The cake and chocolate retailer Choccywoccydoodah’s first London store spares no expense with its Willy Wonka worthy interior.
Carnaby Street is a short pedestrianised thoroughfare along which tourists flock. There are several streets that branch off from it, but it is curious how few of those who pass the big brands that line both sides of the main drag take any of these potential diversions. Instead, what might be termed the secondary streets that form part of the entrée to Soho are probably better known to locals and one of the more familiar stores here is almost certainly Choccywoccydoodah.
From the outside this shop, located on a corner on the eastern reaches of Foubert’s Place, is an exercise in ensuring that the fascia does not distract from what lies within. The windows have black surrounds and the eye is immediately taken by the rich, almost Gothic horror red of the interior. Step inside and the sense of having wandered into a space that is a cross between Alice in Wonderland and a Hammer Horror is even more evident.
This is a cake and chocolate shop where everything is about the visual merchandising. Amazingly elaborate cakes line the shelf next to the window on the left-hand side, while the mid-floor tables are filled with packages of chocolate – blocks, bars, coins and suchlike. Overhead, frilly lampshades trimmed in red add to the boudoir effect, as does the fact that all of the interior, from the plastered surfaces to the exposed brick that backs the staircase to the first floor, is painted red.
Upstairs there is a cafe, the Bar du Chocolat, and shoppers wishing for bespoke handmade cakes or confectionery can order something to their taste while having a cake or, yes, some chocolate. There is another branch in Brighton, but in London at least, not only is this something of an oddity but it is worth diverting from Carnaby Street to take a look at.