What a great name for some good old-fashioned click-bait. Do not despair however, for where there is a great statement, there also lies great substance. Allow me to take you by the hand and guide you right onto the doorstep of one of London’s hidden gems. For some reason ‘I’m walking in the air’ from The Snowman just started playing in my head. Regardless, let us plough on, you red-haired pyjama wearing cartoon boy.
Using the term ‘secret vessel’ or ‘hidden gem’ may be a bit of a stretch considering how I found it after merely a few minutes on Google, but to the untrained eyes of the masses, this ‘gem’ would definitely seem wholly unremarkable at first glance, to say the least.
So if you happen to be wondering in or around Soho; loitering past the many cafe’s, restaurants, theatres and sex shops, you’ll most likely waltz straight past the very thing of which I am speaking of today. What a grave mistake that would be. Your life will continue, surely, but it will be a much emptier life; full of hardship, sorrow and longing. In order to avoid such a mishap, please heed my instructions.
Whenever you find yourself not-too-far from Leicester Square and heading down Brewer Street, you will eventually come across a lovely little shop by the name of ‘Simply pleasure.com’. Before you become overly excited by these instructions however, you must exert a certain amount of willpower, avert your gaze, look directly across the road, and feast your eyes on this mother-of-all-beauties instead.
When you awoke this morning I bet you never, in your wildest imaginations, expected to gaze upon sight such as this. Even the bags of trash take nothing away from this unknown, shrouded utopia. A majestic shop-face possessing such radiance to rival the very halls of Valhalla themselves!
And such words, such beautiful words: ‘De-luxe Cleaning.’ Surely this is no language invented by man. But what could it possibly mean???
If you are currently feeling underwhelmed, cheated, betrayed and at a loss for words, then you are well within your rights to do so. But if you stay with me for just a short while longer, you will see that things are not always what they seem.
To those individuals, however, who think of the dry cleaners and immediately liken them to slices of heaven on Earth, I apologise. You have been utterly deceived! For this is not a dry cleaners at all. This is indeed something much more sinister, taking refuge within the busy streets of London, masquerading as your innocent, every day, laundry depot.
As you enter this dry cleaners with your arms equipped with bags of dirty clothes, you should expect these bags to drop (along with your jaw) as you stare into the face of Japan. Inside you will find shelves and shelves (and even more shelves) stocked full of Japanese books, manga volumes and possibly even DVD’s, amongst anything else I may have missed. As there are no pictures allowed inside the building, and because I’m a straight-up law abiding citizen (shocker, right?), you’ll just have to take my word for it.
If the shelves and shelves of manga volumes weren’t enough for you, the place is also somewhat famous for its Karaoke round the back. Though I haven’t actually done karaoke there, the reviews on Google all seem very positive.
For a manga-loving semi-geek such as myself, this was of course the equivalent to a 3 day weekend of sun, sea and A&E in the mystical land of ‘Zante.’ I must add that there was only one downer, and that was the fact that the majority of the stock was completely Japanese, with only a few shelves dedicated to manga volumes in English. Seeing as though it is a Japanese place however, I can’t really complain too much.
So there you go. A hidden gem right in the heart of London. Do make sure to go there yourself and let me know what you think. Alternatively if you’ve been before or if you know of any other such ‘hidden’ places in London, or anywhere, do let me know.
Hopefully you found an ounce of enjoyment in this post, but for now, in the undying words of Anne Robinson: