Can it really be five months since our last Twickenham High Street Update? Yep, seems to be the case. And what a lot has happened! Talk about churn! We’ve got more churn going on than Farmer Ernie “Churny” McChurnford, the winner of the Devon Dairy Farmer of the Year Competition (Churning Division). Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of the last few months to butter your parsnips. Endure!
The former Langton’s bookstore turned shortlived Food Hall on Church Street has now gone for a triple-play option featuring Ricardo’s Cellar, Eel Pie Records and Limpopo Biltong. One corner selling a range of wines, beers and cigars from Ricardo Garcia the man behind Last Try Wines on Whitton Road, one corner selling South African biltong and other dried meats, and one section where you can buy new and used vinyl and CDs or just browse some great music while you drink a coffee. Sounds alright, eh?
It’s an unusual combination put together by a good bunch of people. The record shop guys have even been putting on the occasional in-store – and even outside store – performances by artists booked for TwickFolk on Sundays. Quirky.
Church Street’s popular Italian restaurants, Masaniello and Osteria Pulcinella have been joined by a new arrival called Al Solito Posto. Its website says it provides “modern-creative and traditional southern styles of cooking”. Interesting. Reviews on TripAdvisor are pretty good although woe betide anyone posting a less than good review… you’ll get a right royal telling off from the owner Vincenzo.
Also in Church Street the shop most recently used as the pop-up for El Brute’s riverside consultations and, prior to that Mercado, is now the Evantii boutique selling women’s clothes. As with all things in the balance of the Great Twickenham Universe, something must close to allow something new to open, and in this case it was Plum. That particular Church Street shop is now firmly shut although Plum does still have an online presence and a store in Cornwall.
On King Street, the former M&Co is now The Works selling arts, craft and gift materials. Seasons Cookshop has closed its Twickenham branch. We were sorry to see it go. The shop sold a range of cookware but pressure from high overheads and the challenge of the internet means that Seasons will now be focusing on its other stores in Balham, Crouch End and West Hampstead. Is this just a Twickenham thing? We hear that Iceland will be expanding into the newly vacated space. similarly Decoration, the paint and wallpaper shop from the owners of Callaghan Interiors has shut its doors. It had moved from Richmond Road to Heath Road in 2014 and its closure come after 18 years of trading.
On London Road, what used to be Happicraft (closed as a result of t’internet) is now 50cycles.com selling electric bikes. Too posh to push? Dodgy knees? Not as fit as you used to be? This could be the thing for you. For the rest of us there’s nothing quite like the experience of cycling along at quite a clip and being overtaken by some very relaxed looking character on an electric bike who hasn’t even broken sweat. You too can now join the e-bike e-smug brigade.
Meanwhile things are happening on Richmond Road. The former pine shop is now Bella Baby selling prams, buggies and baby-related bits and pieces. It’s part of a small Irish chain. With Happicraft having closed thanks to online competition it might be a challenge for Bella Baby to carve out a decent local market but if there’s one thing we can be sure of it’s that there are plenty of young families around the area and buggies don’t push themselves you know… unless they’re golf buggies in which case they do.
Opposite Bella Baby in the place that was most recently The Mulberry Tree is Le Baron, a bar, brasserie and restaurant with a French theme to its menu. The clue’s in the name. It’s a big place (Mr Shadrack) and has a garden too. The former newsagent opposite Le Baron which had the old Picture Post sign exposed for a while is to become a kitchen showroom, Qube West.
On the same stretch of road, Indian restaurant Noush Richmond (even though it was in Twickenham) looks to have closed not long after opening. Did it last longer than its predecessor Chung’s Chinese? We’re not sure but, harsh as it may seem, we don’t really need more Indian restaurants in Twickenham unless they’re doing something very different from the many others and even if they are it’s a very hard market to break into. Which is why we’re not feeling massively optimistic about the fate of the former Taste of Moghul which has been almost opening as Aangan for quite some time. It’s going to be ‘Bliss Fully Indian’, whatever that is. Good luck to ya and all that.
One new opening that might work well is a re-invigorated Royal Oak on Richmond Road. Formerly The Hedgehog and Stump, Twickenham Tup and, most recently, Stokes & Moncreiff. It’s reverted to a previous name, is under new ownership, has been refurbished and has been making a big noise on social media. Initial reports have been positive.
It was various things including the Hook, Line and Sinker. Then it became Ales and Tails. That closed in 2014 and it became a Chicago Ribshack. And now it’s become Chicago RibShut. Did you see what we did there? Perhaps it just served its time for the 2015 rugby world cup but its days in Twickenham are now over. The notice says it’s closed for a refurb but as the lease is up for sale it sounds like it’s going to be one of those special Twickenham refurbs. One of those “We’re not closing for good. Honest! Oh, we just closed for good” kind of things. So sad.
Also in York Street, Miss Siam has cooked her last pad thai, but has been replaced by Sawasdee Klub. It’s also Thai but has more of a cafe feel to it. It has a special lunch menu and also operates as a takeaway, with delivery service. One to try?
More food? Yep. The former Kamares restaurant on Heath Road is now Salt Flakes. The menu has a lot of fish on it but it also serves a range of other dishes including steaks. Price wise main courses generally cost in the mid-teens (more for steaks) and there’s a fixed price lunch menu.
By Twickenham station the Brewery Wharf site opposite is to get an M Bar and Grill. Never heard of it? It’s part of a small chain of M restaurants founded by Martin Williams. With a couple of other locations in the City and Victoria it sounds like quite an upmarket kind of place. Sounds good (yep, we’re a right posh lot at twickerati HQ). We hope it manages to draw in a local crowd as well as catering for corporate types on rugby days. It’s due to open in September.
Nearby at 2 Whitton Road, Brewery Market will also open soon selling a range of craft beers… and where you can listen to some vinyl while you’re perusing the brews. An interesting idea and one that also has some similarities to the Eel Pie Records / Ricardo’s Cellar thing on Church Street. Beer and music – two things that just kind of go together. Funny dat.
Back at the time of our last update, the new dental surgery on the corner of Heath Road and Heath Gardens had been just about to open for a long while. In the end it seems that the grand opening could be put off no longer, a name emerged, Refresh Dental, as did some positive feedback. It’s just up the road from the Richmond Dental Suite but it has a better grasp of geography than its competitor. It deserves a medal for that alone surely.
Next door to Refresh there is now the Brazilian Holistic Centre doing massage therapy. And just across the road in the Heathlands Close trading estate is Lotta from Stockholm where you can buy clogs and boots as well as bags, jewellery, Pappelina rugs (Google ’em). All very Swedish. Lotta’s website can show you the full range of products.
In other news, on Heath Road what was the fashion boutique Biba Star has morphed into Bein Fashion still selling clothes but now with a range of gifts and accessories too. Nearby Happy Diner the Chinese Cafe where Cafe Fresh once was is closed for a long break and re-fit. Not the dreaded Twickenham refurb we hope! Charity shop Fara has closed so we can all look forward to a different charity shop opening there soon. What a time to be alive!
And finally, readers will be pleased to hear that Peter the Florist who was turfed off his pitch at Twickenham Station to make way for the redevelopment has landed a new spot over in Teddington. Keep a look out for him on the corner of Broad Street and Church Road. Given that they like to think of themselves as a bit posher than Twickenham over there in TW11, let’s hope it’s now, “Two bunches for six fifty, therrrrrrre!!”
And breathe outttttt….
- This is worth a look. Our High Street Update from 25th July 2014 which features several of the premises highlighted in this post, exactly three years later.