Tag Archives: food & drink

Twickenham High Street Update – January 2016

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 It’s now been replaced by Season Cookshop which sells all sorts of kitcheny type things, the type that you might actually want, and a rather fetching Thermos mug at twickerati HQ is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. Continue reading

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Twickenham Summer High Street Update

Just so you know that we’re still alive here at twickerati HQ and haven’t given up on the website completely we thought we’d rush out this bumper summer sizzler of an update for all you lovely people to read while you’re on holiday, stuck on an overcrowded train or whatever it is that you do during the so-called Great British Summer. And in case you’re wondering what happened to the idea of some kind of twickerati 2.0 ‘collaboration meeting’ about how we might take things forward into a whole new era (or not) then that’s something that still might happen but after the summer holidays.

As ever, by now you’re screaming, “Get the muthaflippin point” at your monitor, phone or tablet. And do you know what? We will, we bloody well will. So here’s our very quick rundown on recent high street additions and departures in case you’ve been just too unobservant to notice them for yourself…

There’s a fair bit going on in Church Street. The Church Street Food Hall is now open for business in the former Langton’s book shop. It’s got the whole deli vibe going on with cheeses and fancy-dan jars of things as well as a selection of wines from Borough Wines and bread from local baker Blackbird Bread. Worth a look inside.

Church Street Food Hall

Church Street Food Hall

The former London Zu shop is now The Bloomery, a new florist. We reckon a decent flower shop could do well in Church Street given that it doesn’t have much competition slap bang in the town centre. Obviously for those really special occasions there’s still the Shell petrol station on Richmond Road but this will have to suffice at other times.

The Bloomery, Twickenham

The Bloomery, Twickenham

Twitter rumblings have alerted us to the impending arrival of Warren Wines at 56 Church Street in the place that was Complement jewellery and, before that, Toko. It’s an independent outfit that will have a heavy focus of wine tastings and education. Sounds good but we hope it does plenty to get itself noticed as that shop unit is a little bit… how shall we say.. tucked away behind Pincho.

Elsewhere in Church Street, the Sheer Laser Clinic has opened at number 17, near the Delhi Durbar. Laser clinics seem to be popping up all over the place these days, don’t they? Is the UK, as a nation,  growing more unwanted hair than in days of yore? It’s a big question but we’re not going to attempt to answer it…  let alone Google it.

And speaking of beauty, which we sort of were, Raksa Thai Therapy  has opened in the former Coffee Lab shop on King Street. A new Rush Hair and Beauty salon is now open on King Street and if it’s “almost new designer wear” that you’re after then Dynasty is new on Cross Deep near Headmasters.  Scrub up nicely don’t you Twickenham?

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Elsewhere Cook, purveyors of posh frozen food  to the ‘time poor’ has closed its London Road branch. The place is soon to be a new cafe, The Press Room, filling that caffeine free zone that exists between Caffe Nero and Lulu’z. There’s already a Press Room in Suburbiton so this new Twickers shop is an expansion for them.

The Press Room, TW1

The Press Room, TW1

Also on London Road, the Money Shop or whatever it was called has ceased doing whatever it did and is now doing that elsewhere. There also seem to be some signs of life at the long defunct Wishbone butchers on King Street next door to Cousins the greengrocer. Could something really be about to happen there or is it just a facelift in advance of the rugby world cup?

This used to do something or other

This used to do something or other

Mac’s Diner has closed. The owners worked hard to publicise their restaurant and it housed the indoor market stalls for a while last year but (and we’re purely speculating here) perhaps its first floor location didn’t help matters especially when up against the influx of new American / BBQ themed competition in town. Word is that Curves gym will be moving into the space above M&S. (We has heard on Twitter that it was  Riley’s sports bar being replaced by a gym but we’ve been corrected on that point. On Facebook)

On Heath Road, the short-lived Royal Spice Indian restaurant and takeaway has closed. It is, or rather was, the place where Amins was based for a good few years. You’re now  left with about a dozen others to choose from.

Sticking with food for a second, on London Road, Steers has now opened in what used to be Wimpy. It’s a kind of beefed-up burger bar all the way from South Africa and, as it happens, it’s part of the same group as Wimpy. Meanwhile let us know how you’re getting on with the rest of the carnivore’s quartet: Chicago Rib Shack, Blue’s Smokehouse, The Shack 68 on London Road. Or maybe share you’re views on other fairly recent openings, the new Malaysian Chuba Rasa or Sapori Siciliani.

And finally two things that will have you rushing to Heath Road just to take a look. As you know, Albert’s Music Shop is no more but what you might not fully appreciate is that if you have unfulfilled vacuum cleaner needs you can visit Seldram Supplies which has sprung up where Alberts was. It’s certainly got an interesting window display. We think it’s gone for ‘suburban French trading estate’ chic. And why the hell not, eh?

Seldram Supplies. For all your vacuum cleaner spares requirements

Seldram Supplies. For all your vacuum cleaner spares requirements

And the squatters who had occupied the old Scrubys furniture shop have moved on (or been moved on). We’re now privileged to enjoy the giant metal shutters that have been put up to deter a repeat performance. If you have any complaints about the new ‘run down inner city’ look in Twickenham then feel free to direct them to Tesco who own the site. They’re sure to give you their full and urgent attention.

No squatters here.

No squatters here, just shutters.

 

The end! We’ve probably missed a few things but that’s all you’re getting for now. Bye!

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High Street Update – Spring

Our last High Street Update was way, way back in February. It was a time when the election, new road surfaces, bust-ups over school sites and questions about landscape gardening seemed but distant dreams. Halcyon days some might think. But we are where we are. And where are we? We’re in the place where it’s time for a quick update.

Food Hall goes here...

Food Hall goes here…

Let us begin with some good news. The launch of the new food emporium in Twickenham is getting ever closer. The Church Street Food Hall plans to open its doors in May. It will be in the former Langtons book shop premises on Church Street. The responsible adults behind the scheme have steamed up with various providers of essential victuals, including the likes of Borough Wines, to bring a range of food and drink to the twickerati (that’s you, btw). It’s an interesting idea and we wish them well. Will the new food hall help bring in the extra footfall that Church Street so badly needs? Let’s hope so. It needs it.

Church Street Food Hall poster (click to enlarge)

Church Street Food Hall poster (click to enlarge)

Staying in Church Street, Wild Goose has flown the nest and we hear rumours that another store very nearby may soon be bidding farewell to Twickenham. On a more positive note, the Lovers Lights pop-up shop that has been occupying the old Mercado store is moving a few doors down to take up residence in Monica Boxley’s old place.

My word, we’ve got all this way in our update without a single mention of a new cafe. How can this be? Well, to assuage your concern we can report that the former cafe Bellissimo on London Road has had a makeover and is now open longer and later and describing itself as a cafe / restaurant. Good luck to ’em is what we say. Continue reading

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Twickenham High Street Update (Redux)

It’s our first High Street Update of 2015 so get ready for a roller coaster ride of emotions. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll experience the deep joy of a life-affirming message of hope. But most of all you’ll probably just tut and roll your eyes.

SPOILER ALERT: This article reveals details of shops that are opening and closing in Twickenham.

Smokin! We’re all going flaming BBQ bonkers in TW1. What do you mean you didn’t know that? Well, assuming you’re not lying, you’re about to find out now. The former Hobgoblin / Grand Union pub on London Road is becoming a branch of Blue’s Smokehouse. It’s due to open in late February or early March and bills itself as an “Authentic American BBQ” selling ribs, burgers and the like. There’s already one in Bracknell which has generally favourable reviews on TripAdvisor. Across the street from Blue’s, the Twickenham Wimpy is no more. It’s gone. Finito. It’s being replaced by a Steers burger joint. Steers sounds a bit more macho than good old British ‘Wimpy’ although both chains are owned by the same company, South African giant Famous Brands. Famous who?

Further up London Road, on the corner of Arragon Road, another pub that’s had more incarnations than it’s served pints is getting a comprehensive re-fit by its new owners. The former Rugby Tavern / London Road Bar / Coady’s etc. will re-open as The Shack 68, a bar and ‘smokehouse’. In fact you might even have seen the separate smoking smokehouse bit out the back. It should do well with rugby crowds. Is there a World Cup on the way by any chance? There surely is.

And finally on the carnivore’s tour, the former Ales & Tails Bar on York Street is being turned into a Chicago Rib Shack. There are already other branches dotted around the UK with the Twickenham edition set to open in March. Here at HQ we like the look of their American breakfasts.

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Twickenham Fine Ales Brewery Tour

Twickenham’s rugby connections mean that the town is more famous for the consumption of beer than its production. It will be a long time before that changes but local brewery Twickenham Fine Ales is doing a pretty good job of putting Twickenham on the map for quality brews. In fact, it’s London’s oldest micro-brewery, having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014.

Founded by Steve Brown in 2004, the business has grown over the last decade picking up awards, moving to a bigger and better space, and raising both its profile and its sales. Its beers are now widely available in local pubs and further afield too. They can also be found, bottled up, on the shelves of discerning off-licences. Perhaps you’ve seen Naked Ladies, Grandstand and Redhead on the pumps at your local. These regulars form just three of the 20 different beers produced each year.

The brewery bar is open on rugby days (there’ll be a big screen there for this Saturday’s England game) and there are also monthly tours which offer a guide to the art of making proper ales and provide an opportunity to sample the wares ‘in the spirit of education and learning’. Here at twickerati we don’t usually do reviews but for the chance of drinking some booze at a real life brewery, we thought we’d break the rules and pop along.

For the beer-hardened band of brothers (and sisters) who assembled at TFA’s Mereway Road HQ the tour began with a run through of the brewery’s history before moving on to the rather more important subject of making beer. Our hosts Ben and Dave talked through the whole process from end to end with plenty of ‘sciencey’ bits thrown in. Dave even went into detail (too much detail, perhaps) about the hot, sweaty, uncomfortable work of cleaning out the copper. Rather him than us, we all thought.

Twickenham Fine Ales currently produce four brews each week but with demand still growing, a fifth fermentation vessel is now being added. Tour goers get the opportunity to sample three beers, in our case Grandstand (3.8%, well hopped, refreshing with citrus notes), Sundancer (3.7%, a crisp and hoppy session bitter) and Winter Cheer (4.4%, dark, full bodied, hints of spice). As brewer Dave explained, Twickenham beers tend to be at the ‘hoppier side of traditional’ with their hops sourced from countries such as the USA, Slovenia and Germany as well as from the UK. The rise of micro-breweries in recent years, especially in America, has caused a significant increase in the demand for hops, pushing up the price and meaning that brewers are having to look carefully at where they source their ingredients.

Grist, mash, liquor, sparging, hot wort, cold wort, wet yeast, dry yeast and ullage. If you don’t know what they are now, you will do by the end of the tour.

The Mereway Road brewery is not exactly a big place and so looking around doesn’t take up much time, but the insights into brewing and the business of brewing provide for a very interesting evening, made all the more enjoyable by the friendly and informative team. And then of course, there’s sampling the beer too. In conclusion: well worth a visit.

LINK:
* Twickenham Fine Ales Tours (cost: £15)

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Whither Church Street?

It’s fair to say that some things remain totally baffling to us here at twickerati HQ. How apples fell from trees before Isaac Newton invented gravity is one. The success of the television career of Nick Knowles is another. And, although it might seem strange to say it, the state of Church Street in Twickenham is yet another.

Church Street

A flowered up Church Street

Do people love Church Street? They surely do. It’s everyone’s favourite Twickenham street, isn’t it? Al fresco dining in summer; French markets; Christmas lights; a couple of great pubs; some quirky shops, a smattering of local businesses and a decent selection of restaurants. All great. Is it a roaring success? Maybe, a bit. Sometimes the place is buzzing. And yet on the other hand we continue to see empty shops – Par Ici, Escape, Langtons, and Mercado to name but four. Complement to name five. Take a look around on weekdays and even weekends and you’ll see that it’s not exactly heaving. Where is everyone? As a shopper you’re more likely to have to step aside for a passing car than as a result of the press of fellow punters.

Mid morning on a mild October Saturday

Where are you? Mid morning on a mild October Saturday

And yet, look at just about any promotional publication or website focusing on Twickenham and you can be pretty damn sure that lil’ old Church Street will feature. And rightly so. But where are the millers, the bustlers, the browsers and the leisure pursuitists? Some might be in the shops but the others are, well, elsewhere.
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Your 2014 Twickenham Christmas What’s On Spectacular

Christmas display, Corto, Church St.

Christmas display, Corto Deli

Can it really be that time again when we have to scour other people’s websites and publications to find the best of what’s on in Twickenham and then pass it off as our own hard work? Yes, yes it can. So here we go with some quality stuff to keep you occupied over the festive season. Meanwhile we’re off to sort out our legal defence with our lawyers. Whether it’s Christmas lights, festive fairs, artists’ studios, a pantomime or rugby at Twickenham Stadium that you’re after, when it comes to #twickmas, we’ve got it all below. Or at least, we’ve summarised some aspects of it…


Scroll down or just click on our categories if you want to keep it simple:
Christmas lights
Other Christmas events in & around Twickenham
Panto & Theatre
Music & Comedy
Other Useful Links

 

CHRISTMAS TURN-ONS
When seminal indie art-rockers The Sugarbabes sang ‘Push The Button’ way back in 2005 it’s unlikely they were aspiring to be the ones who switched on the Christmas lights in Twickenham some nine years later. And to be honest, they’ve had so many changes of personnel that having a stage big enough to fit them all on would be difficult, especially as they’d also need to make space for assorted local dignitaries and Star Wars Storm Troopers.  Come to think of it, do we actually know who’s inside those Storm Trooper outfits? Mutya? Keisha? The other one? Is that you lot in there??

Twickenham – Friday 21st November
Twickenham Town Centre Christmas Lights – from 4.00pm
Busy, much? Expect plenty of Twicker-types down in Church Street for Twickenham’s Christmas lights. Events kick off in the afternoon. There will be stalls, Punch & Judy shows, face painting, the band from the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall and more. Given that the presence – or at least the clearly identifiable presence – of The Sugarbabes is highly unlikely, you will see,  Don Craine of 60s (and current) rhythm & blues outfit Downliners Sect doing the honours when it comes to pushing the button at 6.30pm. It was on Twitter; it must be true! Expect plenty of mulled wine, mince pies, festive music and a whole lot of good-natured milling around. Worth a visit.  More info (coming soon) at TTBA

Festive Family Fayre at the Diamond Jubilee Gardens – 4.30pm to 7.30pm
There will be elves. There will be reindeer, Santa, children’s crafts, stalls, carol singing and live music from Nark Drool and the Shudders to keep you entertained at the Diamond Jubilee Gardens on Twickenham Embankment. More info from Twickenham Riverside Trust.

OTHER, LESSER PLACES…

Whitton – Sunday 23rd November
Whitton gets the Christmas lights treatment on Sunday 23rd. The High Street will be closed from 11.00am. There’s a 5k fun run at midday and there’ll be lots of other entertainment including the Kneller Hall Military Band. The lights go on at 4.45pm and it’ll all be over at 5.30pm. More info.

Teddington – Thursday 27th November
Teddington – are we even allowed to mention that place – does its thing in the High Street & Broad Street. Includes late night shopping from 4.00pm to 10.00pm Lights go on at 5.45pm. Broad Street, Teddington.

East Twickenham – Friday 28th November
East Twickenham will be doing its own button pushing or switch flicking on Friday 28th November with support from Mayor Jane Boulton (off of El Brute). It’s taking place at the Christmas tree (obviously) just by Richmond Bridge at 5.00pm with carol singing, mulled wine and, of course, mince pies. More.

Hampton Hill – Friday 28th November
28th November festive fun is not the sole preserve of East Twickenham. Hampton Hill will be getting into the Christmas spirit too. Events take place from 4.00pm, with its famous parade at 6.00pm. Expect a hog roast, craft stalls, booze, you name it. More.

Richmond Christmas Lights – Fri 28th November
Oh blimey, there’s also loads going on ‘over the water’ on Friday 28th. Richmond’s Christmas Lights event runs from 3.00pm to 8.00pm. We’re talkin’ food market, live music, Father Christmas, and lots of promotions in the local shops, especially around Hill Rise. The lights will go on at 6.30pm with Jerry Hall doing the honours. Younger readers will remember that Jerry first found fame when she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing a few years back and she’s also starring in Richmond’s panto this year.  Oh yes she is.  More.

Hampton Village – Sun 30th November
Food, drink, local choirs, live music and more at the Hampton Village Christmas Celebration. Santa will be leaving the Jolly Coopers at 3.45pm (hopefully not after a long lunchtime sesh!) and heading to the Sea Scout Hall on Station Road to turn on the tree lights at about 4.30pm. The event ends at 7.00pm. Full details.

Twickenham Green – Sun 7th December
A Christmas tree, some carols and some mulled wine. Your chance to get festively communal on Twickenham Green. 6.30pm (we think).

Teddington Christmas Lantern Procession – Sun 14th December
Bloody Teddington, eh? Always trying to have the final word, aren’t they? This will be their second event of the season. The Christmas Lantern Procession returns for its second year. The clue’s in the name really.  The procession starts at 4.00pm at Teddington Memorial Hospital and wends its festive way through the town centre. Santa will be leading the way. He’s certainly being kept very busy in the Borough isn’t he, boys and girls?! More details.

 

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Get Ready For… The 4th Annual Twickenham Twickerati Social Thingy

Remember, remember, the thirteenth of November. Why? It’s only bloody time for the 4th annual Twickenham twickerati hyperlocal meet up thingy, isn’t it?! Some might call it a ‘social’, others a ‘tweet up’, and others might just wonder what the hell we’re talking about.

The point of it, if indeed there is one, is to have an informal ‘buy your own drinks’ social for any Twickenham-based tweeters, ‘likers’, bloggers, scribblers, web hosters, Facebook posters, business folk and folky types who want to get together. It’s a chance to talk Twickenham (or even not), swap ideas, put faces to names, and even make some contacts. Or just have a beer or a glass of wine. And that’s it! There’s no hard sell, no presentations, no group hugs.

There have been three previous events, with the last two years attracting over 40 people. Yes, really. This year we’re delighted to be going to The Cabbage Patch, one of Twickenham’s best pubs.

As FDR might have said, had he been alive and inclined to come along, “Do not be shy. You have nothing to be shy about except shyness itself”.

Details:
Date: Thursday 13th November 2014
Time: From 8.00pm
Location: The Cabbage Patch, London Road, Twickenham (in the space at the back)

One last thing… if you do run a local website, blog or whatever and you do want people to know who you are (which might be useful) then feel free to wear some kind of name badge. It would be a great help.

Any questions? Ask them below or email us: twickerati @ gmail .com

Right then… who’s in?

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High Street Update (Updated)

It’s been a long time since our last Twickenham high street update. Has much really happened in the last 3 months? You bet your bottom dollar it has. And we’ve even added a couple of updates right at the end.

Heath Road has been a veritable hive of activity with openings (hooray) and closings (boo) reflecting the ever changing face of High Street UK.  Probably the biggest story is the closure of Albert’s Music Shop after 62 years of supporting the musical folk of south west London.  It’s a shame to see a longstanding family business disappear and the end of Albert’s will leave a big gap on the high street. These are tough times for specialist retailers and the internet’s gain is Twickenham’s loss.

Albert's Music Shop

Albert’s Music Shop

Shall we talk about 39 Heath Road again? Yes, let’s! It’s been home to restaurants with more names than Lord Voldemort but was most recently known as Istanbul Ocakbasi.  That has been shut for a while but now building work is taking place to give it a re-fit ready for its next incarnation. We hear it’s going to be an Italian, possibly a Sicilian.  Whatever it is, we wish the new business at that particular location the very, very, VERY best of luck.

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