,
women, black or gay, addicted to alcohol, cocaine, food or sex, we are all welcome without
Perhaps you are not an addict or an alcoholic and I ST PATRICK'S
salute you. You may be one of those who hover in CATHOLIC
the twilight not sure if you are fine or have a problem. CHURCH
I wish you best of luck navigating the Christmas St Patrick’s seeks to foster a strong
parties without harm or embarrassment once you sense of Catholic identity, offering Holy
had few too many. Or maybe you feel like you are Masses everyday of the week. On a
losing control, and trust me I know it how that feels weekday lunchtime at 12.45pm you'll
and it sucks. What if you knew there's someone find Soho workers congregate in St
willing be a listening ear over a hot drink? Patrick's, a place of faith and refuge for
afternoon Mass. If you're an early riser
CHOOSE LIFE weekday morning Mass takes place at
I have made peace with the world and no longer 8am. A Mass service in Spanish is
blame the bars that got me drunk, or people, or given on Sunday at 6pm.
money stress for driving me to drink. If you think you "Faith to me means believing in God,
may have a problem with addiction, Soho Recovery believing in something which forms the
Centre is a good place to start and is open every day bedrock of the universe which we can
of the year, including Christmas day. lean on and trust..." Shared Neil, a
Don't lose faith... worshiper at St Patrick's.
123 Charing Cross Rd, Soho, WC2H 0EW 21A Soho Square, Soho, W1D 4NR
HOW MEDITATION DAILY PRACTICE OF YOGA
CALMS THE MIND
BY JESSICA LEE | IG:@JESSICIALEE.YOGA
BY AMRU SABBAH| @OUR.SANGHA
A daily yoga and meditation practice doesn’t have to be a full 60mins asana class
followed by sitting for 30minutes. It can be as simple as taking 3 yoga poses
followed by a mindfulness meditation whilst having a cup of tea. Yoga and
meditation go hand in hand supporting your wellbeing mentally and physically.Some
people don’t realise that yoga was first created to help prepare the body and mind to
sit for long times of meditation. They have been used as an alternative form of
exercise to keep the mind and body healthy and happy. There are many different
types of yoga and meditation practices. I strongly feel that there is a type for
everyone, it’s simply a question of exploring and finding the one that suits you.
Practicing yoga improves strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. Then
meditation helps keep the mind sharp, relieves stress and anxiety, and can
strengthen your immune system.
From the moment we open our eyes, we are being targeted by super computers In a yoga class there is a focus to connecting with the breath and bringing your
that are carefully designed to keep us glued to them. We should have the choice, of awareness into the body. This increased awareness helps to notice changes in
directing our attention to what we believe it deserves. Its our attention that lets us your body which is only a good thing in tuning in when you’re feeling run down
focus on what is happening in the present moment, enjoy the time with our loved or in need of rest or even more movement then having the space to make
ones, intimate relationships and excel at our work. adjustments or changes to help keep yourself in the best space.
Jessica Lee teaches at MoreYoga Soho and runs her own yoga platform:
Measures which help us regain grasp over our attention are more vital than ever. ISLAMIC CENTRE SOHO
One of these measures is Meditation. When we practice meditation, we allow our
mind to get distracted and then we consciously bring it back to the point of focus, The Islamic Centre located on Berwick Street, offers a central space for
strengthening the concentration muscle. Other benefits of meditation are numerous Muslims to visit for prayer. On a Friday you might see worshipers from the
and range from reducing stress to increasing grey matter in the brain. Islamic centre spill out into Berwick Street market to perform their prayers
due to lack of space inside. The lack of space is also partly the reason for
Our Sangha - Modern Spirited Community the scrutiny the centre has faced over the years for being a male-only
Our Sangha is a community and social tech startup, with a focus on connecting Mosque. The centre shares that it is Sharia - Islamic law - to segregate men
people through meditation. We believe in combining the benefits of healthy, and women, however they do not have the space to do that. The Equality
genuine social connections and the practice of meditation. The benefits of group and Human Rights Commission says the mosque is not breaking any laws,
meditation open up a new range of social benefits as well. It supports in building a as gender segregation is permissible during collective religious worship and
habit, it creates support networks especially in cities with low sense of community. the Charity Commission supports this.
Find out more about our open community on Instagram @our.sangha Islamic Centre Soho
10 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 0PH
RADHA KRISHNA For 50 years, the ISKCON ( International Society "There isn't one faith-less person in the world, in
TEMPLE, SOHO for Krishna Consciousness) Radha-Krishna our view. You must have faith. It's like saying 'I
Temple has served as a spiritual oasis for don't have blood in my body'. You have to,
BY KAI LUTTERODT | @THE.SOHO.GIRL thousands of Londoners and visitors from all over otherwise you wouldn’t be able to function with
the world. Originally located at Bury Place, the no blood. It's the same with faith. But we invest
It’s impossible to talk about faith in Soho without Temple moved to its current location on Soho faith in the wrong things, like temporary activities
mentally hearing the sounds of Hare Krishna devotees Street in 1977. or obsessions that cannot bring us happiness.
joyfully singing and dancing through the streets of To me faith means a firm conviction that certain
central London. So I met with Vayu-Das, a devotee "If you ask me what this means to Soho, at that activities or actions that you perform will focus
from the Rahdha-Krishna Temple to learn more. time Soho was quite artistic but also a dark area. your consciousness and bring you an everlasting
There was a lot of prostitution and drug dealing. result... or the long-lasting happiness we're all
Wherever these kind of things occur, it's very hankering for. Everyone wants to be happy...
important to counteract those activities with more That is faith."
elevated, spiritual ones. " Vayu-Das shared.
“We understand from our philosophy that real ISKCON-London Radha-Krishna Temple
happiness comes from spiritual fulfilment. On the 9-10 Soho St, Soho, London W1D 3DL
Yoga pyramid or ladder, Bhakti is the highest www.iskcon-london.org
yoga. Bhakti means divine love. This divine love
is the constitutional quantity of every living entity. 41
As humans, we are more spiritual, intellectually
and mentally evolved than other species of life on
earth. This means we are completely equipped to
become self-realising in this life... but we have to
apply our free will willingly to do that."
MY SOHO TIMES
LATE NIGHT SOHO
The Piano Bar Soho Experimental Cocktail Club
We love a newbie in Soho and The Piano Bar Soho has already The Experimental Cocktail Club sits somewhere between
positioned itself as so familiar - it seems like it’s always been there. By the swanky bars of Mayfair and the few-and-far-between
night the town house becomes a secret getaway for those wanting to of what’s left of Soho’s underground speakeasies. This
experience a new vibe, taking on the format typical of Soho's social scene venue is located in China Town, with a stout battered
'members only’ clubs. However with a much smaller annual fee, it’s brown door which possibly also serves to ward off any
accessible to all, especially a younger crowd who want the benefits of unexpected curious visitors. So if you’re stepping into
membership without the huge fees. Here size doesn't matter - it's about ECC, it’s most likely not by chance. By the time you do
functionality, with rooms all on the cosy and quaint spectrum. Inside the make it through the anonymous door and up the three
bar is where the star attraction - the piano – sits. Moving on you go levels of bars, you’ll have earned yourself that cocktail.
through to the snug, library and screening room. Come to The Piano Bar Make this a first date venue and revel in the fact that
Soho for the music first... everything else will just fall into place. you’ve set the bar to an impressive level. There’s a great
range of cocktails created in-house by expert bar-
SOHO'S LGBTQ+ tenders from around the world. The vibe is a buzzy yet
intimate... Enjoy, you’re in good hands.
Written by Samuel Sasiharan | @ samuelsasiharan
I'm a freelance photographer, and I commute on my Brompton bike
across London and almost always end up in the former fashionable
district of the aristocracy of the 19th century. Today, Soho is London's
entertainment and gay district. A world within a world of its own where
gender fluidity is able to thrive. Whether it's with my fellow gay and
lesbian friends or non-homosexual friends, from the morning till late,
there is a little something for everyone...
THE FRIENDLY SOCIETY THE YARD VILLAGE
Hidden dating spots in Soho. You want A hideaway in Soho offering a court Get your half price cocktails and pints at
that East London feel in the West End? yard with an upstairs giving you that the Village Weekly Happy Hour. A pub
This is your best place to go to country house feel. Single and on the style gay bar that allows enough space to
hunt for beautiful men? This is your socialise and talk.
PREDICTING THE NEXT DECADE OF SOHO
MY SOHO TIMES A brand new decade is dawning – the new
roaring 2020s. What does the next 10 years
hold in store for Soho? For our answers we're
going straight to the source - the people who
LIVE WORK & PLAY in Soho. Everyone has an
opinion, and that's why we'll be continuing the
discussion going with our events and online
throughout the year... #2020VisionSoho
Rector of St Anne's Church, Soho
I hope the Soho of the future won’t have just
sunk into the bland swamp of commercialism
and corporate consumerism which many fear is
in danger of engulfing us. ‘So-Ho’ was originally
the hunting cry of the monarch as he chased
deer across the land that we now know as Soho.
Perhaps in the future ‘Soho’ will become a
rallying cry for the creation of a mini utopia: in
which a diverse rainbow of people live creatively
together in mutual respect, care and affection.
In the future I want people to look at something
really satisfying and say “that’s just so ‘Ho’”...
Soho – shorthand for ‘the way life’s meant to be’.
The Last Chanteuse
My vision for Soho is neither pessimistic or optimistic,
in spite of not many public live music venues having
survived. I trust the arts of tomorrow will intervene.
So I will quote Malcolm McLaren (a great visionary),
when he said; 'the future of music will be karaoke vs
authenticity.' I will say, the future of Soho will be a lot
of karaoke and a little bit of authenticity.
Beverly Samuel Sasiharan
Soho Resident Photographer
I think for the next decade there’s Soho has been my home away from home
going to be a lot of space still being for the past decade. I've seen chains of
being sold to rich people. Often it clothing and restaurants taking up the space
feels like a social cleansing going on where boutiques once were. I hope visitors
that I’ve noticed for the last 10 to 20 and locals realise that we have to support
years. For instance within walking small businesses to continue the essence of
distance you have 10 hotels. We just Soho. And I also hope that future of Soho is
don’t need that. There needs to be that it remains inclusive for LGBTQ+ people,
more of a focus on social housing, the especially, those of colour.
elderly, and people with disabilities.
My concern is that Soho is going to Ray Jones
be extremely overcrowded. People Talentbanq CEO
are already living on top of each There’s a lot of people talking about gentrification, but
other. London’s just full to the brim, you can’t hold back progress, and I’m not sure that we
and it’s not stopping. It’s like a sink - should try to. One thing that people never talk about
you can only fill it up so much until it when they talk about gentrification, is that the whole
overflows... It’s really sad. area around St Giles was actually some of the worst
slums in London. So, trying to hold onto that sort of
heritage I don’t necessarily think it a good thing. So
what I hope for Soho it that it is developed
sympathetically, and that it’s character is retained. The
most important thing about its character is liberalism.
Not in a political way, but in a cultural way.
Anita Gillian Smith
Soho resident Film producer
My concern is that elder people are being neglected. It's not I think Soho might struggle a bit to keep its identity
like before. There's no shops for elderly people for example. but let’s face it, everyone still wants to come here. If
There's only Tesco really. Before there were many artisan you look around the restaurants and bars are all
shops and boutiques in the area, Now I have to go to rammed with people, so I reckon that’s a good sign.
Camden Town. With the new Elizabeth line it will be terrible. Might be a problem keeping small record shops and
I can imagine it will be very crowded, you cannot even walk. book stores say open, but I have faith and I think
I'm older now and I'm shorter - they won't see me with their because people like the way it is, it’ll adapt.
rucksacks. I don't know if it's a good idea but that's life - it's
Soho has historically been a place of refuge and an area where
new chapters of peoples lives can be written. It's an area that
thrives on creativity and celebrates difference. Whether one is a
resident, worker or visitor the challenge will be how in the coming
decade Soho continues to provide spaces for people to engage in
diverse activities with diverse audiences where a spirit of
Tony Shrimplin Join in the discussion online using
Chair, Museum of Soho #2020VisionSoho
Change is inevitable and I am certainly not suggesting that ‘Soho’ be kept in
cotton wool. It is a living/breathing, working part of London and historically it has #MySohoTimes and at our events
reflected these changes with its architecture, businesses, residential community www.mysohotimes.co.uk/event
and attitude. We can’t live in the past. New memories/experiences will be made
by younger generations if the venues are here. Unfortunately, there are less 45
music establishments now and more hotels that are being developed but not
needed. WCC must not destroy the difference and could support SME’s by
creating an enterprise zone to encourage diversity of business in the area. Soho
is resilient (or its residents are) and will certainly not disappear as a destination
but will it be the place you still want to live/ visit when what makes it different is
under attack? Predicting the future is not an exact science so I won’t make any
bold claims as to how I see Soho looking in 10 years, but I do hope that
Crossrail will be operational by then.
MY SOHO TIMES
Soho x Talk:
6.30pm at The House of St Barnabas
Booking info: www.mysohotimes.co.uk/2020vision
For more info on this and other
Soho x Talk events please email
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