Twickenham High Street Update

Foxtons

Foxtons

Panic over! All those members of the twickerati who’ve been wondering how on earth they were going to buy let alone sell a house can now relax. Twickenham has just received the Foxtons seal of approval. Yes folks, the seller of flats to the yuppie generation has now set up shop on York Street in our fair suburb. Some might take the view that we’ve already got quite a few estate agents round these here parts but then others might take the standpoint that you can never have too many of them. We’re not sure who those people might be but for the purposes of this update, we’ll assume there are some. Foxtons have flung open their doors and are giving it the big, old introductory marketing push. By George, they were even bribing children with free muffins on Sunday! It’s brutal out there.

Prosperity, York Street

Prosperity, York Street

Talking of sure-fire signs of prosperity, readers may be interested to learn that the cafe with that very name is now open. We’re talking about Prosperity, further along York Street just opposite El Brute HQ. We’ve mentioned it before. It’s taken a while to get going but it’s now open. If its signage is to be believed it’s covering plenty of bases: cafe. bar, store, off-licence, the works. It’s got a Russian thing going on and a website that has been borrowed  from a chain of three cafes in New York City. We’ll assume they’re connected and simply take joy in the references to freshly shucked oysters and ‘harbour cities’. Clearly, the owners are thinking big in little ol’ Twickenham. Foxtons would surely be proud of that!

Mac's Diner, Twickenham

Mac’s Diner, Twickenham

Now then, here’s an idea we like the sound of. It’s Mac’s Diner & Grill and it’s just opened. An American themed diner in the heart of Twickenham? Yes, buddy you read that right. Located upstairs in the place that used to be Pallavi on the corner of Cross Deep and Heath Road its menu features burgers, hot dogs, club sandwiches, shakes, root beer and we assume, lots of hot cawfee. Opening hours are afternoons through to evenings but we reckon a big American pancake and waffle brekky-fest could meet with high approval ratings. What do you think?

FOMO seems to be all the rage these days. Fear Of Missing Out. It’s usually applied to Twitter addictions and party invite paranoia. However, if you’re suffering from pastry related FOMO then you’ll be delighted to hear that what was Staggerin’ fancy dress shop will soon be re-opening as Fornetti, a purveyor of croissants and such like. Take the trouble to Google it and you’ll learn that it’s a Hungarian franchise. Given the tough competition in Twickenham when it comes to the coffee and croissant scene, we just hope that their bakery is located closer to the Thames than it is to the Danube.

Sticking with the cafe society theme, B20 on Heath Road looks to have closed. It has the tell-tale signs of doom: mailshots and circus posters piling up on the floor. When one thinks of B20 one is reminded of the words of a certain Mancunian miserablist who once warbled, “I know it’s over, and it never really began, but in my heart it was so real”. And thus we mark B20’s fleeting stay on our high street.

Further up Heath Road, Sapori TW1 has been open for a few weeks. It’s in the place once occupied by Angelo’s and bills itself as an Italian deli. It looks pretty good. Don’t know it? It’s the one with the white sign that’s hard to read. OK, forget the sign for a second, the really burning question is, “Will the lycra clad loons from Twickenham Cycling Club adopt it as their post-ride cafe as they’d done with Angelo’s previously?”  Any thoughts?

And finally, a few snippets of other news…
Lux Studio hair salon looks to have to closed. Ditto LS Hair right next door. Pizza Rizzo – a takeaway with a few eat in tables – is now open on York Street where Din’s Grill once made a brief appearance. We’ve also heard that the Piano Lounge building is being let to new tenants. And not just any new tenants but ones likely to find favour with a much wider section of the community than the previous lot. An existing local business looking to expand is the word. Cousins the greengrocers on King Street will be moving round the corner to the former Belmont Bakery in Queens Road. Could it possibly be that the ‘their’ section of pavement on King Street will be reclaimed for use by pedestrians rather than Brussel sprouts? Here’s hoping.

Work seems to be going on in what was Paws charity shop on Heath Road. We’d heard a rumour that a posh decorating shop might be moving in there.  Further up Heath Road the old Jhoots / Lloyds Pharmacy is being turned into another kitchen showroom (you’ll recall that Twickenham Designs opened nearby a few months back). In this case it’s going to be Schmidt Kitchens  who sound German and so, by definition, must be good. So, next time you pop down the road for a pint of milk and a paper you can get yourself some new cabinets, an island and a pot of ‘elephant’s breath’ emulsion while you’re out. Lovely.

UPDATE: And we’ve heard that Max Sports on London Road will be closing its doors. We’re not 100% on the details or timings but pressure from online retailers and the likes of ‘stack it high and sell it cheap’ players such as Sports Direct must have made life tough for ‘proper’ sports shops in recent years.

So there you go. That should keep you going for the time being. Away with ya, now!

21 Comments

Filed under High Street Updates, Local Issues & News

21 responses to “Twickenham High Street Update

  1. Bill Allen

    I stumbled across this picture of the High Street development. Must say that if the end result looks like this then I will be impressed. What do you think?
    http://postcardsthenandnow.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/twickenham-middlesex-york-street-1913.html

  2. Mac’s Diner. Was a hideously disappointing experience maybe because I had such high hopes. The main turn off, it is that it is extremely overpriced – like it’s counterpart in Richmond. £8.50 for a burger you say? Where are the fries? Oh, it’s another £2.50 for those. huh? So that’s £11 for a quarter pounder and chips. Hmmmm. Not great value. Add to that the service was embarrassingly slow (despite being only two other tables occupied at 9.30 on a Saturday night…on a rugby night).

    Mac’s had so much potential. Decent place to hangout but i just can’t see it surviving unless it listens to the customers and does something about the pricing. I am all for supporting local business but until it does something about the price of the food, I won’t be going back.

    On a not totally unrelated note, I would highly recommended the food at London Road. Boardwalk Bites are basically producing a better quality of diner food than Mac’s at much cheaper prices. Now it’s a shame we can’t marry the two up as London Road isn’t the best place for a quiet bite to eat…

  3. DavidMc

    Popped into Prosperity the other weekend to shelter from the rain when it was just a tad too early to join the festivities at the beer festival. Had a reasonable cup of coffee in the covered outdoor area on the comfy sofas. We were the only ones in and it was a slightly odd mix of cafe and bar – odd for Twickers anyway! Lots of bottles of vodka on the wall and beer in the fridge, but also some cakes in the cabinet.

    Friendly eastern European staff, seems to be a family affair with a young lad working out the coffee machine under Mum’s supervision. They even gave us a complimentary cream cheese covered in chocolate thing. Hard to describe but actually quite nice!

    Certainly has a lot more charm than Nero’s. Good luck to them, I hope they find their niche.

    • John

      I agree, this place deserves to succeed. Roman is the young lad’s name and his Mum and step-Dad are Ukrainian. Mum (Helen) cooks some lovely food. I’ve had breakfast, lunch and dinner here and beers (cheap) on several occasions. It’s a nice place to drop into and I’d recommend it.

  4. Graeme

    After reading the article I went to Mac’s for lunch yesterday. I am afraid to say that I left disappointed.
    My wife had the salt beef sandwich. There was no rye bread which left her getting a sandwich on cheap white bread that turned very soggy very quickly with the saurkraut.
    My burger was reasonable, but the bun was a little stale and broke up in my hands.
    The service was ok. We were given a menu to share, although we were the only people in the place. We had to sort out own cutlery and ketchup. The best part was when I heard the waiters talking saying the sandwich looked like it had been bought at Tesco.
    My concern is that you have to pay extra for sides. The sandwich and burger weren’t massive so we got a side of macaroni cheese. Sadly, it looked like it was straight from a tin via the microwave.
    I was also surprised that there was no music. It was a quiet space that made me feel as though all my comments were being listened to. Although, I did like the effort that had been made with halloween decorations.
    I won’t be rushing back to Mac’s anytime soon as it was very expensive for what was provided.

    • Steve P

      Interesting – I suspected that the hype would be ahead of the experience. In the current climate providing authentic American diner size portions of good honest junk and turning a profit is harder than it looks. The Royal Oak pub makes a decent stab at it.

  5. John Howard

    I’ve been to “Prosperity” on York St. twice now, for breakfast and lunch. Both were excellent and fresh, and served by a very pleasant eastern European staff. They have many excellent beers, none of which I’ve heard of before and at prices the offy couldn’t beat.
    I heartily recommend you give this place a try as it deserves to succeed.

  6. Anonymous

    No doubt things are stacking up ready for The Big Push when the rugby world cup comes to town in 2015.
    Mind you a decent bit of retail regeneration shouldn’t be sniffed these days. We could hopefully end up with some interesting shops and eateries and more local diversity. Perhaps a bit more quality too which has been absent over the past few years.
    Shame more businesses can’t take over the empty premises in Church Street, but I hear the rents and rates are greedy.
    Glad to hear someone might do something with the old Piano Lounge.
    Anyone know where’s Wally?

  7. Graeme

    Went into Prosperity last week for a coffee which was good, but was a little surprised by the fridge full of beer on offer.
    Looking forward to trying Sapori when I get the chance to head that way, but gutted that Foxtons are in the town now.

    Loving the updates T and keep them coming!

  8. Frances

    I second the thumbs up for Sapori, the charcuterie board is excellent and prices are quite fair.

  9. Steve P

    Thanks. Seems rumours of Halfords demise have been exaggerated and the promised Aldi is nowhere to be seen yet. Wish someone would do something about the charred corpse of Tai Fok as well.

    • Rufus McDufus

      I see a fair bit of activity in Tai Fok – perhaps a bit of refurbishmemt but maybe it’s used for storage too?

  10. Thanks T. On the ball as usual.
    Happy to say the Coffee Lab is thriving.

  11. Anonymous

    haha! love these updates!! By the way, I have just moved up to the green, (previously was in town) and have been a regular at Sapori, I highly recommend it!!
    nooo!! Foxtons have got their dirty mits into twickenham!! Is it all over for twickenham? I hope no one uses them!!

  12. twickerman

    Thanks twickerati for another cracking high street article.

    It’s amazing how many retail offerings come and go in Twickenham, many with only the letting agents making a profit.

    I’d be interested to hear feedback on Prosperity, which despite threatening to open for at six least months, has managed to come up with a very confused offering and a rather weird mis-spelled menu/website.

    And finally, I wonder where Twickenham’s ‘lycra loons’ have been indulging their passion for caffeine and cake since the demise of Angelo’s?

  13. JP

    Who can forget this BBC investigation into Foxtons…..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4826444.stm

    Lets hope the culture has changed since then 🙂

  14. Twickerati – got to say, love your dry sense of humour. Your style of writing (mix of very serious local news reporting and pisstaking) amuses me to no end. Please keep it up!