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Turned Out Nice Again

London Still Shit (And Getting Worse)

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first Denmark Street, now this:

Big trouble in little Chinatown as rent rises force restaurant owners out

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/29/chinatown-restaurants-london-threat-rent-rises

Having spent a good proportion of my 30s mooching about Bohemian Soho, this is all too depressing.

Walking around last week, most of my old haunts (most established 10-30 yrs before I was born) are now gone.

Off the top of my head, CCK dim sum house (mentioned in the Guardian piece, the food came round on trollies); Ley-Ons (upmarket chinese in Wardour St.); The Raj Of India in Old Compton St.; Centrale pasta joint (shared benches/ huge portions); Bunjies basement cafe in Cambridge Circus (best apple crumble+cream in W.End.); Country Life 7th day Adventist vegan cafe in Maddox St. etc. etc. ... too many to mention

I got a shock when Wong Kei shut down briefly last year, only to re-open under new management (and higher prices).

And albeit a chain, The Deep Pan Pizza Co. buffets that were great value in W1 now seem to have vanished.

Everything is now catering for the well-heeled wage-slave. Don't mention the pub beer prices.

eg. spotted in Wardour St last week, the latest takeaway business: Spanish ham in a kind of wheaten ice-cream cone. That one on the right is £30/ 100g!

Where are aging slackers supposed to eat/ drink now?

IMG_20150322_175127.jpg

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The late Paul Raymond's estate owns much of Soho.......the place has changed massively over the years.....because of ever increasing rents small businesses have been pushed out.....this changes the feeling and ambiance of the place.....a shadow of how it used to be.....times have changed and the clock will not be turning back....better opportunities in better places....time to move on. ;)

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The late Paul Raymond's estate owns much of Soho.......the place has changed massively over the years.....because of ever increasing rents small businesses have been pushed out.....this changes the feeling and ambiance of the place.....a shadow of how it used to be.....times have changed and the clock will not be turning back....better opportunities in better places....time to move on. ;)

It's called "progress" and you're supposed to like it because apparently it's always good.

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Meanwhile ...

Sheffield greenlights £65m plan to build its own Chinatown

EASTERN PROMISE has helped push through plans for a multi-million pound development dubbed Sheffield’s answer to China Town.

Plans for a £65m complex complete with student accommodation, private property, an oriental supermarket, restaurants, offices and a public square were given provisional approval at a meeting of the city council’s planning committee this week. The site, near to London Road, known as one of the city’s most vibrant multicultural areas, will also include a ‘business incubator’, with conference space and training facilities, designed to boost economic links with China. New Era Development Ltd, which is behind the proposals, say it will put Sheffield on the map as a destination for investment from the far east. Managing director Jerry Cheung said: “The incubator will have partners working together to welcome Chinese businesses to come to be in Sheffield, we will offer a better service than Leeds or Manchester.” The so-called China town comprises of three buildings, from five to 21-storeys high, which will be home to 695 student bed spaces, and 14 private two-bedroom apartments. A planning report prepared ahead of the meeting said: “The scheme is high-quality and significant development at a prominent gateway location on the edge of the city centre. It will provide for redevelopment of a partly vacant, underutilised, unattractive site in a manner which will result in significant physical and economic regeneration.” The vision for creating a hive for Sheffield’s Chinese community has been in the making for several years. Dignitaries from the Chinese embassy were present at the unveiling of the plans last September. However, Mr Cheung has stressed that the development, which will be named New Era Square, would not simply cater for the city’s 10,000-plus Chinese population. He said: “These proposals have a more cosmopolitan feel incorporating all cultures, not just Chinese.”

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/sheffield-greenlights-65m-plan-to-build-its-own-chinatown-1-7063831

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Was in soho on saturday night, there's just too many people. Its absolutely rammed. At some places there are actually people jams - massive crowds that simply cant move, shuffling along a few steps here and there due to congestion.

Hateful place.

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first Denmark Street, now this:

Big trouble in little Chinatown as rent rises force restaurant owners out

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/29/chinatown-restaurants-london-threat-rent-rises

Having spent a good proportion of my 30s mooching about Bohemian Soho, this is all too depressing.

...

Where are aging slackers supposed to eat/ drink now?

Back in the 70s for special family occasions my (modest means) family, and other Anglo-Italian families, used to trundle down to Soho on a Sunday, park the car on a side street and have celebratory meals at a restaurant on Brewer Street.

Absolutely unthinkable now. London, particularly the West End, has been corporatised to a point where even someone who grew up there feels like a stranger who's just passing through, and subject to a damned good fleecing along the way.

As it happens, that particular restaurant is still there but, unsurprisingly is expensive and sh*t. None of the people, or their kids, who used to frequent it go anywhere near it.

Most of the owner-operated cafes/ cake shops have gone too.

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Was in soho on saturday night, there's just too many people. Its absolutely rammed. At some places there are actually people jams - massive crowds that simply cant move, shuffling along a few steps here and there due to congestion.

Hateful place.

I think you're supposed to like busy too.

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Leather lane (near Chancery Lane tube).

Brick Lane/ Shoreditch/ all round there trumped Soho for a while (to my tastes anyway) but that started disappearing up its own rear end too (again, imho).

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Noticed a few middle market indian/chinese restaurants closed too.

On the flip side, if a new store opens, its almost always a kebab/periperi/fried chicken place. People economizing?

That said, the pricey gastro-pubs always seem busy...maybe people just losing their taste for efnic food...lots of scare stories in the press re: people dying because of allegies, restaurants being dirty, employing illegals etc.

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When I was a kid my parents used to take us to Ley-On's every Chinese New Year. I may be biased but I still think it served the best dim sum in China Town.

I heard it closed down because the lease became too expensive to renew, no doubt because the price of the underlying land had been heavily inflated by our current housing bubble. Very sad to see it go, not only from a personal perspective but because it was a living piece of Soho history.

Deh-Ta Hsiung - The Quiet Revolutionary

“I remember stories from my first first wife’s father who used to go to Ley-On, one of the very oldest Chinese restaurants on Wardour Street (Soho) where the China Society would meet every month – that was in the 1930’s but I’ve heard people talk of eating there in the 1920’s. Ley-On moved premises three times that I know – and never more than a few hundred yards either way in the same street,” Deh-Ta told me.

Alfie's Chinese Dinner, British Pathé, 1945

Ley-On's Chop Suey Restaurant, Soho, 1947

image.jpg

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Back in the 70s for special family occasions my (modest means) family, and other Anglo-Italian families, used to trundle down to Soho on a Sunday, park the car on a side street and have celebratory meals at a restaurant on Brewer Street.

Absolutely unthinkable now. London, particularly the West End, has been corporatised to a point where even someone who grew up there feels like a stranger who's just passing through, and subject to a damned good fleecing along the way.

As it happens, that particular restaurant is still there but, unsurprisingly is expensive and sh*t. None of the people, or their kids, who used to frequent it go anywhere near it.

Most of the owner-operated cafes/ cake shops have gone too.

I'm pretty sure it's not there any more (think some restaurant called "Bill's" occupies the premises now). I looked out for it a few weeks ago whilst walking down Brewer Street (I used to work for their accountants). I understand it was "the" place to go back in the 70s.

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I'm pretty sure it's not there any more (think some restaurant called "Bill's" occupies the premises now). I looked out for it a few weeks ago whilst walking down Brewer Street (I used to work for their accountants). I understand it was "the" place to go back in the 70s.

Could be. I haven't been along there for a while. If so it was a mercy kill.

Back in the 70s it was a place that Italian immigrant cafe/ restaurant owners would go to take their own families for a treat. So, yes, it was pretty good.

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Was in soho on saturday night, there's just too many people. Its absolutely rammed. At some places there are actually people jams - massive crowds that simply cant move, shuffling along a few steps here and there due to congestion.

Hateful place.

As Yogi Berra said "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.",

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Kettner's used to be a real gem

I used to take visitors/ young(ish) ladies there, telling them that we were going to a Pizza Express along the way, which it was, and then enjoy their mindf**k when we turned up and...

Anyway, though it had grand beginnings, for much of the last few decades it has been something else. Sure, it had chandeliers and thick carpets and a pianist. There was a champagne bar, and linen on the tables and a bunch of private rooms. It felt like a grown-up grand restaurant. The thing is, it was actually just a pizzeria. At various times it was owned by Pizza Express, then held by the Pizza Express founder Peter Boizot, before going back to Pizza Express. At various times the pizzas were a little better than the standard Pizza Express offering, but the fact remained that they were still pizzas. The result? A grand, grown up restaurant, which you could eat in for £40 for two. It was the ultimate young couple's date restaurant.

A real loss.

The killing of Kettner's

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first Denmark Street, now this:

Big trouble in little Chinatown as rent rises force restaurant owners out

Having spent a good proportion of my 30s mooching about Bohemian Soho, this is all too depressing.

Walking around last week, most of my old haunts (most established 10-30 yrs before I was born) are now gone.

Off the top of my head, CCK dim sum house (mentioned in the Guardian piece, the food came round on trollies); Ley-Ons (upmarket chinese in Wardour St.); The Raj Of India in Old Compton St.; Centrale pasta joint (shared benches/ huge portions); Bunjies basement cafe in Cambridge Circus (best apple crumble+cream in W.End.); Country Life 7th day Adventist vegan cafe in Maddox St. etc. etc. ... too many to mention

I got a shock when Wong Kei shut down briefly last year, only to re-open under new management (and higher prices).

And albeit a chain, The Deep Pan Pizza Co. buffets that were great value in W1 now seem to have vanished.

Everything is now catering for the well-heeled wage-slave. Don't mention the pub beer prices.

eg. spotted in Wardour St last week, the latest takeaway business: Spanish ham in a kind of wheaten ice-cream cone. That one on the right is £30/ 100g!

Where are aging slackers supposed to eat/ drink now?

IMG_20150322_175127.jpg

Took an empty hand luggage bag out to Spain just before Christmas and brought a whole one back...nice black pig that eats acorns variety...had to saw its hoof almost off but not quite to get it into the bag...anyway screwed a bracket on to put the hoof back into place on a ham stand......the whole thing cost about 70 euros, lasted for ages, carved really finely, melted in the mouth like butter and the even the fat tasted really good.....where there is a will there is a way. ;)

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Took an empty hand luggage bag out to Spain just before Christmas and brought a whole one back...nice black pig that eats acorns variety...had to saw its hoof almost off but not quite to get it into the bag...anyway screwed a bracket on to put the hoof back into place on a ham stand......the whole thing cost about 70 euros, lasted for ages, carved really finely, melted in the mouth like butter and the even the fat tasted really good.....where there is a will there is a way. ;)

lidl sell that

£30 for the whole leg

Lidl-jamon-serrano-008.jpg

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lidl sell that

£30 for the whole leg

I remember 20, 30 years ago when all the Italians in my family used to cart food, all the way up to large Panettones, back from Italy in hand luggage. UK chains didn't stock much, the quality was not all there, and the dedicated Italian food shops were expensive.

Now most of them just pick up what they need from British/ German supermarkets here. Usually significantly cheaper too. F*** it, when I lived in New Zealand there was an Italian deli in Christchurch knocking out branded Italian food products at the same price as Italy, sometimes a little cheaper.

The odd chunk of Parmesan still gets taken on a plane ride. Probably out of habit, certainly not to save any money.

Maybe Spanish retail is different to Italy. My default suspicion is probably not.

edit: that is a big price difference on that Lidl ham though, so I doubt they're going to be directly comparable.

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I assume the relocation killed it as Gelupo is now where it relocated to. How long did it last?

According to the link, the owners sold up and went back to Italy.

I used to like the Cannelloni, but I understand the rigatoni Alfredo was legendary. I remember each shared table featured a serve-yourself bucket sized bowl of parmesan. Used to see musicians from the theatre orchestras in there regularly, dressed in their work tuxedos.

Another disappeared eatery from Compton Street in the 80s was an 'eat as much as you want' called 'Fatso's pasta joint', the only proviso being you had to stick to the dish you originally ordered. I used to go for the macaroni Mexican, which was a chili beef sauce topped with a blob of soured cream and chopped raw onions (I'm salivating thinking about it).

Then it was down to watch a film at the Price Charles for a couple of quid, or an all-night session of Bruce Lee or Bogart movies at the Charing cross royal - the former is still there but the prices have rocketed.

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edit: that is a big price difference on that Lidl ham though, so I doubt they're going to be directly comparable.

i doubt there will be much difference, its a dried lump of ham after all , now if you can find a nice 15kg drum of fruits der mer in olive oil i would hand over my wonga for that , 25 years ago makro used to sell massive drums of squid octpuss prawns etc in lovely pickled oliver oil for about £15

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