High Street Update

NOTE: This item, after months of loyal service, has been superseded by this one.

Yes, twickerati brings you one whole item highlighting new shops, restaurants and bars that spring up in the town. And talking of springing, this page will bounce up and down the site just like an excited puppy chasing a ball, the ball of new business news.

May

Laverstoke Farm butcher opening soon

The Butcher of Twickenham is coming. What was Coffee Republic and before that lingerie shop Contessa (which featured briefly (briefly, geddit?) in Bend It Like Beckham) is now set to become a new butcher. It’s being set up by Laverstoke Park Farm who already have an online business for the products from their organic Hampshire farm. Those of a certain vintage might recognise the name of the guy behind Laverstoke. It’s Jody Scheckter. Who? Former Forumla 1 racing driver, that’s who. Funny old world ain’t it? As well as their website they’ve even on Twitter.

Right then… you remember Wineland Taverna on Heath Road? No? It was a restaurant that never seemed to be very busy. It closed and was eventually replaced by a Lebanese place called Kaswani, or something similar. That didn’t last long and was soon replaced by Nights of Terhan, a Persian restaurant. That was never busy and… well, you’re getting the picture aren’t you? Now the place has a new name, Pablo’s and is specialising in Mediterranean cuisine. Most of the signage is the same so we’re not sure if it’s a whole new venture or just a re-branding exercise. Either way, the location has not proved itself to be a winner over recent years so let’s hope the food is good enough to draw in a decent number of regular punters.

And it looks as if the WH Smith in King Street will be open very soon. The hoardings are down and the signage is up. It should be a useful addition to the high street.

Fresh Cafe Deli Twickenham

“Fresh” cafe & deli has opened on Heath Road, just up from Lloyds Bank. It’s probably fair to say that it’s entering a competitive market, there’s certainly no shortage of cafes in the town. Of course, we wish them luck with the new business.

Make-up salon “Kiss n Make Up” is now open on Church Street in the shop previously occupied by Sweet Memories, and round the corner on London Road on the site of the shortlived Shhaakes milkshake bar is another new shop, Fone Gadget. With this one, the clue’s in the name really. Nope? Still need a clue? Well that’s just too bad. Again, good luck to both of them with the new ventures.

Older stuff is below…


April
Building work progresses on the old Cost Cutter / Post Office which is set to become a WH Smith.

Old PO shop to become WH Smiths

This is the sort of town centre shop that Twickenham needs to help persuade more residents to shop locally and also attract shoppers from a wider area. We reckon this is a good things for King Street. Meanwhile, for all your “boudoir style make up requirements”, a new boutique, Kiss & Make Up, is set to open very shortly on Church Street in the shop previously occupied by Sweet Memories. And now, finally, we see some online indications that the Twickenham Martial Arts College (above the Nationwide & Jun Ming chinese restaurant) is going to open. It was touting February as the date, then it all went quiet but their Twitter feed says they’ll be opening soon. (See January’s update below for more on this.)

Earlier this month…

Looking Gooood. The temporary post office in Twickenham

The Post Office is now in its temporary home in the car park of the old Royal Mail sorting office. Why a proper home cannot be found in one of the many empty shops in the town centre or even within a Council building such as the civic centre seems a bit of a mystery and one that we hope will be resolved soon. No doubt something about leases, rents and making a viable business case. Maybe, but Twickenham needs a post office in the town centre. It’s a mark of a civilised society. Or at least a mark of where you can get a parcel weighed in time for Great Aunt Agatha’s 95th birthday.

L’Antipasto, the cafe which replaced Norma’s on York Street has closed already. Didn’t last long, did it? To sum it up in a song, “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye”.

And talking of goodbyes, perhaps you read Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye once upon a time. Well, Karahi Spices on Heath Road must get the award for “the long hello”. It’s an Indian cafe serving vegetarian cusine and sweets. Or at least it’s supposed to be. Only problem is that it’s been on the brink of opening for many, many months. In that time it’s even changed its sign and built a garage out the back. Will it ever open? If this plot is as convoluted as a typical Chandler novel then we’ve basically got no idea.

March

This week’s High Street Update is more about rumours than hard facts. But one rather disappointing fact to kick off with is that Pope’s Cellar, the independent wine seller on Heath Road, has closed down.

Pope's Cellar Twickenham - closed

It must have been depressing to set up a new shop from the ashes of Wine Rack only to have a Tesco Express open up a few doors down within a matter of months. Every little helps? No, not really in this case. Rather than stacking it high and selling it cheap, Pope’s Cellar always had a distinctly civilised feel to it and it’s a real shame to see a locally owned and run shop go under.

Meanwhile, the word on the streets of ‘Nam (based on a poster which spells it out) is that Church Street is set to have a new beauty salon in the shop vacated by Sweet Memories when they moved to opposite the Eel Pie pub. Called “Kiss & Make Up” it’s all about make up and waxing, apparently. More competition for the various salons already in the town.

And talking of pubs, which we weren’t particularly, we hear that The Rifleman on 4th Cross Road is under new management.

Thanks to Yvonne for the comment below. The post office on King Street will be closing shortly, temporary accommodation will be provided for a post office on the old sorting office site. Let’s hope it is only temporary as that location is not particularly convenient, especially if you’ve got other stuff to do in the town centre. Come on Royal Mail, a proper central Twickenham PO please!

Next up is a rumour that reached this office that an upmarket butcher may be opening in central Twickenham. It would certainly get some custom if it could emulate AG Millers on Waldegrave Road. But would the cost of a central Twickenham shop be prohibitive for such a niche player? On the butcher question, just like the suggestion that WH Smith was/is planning to open in the old Post Office on King Street, we eagerly await further corroboration and confirmation. Can you provide it?

Remember that your inside news, gossip and info can be provided, as Sid Hudgens would say, “off the record, on the QT and very hush hush” to Twickenham’s very own TW Confidential. Dig it.

February
What’s hot in February? Well, for starters, the Colonel is getting a wash and brush up, beard trim, new lining in his top hat. Yep, the Twickenham KFC is getting refurbished. It will provide a brighter, more comfortable environment for teenagers to argue in.

As seen in Pix of the Week, Twickenham is set to get another tattoo studio. All those years surviving without any and now two come along. There’s the recently opened TCB Tattoo on Heath Road and the new one, according to the sign draped enticingly across the front, will be opening in the spring. It’s going to be on York Street opposite the civic offices. Time to start thinking about what designs you might want? G’won. You know you want one.

The Three Kings pub on Heath Road is set for a refurb… again. Perhaps this time, this time, it will manage to get a keep a decent trade going for a good stint.

Oh, and if you eat out locally then you might want to check out Real Time Seating, a service which helps you get discounts on local restaurants. You sign up, select the restaurants local to you who are part of the scheme and then, when they’re offering discounts and offers, you get a sent a text.

January – updated
A new martial arts club is hosting an open day in Twickenham on 5th February. It’s called, wait for it… Twickenham Martial Arts College (the clue’s in the name) and is based above the Nationwide Building Society & Jun Ming Chinese restaurant on Heath Road. It offers courses for adults and for children from as young as four. Activities include kung-fu, kickboxing, self-defence and a range of fitness and weight-loss programmes. Cool. With Bu’sen just down the road already offering courses including judo, karate and ju-jitsu there’s going to be some friendly competition in town. Let’s hope it stays friendly as a scenario in which everybody in Twickenham is kung-fu fightin’ may prove problematic. This could present further risks to the regeneration of the town given that those cats are reputed to be as fast as lightnin’.

Enough about 70s music, but sticking with the retro theme, Sweet Memories, Twickenham’s leading (only?) purveyor of classic sweets has moved to larger premises on Church Street. Now based at number 47, it’s a great place for those with a sweet tooth or a bad case of nostalgia. Yep, we’re talking: toffee bonbons, sherbert lemons, black jacks, fruit salads, aniseed balls, cola bottles and a whole lot more. Got the idea? The ideal place for a trip down memory lane, especially on Saturday 29th when there will be a re-opening party going on. Best of luck with the new shop.

And in other news, Japanese resto & take-away Seki Tei has now closed. It’s a shame to see businesses closing but did you ever go there? Do you know anyone who ever went there? Well do ya?

The Twickenham Post Office Experience

The Post Office on King Street is still open although the shop / “minimarket” has closed down. This means you can still get your parcel weighed and posted, you’ll just be queuing in an empty shop rather than next to the Irn Bru and Monster Munch. The Richmond & Twickenham Times confirms that a new site is being sought for a post office from April. A Royal Mail spokesman is quoted as saying “…we remain fully committed to providing a permanent post office service in the locality.” That’s reassuring albeit a bit woolly. Let’s hope the ‘locality’ doesn’t mean the new Royal Mail depot by the rugby stadium. UPDATE: Latest rumblings received here are that it’s going to be a WH Smith with the Post Office inside.

Norma’s Deli Diner on York Street – Twickenham’s Premier ‘greasy spoon’ – closed down but the space is being turned into a new café, L’Antipasto. It promises a range of breakfast & lunch dishes and although it’s still a case of “coming soon” we’ll let you know when it opens. UPDATE: It now looks open. Any reviews?

December
Are we seeing a mini-revival on the high street? Let’s hope so. Empty shops are not the best advert for the town and so it’s good that a handful of new businesses are springing up in Twickenham. Fingers crossed that they stick around.

A Patisserie Valerie is opening on King Street Twickenham (between Holland and Barrett and Starbucks). Perfect for those into cake, coffee and yet more cake. The Patisserie Valerie chain already has around 30 shops nationwide and having one in Twickenham, despite the large number of cafes in the area already, has to be a good thing especially for King Street.

TCB Tattoo, Twickenham

Heading west, a tattoo studio is setting up on Heath Road just before the new Tesco. Called TCB Tattoo (presumably named after the little guy in the Fantasy Island TV series of the 70s & 80s) it’s going to be perfect for anyone in need of some ink. It’s run by a guy with many year of experience in the business and caters for a wide clientele. For those of mid-life crisis persuasion be warned, a visit to the tattoo studio can lead men and women of a certain age to do strange things… “It’s just here on my shoulder. It says ‘friendship’ in Sanskrit. Do you like it?”. Specialist stores like this can pull in trade from a wide area and also add a bit of interest to the high street, so good luck to them.

New Harlequins shop at Twickenham Green

Meanwhile for the rugby minded, there’s a new Harlequins store on Staines Road opposite Arthurs Restaurant. It stocks a range of replica shirts and what they probably call “leisure wear”. Useful for a bit of Christmas shopping for supporters of Twickenham’s local team. Buy the shirt, then hop over to the Green for a kick about. Or maybe get yourself a Quins tattoo down the road? Then quietly reflect on the merits of having Nick Easter’s face inked on your arm forever over coffee & cake.

November

INDUS
Indus on has recently opened its doors to Twickenham. It’s a new Indian restaurant on the corner of London Road and Holly Road. It’s been set up by a brother and sister team and last week’s launch got some good column inches in the Richmond and Twickenham Times. Perhaps most interesting is that rather than simply being another Indian restaurant in an already crowded market place (there’s at least a dozen in the town already*) Indus looks much more like a modern restaurant that just happens to serve Indian food. In contrast to the traditional view of ‘the local curry house’, Indus is brightly lit, has the kitchen area in full view of the diners and has a modern feel to the decor complete with large spice jars on display. It looks good. The menu has many of the usual suspects but also a few less well known items. The prices look like they reflect that extra attention to detail. As for the food itself, you can be the first to review it here, but on initial impressions, Indus looks like somewhere worth trying.

(* For the doubters, here’s 12 places for Indian cuisine in Twickenham: Taste of Mogul, Sheesh Mahal, Delhi Durbar, Laagan, Pallavi, Twickenham Tandoori, Rawalpindi, Standard Tandoori, Amin’s, Regal Haandi, Taste of Raj, Green Spice. And even that’s probably missed a few. Any favourites in that list? Add a comment below.)

17 Comments

Filed under High Street Updates, What's on

17 responses to “High Street Update

  1. Paul Thompson

    I’m surprised you twickeraties haven’t had much to say about the impending arrival of our latest kebab shop.

    Here’s the RTT article:
    http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/9065359.Kebab_shop__will_make_area_more_downmarket_/?ref=ec

    …and if you’d like to add a comment of support/objection:

    http://idoxwam.richmond.gov.uk/WAM/showCaseFile.do?&appNumber=11/1625/FUL

  2. Angelina Jolly

    I seem to have a knack for knowing if a new Twickenham shop’s going to make it or not. The rest of the Jolly family have learned not to be quite so eyes to heaven when I can cast my eye accross a new premisis and declare ”I’ll give it 6 months” and I’ve not been wrong yet. I may be a harbinger of doom but I also know a good thing when I see it and will happily sign off those businessess that I think’ll make it long in the future.

    Is there a way of making money out of this talent, I wonder?

  3. Boss

    And at last, a new Hair Extensions shop is about to open (not sure yet on what site). Who needs a Post Office?

  4. Colin

    The old Coffee Republic is becoming our new butchers . . . . . coming soon.

  5. gawain

    Ha! Good riddance to the greasy-spoon-killing Antipasto!

    We don’t WANT half-arsed pretending-to-be-Continental coffee shops. And if we do, there are already more than enough.

  6. Boss

    Poor Antipasto. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Could have carried on as Norma’s and done fine just on the goodwill.
    The suspense over karahi spice is killing me. I hope they’ve not hit the same leasing problems that scuppered the Heavenly Dishes restaurant there.

  7. Yvonne Hewett

    Whither Twickenham Post Office next?

    A new one for Twickerati: there’s a sign in the window of the former convenience store in King Street that now houses the post office that says the post office will be closing on 24th March and reopening in temporary accommodation in the car park of the old sorting office in London Road. Progress? Public service? What’s that? Don’t they know how many elderly and disabled people use the post office in King Street?

  8. SGdB

    Chris and Jo,

    Surely the English word for a current of air is “draught”, not draft – we don’t speak American in Twickenham!!

  9. Gareth Roberts

    Ah Norma’s! The twickenham equivalent of a Proustian madeleine for all those of us fortunate enough to besport ourselves in the shadow of the splendour of the quasi gothic pile that is Strawberry Hill; or Old Simmarians to the cogniscenti.

    I have to say that as somebody who was often revived after a decent night out on the town (or Abercorn Arms) the prospect of a Norma’s Special reviver was right up there with every single exemplar that the poet Porter could throw at it. They were The National Gallery, they were Garbo’s salary they were cellophane.

    So FAREWELL NORMA’S, those of us about to suffer with a pulmonary embollism salute you.

  10. Danny

    Yeah shame about Norma’s indeed – apparently the new place is just trying to be norma’s but a bit more upmarket… ie they don’t do chips or fizzy drinks!

  11. gawain

    Real shame about normas. Good greasy spoons are an endangered species.

  12. Jo

    Great review of Indus, Chris. We were there the night before and agree with everything you’ve said. Rawalpindi’s food is much, much better – in general, the food at Indus was below average and in particular, the lamb was pretty chewy and unappetising – and although the restaurant looks lovely, the draft is terrible. The two of us almost had to keep our coats on!

    The BIG positive of Indus for us is the service – the welcome was incredibly warm, the staff were attentive and we felt really well looked-after the whole of the time we were there. That’s a big ‘one-up’ on Sheesh Mahal, although I’m not sure it’ll be enough to give Indus the winning hand in the long run.

  13. I went to the Indus last night in a group of six. The food was lovely, but maybe not the best in town. I’ve had a better curry in the Rawalpindi, and I’m quite partial to an extra-hot Jalfrazi from Amin’s (I have a chilli addiction).

    They brought out two heaps of poppadoms with the usual chutneys etc. We had two mixed grill starters – which was enough for six. I went for the Chilli Chicken and that was pretty good. Naans are fresh and look nice. I had a Peshwari but the plain ones looked better.

    We sat by the window, and there was a pretty nasty draft. It was a cold night as well. They would do well to fix that.

    Bill came to £180. That included nine big bottles of Cobra and some softies. Oh, and a couple of Espressos. They added a £20 service charge – so we didn’t tip.

    I think they face stiff competition with the Sheesh a minute’s walk away, and the Rawalpindi catering for the more monied crowd. Excellent location though.

    You have a nice site by the way. Just discovered it. :o)

  14. Telemachus

    Just goes to show you have got to be sure your tattoist is fluent in Sanskrit.

  15. Angelina Jolly

    Twickerati said
    ”New tattoo parlour opening on Heath Rd. Convenient for anyone having a mid-life crisis… “Do you like it? It says ‘friendship’ in Sanskrit”

    But in reality the tattoo would actually say something like ‘frodshyte’ in Sanskrit cos it’s very hard to translate acurately, as David Beckham has proven.