Monday, 27 April 2020

Lockdown: what's open?

Have things ever changed so completely in the space of a month? The Triangle, like the rest of world, has in some ways become unrecognisable, while fundamentally it is still the same. A strong community looking out for each other, while adapting to this strange new crisis.
Fortunately the pic above is a rare sight on the Triangle, but from what I hear, swathes of Soho are now boarded up, until who knows when. As is to be expected, the pubs, restaurants and cafes are mostly closed, as are the hairdressers, the tattoo parlour, the clothing and shoe shops, the gift and homewares shops, and the estate agents. But, much remains open, apart from the supermarkets, the post office, Sefgrove the pharmacy, and Planta the health food shop. So I've been going around the Triangle to see how it's changed, who's open, who's delivering, and any other signs of life under lockdown.

Rather than the crowds or even small groups of people that used to be the norm, we now have elongated lines of patient shoppers. The British may have been known the world over as strict queuers, but we were mere amateurs when compared with now. And particularly around supermarkets, queuing has developed its own infrastructure. The temporary taped and sprayed and spacers may well become permanent amidst the uncertain future course of the virus.

If going to the supermarket now fills you with dread, there are plenty of other options. The formerly bustling Saturday food market on Haynes Lane, has now been split up into spacious daily single stalls. (Note that meat and fish need to be pre-ordered.)

Laura, one of the market organisers with the stall schedule, now running Wednesday to Saturday.
Konrad/Wild Country organics (Tuesdays)

Hannas & Debbie, Brockman's Veg (Saturdays)


Rebecca at Roots & Cycles
Market organiser Karen with Baxter, in her market office

There's another local stall operating from the Alma's garden. The Crystal Palace Flower Company has expanded to become a fully fledged greengrocer, run by Pete and Harmony, while the pub itself has given over half their space as a fruit and veg stockroom, from where orders are boxed and sent out too.

Well done to Steve, the Alma's landlord, who has managed to stay open during the lockdown, and is the only local pub to do so, albeit not functioning as a pub. Apart from the veg store, the rest of the premises is given over to a pop-up bakery, and off license sales. There's even draught beer available, if you bring your own container. Appropriately I had my plastic milk container filled with Cowcatcher IPA. Note: the bakery also stocks flour!!

Steve Boyd

Just along the road, Urban Cellar has been delivering your favourite tipple to your day, but at the weekend I was pleased to see Ken's smiling face at a makeshift counter in the doorway of the shop.

And if beer's your thing, Craft and Courage is also open on Westow Hill.

As well as pubs turning themselves into bakeries, on Westow Street, you will find a restaurant running as a food shop and takeaway. Mediterranea now serves pre-prepared meals, plus a range of cheeses, charcuterie, bread and cakes. Plus you can order their highly rated pizzas to takeaway.
Can recommend their caponata, really good with cheese. 

Matilde at Mediterraneo
Across the road 400 Rabbits are doing delivery and takeaway, as are many other restaurants on the Triangle. For a comprehensive list, check out My Local.

If you've got a lockdown birthday to celebrate, Joe Brett of Brett & Bailey, has been whizzing around in his van delivering his sweet creations, and Dalhousie are delivering their wonderful cakes too!

Orders also being taken at Four Boroughs Coffee on Church Road. You can collect there or they'll deliver to you.

Comfort & Joy, one of my market favourites is currently open, and delivering from their Church Road shop.

Mags Proud
Meanwhile Joe on Church Road has also been spotted out and about delivering his wonderful tapas!

Glad to see also, that after initially closing, Blackbird has now reopened! Think they do flour too!

Elsewhere on the food and drink front, the best little Polish shop, Piast is doing a roaring trade, and Planta's health foods are much in demand, while Budgens has been a well stocked and friendly saviour. Tucked around the corner on Central Hill, the Turkish grocer next to Dem (open for takeaways)is also well stocked with both the everyday and unusual. 
Brown and Green are doing online takeaway orders for their popular and healthy lunches, brunches and breakfasts, plus they have flour! ALERT!
Thanks to you all for keeping open and keeping us fed, despite the potential risks to yourselves. We shouldn't forget that at least one local shopkeeper has sadly passed away  after contracting Covid 19. RIP Kumar of FreshGo on Gipsy Hill.

Agata at Piast

I don't know about you by my food and drink consumption has definitely increased under lockdown. Anyway, moving away from that subject, our 2 stalwart hardware shops remain open for any of those other household essentials, as do the Triangle's pound stores.

And if you are filling your furloughed time with home improvements, Rafael Gabriel is on hand at his Church Road store. You can also place phone orders with The Secret Garden, and then pick them up at the gate.

Things may be far from normal, but people still have homes to furnish, and presents to buy for friends and family, so check out shop windows for notices of how you can still order items to be delivered. I've also heard of a few stores such as A L'Étage offering vouchers to be redeemed when they reopen.

Bookseller Crow


The Alma

Simon Carter

Brave Girl
Mrs Robinson

The recently established weekly clapping has been an opportunity to think about and thank those heroic doctors and nurses on the frontline, but thanks are also owed to the bin collectors, the bus drivers, the postmen and women, the delivery drivers, and not least the pharmacists, who no doubt encounter the unwell, and the unknown unwell on a daily basis.
So a big thank you goes out to Shinali and her staff at Sefgrove.

Let's keep supporting as many of our local traders as possible, so that they survive this virus too. Look after yourselves!

PS. This is by no means a comprehensive list of who's still trading on the Triangle, so for more info, try My Local. But do please feel free to update me, or if I've left you out, and you'd like a mention, let me know!


Blowing Dandelion the chocolate shop and café, is open again at weekends, so while you're queuing for veg at the stall next door, you can grab a coffee to keep you going!

A L'Étage 2 is now delivering!

Dem is open for takeaways every day 11am-10pm except Monday.

Papagaio is now delivering!

Forgot to include this pic of the Roti Brothers burger van. Still open!

Roasted Bean is open for takeaways only.

The lovely window display at A L'Étage 2 says it all!
The smiling face of Andy on the Hook & Sons dairy produce stall on Thursday mornings at Haynes Lane.

Rainbows on the Triangle

Memorial to Kumar at FreshGo on Gipsy Hill. RIP

May 2nd updates

Smoke & Cure who were a market regular, selling bacon, smoked cheese (and non-smoked varieties), smoked salmon and more, are now delivering.

A Torre is open for takeaway

Takeaways also available from Chi Oriental too 

And Thai Crystal

And there's a new pop-up takeaway at Reunion which I definitely intend to try. Baba G's Bhangra Burgers sound amazing!

Finally, I just bought tulips and ranunculus  from The Crystal Palace Flower Company, who run the stall next to the Alma. Aren't they lovely! 

Please feel free to keep sending me any news or updates of what's happening on the Triangle, and I will include them next time.

May 9th Updates

There have been a lot of mixed messages coming from the government and press lately, regarding how and when we will emerge from lockdown. However, tomorrow the PM will be making an announcement, so let's hope he clarifies things for all our sakes.

Meanwhile, we got takeaway burgers from Baba G's at Reunion the other night, and they were excellent. Highly recommended. And Tofu fans will be delighted to hear that they are doing deliveries again! If you fancy pub grub, The Sparrowhawk are now doing a takeaway menu too.

A few doors up, Alistair's is now open for takeaway,

as is Mi Cocina, the Venezuelan Cafe.

Elsewhere on the Triangle, whether you need a new pair of shoes, or old ones mended, I spotted Heena sitting in Merlin's shoes (open) and the cobblers/key cutters on Westow Hill (also open).

Also bumped into Heather at Backstage. You can give her a shout via Instagram for clothing sales.

Finally there's a great pop-up window display at Lawrence's dog grooming parlour. My interior designer friend Paulo has imported a wonderful range of Amazonian crafts and woven products. For more info take a look here

May 16th Updates

Firstly a big shout out to Blue Door Bicycles who are open for repairs and services. I just took my bike in as it had some minor gear issue, which they kindly fixed without charge! You can book a service on the following number 020 8670 9767On the subject of bikes, I believe Cadence has also partially reopened.

While I was waiting for the bike, I joined the queue at Secret Garden, which after last week's announcement by the government, has now reopened.

I also bumped into Tine Bladbjerg of À L'Étage 2, who informed me that the shop is now open on a by appointment basis. You basically get the whole shop to yourself! Contact her as follows: Tel: 0208 761 1868 Email:

Finally, a little Greek takeaway has popped up on the empty space by the Greek church on Westow Street. Souvlaki anyone?!

I've just heard from a reader that Indigo Tree are taking orders online that can be picked up from the shop or delivered to your door.

May 23rd updates

Today's big news is that Joanna's is open right now for takeaway burgers! But be quick, apparently they are only making 100, and when they are gone, they are gone! Hoping that this becomes a regular event.

Also, I've heard rumours that there may be temporary widening of pavements on Church Road to allow for distancing, currently just not possible, particularly along the parade which includes Comfort & Joy. Other possibilities include make Church Road a 20mph zone.