High Street Update

Let’s get the bad news over and done with shall we? But is it bad news Jeff? Is it really bad news? Well, it kind of depends… but mostly yes.

Chez Chevallier, the florist that was never really going to work, hasn’t worked out. The shutters have been down for a while and all those people who bought their flowers from M&S, Waitrose and WildAbout Flowers rather than going to Chez Chevallier will simply have to carry on doing just that. It was a funny place with its sign about Dutch Flowers, Belgian Chocolates and Champagne – although it should really have been Luxembourg Fizz to go for the Benelux triple challenge, of course. The reality is (or was) was that it didn’t seem to have enough variety to challenge the dedicated florists but nor did it have cheaper selections available for the ‘impulse buyers’.

And talking of shops on Heath Road that no one went in, Bubbles, which carried a selection of soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and dust has also closed down. It’s now under new management. They’ve retained the Bubbles name (but hopefully not the brand ethos) and is now selling a wider range of convenience store stuff. Good luck to ’em.

Further up Heath Road, Karahi Spices is also billing itself as ‘under new management’. The authentic Indian veggie place has struggled to build a strong customer base despite serving good food at decent prices and it remains to be seen what changes this ‘new management’ will bring about other than giving up the veggie only status. It’s hard to see how switching to a more mainstream “Indian” menu will be the solution given the dozen or more other places serving the same fare within a short walk.

And just over the road, NKB News, the shop that got busted for selling alcohol to miners (yes, Arthur Scargill and the like) is to change hands. There’s an application in from a new lessee who is hoping to get a booze licence back and trade under the Rugby Food & Wine name.

The Harlequins Shop at Twickenham Green is also closing so if you want Quins gear you’ll need to get it at the Stoop. We also hear that there’s a planning request in to change to the sign above Laura Ashley from, ummm, Laura Ashley to something else. “But what?”, you cry. Well, it’s only bloody Sue Ryder, isn’t it. So expect another charity shop on Heath Road sometime soon. If you see it selling floral cushion covers then you’ll know where the stock came from.

NEW IN TOWN

Antique Interiors, Twickenham

On the plus side, Lulu’z is now open on London Road. It’s a new café in what used to be the Chinese restaurant. The window display includes some impressive cake-age and the interior looks quite stylish although we can’t help but wonder if £2.55 for a cappuccino and £2.50 for a croissant is a little steep in the ultra-competitive world of Twickenham café society. Give it a go.

Meanwhile, down Church Street Antique Interiors has set up shop in what used to be “Bowie”. The shop sells, and we quote, “interesting and inexpensive French, vintage and painted furniture, as well as a selection of old Victorian pine and an eclectic mix of modern home accessories and mirrors”.

And finally, on the boozing front we hear that the newish managers of The Rifleman pub are selling up and shipping out. They’d had a good go at making the pub work but it seems that a hefty rent rise has put paid to their plans. A shame. And if you want to read about two more pubs up for sale (The Marble Hill and The Old Anchor) then there’s a good piece on the St Margarets website about it.

25 Comments

Filed under Food & Drink, High Street Updates

25 responses to “High Street Update

  1. Went to Lulu’z on Friday, and Saturday. It is hard to see though the tainted window but the friendly owner said she’d adjust the lighting. She certainly seems committed to create a tea salon place with excellent quality food & drinks where people feel comfortable. The cappuccino was excellent, on the expensive side it’s true, but the owner said she uses organic and fairtrade so I suppose it is fair enough. I personally don’t mind paying a little more for that. She also insisted that everything was freshly made on the day and left overs will be given to local charity (please let her know if you know one that would be interested as she seems to struggle to find one).
    The veg quiche and lemon cake were both very tasty, definitely better than your average.
    I was not bowed over by the interior but there were some gorgeous flowers and some settees and artwork are due soon. The upstairs will also be available for those of us who want to avoid the “pram brigade”. I wish Lulu’z the best of luck, I hope they find a clientèle even though it may be tough as they are surrounded by 5 other cafes.

    • leelcampbell

      Yea! At last a pram free zone for business meetings! Will certainly be going there. Thanks for the review.

  2. I’m very sad about Kahari Spices, they had some good ideas, but the execution was never there.

    I also don’t want to see another Charity Shop turn up down Heath Road, they are spreading! Perhaps it could be made into a Catholic Nursery?

  3. Rufus McDufus

    Shame because Kahari genuinely is pretty good & a bit different, and gets a fair crowd for the very reasonably-priced lunch special. I always felt it was maybe too reasonably-priced to survive though.

    • Simon H

      Very true. Nice people, too

    • so, what is this fuss about too many restaurants in the high street?
      we had too many fast food outlets where i used to live

    • I’ve been into the new Karahi Spices today. It definitely seems to be under new management according to the two blokes I spoke to Vikas and Bhupinder.

      What’s new:

      Meat, but thankfully for religious veggies, they are maintaining entirely separate kitchens (and utensils) for meat and non-meat dishes.

      More ‘traditional’ dishes on the menu. Yes Chicken Tikka Massala is back, but I’m sure they can still do all the old veggie dishes if you have the old menu.

      What’s changed:

      Lunch buffet is up to £6.99 from £4.99 – but now includes two or three meat items, better value for meat eaters, slightly worse for veggies – although I am assured that the quality of veggies and cooking will be higher.

      They said they have a tandoor and now how to use it – perhaps we will see better Naans then the rather stodgy ones they had before.

      The service, I’m assured this will be better and eventually leading up to ‘fine dining’,

      So, it might do better than the last incarnation of the restaurant. I’ll be giving the lunch buffet a go tomorrow (around 12) if anyone else is interested…

  4. Simon H

    I think I said on here that I gave Kahari six months and I take no pleasure from probably being right.

  5. Rufus McDufus

    I’d like to know what will happen (if anything) to the old Scruby’s furniture store on Heath Road. It seems to have been dormant for years now.

  6. Sad to see Laura Ashley going, another charity shop is bad news. The Quins shop was never going to work in that location.

  7. rickyandbianca

    Does anyone know what the old Blays / Furniture store next to the Harlequins shop will be?

  8. leelcampbell

    Popped in to welcome the new owner of Lulu’z and was delighted to discover that she will be inviting local artists to hang work on one of her walls.
    I would also like to invite Easter visitors to my studio on Eel Pie Island – where there is a selection of current oil paintings on display – http://leelcampbell.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/hot-news-queens-diamond-jubilee-neurosis/

    • i like when local art gets supported…that doesnt happen much in se london…i take photos in and around richmond area..its so photogenic..ive got some of my stuff on flickr..

      just seen your paintings lee, hey i like them…i thought i was the only one who came up with new roses (neurosis) oh well, btw a friends dad used to do paintings of highland cattle too..

    • id love to come and see your paintings

    • leelcampbell

      Hi Bobchewie,
      Thanks for the positive feedback. I’ll be in the studio tomorrow (Sunday) 11 till 3ish. Give me a call.
      Cheers
      Lee

  9. i am sure i have used wild about flowers before. i sent an order to them from se london and they got there on time.