There are some exciting new eating and drinking places opening up in Twickenham (and of course also Richmond, but that’s for another time). We’ve had German Kebabs, Sushi, and now we have Canadian, yes, Canadian! I know quite a bit about Canadian food as we’ve visited many times over the years and for some years we had our own place in Quebec. Quebec is somewhere where they eat an interesting, and perhaps – to Brits anyway – an unusual dish, called Poutine. What’s Poutine I hear you ask? Well, dear reader, it’s chips, but with gravy and curd cheese. It’s usually served with beer, and at CTZN Brew, which opened very recently in York Street, they’re brewing their own, as the owners have a microbrewery.
Now, I’m not a beer fan at all; my beer drinking’s restricted to perhaps a small beer on a really hot day when on holiday overseas. But in the interests of this article, I tasted the range of beers being brewed by brewer Hugh O’Neill who works with Jana Gray… I was really impressed. Jana, with her partner Jonathan Sumner, is the power behind CTZN Brew. She hails from Toronto, where she worked in the industry and met Jonathan, whose background is about as far from brewing as possible: aerospace! They now have a six-barrel brewery in the Kew Brewery where she and head brewer Hugh are handcrafting beers in the traditional way. ‘Slowly nurturing the magic of malt, hops and yeast and always in small batches.’ We tried each of the six key brews and they were all good: but even more surprisingly, I loved the Porter, which had delicate notes of chocolate, coffee and vanilla with a touch of ‘roasty’ smokiness.
At the moment this brewhouse, tucked away on York Street near the bus stop, is one of Twickenham’s best-kept secrets, but not for long, I’m sure. Not only do Jana and Jonathan provide customers with great beer (other drinks are available) but the food offering is pretty damned good too! As well as the aforementioned Poutine, there’s a limited (sensibly), but imaginative and well-priced menu. The food operation is run by an organisation called Stretched & Fired, and there’s an open kitchen. Smashed Aberdeen Burgers, Pizzas and ‘Loaded Fries’ (including Poutine) are on offer, and the burger my husband chose – The Brewhouse Burger (£17.50) – was amazing! Double patty, double cheese, double bacon, beer onions, served with all the usual trimmings plus the most delicious home-made burger sauce. It was a double indulgence mega meal. But washed down with the delicious beer, it posed no problem for my husband. Dogs are welcome at CTZN Brew too, so Crystal Poodle enjoyed a few tasty morsels from him before the plate was demolished. I opted for a Slow Fermented Pizza – the ‘Fun Guy’ option with mushroom, goat cheese, caramelised onion and mozzarella on a tomato base. At £12.50, and paired with a very generous rocket and Parmesan salad, made me very happy indeed.
GAIL’S TAKES TWICKENHAM BY STORM
I have to confess that when I heard that Gail’s was opening in Twickenham’s Church Street, my heart sank. I was worried that the lovely independent cafés there would suffer, and after all the shenanigans of the last year and the impact on independent businesses, that was the last thing they needed! But I’m delighted to report that I was completely wrong. Gail’s is a great addition to Twickenham’s premier street and, if anything, the whole place seems busier than ever now!
The Gail’s offering in Twickenham isn’t as extensive as some of Gail’s other 74 branches, but it still offers a good selection of good Viennoiserie, loaves of freshly baked bread (the sourdough is very good), biscuits and cakes. If you’re wanting a hot breakfast or lunch, there are some interesting options available, but you’ll need to ask for a menu, as the full range isn’t very obvious.
The place seems to be continually busy (I’ve learnt to avoid 11 a.m. as that seems to be the time everyone meets there!). One small niggle is the strange pottery mugs the coffee is served in – they are bowls. But I’ve learned to ask for my flat white in a latte cup now, so I’m sorted!
TO MARKET TO MARKET…a new trader’s market for Teddington is due to open this Saturday, 17 July, at The Anglers pub car park on Broom Road. Going forward, it will take place every second Saturday of the month from 9 till 12. There will be flowers, sushi, fruit and veg, nut butters and all sorts of other stalls, including The Green Butcher and the RNLI.
If you’re nearer to Isleworth and can’t get to the Twickenham Farmers’ Market in Holly Road car park (which of course is every Saturday morning) there is also a monthly market in Isleworth where, among other things, you can buy wonderful baked goods from Brenda Daly’s micro bakery. It’s held at Shrewsbury Walk, Old Isleworth, and runs from 10-2, but is on the third Saturday of the month (unless it is a bank holiday or school holiday). And there is Duck Pond Market in Heron Square, Richmond every Saturday and Sunday (10.30 – 4). In Kew there is a market on the first Sunday of the month (10-2) and there’s a farmers’ market in Barnes every Saturday (8.30 – 2) at Essex House Surgery. We’re pretty well placed for markets really. If you fancy a trip further afield, do go down the A3 to Ripley, where there is a fabulous, very extensive, farmers’ market on the second Saturday of every month. Parking is free and there is a massive field with umpteen stalls around the edge, it’s a veritable food festival! And if you really want to spoil yourself, and make a day of it, book a table for lunch at The Clock House, Ripley’s fabulous, Michelin-starred restaurant on the High Street.