Lavender Hill retail roundup – March 2024

11 mins read
Lavender Hill - Credit: CJI

A few times a year we publish a review of who has opened up businesses on Lavender Hill. 

KFC is having a makeover

KFC – Credit: CJI

First of all, KFC is temporarily closed. The branch has occupied the premises for over 2 decades and from time to time makes improvements. It is now time for a new make-over before reopening in a few weeks. A planning application (2024/0377) submitted at the beginning of the year show the new design of the external facade.

Plans for the new facade for KFC – Credit: Planning documents

Aperitivo soon to be replaced by Il Covo

Aperitivo – Credit:

There’s unfortunately another new entry on the list of the shortest running businesses of all. We haven’t even had time to report that wine bar Aperitivo had opened at 289 Lavender Hill – in a very smartly fitted out premises opposite Pizza Express.

Aperitivo repossession notice – Credit: CJI

Wine was paired with a selection of food built around the Italian ritual of Aperitivo, including lasagne, charcuterie and zucchini rolls. This was a bit different, and an interesting and well-presented concept.

But things quickly went off course for reasons unknown, and the business has already closed, with notices from the landlord (who, unusually, in this case, is Wandsworth Council) repossessing the unit.

Maybe the landlord did not offer enough flexibility at the start, while the new owner was trying to increase the turnover? In any case, it’s never good to see bold new ventures like this fall over, and there’s always a sad story behind it of dashed hopes and broken dreams.

But the good news is that it should soon be replaced by a nearly identical facility called Il Covo (Instagram and website are up but not yet active). They seem to have already posted a few photos using the layout of Aperitivo on this recommendation website, unfortunately failing to say it is not open yet.

What is left inside Aperitivo – Credit: CJI

Asda: improvement on their small garden area

Asda – Credit:

Meanwhile in a small bit of retail news, it’s good to see Asda have continued to work on their small garden area. This was the subject of a bit of a scandal some time back when they tried to tear down all the trees and pave over it (our article on the subject is here); fortunately they realised this wasn’t a wise move for a store that was keen to look attractive and attract a wide range of customers (let alone the environmental implications of replacing a long established green space with a pigeon-infested slab of concrete), and they changed their plans to retain the green space. It’s looking particularly good at the moment with flowering cherry trees.

Costcutter and Fitstudioz… and the home of estate agents

Moving further away the station we enter estate agent territory!

Costcutter – Credit:

Back in the day there were about 15 estate agents on this stretch of the road. This is still the place to find an estate agent covering the Clapham Junction area – however recent consolidation in the sector has been quite substantial, and their number has drifted down. Gordon & Co next to the post office were taken over by Foxtons, Dexters closed one of their two branches on Lavender Hill (but did open one on St John’s Road), Lauristons vanished completely to be replaced by a new branch of Costcutter (pictured above), My London Home closed and were replaced with Fitstudioz personal trainers, and Winkworth closed their large branch in the block of flats at the Lavender Hill / Latchmere Road junction.

Featherstone Leigh have now also closed, having been taken over by Chestertons, and we expect the elegant corner unit at 253 Lavender Hill (pictured below) to be up for lease soon.

Former Featherstone Leigh closed – Credit:

This still leaves us with seven estate agents on Lavender Hill: Winchester White, Bairstow Eves, Barnard MarcusRochford Stokes, Dexters, Foxtons and Orlando Reid. But coupled with a similar decline in the other streets around the station, this is probably the smallest number of estate agents we have had in Clapham Junction for 20 years.

Nisa supermarket

Soon a Nisa supermarket – Credit:

Landlords don’t seem to have had too much trouble re-letting these premises. The most prominent ex-estate-agent, the Winkworth unit, briefly reopened as Noble Estates (another estate agent, who also have a branch in Clapham Old Town) but that all seemed to go wrong within a few months, and the unit was quickly repossessed by the landlord, with notes taped to the door giving notice that various bits of furniture and a photocopier left behind would be sold unless they were claimed.

It is now set to see a complete change of use, to become a new Nisa supermarket, adding to the provision of smaller convenience stores at this end of the street.

Pique Café: full brunch / lunchtime food menu

Pique Café – Credit:

At about the same time, we reported that another new cafe, Pique, opened at 171 Lavender Hill, with a full brunch / lunchtime food menu as well as a generous assortment of snacks, cakes and coffee.

Inside Pique Café – Credit:

The works to convert the premises have really opened it up and given it a completely new feel, and the business has met great success, immediately finding a big local audience and being consistently full pretty much from the start; indeed the warmer weather will helpfully allow a bit more space outside as it’s not rare to find all the seating busy.

Phresh Juice: Freshness redefined

Phresh Juice – Credit:

As we reported in November last year with a detailed review, Phresh Juice have opened a couple of doors up at 103e Lavender Hill. They are an independent family business, whose flagship product is fresh juices – properly fresh ones, made in house and to order.

The menu includes a bewildering array of cold pressed juices, smoothies, ginger & turmeric fruit shots. There’s a big focus on it being properly fresh – which means availability will depend on on what decent fruit is in stock. They have also built up a healthy trade in decent coffee, pastries and cakes, all in a smart well-designed environment.

HD Cutz is expanding

HD Cutz – Credit:

Speaking of success stories, HD Cutz have been running since 2001, in very smart premises at 103a Lavender Hill, right next to the gates to the Battersea Business Centre – offering barbering, cornrows, locs, shaving, steam facials as well as wider bespoke hair & beauty treatments. It was a success from the outset, and owner Sheldon Edwards – who learnt his trade in Clarendon in Jamaica – has a big and loyal following.

Following the opening and closing of the ill-fated China Garden in the unit next door within just a few weeks (which we reported on as rather a sad and unfortunate episode given the amount of time and money that had been lost), Sheldon has leased the unit to extend the business – and building work is well underway to knock them together. The new space will create space for a new hairstyling academy – building on his existing track record of (and enthusiasm for) developing talent.

Ryan and Dan clinical massage

Ryan and Dan clinical massage – Credit:

Next door, is a bit of a success story. Back in 2022 we noted that Ryan and Dan clinical massage had opened at 36 Lavender Hill. This wasn’t a traditional massage parlour aimed at a ‘quick rub down’ but was instead aimed at accessible and affordable treatments, particularly for those who suffer chronic / acute muscle pains and tensions, and to ease sports injuries.

The co-owners were keen to change the narrative of what massage parlours and clinics currently provide, and open it up to a wider customer base in terms of ages and backgrounds who could benefit from treatments to ease their muscles. This was reflected in the more clinical and business-like design of the premises, which is quite different to the more typical styling of a massage business. And it clearly worked, as they have now moved across the road to a much bigger space at 65 Lavender Hill.

Snog yoghurt and Biju Bubble Tea delivery

Snog yoghurt and Biju Bubble Tea – Credit:

One of the more mysterious premises is 63 Lavender Hill, which has no signage at all. It is another ‘dark kitchen’ that supplies Snog frozen yoghurts, on a delivery-only basis. There was an equipment malfunction some time back that led to a fire; which then closed the premises as it needed a full refit.

This eventually completed, and they reopened – only for a ‘take notice’ landlord sign to briefly appear, to repossess the premises. That was, however, also resolved quite quickly and the premises opened again – now supplying both Snog yoghurt and Biju Bubble Tea, and continues to serve the delivery market.

Social Affair: unfortunate closure of the café operation but still evening catering

Social Affair – Credit:

In slightly sadder news, we reported on the opening of Social Affair, in the old Room 42. This was a combination of an evening catering operation (with both eat-in and delivery), and a daytime cafe with plenty of space for working and general get togethers.

The evening offer has prospered, but the front of house cafe had a break in late last week (from a known local burglar, who forced the front doors shortly after midnight and made off with a fair bit of alcohol and some computer tablets – but also made a big mess), and the owners have decided to close the cafe operation. This is a real shame coming after the team had made a real effort to get this going.

For now the premises will run from about 4pm and continue to offer five different food offerings – are LovePinsa (described as ‘a cloud-like Pizza’ that has crispy textures on the outside and a super soft and scrumptious inside), Return of the Mac (specialising in Mac & Cheese for grown ups), Organic Butcher (steak & fries), NeoPixa (Neapolitan Pizza), and Wingers (fried chicken & wings).

There is maybe going to be something else coming in the daytime later in the summer – maybe with stronger doors! – as it remains a good site with lots of potential.

London Gents Traditional Barbers: a smart new business

London Gents Traditional Barbers – Credit:

Across the road, 50 Lavender Hill has been through a few ups and downs in recent years – most recently as Sugarcane (which was quickly renamed to Guava, maybe because there was already another business on the street called Sugarcane), until the business closed leaving a rent shortfall and a frankly bit of a mess!

The unit was tidied up and refitted by the landlord, and quickly found a new tenant as the home of London Gents Traditional Barbers, offering you would expect. The fit out effort by the new occupiers was a comprehensive one and it now looks very smart – and has quickly found a local customer base. The team behind it already run a somewhat similar venture on Kennington Road.

Pads, Paws and Claws: a new larger premises for your pet


Next door, the former Hill Launderette, which closed after decades of service (we wrote a short tribute at the time) has now got the builders in with work well underway to open as Pads, Paws and Claws, a doggy daycare and pet grooming centre, which will also sell a range of pet supplies.

This photo of the old launderette sign awaiting disposal – Credit:

They’re not new to the area, and have been running a grooming business for some years on St John’s Hill, as well as teeth cleaning, pawdicures, flea treatments, and everything you need to keep your pet in top condition; the new larger premises will allow a wider range of daycare services to keep our pets happy – as well as space to have a calmer area for cats, and a variety of different play and relaxation areas for pets.

Go Kyoodai: Japanese sushi – but Brazilian style

Go Kyoodai – Credit:

Yano Sushi at 39 Lavender Hill has been replaced by Go Kyoodai. They specialise in Japanese sushi – but Brazilian style, and are run by brothers Roberto and Cahuê Albuquerque. Their first venture was in São Paulo, which saw the first opening of Go Kyoodai; in 2011 they moved to London – at first running a catering-based operation but then (when they were joined by another partner Geovany Mota) branching out to run a business doing directly to the public.

They were initially based in a small business estate in Fulham but have now moved in on Lavender Hill. Don’t rush down in person just yet though, because in a bit of an emerging trend they are currently running the site as a ‘dark kitchen‘ – doing delivery only – so you’ll be wanting to either order from them or via Deliveroo.

Spy Wines and Spirits: Wide Selections and Tasting Adventures

Spy Wines and Spirits – Credit:

We reported a while back on the challenges that hit No Boring Beer, following a huge rise in electricity costs in particular; the site is now up and running again as Spy Wines and Spirits. Owner Tim Harmsworth has been running Spy Wines as a Battersea-based wholesale supplier of wines to the trade for the last decade, and has now branched out to open their first shop at 22 Lavender Hill. It offers a wide mix of wines, spirits and beers going well beyond what you’ll see in a typical off license – from affordable everyday staples all the way to extra special rare wines – as well as a selection of cigars. The shop also includes a tasting offer, with a selection of eight wines to try in the Enomatic wine dispenser machine.

The shop also has a hidden secret in the form of a much larger basement level, which has now been fitted out as a venue for wine tasting and discovery sessions; with a series of masterclasses where their expert team can guide you through some properly interesting wines in a relaxed and unpretentious environment; these have quickly proved popular (details of future events generally via their TwitterInstagram, they also plan to let groups book special events).

M’s Dining Room flourishes with African & Caribbean flavors

M’s Dining Room – Credit:

M’s Dining Room who were just getting going when we last wrote are now well established, offering both an African & Caribbean takeaway and a well-reviewed dine-in offer. Good to see this doing well, and that this good-sized restaurant (which had a pretty complicated past before it closed) has had the fresh start it needed.

Wild for Dogs: A well established supplier for dogs

Wild for dogs – Credit:

Wild for Dogs‘ headquarters at 4 Lavender Hill is now well established, as a developer and supplier of handmade and organic grooming products for dogs.

However overall the last few months have seen far more successes than disasters, with a particularly good number of expansions and upgrades – which is testament to the resilience and imagination of a lot of our local independent traders.

Retail roundups is an occasional series on traders in and near Lavender Hill, in Battersea, London.

Update 09/04/2024: Drawing from planning application for KFC

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CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.

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