Luxuriate were invited by a leading Italian fashion house to meet Ali Barchman, General Manager of the secretive Cache Cache and a legend in Mayfair social circles to talk about his rather colourful past, early hours filled present and exciting future plans.
You’re a very stylish man. Have you always been like that?
I grew up in the USA and since my pre-adolescent years I have been very fond of hats and wearing nice clothes. When my friends used to buy their clothes from Walmart or JC Penny, I used to save and buy from one of the little boutiques which had really interesting one-off items.
In my twenties, I was recruited by Abercrombie and Fitch whilst I was at a Brunch in New York dressed in skinny jeans, tank top and sporting a sun tan and pony tail. A guy on the table next to us kept looking over and recruited me there and then, even when I was stuffing my face with cheesecake! After that, my days of paying for clothes was over. If you do the maths, it will reveal my age…
Nowadays I do part-time modelling for Georgio Armani for their bespoke tailoring department in Japan and I also speak fluent Japanese which explains why some of my Instagram captions are in Japanese. The amazing illustrations above and below are drawn by talented Japanese artist Mika Nishi.
What kind of sports do you enjoy playing? You strike us as a team player
I have played professional volleyball in the States and made a good career out of it together with modelling. That also explains why I did not pursue my academic career even though I completed a PhD.
Tell us about your early years and how you decided to give London a try.
After the USA, I decided that I needed a change of scenery. As part of my constant downfall in my life, a femme fatale lured me to London and I have been here ever since.
If you were moving to a desert island and could only take five items of clothing, what would they be?
At least one of my tuxedos, a selection of my bow ties, a pocket square, my favourite pair of Jesu Segun London shoes and a shirt from Italian maker Axel P.
What do you do on your nights off?
I try to catch up on Shakespeare’s plays as I am out of touch with his tragedies and sonnets. After all I did my PhD all about Shakespeare and I am a Shakespearean scholar. The rest of my time is divided between keeping fit and listening to new re-mixes by my Favourite DJ Majido and harassing him to mix impossibly weird songs which funnily enough some of these are becoming hits in our club with the help of Big Daddy who will remain anonymous as he is a shy character.
We have heard about your club Cache Cache – what is it all about?
Cache Cache is a bijou restaurant/night club in the heart of London. It is guest list only and our reservations are made by Whatsapp. Yes, we screen our guests carefully. It is one of the things that makes us different.
We are first and foremost a restaurant. It is Pan Asian fusion food with a respectful nod to Italian. After dinner, we have a brilliant resident DJ that plays till the early hours and possibly one of the best Bongo players outside of Cuba.
Why is your Cache Cache imagery all about secrecy and hush hush signs?
Our name is Cache Cache which is a french word meaning “hide and seek.” It is pronounced cash cash, admittedly it is our aim to make money but also have lots of fun at the same time.
We are hidden somewhere in Covent Garden under the historic Piazza cobbles and when guests arrive, they are met personally at different addresses close to us. It all adds up to the mystery element and it is a lot of fun too. We love our exclusivity and intend it to keep it that way.
We have only been open a few weeks and the place is full every night which shows the power of word of mouth.
How can we get in?
To get in through our iconic looking glass, you have to be a Cache Cache kind of person. If you know, you know.
We have heard people talk about you wearing a mask at a certain time of the night at Cache Cache.
Fragrance Dubois, one of the most exclusive perfume houses and also our official sponsor, made us our own label fragrance in collaboration with Swarovski. They also created a number of crystal encrusted masks for me.
Later on Jesu Segun London (amazing Italian made shoes with African heritage) presented me with diamond crusted African masks. This gave me the idea to have a nightly ritual at 10 30pm. The lights go down, the music goes up and the mask comes on. We offer shots to all our guests. Like you mentioned earlier, I am a team player and we get the guests involved.
Favourite place to travel in the world?
Running a restaurant and nightclub is very demanding and you don’t have the luxury of taking off large chunks of time. I am a big fan of Turkish Lycian coast and the neighbouring Greek islands. Symi and Megisti islands are my favourites.
I love staying at very small family-run luxury boutique hotels where you have your own room, your own privacy, your own jetty into the Mediterranean, your own private pool in your terrace and your own rules.
I also love visiting Rome. To me Rome is more romantic than Venice and Amalfi coast put together. I would love to go back to Rome and stay in Hotel De russie, a favourite haunt of mine.
Tell us about your daily grooming rituals and the secret to your glowing skin
Actually I believe in genetic Lottery. Being half Russian I am blessed with a good skin. Every Friday, I religiously go for my manicure and beard trim. Many people ask if I dye my beard but I have a naturally white beard which is very high maintenance. It is very difficult to make people to believe that my beard is really white so I gave up explaining and tell people that I use Domestos to bleach it.
Favourite cocktail and why?
I am a big fan of vodka so a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, with a twist of lemon.
Favourite film and why ?
Lawrance of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. Real classics. The Doctor Zhivago train scene in the snow-bounds landscape always reminds me of my childhood and the abundance of snow in Russia.
To discover more about Ali, check out his Instragram: www.instagram.com/abarchman8
By Mark Captain
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