Forest Hill ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ (Home Accessories Extra) becoming Costa [Now open]



Which is a great argument for diversity on a high street which serves a range of people.

The proposed plans show the unit to be fully divided with separate entrances.


Not a coffee drinker myself but on the odd occasion I meet friends for coffee in Forest Hill I will continue to use St David’s. But my initial disappointment at the prospect of a generic chain like Costa appearing on the High St opposite Superdrug has lessened and I’m pleased to see that they are at least trying to tackle the environmental issues associated with the UK’s coffee obsession…


So a thought just crossed my mind… Opening hours.

Looking through the hours of a lot of local coffee shops, it appears that Costa in general offers a much wider range of opening times, usually 7 til 7 for a lot of main locations.

Love em or hate em, they are positioned well to offer those morning commuters their morning fix.


I use to go to indy coffee places all the time but since I have grown a pram as an extra limb, I would welcome an accessible and maybe more spacious coffee shop. As much as I love C&C, St David’s, Two Spoons etc… and as much as I try and take baby in a sling… those places are a bit of a faff to navigate with wheels. Especially if meeting another Mum.


Couldn’t agree more with the accessible point. Not many independent coffee shops provide space or bathrooms for wheelchair or buggy. Usually I go to Dartmouth arms when having a coffee with a wheelchair user. As for opening hours, I remember walking from independent to independent one rainy Monday afternoon with no coffee to be had!

Room for all and exciting for forest hill.


I think everyone has different preferences. Mine is The Teapot - they are friendly with a nice selection of salads and cakes, and open before 10am. However I know other people have their own favourite coffee shops so it’s good to have the choice.
I do like the coffee in Costa but not the food so much, I’d definitely rather have something freshly made.
I have to admit Costa is popular with my kids though!


Teapot are always good about helping with buggy parking. My daughter has eaten the same their since she was 2 and all the staff know what she will order as soon as we walk in. And the food is good.


The Tea Pot is great and I always pop in when down in London. That said I also pop into The Archie Parker who’s lattes are great, St David’s to see if I can beat my own record for iced coffees and Pauline in Sugar Mountain just to top off all that caffeine with some blue sweets :exploding_head:


This is why I don’t believe a Costa will be a threat to our independent coffee shops. Just as we all have different preferences with our existing coffee shops, there will be plenty of people in FH who don’t use any of the independents for all sorts of reasons but who would welcome and use a Costa.


It’s up to us to emphasise the things that make the independents unique.

The decadent Blackbird Bakery pastries … and the amazing Reuben at @TheArchieParker

The three cheese toastie at Aga’s

The huge range of freshly made sandwiches and paninis at the Teapot

The artisanal flat white at @StDavid, and their wonderful decor

Everyone knows what the standard Costa formula entails - but it’s the shops and cafes that offer something unique to Forest Hill that I want to preserve, and that means letting people know about them.


Agreed and I would have scoffed at Costa but Norfolk isnt exactly awash with good coffee shops. However, my local Costa makes a latte to rival both St. Davids and the Archie Parker (sorry guys). Each has their own draws and I am sure that all the local decent independents will survive as they offer something that is different and unique. I am a coffee whore though so will go were the good coffee is. Apart from Starbucks, that’s just wrong.


Chris will get no argument from me about the Reuben or the Three Cheese Toastie (damn I’m hungry now). But the Costa has the potential to offer something these other offerings do not and which has been touched upon. The ability to chill with a group of friends for a while. I doubt Aga would be thrilled if 4-6 people took over her one table for 4 for an hour or so on a busy Saturday. It’ll be nice to have that choice.

This potentially could have add on benefits by attracting more custom to Dartmouth and London Roads as people not motivated by an excellently poured macchiato look for a fuller retail experience.

But while we’re talking about good coffee I’d suggest some give the new Aroma Cafe at Forest Hill station aside. On my first visit I was poured a Flat White beautifully constructed and using a really nutty roast.


Yes, with any luck, Costa will relieve the independents of large groups of people who reduce their profitability. (Not a dig - this will represent a happy outcome for all parties)

Good point. I had a Costa-beating flat white there too:


Mmmmm… blue sweets!


From my perspective, i’d rather we didn’t get another coffee shop, of any kind, simply because I worry about whether the forest hill coffee drinking population is sufficient to sustain all the ones we have, never mind another. I still miss From the Forest and The Montage, both of which have opened and closed since I moved to the area, and I don’t want the others going to same way. But as I really don’t like Costa coffee, there is little chance that it’s arrival will affect my patronage of the independents - taste will out!


Ha, the blue sweets are Sour Raspberry Berries which are @Londondrz daughter Charlottes favourite :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

But then again so are yours and @starman BLUE raspberry bonbons, hehe.

Hope your BBQ went well today, was dying to come for that amazing pork but I had 5 15yr olds to feed during an Xbox tournament after work.

Damn kids eh!, hope you’ll invite me again sometime cause I’d love to come and taste Jason’s cooking :two_hearts:


As someone who commuted to Blackfriars from Catford for two years I heartily agree about the Blackfriars Costa staff, and I really like Costa as a chain.

I don’t think Costa will eat into the custom of St David’s etc. St D’s is my go-to for a weekend coffee and breakfast and I’d never swap that experience for a chain. I don’t think it will affect On the Hoof in the station either - who has that much extra time in their commute?!


Are we missing the point? Aladdins cave cannot sustain the size of shop they have currently so the sre downsizing very sensible. Costa see an opportunity in FH they are just as likely to suffer competition from the existing coffee sellers who may be seen as non-chain/more personal?

Overall there should be more employees, footfall and tax revenues cannot see any negatives


Spot on!


New planning permission sought