So apparently Tooting is becoming THE place to live – and that’s always a fun fact when you already live there and know how great it is. After two years in our little flat in Tooting Bec I thought I was officially qualified to talk about our fab little area. (Please note – this has been updated as of April 2017).
One of the things I love about London is that there are so many gorgeous parks, and Tooting is not one to let you down for that either. Tooting Common takes up a triangle of space from Tooting > Balham > Streatham with the perfect 5km route around the edges. There’s a small cafe, tennis courts, a pond and plenty of green area for sports! Not to forget the all important LIDO – yes the 2nd largest lido in the UK features multi-coloured changing areas and has a fantastic history, dating back to 1906!
Getting a Curry
Unlike Brick Lane, Tooting High Street doesn’t have people trying to hoard you into their restaurant – Kavos style. There’s a whole range of restaurants for you to pick from, from across India all the way down to Shri Lanka. A couple of highlights include Apollo Banana Tree which I haven’t yet visited but I have on good word is fab, and also Masaldar mid way between Bec & Broadway which I’ve tried and tested! Nearer to Tooting Broadway Dosa & Chutney is also delicious serving both South Indian and Shri Lankan cuisine.
Popping to the Pub
You can easily work your way up from Broadway to Bec via the local Pubs. Starting in the gorgeous front garden of the Trafalgar Arms to have a little something to eat (see salt beef bagel photo below), then on to the hustle and bustle of the Castle just 5 mins up the road. The Castle’s beer garden is always busy when the weather is good, and if it’s not and you still like some fresh air, you can sit in one of their little shed / cabins to keep out of the rain and cold. Plenty of cushions and fairy lights to give the garden that kitsch feeling after dark.
Next on the list was the fairly newly refurbished King’s Head, mid way up the main road. It’s high ceilings has had me doubt the atmosphere in the past but recently I’ve definitely changed my mind about that – their choice of music on Saturday evening was just fantastic (complemented the board games perfectly). Finally, the Wheatsheaf just by Tooting Bec station is your one stop shop for a pint and an incredible roast. An unsuspecting dining room serves up a delicious menu every evening (including deals on steaks and Sunday roasts) and leads you to a small but perfectly formed little beer garden, perfect for those summer evenings. Great spot for a quick one when you’ve just jumped off the sweaty underground!
April 2017: Most recently if you head towards the common, the Rose & Crown has been taken over and refurbished. Rather than psychic nights and old men, it’s full of craft beers and pizza. Drinks are reasonably priced, and I’ll be in touch re – pizza, however it looks fab!
Fancy a coffee?
Sure – there’s a whole host of new coffee places popping up, especially just near Bec station. I’ve reviewed the Indian themed Imperial Durbar in the past, who have recently expanded their menu to include a delightful brunch selection. There’s Walker Wyatt coffee on the corner, they have free wifi and a range of pastries and butties for sale. Tartin Artisanal for a wide menu selection and gorgeous looking cakes (Bake off Creme de La Creme eat your heart out). Most recently the Green Monkey opened serving organic coffee and fresh bread every day! As they’re fairly new they’re menu is ever expanding and they’ve gotten much quicker at making coffees to go too ;).
April 2017: just down from Green Monkey, a Crepe place has opened, as a regular at GM I’ve not ventured in just yet, but watch this space…
In addition to this I visited “The Kitchen Table” recently which is tucked away amongst the houses between the Common and Topsham Road. This spot does Indian inspired brunch delights and curry in the day time – see photo below the coffee!
Back when I lived in Brixton, the market there was really taking off, with independent eateries and shops appearing alongside fresh fruit and veg stalls. Markets have always been a key part of London life but recently they’re becoming cooler and cooler and Tooting Market is not missing out. The Lebanese restaurant Mezza (who have locations in both Bec and Broadway) have opened a little stall selling kebab wraps, there’s a couple of small cafes including the Pedal Back.
Brickwood Coffee and Bread is situated at the back, not too far from a little beer bar and a vintage clothes shop. Our most recent addition has been the arrival of Franco Manca, the small sourdough pizza chain who is fast becoming an essential addition to the London high street. I’ve yet to try one of these reasonably priced yet tasty looking pizzas but have on good word they’re great – even for those GF friends I have! The opportunity for independent businesses to grow in London markets is huge and with Tooting on its way to become the new Brixton then there’s never been a better time to have a little stall there!
April 2017: Unwined, a gorgeous little wine bar just opposite Frano Manca serves different wines with a theme each month. In the corner there is a kitchen, once they’ve picked the wine then they ask pop-ups to come in and serve complimentary food!
Ok I’ve have a lovely day, but I want to dance?
We’re not quite blessed with the delights of Clapham High Street yet (thankfully), however if you make your way down towards the Bingo Hall you can pop into the infamous Tram & Social. A huge ex tram shed converted into a large spot for throwing shapes on the dance floor or swaying in time to the live band they often have. Fancy something a little more relaxed then head just next door to Graveney & Meadow for seated areas but the chance to have a boogie too!
Plenty of things to be doing down here – will you be heading to Tooting anytime soon?