It’s been months and months (and indeed months) since our last high street update. And to those who occasionally say, “Oi, there is no High Street in Twickenham” we say pedents should resit the urge to correct others mistake’s. It’s been so long that there’s a good chance that a coffee shop has opened and closed again during the period. Or you might look at it another way and say, “Well at least that old Scruby’s furniture shop on Heath Road is still sitting empty. Nothing changes here”. Well ha! It’s only been and gone and got knocked down hasn’t it? #unlucky.
The hottest news is that Twickenham finally gets a Nando’s. The upmarket KFC already has branches in Richmond and T***ington but now adds Twickenham to its list of stores. And it’s not just any old Nando’s of course but the very first Nando’s Nino, which basically means it’s smaller than a normal Nando’s, with a smaller menu. There was much excitement on social media about the opening of the new branch and so if you like your chicken spicy and your fries crispy, then you’re in luck. It’s where Moidul’s Rawalpindi used to be near M&S.Multiyork, purveyors of expensive sofas has closed down. The company went into administration in late 2017 and its Twickenham branch has flogged off its stock and locked its doors. Word is that DFS is buying some Multiyork stores but if Twickenham is not among them then its departure will leave a big vacant premises on Heath Road. Sofa, not so good, eh? Also on Heath Road, what was the boutique Biba Star is now re-branded as Rocket and Wolf with a line in clothing and accessories. The Fara charity shop just opposite is now vacant.
On Church Street, pet boutique Bazil and Ruby is now open in the shop that was Plum. It has a plethora of pooch pampering products for your priceless pet.
Opposite Bazil & Ruby is Vape Shack in part of the building also occupied by Mint hair and beauty. If you like walking around puffing out white clouds of candyfloss smelling vapour then this really could be one for you. It’s the new thing. If it helps reduce dependency on ‘normal’ cigarettes then that’s got to be good, eh?
Further along Church Street the restaurant that was called Al Solito Posto has closed and seems to have returned to its previous name of Sorrento. The Al Solito Posto Facebook page says it’s moving to a new location. Al Solito Posto lasted less than a year. It had some good reviews on Tripadvisor but the owner met fire with fire when it came to the negative ones. Oh blimey. It’s not always the best customer service technique but it’s certainly an entertaining one. At the top of Church Street, Snax cafe has been tarted up. Check out the window if you’re passing.
Hair today, gone tomorrow? We certainly hope not. Or rather we hope that the two new Twickenham barbers are able to style it out without their profit margins being shaved too close to the bone(head). Headcase has opened on York Street where mobile phone accessories place Khans used to be (for about ten minutes) while Jimmy Marum’s is on Church Street where the pop-up Evantii boutique was (for about 10 minutes) and where Mercado used to be for a fair bit longer than that. Jimmy Marum’s is going for the Peaky Blinders meets Grand Theft Auto vibe in a mix of traditional and modern. The barbers themselves are all flat caps and braces and there’s a Playstation on hand for you to kill time (and pimps and Feds we presume) before you get your hair cut. Their approach must already be reminding you of the joke told by the great Ted Chippington. “I went to the barber’s the other day. I said, ‘Cut me hair round the back will you mate?’ He said, ‘What’s wrong with this room?’.
Enough of hair! We must return once again to the subject restaurants that haven’t hung around for long. On Richmond Road Topolli is now open selling Persian and Mediterranean cuisine. The location doesn’t have a great recent track record. Prior to this it was the very shortlived and geographically misnamed Noush Richmond, prior to that it was the averagely shortlived Chungs Chinese, and prior to that Rubiks and Pasta di Piazza which lasted rather longer. So it’s good luck to Topolli.
On London Road, one time ‘Spoons pub The Moon Under Water, more recently trading as the non-Spoons Misty Moon is now The Timberyard. Apart from the ‘undercoat grey’ inspired paint job it’s also had a refresh inside. Don’t confuse it with Alford Timber on Heath Road or you’ll feel a bit of a plank. On the same side of London Road, Palm Grill is what used to be Blue’s Smokehouse. As with the Timberyard it’s not clear if it’s just a name change or a complete change of owners but it’s had a big menu change too. Worth a try? Nearby, Italian restaurant Bellissimo is closed for a refurb, a real one. A note says it will re-open as Valentino’s Bellissimo soon. Fingers crossed, innit. On Richmond Road The Alba pub has reverted to a previous name The Rising Sun albeit under the same ownership.
In King Street the enlarged Iceland has been open since late November. There can’t have been many occasions in history when plucky Iceland has expanded its empire but occupying the shop that was Seasons Cookshop is one such occasion.
To those moaning about the absence of a Lidl or an Aldi in London’s finest and fairest leafy suburb we say, “Fear not, your prayers are being answered”. Nondescript office block Ryde House in East Twickenham has been demolished and will be replaced by a Lidl complete with primary school on top (yes really). An interesting combination we’re sure you’ll agree. It’s not going to open until 2019 so do make sure you buy your food elsewhere in the meantime. We’d hate for you to go hungry.
In a previous edition reported that a new craft beer store Brewery Market was trying to open on Whitton Road opposite Heatham House. A gym was getting ready to occupy the adjoining unit. Plans had been progressing but then got derailed. Word is that the building may now become a Tesco instead. Hmmm. Just round the corner opposite Twickenham station at Brewery Wharf, the M Bar and Grill has been open for a couple of months. Its website says it’s “a new ‘home from home’ for the residents and businesses of Twickenham”. That’ll be the home from home where you eat coconut and quinoa porridge for brunch and wagyu rib-eye (£100) for dinner. Other menu items are, of course, available. Treat yourselves! Go on then! Do it now!
Oh and what of that old Scruby’s building on Heath Road that we mentioned right at the start? Well, it’s been knocked down and is going to be replaced with a modern block of flats which will look remarkably similar to the ones either side of it on the corner of Saville Road and Heath Gardens. Is those two are anything to go by, expect vacant ground floor retail space for some time to come. Hurrah! Here endeth the lesson.
AND FINALLY.… if you enjoyed reading this please consider making a donation to the Twickerati London Marathon fundraising effort. We’re raising cash for Twickenham-based charity Spear who do important work helping homeless people in south west London. If you can donate, it would be very much appreciated. More details are on this link: