We’ll keep on bouncing item this up the site if and when anything interesting happens on the High Street. And, if we’re totally honest, we’ll just bloody do it anyway.

SEPTEMBER
So as we hit the end of September in full on sunshine, what’s hot on the High Street apart from the tarmac?

Flowers, chocs & champagne
Chez Chevallier is opening its doors on Heath Road. It’s in what used to be the hat shop, opposite the refurbished Three Kings. It’s a florist which bills itself as selling Dutch flowers, Belgian chocolates and Champagne. To be honest we’d have given it a flippin medal of honour if it had managed to source sparkling wine from Luxembourg to maintain the Benelux connection. “Real” Champagne will just have to suffice. With all that on sale, expect big queues of harrassed looking middle aged men come February 14th next year.

Din’s Grill on York Street hasn’t been open long and already there’s newspaper up in the windows. The note on the door says that the takeaway is closed for “technical reasons”. Faulty equipment perhaps? A planning problem? Or maybe a lack of money? That kind of minor glitch could well be seen as a “technical reason” depending on your point of view. We just don’t know. So where are you getting your kebabs these days? AKA KAKA??

Pallavi, purveyors of south Indian cuisine, is currently closed (though looks about to re-open) and new sign “Ragam 2” is up over the door. Ragam (the 1st) is in central London and owned by the same company that owns Pallavi. Perhaps it’s just a rebrand but they’d better be quick about it because Karahi Spices does seem to be generating a bit of trade on the vegetarian food front and getting some good reviews too. (see below).

The Italian Deli, Corto on Church Street is now open for business. Information reaching this office (in the form of the cheese in the twickerati HQ fridge) is that it’s actually pretty good.

Elsewhere, Premier House, home to Waitrose and various offices, is getting a big makeover and just across the road Twickenham’s new Post Office is now well and truly open for business. Any reviews? What are the stamps like??

Heading up the Staines Road, the recently re-opened Sussex pub has had a couple of good comments on Twitter. Worth checking out perhaps?

Earlier this month…

It’s finally happened. Yes, Karahi Spices has opened its doors… and not just for the builders to traipse in and out. The Indian vegetarian cafe and sweet centre represents a slightly different addition to the south Asian fare available in the town. Most “Indian” restaurants tend to be Bangladeshi run but this one has a Punjabi vibe to it. We wish it luck. The ever roving monkeybanjo snapped this picture of some Indian sweets in action on 9th September 2011. Remember the date, friends, remember the date.
Karahi Spices

And work is progressing fast on the new Post Office, between Moore Brothers and the Cabbage Patch on London Road. It’s got the shelving and counters in. It looks as if it will also operate a high class Bureau de Change. And if you want to know what one of those is, check out The Day Today here.

AUGUST
After the recent riots Mr David Cameron has accused Britain of being not just broken but, in parts, sick as well. Sick Britain? He’s presumably using the term in its proper sense rather than being down wiv da kids. “Dat Britain is well sick, bruv” is what Cameron never actually said. But Twickenham isn’t sick. Oh no. Perhaps some bits are a bit peaky, or even mildly queasy, but how can Twickenham be sick with this flurry of activity on the High Street…

Casa Mia, Whitton Road
On Whitton Road, on the site of Ma Cuisine, a new Italian Bistro called Casa Mia will be opening soon. It should provide a welcome alternative for those struggling with the questions of conscience on the acceptability of buying a kebab from AKA’s just a few shops along. Everyone knows that decisions on the purchase of kebabs should never be taken lightly. And talking of takeaway food, Din’s Grill has opened its doors on York Street selling the usual fare for those wanting something quick, hot and, as is often the case, able to soak up quantities of lager after a quiet drink in a local hostelry.

And talking of lager, remember the AM2PM shop on Heath Road which shut down after selling booze to children? No doubt those kids were quite tall for their age. Honest! Well that shop is going to re-open as an “internet café”. That’s what their sign says. An internet café! It’s going to be like the year 2000 all over again. We can go there and dream of making millions from unviable internet ventures, send the occasional “text message” to friends and search the world wide web using Lycos. Not to worry, it will also do key cutting, copying and all those other things that shops do near major railway stations in central London. But it’ll be right here in Twickenham.

The Three Kings pub also on Heath Road will re-open this weekend after its makeover. It’s had mixed success over the years and this facelift, although not particularly radical, has freshened up the exterior. We await to see the new look inside. It opens on Saturday 20th, we think.

In Church Street, Syon Deli, purveyors of hams, cheeses, fruity drinks, fancy teas, delicious chocolate brownies and soap has closed although Syon’s Isleworth store is still going strong. The Church Street shop will re-open soon as an Italian Deli. So you can expect, guess what, a selection of hams, cheeses and dried mushrooms to fill this gap in the market.

And readers will be delighted to learn that Karahi Spices is still not open. It’s become a great tradition at the top end of Heath Road to keep tabs on the non-opening of this vegetarian Indian café. And it never disappoints. However, HOWEVER, there are signs that it may open soon. Check this for an exclusive twickerati interview…
Reporter to man inside shop: “Hi. Are you ever actually going to open?”
Man: “Yes, in a few weeks”
Reporter: “Haven’t you been just about to open for months though?”
Man: “Yes. But we have just been sorting out the planning.”
Reporter: “Oh really?”
Man: “Yes, but we should be open two or three weeks now.”
Reporter: “Oh.”

We speculate that the planning issue relates not to the site’s use or to any licences but to the really quite substantial garage that has been built behind the restaurant and is linked to it. But that is just pure speculation, of course.

JULY

Tattoo UK, Twickenham
Looks like TCB Tattoo just got some competition… there are now two tattoo studios in Twickenham when 12 months ago there were none. Yep, Tattoo UK has just opened up in town. It’s at 57 York Street and it’s there for all your inking and body piercing requirements. What with Mr Nick Frost being a great advocate of TCB Tattoo on Heath Road, who’s going to fulfill the advocacy role for Tattoo UK? Given its location opposite York House, perhaps one of our local Councillors could do the honours. Who’d get your vote?

Yummies. Remember that shop on London Road? It was one of the casualties of the ice cream wars last summer. Well it’s now re-opened under new management. It’s doing the whole frozen yoghurts and ice cream thing which, if we ever get some sustained sunshine, could work well. After all, it’s only a short walk from the beach planned for Champions’ Wharf. This time the new & improved Yummies has even got sun shades (or are they umbrellas) up outside. As for Shhh-akes, the other casualty in 2010’s frozen dairy related power struggle, well that’s now a phone accessories shop so there’s no return for them, brollies or otherwise.

The Cakes World Twickenham
The defunct Pope’s Cellar wine merchant on Heath Road is being turned into a new shop called The Cakes World. It’s currently being done up so we’re not sure what to expect other than somewhere which sells cakes or cake related stuff. We’re assuming the clue’s in the name but we’ll wait to see the definitive outcome of the work before saying more than two words: Cake, mmmmm. [Update: it sells baking and caking accessories rather than live cakes]

Work is underway to refurb The Three Kings also on Heath Road. That pub has opened & closed more times than Glenn Mulcaire’s notebook. Let’s hope that this time, with the new fit-out, it can stay open for a bit longer than usual. Meanwhile, heading west up the Staines Road, The Sussex Arms is due to re-open after its overhaul. For a location that’s not in the town centre it has a lot of competition nearby (The Prince Blucher, The Prince Albert, The Kings Arms, The Bloomsbury, that wine bar facing the Green that never seems very busy anymore) so they’ll need to work hard to regain a local following.

Bathrooms4All is now open on York Street. It’s even boasting some special sizzling 50% off deals. So far, so good. But we can’t help but wonder how a shop that’s only been open for a matter of days can be selling things at 50% off. “50% off what?” is the question that keeps springing to mind. What the hell, we’ll also get into the spirit of that here at twickerati HQ. As of now you have the option to spend 50% more time on the site. Enjoy!

Chapmans, Twickenham
From the new to the old. Did you know that Chapman’s, purveyors of plants, garden bits & pieces, pet food and fishing bait to Twickenham, is 125 years old this year. Yep, that’s 1-2-5 years and a pretty impressive feat at that. The shop was started by Mr Chapman senior senior (we hope we’ve got that right but it might need another senior chucked in) back in 1886. Its original location was on the Staines Road opposite Twickenham Green. Since then it’s become something of a Twickenham institution, maintaining a distinctly local and slightly quirky feel, against a background of competition from regional players like Squires and national chains like Homebase. Congratulations to them and here’s to the next 125 years!

And staying at the west end of Heath Road, keen Karahi Spices watchers may notice that the some of that white stuff they have covering up their windows has been rubbed off. Could it be, could it possibly be, that the “opening soon” sign really means what it says. The anticipation may or may not be killing Twickenham.

JUNE
You know what’s going to happen don’t you? You’ll shout up the stairs, “Darling, I’m just popping into town to buy a card for Auntie Brenda’s 60th and some of that nice cheese from the Farmers’ Market”, and a voice will come floating back down saying, “Fine. And while you’re there can you just pick up a new bathroom suite. And don’t forget the taps this time!” Why does that always bloody happen? OK, so perhaps it never did, but it will now. Why? Because, Bathrooms 4 All is opening on York Street, that’s why. We’re not sure it that’s the best location for a bathroom store but perhaps as it’s “for all”, then it will actually do decent business from the passing twickerati.

And if you’re feeling peckish after your bathroom quest then the old kebab & pizza place a few doors down is going to become Din’s Grill. Who Din actually is we can’t disclose (because we don’t know) but perhaps we can expect an upmarket version of the new Kaka’s takeaway (see below). Meanwhile, opposite Din’s place it seems that the premises occupied by the short lived L’Antipasto has been let again. If you never got the chance to go there in its brief existence, it’s what used to be Norma’s Diner. We’ll leave it to you to speculate on what might open there next but we’ll just settle for saying that an occupied shop is better than a vacant one. Probably.

Laverstoke butchers opening soon
Interest is high in the new butchers shop on King Street. Laverstoke Park Farm will be opening their shop on 27th June (probably). Laverstoke is run by former F1 racing driver Jody Sheckter who turned his hand to farming after giving up the race track. Them’s also the folk who sponsored the fun day on the Green. The farm already does organic meats by mail order and the presence of their shop in the town will help support a mini-foodie boom. Whatever next? A cheese emporium? An Italian deli?

Meanwhile the Richmond & Twickenham Times is reporting that a home has been found (at long last) for a new Post Office in Twickenham. Good.

New site for Twickenham Post Office
All being well it’s going to be in the old job centre on London Road, between the Cabbage Patch and Moores Cycles. At least it’s on the town centre side of the railway tracks, so we’ll class that as a good result. Much better than the portacabin things in the old PO car park. Given that Post Offices are busy closing down across the country, let’s hope people actually use it enough to sustain it.

And still the debate rumbles on about AKAs aka KAKAs the new kebab shop on the junction of Whitton and London Roads. Some don’t like the name Kaka. Why not? The Brazilian midfield maestro is great footballer. Oh, right. We see. Others don’t like the idea of a kebab shop setting up in that particular parade. Yes folks, that’s the same stretch of road that already contains a convenience store, an Indian take-away and a fish & chip shop. So clearly a kebab shop is totally out of character for the area. Whatever the name, one thing’s pretty much a given, they won’t be buying their meat from Laverstoke Park’s organic farm.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this item, then add your comments to our helpline below.

(And to repeat, the previous High Street Update, which ran from November 2010 to May 2011 is here. )