It’s been a while. It’s been a long, long while. A twickerati High Street Update is something of a rarity these days but we’ve pulled out all the stops to brighten up your January with tales from Twickertown. Unfortunately they’re not all good…

Laverstoke, closing in Twickenham
Laverstoke, closing in Twickenham

Posh butchers, Laverstoke Park Farm is to close its doors this month after more than four years in the town. The purveyor of high quality organic meat, complete with prices to match, had been part of what seemed like a bit of a foodie boom in Twickenham when considered alongside the likes of Sandys and Rubens Bakehouse but it’s decided to cash in its steak. Geddit? There’s a notice in the store window saying that despite their best efforts it just wasn’t working out financially. We’re not privy to the precise details but, what was telling, was the contrast between the queue outside Sandys on Christmas Eve and the queue, or rather lack of one, outside Laverstoke. Perhaps it just didn’t manage to build up the base of loyal regular customers necessary to make it a viable proposition in the town. Or perhaps the prices were just too high for Twickenham? This isn’t la-di-da Teddington after all!

On the opposite corner of Wharf Lane, the Italian Design menswear shop has gone. It didn’t last long. From the off it always looked like place that was going to struggle to survive among the cafes, charity shops and sprinkling of chain stores on King Street. It’s now been replaced by Season Cookshop which sells all sorts of kitcheny type things, the type that you might actually want, and a rather fetching Thermos mug at twickerati HQ is testament to that. It could do well.

Just when you’d almost given up waiting for more flooring options in Twickenham, two come along at once. Huzzah! The former carpet shop on York Street is now… drumroll… a new carpet and flooring shop. It’s Woven and Woods the ‘flooring boutique’ no less. Yes, we said boutique!  ‘Tread softly for you tread on my dream flooring’ could be the vibe they’re going for.  On King Street we now also  have Lifetime, for all your shutters and flooring requirements to provide fresh competition for Carpetright (King St), Completely Floored (Church Street) and Premier Floors (Heath Road).

Right then, let’s talk cafes! Yay! Rosie Chai is now open in Church Street selling a wide range of speciality teas as well as your regular tea and coffee options. It’s where Sweetie Pies used to be.  Why they don’t describe themselves as ’boutique suppliers of hot beverage solutions’ is completely beyond us. Maybe they’ll come round to it eventually. We were sorry to see that Luluz on London Road has closed. Initially impressing the locals with huge meringues,  the cafe lasted just a few years. Not the best location perhaps? Cafe Fresh on Heath Road also closed a last year and has been replaced by the new Perking Lot. Ivan at Fresh worked really hard to try to keep his cafe going and so we wish the new owners the best of luck with their new venture there.

UPDATE: And we’ve just seen that Sapori Siciliani on Heath Road has now closed. That’s the place that has had a multitude of previous incarnations and which can now add another name to the list entitled ‘previously traded here’.

Staying on the food front, what was the Indian restaurant and takeaway on Heath Road called Royal Spice (and prior to that Amins) is now turning into Little Mumbai. It’s not actually open yet so we’ll all just have to wait and see how the next iteration of Indian cuisine fares in that particular establishment. And if it’s Chinese you want, the restaurant that was among other things Rubiks and Pasta di Piazza on Richmond Road is now Chung’s. It’s competition for the Makan Makan takeaway opposite and, of course, for Twickenham’s long standing Chinese restaurant Jun Ming on Heath Road. We also hear that the proprietors of Kamares on Heath Road are looking to sell their business to new owners as a going concern.

Angels & Heroes the toy shop in Church Street is also closing down. The owner is focusing on a new business.

It’s been so long since our last update that it’s quite possible some places have opened and closed again in that time. We imagine that if anyone had opened an ice cream parlour or yogurt shop that would be the case but here are a few reminders of places that we do remember opening back in the summer.  And they’re still here. Warren Wines opened on Church Street, tucked behind Pinchos. They have been running a few wine tasting sessions so might be worth checking out. The Press Room cafe opened on the corner of Holly Road and London Road in what was previously Cook. And the Church Street Food Hall in, where else, Church Street was just getting up and running back in July.  In the world of high finance, Morrison’s sold their M-Local chain, including the Twickenham branch (where Blockbuster used to be once upon a time) to a group calling itself My Local. Apart from that and some branding tweaks the shop looks pretty much the same… green.

And finally… if it’s vacant ground floor retail space you want then you’ll be pleased to hear that the redevelopment of The Old Anchor pub on Richmond Road into flats is well under way.  Elsewhere, the three properties at 2-6 Whitton Road opposite Heatham House which used to house, among others, Chanterelle and Carol’s Sandwich Bar are being redeveloped by Senex Capital. And on Heath Road there’s a big development putting up new flats where the office building used to be opposite Tesco Express.  Experience suggests the flats will be occupied long before the ground floor retail gets filled. Harsh? You decide.

That’s it. Away with you!