The independent eats that opened this year
With the economy teetering and many of the big chains heading in to hibernation, a growing breed are mounting their steeds on to Northbrook Street and beyond with their independent flags flying high.
This brave group are setting up shop in Newbury, often risking a lot of their own cash, providing a unique service for the town and at the same time ensuring that our high-street doesn't become a photocopy of so many others across the UK.
Over the last year, we have been more than fortunate with the whispers that become reality when a new independent opens with the likes of Harrisons, The Thai Golden Horse, The Dolphin and most recently Hog and Hedge testament to just that.
Here is a run down of some independent spots that have opened so far this year:
This gem opened in May on Bartholomew Street after a major refurb of the pub of the same name. It offers the perfect setting for a sun soaked session in the back garden or as the weather gets a bit colder in the cosy bar.
Monkey Tree sprung up in a little spot just off Northbrook Street on Northcroft Lane. This place has built up a reputation for its cakes and amazing choice of vegan treats.
The previous occupier of this unit under the Travelodge left in, shall we say, dodgy circumstances. Hotcha had a few money problems. But Hochoy came in and mixed things up with a take on the Chinese takeaway that has gone down well with the folk of Newbury. It gets an average score of 4.7 on its Facebook.
The recent opening of Isham has raised the bar when it comes to Indian cooking in Newbury. No-longer do you only head to Chillies for the authentic vibes. This place next to Henry and Joes on Cheap Street has built up a good reputation.
Hog and Hedge
So new the paint is still wet. Well not really. It opened in October and has set itself up as a great place to carry out a business meeting, grab a quick lunch on your lunch break or to hang out with the yummy mummys.
Thai Golden Horse
A lot of people were worried that when Art of Siam closed, that it would be it for this place. Luckily the Thai Golden Horse rode in to action bringing many traditional dishes that made Art of Siam such a popular choice in Newbury.
The Curry House
Located across from the Dolphin, the Curry House offers a wide selection of Indian dishes. This place opened over the summer and has yet to get itself on to online ordering. When it does we will be back.
Got to admit that I have only been here the once but many people love the authenticity of it.
For months it went without a sign on the building's exterior and there was a deep worry it would go. On the opening weekend we went in and offered to pay on card. Unfortunately they weren't set up for card payment so said don't worry about paying. That is the kind of place this is. Alas we nipped to the cash point and ran back. You wouldn't get that in Costa.
Oxford Street Bar and Kitchen
This place at the Chequers Hotel produces some of the biggest portions in Newbury. It was an effort by its owners to get more locals use the hotel's facilities.