Diary of an Estate Agent: Currying favour at Leiths School of Food and Wine

Curries from around the world land in Shepherds Bush.

Horton and Garton's lettings supremo Ashley Clements dropped by Shepherds Bush cookery school Leiths over the weekend to learn how to cook a proper curry. His wife is reportedly delighted.

If you love curries and want to learn to make them from scratch, this is the class for you. Ashley took a culinary journey around some of the world’s finest curry hot-spots as he learned to make dishes using authentic but easily available ingredients. He also learned how to select and use spices and make curry pastes, marinades and accompaniments.

"Leiths has a very friendly atmosphere," Ashley said, in-between his courses of Goan chicken vindaloo and red duck curry. "The instructor, Chef Cee, was able to design the day to suit experienced or purely beginner cooks. The ingredients were excellent and plentiful with three dishes created, eaten and enjoyed with a glass of wine.

"Plus, the various tips and techniques I used can be used in other cuisines. I think learning to peel ginger with the edge of a teaspoon was the tip of the day!"

A Leiths voucher would be a great gift for any of your foodie friends. Just like Horton and Garton, Leiths is a long-established local business that offers excellent customer service. 

Click here for more details about Leiths' spicy How to Cook Curries classes. 


Diary of an Estate Agent: Another victory in Cardiff

Lettings team hits Cardiff ahead of Wales winning the Six Nations.

Three members of the Horton and Garton management team travelled to Cardiff last week.

I took the team on a two-day residential training course at LetMC, our residential lettings software provider.

Cardiff gave us all a very warm and friendly welcome. We even had time to visit the castle, as well as the shop at the Millennium Stadium to take in the pre-weekend rugby match warm up.

A big well done to Wales on winning the big Six Nations title match. Roll on the World Cup in Japan! The fixtures are already in our diaries.

A fond farewell to our star photographer Scott Clark

Drinks were raised at the Lyric to celebrate Scott's purple patch as a snapper.

After eight years working with Horton and Garton as our number one photographer and floor planner, our Scotland expat Scott Clark is returning north of the border to Edinburgh.

Scott became an integral part of the Horton and Garton team and his excellent eye for detail and ability to showcase all our clients' homes became the stuff of legend. Scott always went above and beyond to provide what we like to call the 'purple carpet treatment'.

To send him off in style, we celebrated with a few drinks at the Lyric theatre's bar and roof garden. If you have not seen this amazing space at the Lyric, we can highly recommend it as an after work spot.

The bad news for Scott? We've all now joined his growing list of offers for a house swap for this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival!

On behalf of all of the team here at Horton and Garton, we wish Scott, his wife Maxine and family all the very best as they settle back into life ‘north of the border’. Scott will be continuing his successful business, Scott Clark Photography, which includes his wedding and property photography. If you're interested in a testimonial or a recommendation, please do contact me.

Keeping up to speed - A running blog by John Horton

It's running time! 

In preparation for my London Landmarks half marathon this Sunday (24 March) I decided to warm up with the Stafford half marathon this past weekend.
I raced with my brother - he beat me by five minutes! - and an old friend. I managed a fair time of 1hr 51min 22sec. Our before - and after - pics are below...

My time was two minutes off my PB, however it was not the flattest of runs. Plus I was holding back for this weekend's run.
Watch this space for a further details. I am running for a very worthy cause and charity - the Alzheimer's Society.

New Brackenbury tea house opens with a Sri Lankan accent

A familiar old friend in Brackenbury Village has been reborn with an enthusiastic new crew.

The battleship grey of the former Brackenburys deli has been repainted pale peach to mark last month's opening of the Pekoe Mellow Tea House at 22 Aldensley Road in Hammersmith.

It’s a first venture for Helen Deighan and Gobi Manoharan, a couple whose aim goes well beyond creating a tea and coffee hub. It’s also an ‘idea sharing’ centre, with monthly inspirational TED Talk-style evenings; the first a well-attended lecture by Prof Tariq Modood of the University of Bristol on Majorities, Minorities and Multiculturalism.

Gobi Manohoran and Helen Deighton have opened Pekoe Mellow in Aldensley Road, Hammersmith
Pekoe Mellow Tea House in Aldensley Road


The next two promise to be interesting; an exploration of current British politics, looking at all sides of the Brexit conundrum, and then a talk about Hamlet. “For both of us, it’s the first time running something like this,” said Gobi, 38, who spent his early years in Sri Lanka and also works as a pharmacist at Ealing Hospital. “I work weekends, and help open and close up; we’re learning as we go.

“Brackenburys was at the heart of the community, and we want to continue that feel.”

Helen, 36, a trained teacher, said the peach colour outside, and the clean white walls inside, were designed to create a warm, welcoming feeling for customers. And the name? Pekoe identifies the youngest, freshest leaves on the tea plant, while the idea is to provide a space where people can relax and mellow out.

Spacious and light, the interior is decorated by framed squares of exquisite sari material – part of an extensive collection of Gobi’s late mother. Some stools have been created from old tea chests. At its heart it remains a café, with leaf tea infusions and breakfast, afternoon and Earl Grey teas blended on the premises, and fruit teas made from scratch. There is also a good range of coffees from 80 Stone Coffee Roasters.

“We spent a year sourcing teas, including going round Sri Lanka, tasting,” said Helen. “By having a good relationship with tea growers we can buy tea that’s often half a year fresher than others can buy… and you can taste that freshness, that kick.”

Helen is an enthusiastic baker, creating options including shortbread, raspberry cake and vanilla and caramel henna cake, together with spicier alternatives and a Sri Lankan dish of the day. But you can still get bacon baps!

There are storytelling sessions for children (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Tiger Who Came to Tea have already delighted youngsters), with puppet-making and face-painting, and a book club and tea-tasting sessions will be starting soon. Once the drinks licence is confirmed, watch out for tea-based cocktail evenings too.

Books dot the walls. “It’s interesting,” said Helen. “Children just pick them up and read, but adults often ask if they’re allowed to!”

The Pekoe Mellow Tea House is open 7.30am-6pm daily, Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 9am-4pm. For more details, visit: www.facebook.com/pg/pekoemellowtea/posts/

Our Patch People: Q&A with Bianca Sainty

Bianca Sainty, 42
Founder of Pod Fitness
Lives and works in Hammersmith

How long have you lived/worked in H&F?
I have lived in the Hammersmith area for 16 years. The fitness business has been going six years.

What attracted you to the area? What are your favourite bits? Least favourite bits?
Parks and river. Favourite bits: parks and river! Community around schools. King Street – always full of life.

If you had one magic wish how would you make H&F a better place to live/work/socialise?
A health hub – an inclusive and welcoming place where locals of all ages and walks of life could come together to socialise and share over coffee. Somewhere we could have the opportunity to learn about looking after our health, through talks and workshops as well as inclusive, all-ability fitness sessions.

If you were could have one superpower what would it be?
Read people’s minds to help them better. So often people are guarded and don’t say what they really mean or want, so it’s hard to offer the right advice or solution. 

Name three ideal dinner guests?
To me, all people are interesting and I’m fascinated by what makes us tick. So, I’d want anyone who is willing to be open about their story. If I had to choose three people in the public eye, then I’d choose: Fearne Cotton, Matt Haig, Amy Cuddy. They all seem authentic people, and honest about their life’s ups and downs.

What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or sports?
I like to walk by the river daily, soaking in the ever-changing sky and river views is good for the soul. I am a volunteer coach at Chiswick Rugby Club minis, where my son plays. I played rugby at university, so it’s really fun for me to get stuck in and there’s a great sense of community at the club.

Can you tell us an amusing story?
I find the little things in life amusing. When you’re in a place where you can take notice, they’re everywhere. Recently, I was making breakfast for the kids and I cracked an egg into the frying pan and it was a double-yolker! First time in my life – aged 42! I found it immensely amusing, in fact it made me smile for the rest of the day.

What’s your USP?
I’m a great listener. The USP of my business is to be outdoors all year round in all weather in small groups, so clients get individual attention within the fun group setting.

Has your business won any awards?
Yes! The Hammersmith & Fulham Brilliant Business Award for Best Health & Beauty Business in 2017.

Pod Fitness, Ravenscourt Park, London W6
020 3974 6667

Twitter: @podfitnesslond1 @biancasainty

Instagram @podfitnesslondon @biancasainty

Bianca’s Bitesize Blog: Embracing Bracing Weather

Join Bianca for a Monday lunchtime river walk. Open to all, no Pod membership needed. It's an easy-going 30 minute walk by the river. Sets off from Furnivall Gardens at 12.30pm every Monday.

New cinema finally on its way to King Street after town hall plans approved

Finally! A cinema is returning to King Street. …

The new four-screen cinema is part of larger plans to build new affordable homes, offices, shops and transform the historic Hammersmith Town Hall that were approved this week.

The cinema – likely to be run by Curzon – will see four new screens built on the site of the old Cineworld site. It’s directly outside our office Horton and Garton office in King Street so we promise to let you know when the silver screens are flickering again! We’re told construction work begins next year.

The council will kickstart the ambitious project by demolishing the ugly brutalist town hall extension. Which is a loss that will be mourned by few in Hammersmith – especially the council workers who work inside the crumbling building, we’re told. Demolition work is expected to start this summer.

The cherry on top of the scheme is the planned rooftop bar and restaurant to be perched on top of the town hall. Architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have designed a slick glass ‘crown’ to sit on top of the Grade II-listed building, which should offer incredible views of the Thames and the setting sun past Chiswick.

“The new four-screen cinema, new genuinely affordable homes, new public rooftop bar and restaurant and new public square are some of the factors that will rejuvenate the area and create a new Hammersmith neighbourhood,” said H&F Council’s Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan.

The scheme also includes:

-204 new homes, of which 52 per cent will be classified as genuinely affordable for local residents

-New community art and event spaces

-New affordable, flexible office spaces for start-up businesses

-New public space for performances and events in front of the restored town hall

-New homework spaces for children and students

-Inclusively designed buildings to ensure full access for disabled people

-Eco-friendly buildings to minimise our carbon footprint and cut fuel bills.

Most interesting is how the council has engaged with local disabled people and asked the architects to make it more accessible. This is believed to be the first major scheme of its kind in London to have involved disabled people in the design process from the beginning. 

Mark Rintoul, Project Architect at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, said: “The council’s pioneering collaboration with multiple stakeholders and local amenity groups has defined this truly community-led development to deliver a civic campus with access for all.”

More developers should take note.  

Double sell outs for screenings of 'Two Sides of a Street'

The screenings raised funds for the Grove Neighbourhood Centre in the heart of Brackenbury Village.

A Royal Ballet star, a man who owns a share in a race horse, and a peer’s daughter now live side by side with old folks who’ve rented their houses all their lives.

This was the basis for the acclaimed BBC TV documentary Two Sides of a Street which was broadcast in 1989 and was screened twice at the Grove Neighbourhood Centre on Tuesday (29 January).

After the screenings, GNC committee member and local resident Dede Millar paid tribute to Horton and Garton for sponsoring the event.
"On behalf of the GNC, we are hugely appreciative of local independent estate agent Horton and Garton for their generous support in promoting and sponsoring the double SELL OUT performances of Two Sides of a Street, a humorous and nostalgic look into the lives of the Brackenbury community filmed 30 years ago," she said.
"Everyone loved the film which brought our local community of Brackenbury together, which is at the heart of the GNC and supported by John and all the staff at Horton and Garton."
While John Horton added: "These performances would not be possible without Dede’s commitment and dedication. And I’m sure Dede’s old friend and neighbour John Pitman will be here in spirit nodding his approval and enjoying the replay of his BBC documentary."

The screening served as a tribute to John Pitman, who produced and narrated the documentary. John was a long-time resident of Brackenbury Village, who sadly passed away last year.

All funds raised will go towards the GNC, based in Bradmore Park Road.

Fuller's says sayōnara as it sells up to Japan's largest brewer

Independent Chiswick brewery sold to Asahi

The Fuller’s brewery in Chiswick has been sold to a Japanese firm for £250million on the 60th anniversary of its popular beer, London Pride.

The buyer is Asahi Europe Ltd, a subsidiary of Japan’s biggest brewer.

The deal transfers all Fuller’s beer production, cider-making and soft drink bottling to Asahi, which owns Grolsch and Peroni. The London Pride brand, now marking its diamond anniversary, transfers to the Japanese company.

In a statement, Fuller, Smith & Turner said that the deal would preserve the Griffin Brewery, and said that the board (no longer led by a member of the Fuller family) had made the decision following 'changes to the beer industry' which had helped small, craft breweries to flourish.

A sad day 

Camra, the real ale campaigning group, said that it was a 'sad day'.

But Simon Emeny, brewery chief executive, said that protecting the heritage of the Griffin Brewery was important to the board. Beer has been brewed on the site since 1654. He described Asahi as 'an appropriate custodian of our rich brewing history', and said the deal would bring the Chiswick beers to a wider public.

Regulars are unlikely to notice much of a change – Pride will continue to be brewed in west London, and there are no immediate plans for redundancies.

Akiyoshi Koji, chief executive of Asahi, pledged to continue to brewing at the Griffin Brewery and supplying Fuller’s 400 hotels and pubs in London and the South East, which the remainder of Fuller, Smith & Turner will continue running, and which supplies nearly 90% of profits.

Two screenings of 'Two Sides of a Street' will raise funds for the Grove Neighbourhood Centre

A real-life soap opera is unfolding in Cardross Street in the heart of Brackenbury Village.

A Royal Ballet star, a man who owns a share in a race horse, and a peer’s daughter now live side by side with old folks who’ve rented their houses all their lives.

This was the basis for the acclaimed BBC TV documentary Two Sides of a Street which was broadcast in 1989 which will be screened twice at the Grove Neighbourhood Centre (GNC) on Tuesday 29 January.

Two Sides of a Street (40 minutes duration) is a humorous and nostalgic glimpse into our community, of which the GNC is at the heart.

The screening will also be a tribute to John Pitman, who produced and narrated the documentary. John was a long-time resident of Brackenbury Village, who sadly passed away last year.

All funds raised will go towards the GNC, based in Bradmore Park Road. The event is sponsored by local independent estate agent, Horton and Garton.

Screenings are at 4pm and 7pm. Tickets are £10 and include tea and cake (4pm) or a glass of wine (7pm). And to keep the celebrations rolling, The Andover Arms is offering 20% off bottled beer, house wine and food.

Tickets are available at the GNC now. For more details, call 020 8741 3321 or email: gnc@groveneighbours.org.uk