South West London

News, events, tips and advice on SW London

Archive for April, 2013

Our Recommendation: Restaurant in Clapham: Bistro Union on Abbeville road

Bistro Union in Clapham

Bistro Union in Clapham

Abbeville Road in Clapham is a quintessentially traditional corner of London which has long exuded a slightly nostalgic British charm from its tree lined pavements, sash windows and rustic eateries.  However, the street is certainly no little-visited rustic bolthole: in fact, as Clapham Common Estate Agents James Pendleton can attest, Clapham is a magnet for professionals and families looking for a vibrant, well connected neighbourhood with character.

It is this combination of modernity and appreciation of the classics that makes Bistro Union stand out.  The latest venture from Adam Byatt of Trinity Restaurant Clapham fame, this local eatery successfully combines the quality of Trinity dining with the neighbourhood ambiance of Abbeville Road.

Bistro Union, like its Clapham Old Town counterpart, comes highly recommended by James Pendleton Estate Agents’ Clapham Common team and is firmly established as the place to go for British food with a sophisticated twist.  Don’t hesitate to head to Abbeville Road for a superb weekend Brunch or relaxed evening meal!

We spoke to Assistant Restaurant Manager Craig Gordon about what makes Bistro Union tick.

  1. How long has Bistro Union been in Abbeville Road and do you feel you’ve settled in?

We’ve been open for just over a year,we opened in February 2012 and have settled in well.  I think that’s primarily because our ethos reflects that of Abbeville road as a whole: a respect for quality, local food and a dedication to community is what separates us from national chains and Abbeville road residents really appreciate the difference.

2. How far did Trinity Restaurant’s successes inform the ethos and design of Bistro Union?

Our sister restaurant, Trinity, has been locally established since 2006 and chef and co-owner  Adam Byatt’s food is nationally acclaimed.  Bistro Union was created to combine the quality of cooking established at Trinity with hearty, comforting British staples in a relaxed and friendly setting.  A lot of the retweets we get on Twitter come from well fed people happy to have tried one of our traditional-with-a-twist dishes, such as our shepherd’s pie which is served with a bone marrow and rosemary garnish which is set alight for serving.  Everything our team have learned at Trinity feeds into Bistro Union and vice versa.

3. Describe a typical day at Bistro Union

No two days are the same – that’s why I love this job, but it makes describing a typical day difficult as there isn’t one!  The most important parts of any day are the team meetings.  We set up as a team in the morning and before every service the entire team meets to discuss the day’s menu.  This not only ensures we provide a harmonious seasonal menu but also gives the chefs a chance to describe the menu in their own words to Front of House, who can then properly explain to our guests what goes into every dish.

4. What is your favourite meal of the day and which meal would you choose from your menu?

My favourite meal at Bistro Union is the staff dinner, which the entire team sits down to share at around 5pm.  It’s usually fairly quiet at this time of day (post lunch, pre evening meal) and if you visit us while the team are eating you may well see some of the team eating and talking together around one of our tables-there’s a real ‘family’ atmosphere at Bistro Union.

5. How often do you change your menu?

Our snack menu changes daily and our à la carte menu changes according to what’s in season.  We also make our own flavoured spirits and offer seasonal drinks such as our current rhubarb Bellini (fresh pureed rhubarb with rhubarb infused gin and Prosecco).  We’re currently offering both our seasonal drinks and our daily snacks free to new home buyers in conjunction with James Pendleton Estate Agents’ Clapham Common and Clapham South offices.

6. How would you describe the character of Abbeville Road?

Abbeville road has a particular reputation as a corner of South West London with a village character and an emphasis on quality food.  In fact, the area has become so synonymous with good places to eat that we get quite a few ‘food tourists’ at weekends looking to sample both the food and the atmosphere.  All the local businesses know each other and will happily pass on tips and recommendations to visitors, which adds to the ambiance.

Local residents are also out in their droves at lunchtimes, weekends and evenings, and we’ve just introduced a take away coffee service (all drinks £2) which is making our mornings busier!  At weekends we offer a full cooked breakfast, fresh orange juice and hot drink for £12, which proves popular with locals and visitors alike.

7. What advice would you give to people moving to the Clapham Common area?

My advice is: walk as much as possible!  Exploring the area on foot is by far the best way to discover what Clapham really has to offer and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can walk to Wandsworth, Battersea and Tooting from Abbeville Road.

Craig Gordon, Manager of Bistro Union Clapham

Craig Gordon, Manager of Bistro Union Clapham

Bistro Union are kindly offering free drinks and bar snacks to new home buyers alongside James Pendleton Estate Agent’s South West London based after sales care department.

Find out more about the James Pendleton Estate Agents Angel service.

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Amazing kitchenware shop on Northcote Road, Battersea

kitchenware shop battersea

La Cuisiniere: Kitchenware shop in Battersea

As Northcote Road institutions go, you can’t do much better than La Cuisinière.  Owned by French native Anne Blackie, this popular kitchenware retailer has been a much loved Battersea stalwart for over twenty years.  As well as stocking near enough any utensil or cooking tool you might think of, La Cuisinière also leases cake tins and offers a wealth of cookware expertise via a very helpful website.  Of course, the best way to get to know La Cuisinière is to spend a while exploring its shelves and corners.  The store compares itself online to an Aladdin’s Cave and a better description could not be found.

Before you spend an hour pottering at La Cuisinière on Northcote road, take a moment to read our interview with Anne Blackie and find out what makes the store so special.

  1. Could you give us a taster of some of the cookware you have in store?

It’s hard to know where to start!  As a taster, our most popular brands are:

  • Le Creuset (Cookware)
  • ScanPan (Cookware)
  • Joseph Joseph (kitchen Accessories)
  • Global/Wusthof/Robert Welch/I.O. Shen (Kitchen Knives)
  • Good Grips (OXO gadgets)
  • Silverwood (Bakeware)
  • Nespresso (Coffee machines)
  • KitchenAid/Dualit/Magimix/Cuisiniart small electricals

The following types of item also prove popular:

  • Cake decorations and candles
  • PVC table clothes
  • Ceramics and glassware
  • Silicone tools
  • Children lunch boxes
  • Barware

2. How has La Cuisinière changed over the past twenty five years?

We haven’t really changed that much from the original concept of being a Cookware and Tableware outlet.  The only major change was when we opened La Cuisinière Too in 2003 due to the fact that we were desperate for more shop space.

The current set up was established in 2012. With the ever growing popularity and increased demand for home baking, our bakeware section was moved lock, stock and ‘rolling pin’ into La Cuis Too. The main shop of La Cusinière has always and still provides the best range and quality of all types of cookware.

3. Have you seen a big change in how much people enjoy cooking over the years?

Not really! Residents of Battersea have always enjoyed cooking and entertaining at home providing great meals for family and friends. As mentioned in the previous section, we have seen a steady growth in baking product requirements in recent years.

Trends: The last few years have seen a definite increase in simple and earthy types of cooking. (Pie dishes and casseroles sell well).

4. How long have you been in Battersea and why did you choose to open a store along Northcote Road?

Annie Price was the founder of La Cuisinière and she was the one who discovered Northcote Road and saw its potential. Not only did she open the shop in 1988, she also moved from Fulham to Hendrick Avenue at the same time. She sadly died in 2004. I was Annie’s first manager and have been here ever since!

5. Do you have a favourite eatery or food supplier along Northcote Road?

Over the years, we have often enjoyed going to Buena Sera and Lola Roja.  We regularly use the fishmongers in Northcote Road and for a treat, we buy our cheese and deli produce from Hamish Johnston.

6. Which are your favourite items that you have in store?

My recommended brands are:

  • Laguiole knives – beautifully hand crafted knives from France. Not particularly well known in the UK, but not many Frenchmen would sit down to a “steak frites” without one!
  • Le Creuset “buffet” shallow casserole. To my mind, one of the most versatile cooking implements in the kitchen.
  • Glover and Smith pewter tableware – handmade in England.
  • Ecozone –  a planet-friendly cleaning range.
  • Tala and Silverwood bakeware – Tala is deliciously retro in design and has hardly changed since the fifties! Silverwood’s tinware is made for the British market and made in Britain!

7. Could you offer our readers a cooking or baking tip which you couldn’t do without?

One of the most important tools in the kitchen is the kitchen knife. But it’s got to be of good quality and kept sharp! So my tip is to have a quality knife sharpener to hand where you prepare your food.  Each time you use the knife give it a swipe or two through the sharpener and you will always have the sharpest of knives.

Fulham Estate Agents proudly sponsor local music open day

Music School in Fulham

Music School in Fulham

On 18th May 2013 from 10am to 3pm Lady Margaret School in Parsons Green will play host to the Music’all Open Day, which will be sponsored by Fulham Estate Agents  James Pendleton.

Established in 2008, Music’all is a charity run extra-curricular music school.  The dedicated team of tutors and musicians provide a fantastic opportunity for local children to develop their skill and awareness of music in a vibrant and welcoming environment.  Lady Margaret School, one of the schools highlighted as outstanding on James Pendleton Estate Agents’ Fulham local area guide, has hosted the school’s Saturday classes since 2011.

Music’all offers classes for both musical beginners and those with advanced levels of skill, and develops young people’s musical ability and awareness via a range of teaching techniques from one-on-one tuition to full orchestral rehearsals.  One of the most exciting aspects of the programme is that children progressing beyond foundation level are given the chance to test a range of instruments before choosing their own specialism. Besides improving musical proficiency, a Music’all child will have a great opportunity to make friends and develop social skills.

The Music’all open day is a chance to introduce your family (and yourself-the school also runs an adult choir) to the team and discuss the music education options best for you.  The school is a great way to introduce children and families to music, and is home to a thriving community.  Look out for advertisements for the event James Pendleton Estate Agents’ Fulham and Parsons Green billboards, and if you’d like to find out more about the event or the school don’t hesitate to contact us at socialmedia@jphomes.co.uk

Music’all Open day – Lady Margaret School, Parsons Green SW6 4UN

A fundraising success at the LivetoGive 2013 Pub Quiz

pub quiz

Wandsworth Town’s Royal Standard pub was on 27th March home to 2013’s LivetoGive Pub Quiz.  Organised by Wandsworth Estate Agents James Pendleton the quiz regularly brings in great support from locals and local businesses alike and is a much loved part of the LivetoGive fundraising calendar.

Along with several rounds of tricky general knowledge questions, this year’s quiz also comprised two special rounds: one specialising in events from the last decade and a ‘fun round’ on James Pendleton, both of which were included to mark the Wandsworth Estate Agents’ ten year anniversary. Quizzers were also treated to pizza supplied by Olivia Pizza on Wandsworth Bridge Road, a prize packed raffle and fun ‘Heads or Tails’ contest added to festivities.

The stupendous array of raffle prizes on offer was very kindly donated by local businesses, with Solicitors Emin Read providing a special contribution of £100 in cash to the winning team.  Other prize donors were:

 

Everyone who donated or took part made a great contribution to a very successful evening and the event raised an incredible total of £600 to be split between LivetoGive’s three charities.  The charity organisation’s administrative team of Wandsworth Estate Agents could not be more grateful for the kindness and generosity of all who attended and donated via JustGiving.

You can see more photos from the event on James Pendleton Estate Agents’ South West London Facebook page.