Saturday, 8 August 2009

Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market

Back in the eighties earning a few pennies whilst still at college was a lot easier than today. The objective was simple, to buy as many pieces of clothing bearing the Comme des Garçons label as I could possibly afford from my fifty quid a day as a hi-fi salesman. Most of my peers then were either kitted out as New Romantics or Country Life Henrys (‘orrible cravats, tweeds, etc); me, I preferred the understated genius that’s Rei Kawakubo, the creator of Comme des Garçons. Comme was and still is horrendously expensive, a shirt then was around £80 and a jacket will set you back at least three hundred notes. The wonderful thing with Kawakubo’s designs is that they’re timeless and the materials used are made to last…the above photo of a jacket and shirt are an absolute testament to her wares; they’re a couple of decades old. These days my passion for men’s grooming has lapsed somehow, I’ve elected to go for a ‘don’t give a monkey’s’ look and channel all my available funds towards activities that created this blog in the first place.

I met up with ‘eat slipper rice’* Marc at Dover Street Market. DSM is a huge emporium comprising of six floors that showcases the Comme range of clothing plus a host of other well known and fringe designer labels. Everything in this place is prohibitively expensive and will undoubtedly prompt non-fashion victims to ask the same question like, is that for real?

The 21st century equivalents of my vintage shirt and jacket are now £260 and £900 respectively! If one is impoverished and at the same time desperate to leave the place with some kind of merchandise, I suppose there’s the T-shirt with the DSM logo (despairing IMO) for £40 to allay any fears of loosing face.

DSM is not just another fashion boutique, it’s more than that; it’s a temple where architecture, art and industrial design are all attributed. The owners of DSM will probably snarl at me for saying this, I think of it as a museum of contemporary culture, so go forth and appreciate. You don’t have to spend a penny.

The café that’s tied to DSM is hardly a token affair. Rose Bakery is better known to Parisians than Londoners. Englishwoman and Villandry founder Rose Carrarini (Kawakubo’s sister-in-law) started the now legendary bakery in Paris eight years ago. The concession at DSM specialises in upmarket salads and sandwiches plus their reputable bakes like fine cakes and crumbles.

Located on the top floor, this place is frequented by beautiful people who are obviously not short of a bob or two. The ambience is decidedly relaxing and calm. The service was equally polite and friendly.

Passable, but certainly no destination material as far as coffee is concerned

Real and proper English Breakfast tea
I'll stick to this over the coffee anyday

Carrot cake
Good but pales in comparison to Lantana’s hummingbird beauty

Slice of coconut and berries

The price of £4.50 is unfeasible, but it was very good, quite possibly the best of its kind I've eaten.

I should think this place is worth coming to time and time again. Although expensive it’s quite simply a class act as well. The beauty with the Rose Bakery is that because so little has been written up about it, go before the whole world finds out.

NB photography is totally disallowed at this place, I was lucky to get away with it!

* ‘eat slipper rice’ is a vicious Cantonese term for an unemployed man who’s fed by his wife or girlfriend for life. Marc (not his real name but he knows that I’m writing about him, so he’s cool), is married to a heiress and he’s supposedly writing a play. In fact he has been doing precisely that for the past twenty years but to little avail. His life is what some people might describe as blessed. With an expense card courtesy of his wife, he only buys his clothes from DSM and that includes briefs.

Dover Street Market
17-18 Dover Street
London W1S 4LT, UK


Food.By Mark. said...

How did you get away with taking photos there? And with your big boy SLR S3?

I must visit here and buy some clothes with that money I won on that last monopoly game...

bellaphon said...

Mark- I was going to mention the big camera thing in my forthcoming review of Goodman. When you walk into any establishment with a pumped up Schwarzenegger camera, you are already making a statement. To the eyes of the restaurant staff you're either a photojourno or just a bleeding tourist. I find that most restaurants are less tolerant and suspicious with compacts that have been fished out of one’s bag. In the case of Rose Bakery, most of the folks thought I was performing an MOT on the camera; a paparazzi taking a well earned break whilst a certain Ms Ciccone is undergoing a three-hour makeup session.

Re your comment on Flickr, guys tend to forget that decent and beautiful women can be seen having afternoon tea or coffee instead of downing pints in a pub.

On a different note, do you know 13 Artists? They’re one my best customers.

Food.By Mark. said...

Coffee places, beautiful women... point noted.

On the subject of cameras, the few places I've been told not to take photos have been with compacts. I've only started having to take my Vin Diesel SLR since losing the little compact.

Good look with the faux MOT... reminding me that I need to buy new cleaning fluids and tissues.

And yes, I do know 13 Artists. They are an agency in Brighton. Some might say rival to the agency I work at. Do they personally buy equipment for their office from you?

thora said...

Boy, did I enjoy this post! - Must hurry now, we're off to the STADIUM! Hurray.

bellaphon said...

Mark- The same Brighton outfit are true advocates of vinyl playback and their HQ system is also one of the best in the country. I supplied some of it.

Thora- how sweet, thank you. Die Borussen were lucky with that own goal!

Anonymous said...

It's rude that they don't allow people to take phots !!

The cafe seems nice, but I don't like their clothes ...

Anonymous said...

Dear Bellaphon, your blog is fantastic. The photos are so vivid and your food writing compelling. Much better then all the boring food reviews you read in the broadsheets. Keep up the good work!

bellaphon said...

Anon Collective- Thank you(s) for your comments. You have only encouraged this blog to go further and thus make others cringe at the thought of it. I do inevitably take the two cameras I have currently on loan to the limit; they’re prehistoric by digital standards (both under 6 megs and beggars can’t be choosers!). As for the writing, the imperfection of it appals many but they still come back; I’m positively gloating! Happy eating.


Hi, I just wanted to leave a comment to say how much I've enjoyed reading your posts.

Your photographs are AMAZING and I really like your writing.

Best wishes and thank you for sharing it !

Lisa said...

I've missed reading your posts so having a quick catch up!

I haven't actually been to Rose Bakery but RC's book, Breakfast Lunch Tea, is amazing. Everything I've made has been delicious and it saves spending £4.50 on a slice of pie!

Great post as usual - and very nice to see a fashion piece! ;)

bellaphon said...

Elise- How sweet, and thank you.

Lisa- Likewise, just as well I've grown out of this metrohomme thing otherwise I'll will blogging on lapels and rayon instead :)

LondonRob said...

I wanted info on hte cafe at DSM and once again you have come through Bellaphon! I really love your blog - great stuff.

bellaphon said...

London Rob- a pleasure to have you commenting and thank you. Your blog is great stuff as well.