Twickenham High Street Update – Spring 2014

Well, well, well. It’s been a while since our last High Street Update hasn’t it? But that doesn’t mean it’s been all quiet on the Twickenham front. Far from it, as it happens. Here’s the skinny.

On London Road we’ve finally seen the back of that terrible pink Yummies sign. The short-lived but long-closed experiment in frozen yoghurt has been replaced by Ke Sushi, purveyors of, you’ve guessed it, sushi, to the twickerati – that’s you lot, btw. Although not exactly on Twickenham’s ‘restaurant mile’ – Richmond Road, York Street, Heath Road (and Church Street) – it might actually do quite well especially if it can drum up a decent lunchtime trade. Next door, in what used to be Max Sports, a dry cleaning service has opened going by the name of Bonjour Dry Cleaners. With several other dry cleaners already in town, will Bonjour be a case of “Say hello, wave goodbye”, or could it be more a matter of “Suits you, sir”?

Ke Sushi London Road Twickenham

At the junction of London Road and Whitton Road, what was previously the Kaka takeaway, aka AKA’s, has now become Margherita Pizza. We assume other varieties of pizza are available. Our suggestion for a late night speciality would be a doner kebab pizza with gravy… topped with guinea fowl cooked three ways and served with beetroot paint and a basil gel. Look out for that in the upcoming series of Masterchef. We reckon old Greg Wallace would bloody love tucking into that little lot. We’re not so sure if the glum faced one would be quite so keen though.

Sticking with food, Blah Blah Blah is still closed but it’s now got a sign up saying that the lease is for sale. After stints as Bibi, Heavenly Dish, at least two versions of Karahi Spices and most recently Blah Blah Blah itself, some might be forgiven for thinking that this isn’t the best spot to run a restaurant. So, expect a new eatery to open there very soon.

Heading back down Heath Road towards the town centre, Kerala Melon has opened selling south Indian cuisine. Initial reports are that it’s pretty good so that might be worth a try. On the other side of the town centre, what was Rubiks Mediterranean cuisine on Richmond Road is looking pretty closed at the moment but with a sign up suggesting it is being re-incarnated as The Olive Tree.

Kerala Melon Heath Road Twickenham

Nearby, Stokes & Moncreiff (in what used to be The Royal Oak) is now up and running and doing the whole pub / bar/ restaurant thing. Word is that it’s part owned – or at least supported in some way – by former England rugby legend Simon Shaw. Given the sheer size of the bloke perhaps it’s fair to assume the portions will be pretty generous. Elsewhere, The Prince Blucher and The Eel Pie have both re-opened after major refurbs, with both boozers introducing greater focus on the food front – although in the case of the Eel Pie it’s basically gone from focusing on crisps and peanuts previously to actually doing proper food. Both places look good. On Albion Road, The Kings Arms has closed. It’s got a very temporary looking banner up saying ‘corner shop’ so perhaps we can expect flats there soon.

Stokes & Moncreiff

Down on Church Street the mixed fortunes of Twickenham’s original high street continue. Mercado has closed down and jewellery and accessories shop Complement (behind Pincho) is set to follow shortly. Escape clothing also shut its doors a while back and we hear the Monica Boxley store will close too. It’s tough out there for the small businesses so shop local if you can.

On the positive side, if it’s women’s fashions that you’re after then you could always try BibaStar, recently opened at 19 Heath Road, near Lloyds bank. We’re going out on a limb here to say that it actually looks like a proper ’boutique’ kind of thing rather than just a ‘women’s clothes shop’. And perhaps that’s because it’s an outlet for Scarlett Black, the clothing range from fashion designer Eliza Scarlett. Oh, and she also happens to be the partner of England and Harlequins rugby star, Mike Brown.

Biba Star Heath Road Twickenham

What with Simon Shaw and Mike Brown getting namechecked in the same High Street update you’d be forgiven for thinking that Twickenham had some kind of connection with the sport of rugby.

Elsewhere there are painters working behind the scenes at the premises that previously housed Pizza Rizzo on York Street and the Paws charity shop on Heath Road. And a Twitter tip off (a Twip off?) alerted us to the prospect of a Boots Opticians moving into the old Card Factory shop on King Street. Is the suspense getting to you yet? We’ll let you have more on these developments as soon as we have it – or rather, when we can be bothered.

And we’ll sign off by saying that in case you were getting worried, yes Haart estate agent is now fully open on York Street thereby solving the problem of the dearth of such businesses in the town.

That’s it… for now. Good luck to all new businesses. Let us know how you get on with them.

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22 Comments

Filed under Food & Drink, High Street Updates

22 responses to “Twickenham High Street Update – Spring 2014

  1. Hester Huttenbach

    This week’s R&Ttimes planning application for Blah Blah Heath Road change of use to a Hot Food Take Away..doesn’t state what..

  2. Kate H

    Worried about what’s happening in Church street… this should be the jewel in Twickenham’s crown!

  3. Pot Noodle

    A4 notice in the window of Krafty Kidz 132 Heath Road states that the shop will cease trading on the 14th April 2014. Management are not closing due to financial reasons but they would like to try new ventures.

    Not sure why the Discount Store is moving from next door to M & S to next door to Medivet. Crazy decision but I suspect the rent is cheaper at the top end.

    I agree re the new Sushi place it’s really fab. A welcome addition to the High Street.

  4. Sushi fans – another new place has showed up on York St! ISO Sushi (which I saw last night on my way home). I thought it was odd to make such a big thing of it being “halal” on its neon sign but will be interested to try it. However, they may have opened at just the wrong moment….

    Ke Sushi is excellent (and there are some things you can get which are not even on the menu if you speak nicely to them). Apparently packed at lunchtimes!

  5. Etta

    I hear yesterday that the old Paw shop next to Rubens is too become a kitchen tools / utensils etc shop. They are opening an upholstery shop across the road in the travel ageny. A few new additions to the high street, maybe Heath Road is climbing out of this black hole?

    • Mr. Squirrel

      There is also a sign up saying Twickenham Discount Store coming soon on Heath Rd, next to the Tattoo and Carpet shops. Looking forward to various plastic bins & assortment of stuff littering the already desolate Heath Rd. Anything better than an empty shop, I suppose?

    • Anonymous

      The discount store next to M&S has a big sign up moving towards that end of Heath Road, so I guess it will be to that shop.

  6. michelangelo

    New clothes shop for men, King St where ABC Pharmacy used to be. Italian styles?

  7. twickerman

    Both the Sushi and the Keralan place sound very promising.
    Great additions to the Twickenham eating scene.
    I’m looking forward to trying both in the very near future.

  8. Walkinthepark

    We had a meal from Kerala Melon last night. It was excellent, and better than the Southern Indian food that Pallavi used to serve. Very fresh, and lots of fresh herbs used. A very welcome addition to the High Street and just hope it isn’t a victim of the “black hole of Heath Road”. It is only a few doors up from Reuben’s so there is hope.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. A test meal last night was excellent. More interesting than Pallavi but with a smaller menu, which is probably a good thing. The fish moilee was very good: a whole pomfret in a lovely mild curry and coconut sauce. Not for those who don’t like demolishing their own fish, though.
      Don’t try eating the whole chillies which come with some of the dishes!

    • Rufus McDufus

      Yes, I made the mistake of eating the chilli on the top of our Erussery side-dish last night. Took a good 5 minutes to recover! Very good meal though.

  9. rickyandbianca

    I am struggling to understand the closure of the Kings Arms as a pub and what looks like a very temporary offering as a corner shop. With two major supermarket chains and more than enough very well stocked independents what could this pub possibly offer? its not as if you have to walk much further to reach a shop!
    Something is not quite right here and this was backed up by the chap boarding up the windows who told me to watch this space..Or could it be the landlord simply struggling to get by and therefore trying his hand at anything?

    • Pat Pending

      Talking generally rather than about this specific example…. If, say, the owner of a property licensed for commercial use wanted to change it to, say, residential use then they’d need permission from the local council. It’s not a foregone conclusion and the council might want to know why use as a pub was not economically viable and perhaps what other avenues of commercial use had been explored. Attempting to run another business there might help demonstrate that point and if that business were to turn out to be unsuccessful then the Council might be more inclined to approve change of use to a residential development.

  10. Purple Haze

    It would be interesting to get some feedback from people who run businesses in Church Street, the Church Street Association and the Council, about what is happening there.
    A number of places have been empty for a very long time now and recently other businesses have closed down or are about to.
    This is a shame as it’s an attractive shopping street, but I have heard that rents are far too high.
    It doesn’t make sense to have commercial properties empty though, or does it?

  11. Anonymous

    Great to have a sushi place in town, definitely going to try it this week. It looks like there also painting in the Travel agent shop next to Loyds bank and the pharmacy next to the butchers, so fingers crossed and we get something a new and decent in there (e.g. not another charity shop).

  12. Mark

    I tried Ke Sushi on their opening day – excellent sushi made to order in the open kitchen by an all Japanese team, very fresh. Take-away or sit-down, open 12-10pm each day. Also hot dishes. Prices reasonable for this quality. Once word gets round, should do well.

    • I can second this recommendation – high quality sushi (with generously thick slices of fish) and a quite extensive menu with reasonable prices.

    • Henriette

      I went to Ke Sushi yesterday and can only echo the above, great place, will go back

    • Anonymous

      My favourite sushi place to date, used to go to Kingston for sushi at Kokoro but this place beats it in quality and prices

  13. Con

    the Three Kings pub on Heath Road is about to turn their back garden into posh TV booths for the rugby world cup coming to Twickenham next year enabling them to fit 30 more covers into the restaurant – does the best burgers in town by the way

  14. Tess

    The clothes in BibaStar are great and the prices pretty fair. Definitely worth a visit for anyone who dislikes run of the mill ‘fashion’.