Monday, 22 February 2010

Se A Vida E (That's the Way Life is); Or, When one cake shop closes

"Se A Vida E (That's the Way Life is)" is a lovely, breezy song by the Pet Shop Boys, as opposed to one of their more miserable offerings.

I had a good day out in London yesterday, leafleting for No Sweat, but it was bloody cold and I already had the makings of a cold when I left home. My behaviour was the opposite of what the doctor ordered - more like what the doctor expressly forbade.

One feature of yesterday was me and a girlfriend looking for nice coffee and cake shops we used to know - but which are no longer trading. I knew a lovely cake shop in Old Compton Street (Amato - now being turned into a Richoux restaurant) and she knew a lovely cake shop in Covent Garden (couldn't find that one at all - wound up in an overpriced, subterranean Ponti's).

Amato! Beloved! How could it close? I never got to take my mum there and show her the lovely murals. It was where V and I went (I don't think I was the only person he took there... I hope not). V is doing his national service in Greece at the moment. Before he went, I said he should look on it positively as a chance to get fit and eat well at someone else's expense. With Greece's financial difficulties, however, I now have visions of him and his comrades having to catch their own food. How that will grieve him.

What can I say, V? I'm sure Richoux will be OK in the long run, but the Amato brand was discontinued. Oh, life is harsh. To discover that your favourite cafe was just a brand!

It is with some schadenfreude therefore that I read in the Richoux company report for July 2009:

the rebranded Richoux restaurant in Old Compton Street [has] traded below management's expectations due to a combination of the particularly challenging economic climate and inherent problems with the Richoux concept in nonestablished sites.
You mean, unlike you, people have some f***ing loyalty. I also note with total delight:
The challenge facing the Group remains to develop a business to complement those established Richoux restaurants and the Group is hopeful that its new concept "Zippers" which will be opening in Chatham before the end of the year will fulfil that role.
A new concept called Zippers (surely a name more suitable for Old Compton Street). In Chatham! Ha, f***ing ha! V and I know all about Chatham, although he will still maintain that Loughborough is worse.

Well, V, when you are finally released from your patriotic duties, my first treat is a trip out to Chatham Maritime and a slap-up meal in Zippers. After five months of rabbit stew and horta vrasta (Greek boiled vegetables) you'll be falling over yourself with gratitude!


Rog T said...


Great post (specially the bit about Zippers - Hee Hee). I think we should start a Facebook campaign for a branch in Old Compton St !

NickA said...

The corporatisation of cakes makes life miserable. Patisserie Valerie is a sad reflection of what it used to be - and is now just another corporate clone - can you tell the difference between the "new" Patisserie Valerie and Richoux? (And in a sad desire for uniformity they have "rebranded" Maison Sagne on Marylebone High St as Patisserie Valerie too