Streatham

Streatham

A trip to Ikea is part of the course when you move house and it was on one such trip that I first discovered Streatham. Sitting in traffic on the A23 Streatham seemed drab and in desperate need of a facelift. Step forward a few years and it appears that the much needed injection of life is starting to arrive.

With three train stations Streatham covers a large area and pace of change has differed greatly between each. The area around Streatham Hill Station has undergone the biggest change with trendy coffee shops and restaurants now sitting beside Halal butchers and grocers. Stepping off the train here during rush hour it’s clear to see why these businesses are flourishing and there seems to be plenty of room for further growth.

Having read a few reviews we decided to check out Hood, a relatively new neighbourhood restaurant with a seasonal British menu seasonal food (www.hoodrestaurants.com). Booking is essential – we booked on Monday evening and such is the popularity the only table available was at 20:45. The focus on food miles and traceability was very visible with a map on the wall pointing out where the ingredients had been sourced, the end result was a truly scrumptious meal. We both throughly enjoyed the experience and will return, it’s the type of place where you can enjoy a relaxed evening full in the knowledge that the food is going to be delicious whether it be with a group of friends or a romantic meal for two.

Further down the high street Perfect Blend is a nice place to enjoy relaxed breakfasts and Brighton Way is a great place to chill with a glass of wine or two after work. There is also Hamlets, a lively cocktail bar featuring live DJ’s in the basement bar on weekends for late evening drinks. And don’t let the exterior appearance of Addomme deceive you, the wood fired pizza are definitely worth a visit.

Alongside a decent sized Co-Op and Tesco there is Thompson’s bakery Deli, the fresh breads and cakes are lovely and there is a selection of cold meats and cheese in the counters. Fish Tale is a friendly fishmongers which has a good range of fish sourced from the South Coast and there a few grocers, of all which open late in the evenings enabling you to pick up fresh produce en route home. But the standout amongst the independents is Art and Craft (http://www.artandcraft.london). This little bottle shop in an old railway arch is a excellent addition to the area. Although the focus is more towards local beers the small but well considered wine selection is not to be overlooked. Four regularly changing barrels allow you to sample a little before purchasing a growler to takeaway. Having a shop like this on your doorstep is a real asset.

The section of high street between Streatham Hill station and Streatham station is still a little tatty but the redevelopment of the old bowling alley (thankfully the old façade will remain) into a mixed residential and commercial space should aid further regeneration. However, that’s not to say that this section is totally lifeless. Antic London are great at spotting a gap in the market and yet again they deliver well here with Pratts and Payne (http://prattsandpayne.com) this vast space is a very popular all day pub and new coffee shops are starting to open close to the station.

The area sound Streatham Common station has seen the least change so far but as people are forced to look further south for properties, change is inevitable. The common itself is a lovey vast open space which includes a very pretty rookery, beware in the winter months though as the ground can become very water logged! Mr B and I arrived unprepared on our first visit which resulted in an abandoned walk after Mr B almost lost a shoe in the mud and I fell face first – stick to the paths and wear wellies to avoid the same fate! After a second more successful walk we stopped in the Bull for a quick drink, bright and airy inside with a large beer garden that includes a burger shack this is a typical decent Youngs pub. The Earl Ferrers and The Railway are also very popular with locals, the former being reviewed as ‘must visit’ London pub.

It’s easy to see why Streatham, with easy access to the Brixton and Balham, has grown in popularity but it’s clear to see that further change is still required here. As more young families move to the area new businesses will continue follow. Gentrification is a very divisive subject but ultimately we all have a desire to live in a safe community which has good local amenities, if the old businesses can find a way to diversify and stay afloat then that has to be good for everyone.

Mrs B xx

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