The leaves aren’t quite falling, but there is a pre-Autumnal tone to the soft sunshine, as I walk through Soho today. Princi is only gently full at lunchtime, and those back at work after the Bank Holiday are moving at an unhurried pace.
After a meeting in Wardour Street, I go to view a new venture, Cox, Cakes and Cookies at 13 Brewer Street, scheduled to open tomorrow. Patrick Cox, shoe designer, is turning his hand to edible goods and has teamed up with celebrity patissier, Eric Lanlard to revamp Cox’s childhood recipes into formats more suitable to the neon lights of Brewer Street: preview pics show Hollywood lips and rice paper Marilyn Munroe images adorning the cup cakes. These will be set off against a nearly black interior, it seems, from my viewpoint on the other side of the road. Joiners and glaziers are still working frantically. Will they make the opening by tomorrow? Da-dum!
A couple of streets further on is Archer Street. Before Bocca di Lupo opened here, this was a backwater behind Shaftesbury Avenue. B di L have grabbed a premises opposite while the going is good, and opened an upmarket ice cream bar called Gelupo. From the moment you cross the threshold, you know this is the business. Glossy brick tiling floor to ceiling, stylish retro chrome light fittings shining down on to marble counters hit the spot bang on. At the back of the premises are laid out carefully selected grocery items, with such legends as: “the best dried pasta we have come across”, ” the coffee we use in our machines”, or “the chestnut honey we use in our ice cream”. For £3 I have two very delicious and generous scoops of Chestnut and Hazelnut ice cream, but I could have had Pine Nut and Fennel Seed Ice Cream, Avocado and Honey Sorbet, or Blood Orange Granita. And my loyalty card is marked with a wolf’s pawmark. What detailed attention.
As I look out of the window at the sunny day, I wonder aloud how it will fare in the winter. “Oh, don’t worry, we have some tricks up our sleeve” says the helpful manager. I’m sure so. These guys patently know what they’re doing.
I then cross the road to look at a newly opened hairdresser’s premises, with the request in neon lights “Show me from behind”, and above the doorway, an invitation to “Come in (again)”. Soho will always be Soho.