belgravia residents' journal february 2015

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Welcome to the February edition of Belgravia Residents' Journal, celebrating the dynamism of the area and bringing you the latest features, articles and reviews.


  • Residents JournalBELGRAVIA

    FEBRUARY 2015 I SSU E 031

    www. R 7987 4320

    The Belgravia Residents Journal is published independently by Runwild Media Group with regular editorial contributions from The Belgravia Residents Association. To become a member of the BRA, visit

    We would highly value any feedback you wish to email us with:; or telephone us on 020 7987 4320.

  • Dear Resident , True luxury is evident in the small details; the carefully crafted touches that elevate an object or place into something

    truly special. In a quest to experience the very best Belgravia has to offer, Henry Hopwood-Phillips meets Luigi de Simone Niquesa. They talk about creating bespoke gems and services for a discerning clientele on page 16.

    From one local stalwart to another, the Journal pops into Peggy Porschen's parlour for a slice of cake and a chat with the pioneering baker herself. From celebrity wedding cakes to cookbooks boasting a readership of more than half a million,

    we meet the woman behind the sugar-laced empire on page six.

    Anyone looking to impress this Valentines Day might want to consider dinner at Canvas or Kouzu; see how the two restaurants compare on page 12. Or, if you want to push the boat out, read about our romantic Great British Escape to the

    Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa on page 18. The beautiful manor house has everything going for it, except the cutlery, it turns out.

    Please do not hesitate to get in contact with all your news and updates by emailing We hope you enjoy the issue.

    Above / A trio of Peggy Porschen cakes ( Photo by Georgia

    Glynn Smith. Read our interview with Peggy on page six.

    Managing Editor Francesca Lee

    Assistant Editor Lauren Romano

    Main Editorial ContributorHenry Hopwood-Phillips

    Editorial Assistant Jennifer Mason

    Editorial Interns Tom Hagues & Tamir Davies

    Editor-in-Chief Lesley Ellwood

    Managing Director Eren Ellwood

    Senior Designer Sophie Blain

    Production Hugo Wheatley

    Alex Powell Oscar Viney

    Alice Ford & Amy Roberts

    Publishing Director Giles Ellwood

    General Manager Fiona Fenwick

    Executive Director Sophie Roberts

    Client Relationship Director Felicity Morgan-Harvey

    Business Development Manager Nicola Bloomfield

    Proudly published & printed in the UK by

    Member of the Professional Publishers Association /

    R U N W I L D M E D I A G R O U P

  • Who and what have been moving and shaking in Belgravia recently? We bring you up-to-date

    The Notebook

    More than realThe first show of the year at the Plus One Gallery is a celebration of hyperrealism. One of the most challenging types of contemporary art, it requires a huge amount of skill and attention to capture reality and still frame it as an artwork. Although all are bracketed together, the stamp of each artist here is phenomenal, particularly former BP Portrait Award winner Craig Wylies EW (hood); an oil on linen painting that was shortlisted for last years renowned Institute of Contemporary Arts prize.

    4 February to 7 March, 89-91 Pimlico Road, SW1W 8PH, 020 7730 7656 (

    Ex oriente luxA new modern Chinese restaurant, Chai Wu, has opened on the fifth floor of Harrods. Its menu has been designed by chef Jason Seeming Wa (overseen by Ian Pengelley, group executive chef and one of the UKs experts on Asian cuisine) and it boasts an exciting new range of dishes, including Beijing duck and Alaskan king crab. The interior, with seating for 90 guests, is inspired by the five elements in Chinese philosophy wood, fire, earth, metal and water a medley successfully integrated by Harrison, the design firm in charge.

    87-135 Brompton Road, SWIX 7XL, 020 3819 8888 (

    Launching this spring, Fat Free is the fourth fine-jewellery collection by Tessa Packard London. Inspired by the jewellers love of pop art and the traditional penny sweet, the assortment of jewels juxtaposes popular culture and art in a playful and, more importantly, beautiful manner.


    Edible cabochons

    Craig Wylie, EW (hood), oil on linen, 183x134.5cmJavier Banegas, Colours VII, oil on board, 85x190cm

    Francesco Stile, Nobody is Perfect, oil on canvas, 60x60cm

  • 005B E LGRAV IA R E S I D E N T S J O U R N A L

    The dark artsWilliam Curleys chocolate classes sell out quicker than candles in a power cut. Every Saturday the Belgravia boutique teaches various skills in a range of lessons designed to help participants master everything from truffles and sea-salt caramels to Venezuelan chocolate cadeaux. There are even sessions for children. Be sure to reserve a spot well in advance; spaces are usually limited to around eight and are already being booked up to late April.

    Childrens classes from 50; adults classes from 85, William Curley, 198 Ebury Street, SW1W 8UN, 020 8538 9650 (

    Affaire damourThe Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel and The Jumeirah Carlton Tower are stretching out the Valentines mood to cover the entire month of February. In partnership with Neill Strain (wholl be parting with a dozen of his long-stem red roses), a bottle of Champagne and truffles will be left on the bed of any couple who wants to add a little pizzazz to the usual offering, not to mention a full English breakfast for two if anybody needs to recover any energy the morning after.

    From 385 at The Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel and from 465 at The Jumeirah Carlton Tower (

    Brunch oclockThis February, the award-winning bistro Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel will be making a mockery of your resolutions by opening a little earlier than usual to serve brunch from 11am to 3.30pm with a menu designed by the American executive chef Dean Yasharian. The price is fixed at 39 and this gets you all the traditional brunch dishes alongside croque monsieurs, a new brunch burger (think beef, bacon, cheddar and an egg) and an obscenely large dessert station.

    Bar Boulud, Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA, 020 7201 3899 (

    A Hebrew farceBad Jews, a sell-out in Bath where it earned itself huge critical acclaim from the likes of the New York Times as the comedy of the season, is coming to the St James Theatre this month. Following the aftermath of a grandfathers death, the plot centres on who deserves to inherit a treasured family heirloom. Set in a cramped Manhattan apartment, vicious but hilarious consequences ensue. The original Bath cast reprise their roles, so Jenna Augen (nominated as Best Supporting Performance at the UK Theatre Awards) will play the role of Daphna, in what promises to inject some fun into one of the dreariest months of the year.

    Until 28 February, 5 to 30, St James Theatre, 12 Palace Street, SW1E 5JA, 0844 264 2140 (

    Open all hoursLondon Art Studies has unveiled an exclusive collaboration with the Bulgari Hotel. Experts on the arts will host a series of classes comprising power hours over a cocktail and morning discussions with coffee in the hotels private screening room. These new morning and evening classes sit neatly alongside the current lunch lectures at Koffmanns at The Berkeley Hotel. Founder Kate Gordon explains: London is the capital of the arts world and I want to provide lectures for people who want access to the best teaching in a fun and sociable format. Look out for a February line-up that includes Richard Stemp talking about Rubens, Dumas and Perry, and a crowd-favourite, Ben Street, discussing The Big, Beautiful Art Market.


    Florist Neill StrainIlan Goodman and Jenna Augen in Bad Jews at the St James Theatre

  • Peggy Porschen talks to Henry Hopwood-Phillips about the genesis of her cake business and why its so emotionally intense


    All photos courtesy of Georgia Glynn Smith

  • B E LGRAV IA R E S I D E N T S J O U R N A L 007

    I ts the sort of pink thats used to enforce gender norms. To errant taxi drivers, the pastel beacon serves as the most obvious locus of Belgravia. Peggy Porschens shop, on the corner of Elizabeth Street, is on the map in every sense. Several heads turn in the parlour when I ask for Peggy perhaps they think Im important and want a 40ft cake with a band like One Direction inside or,

    more likely, they think Im a candidate for a job interview. Peggy is more demure than I had imagined, but

    more appealing too. I had supposed only some sort of monstrous Hyacinth Bucket could possibly construct the rose fortress whose defences Id breached. Germany has a huge cake culture, she lisps endearingly while setting down a large slab with three shades of chocolatey brown inside and a cupcake with a banana nose beside me. Its a little like your afternoon tea, but we have coffee and even more gossip. She knows this because she is German. I tell her that I had thought she was only half German because of the Peggy part. No, she laughs, it was the fashion in 1970s Germany. I think my parents thought it was a really cool and arty name.

    It was a cake baked at the age of 14 that set her off in a blaze of glory. I cooked it for my first boyfriends birth---. With comedy timing, Peggys husband and business partner, Bryn, walks in. What are you talking about, guys? he enquires. Just the background to all this, she says with all the cunning of Odysseus.

    Oh we met at a catering company, Bryn tells me, unaware that weve skipped a few years. A chef himself, whos worked alongside names such as Gordon Ramsay, the two worked at Rhubarb Foo