September 28, 2022

Where to eat and drink in Tooting

We know a couple of places for a good roast in Tooting. Image: The Selkirk

While Brixton is rightly considered a promised land of South London cuisine, nearby Tooting is epicurean. Here, traditional Pakistani, Indian and Sri Lankan eateries that have been delivering the goods for decades sit alongside hip cafes, cute cocktail bars – and Tooting’s two indoor markets, teeming with street food and craft beer. Add pubs, a superb tapas restaurant – not to mention a famous chicken department store – and you have a heady mix of food and drink.

Brunch, breakfast and coffee in Tooting

people having brunch at Brickwood in Tooting market.  A marquee sign says: Tooting so cool
Too cool – you said it. Image: Brick Wood

Breakfast is done with panache at Juliet’s Quality Food, where single-origin coffee accompanies exceptionally creamy sourdough scrambled eggs; and corn fritters with crispy bacon and mashed avocado. Green Monkey in Tooting Bec puts the same thought into its breakfast offerings, with chips made with quality sausages and stacks of mouth-watering pancakes finished with flakes and a dusting of sugar. Café Olé advertises itself as a “breakfast and brunch café”; indeed, it will set you up for the day with anything from shakshouka to mind-blowing vegetarian breakfasts. If you’re looking for a healthy morning pick-me-up on the go, grab a Tartine Zinger juice (orange, carrot and apple juice with a hint of ginger) from Tartine Artisanal. Or do the opposite at Brickwood Coffee and Bread, which tempts with “The Butcher” in full English; grilled brioche topped with maple bacon; and Caravan Roasters cafe to boot. He is based in Tooting Market, which not anymore…

Lunch in Tooting

A ton of sushi in the making
Sushi as far as the eye can see. Image: Hi-Ki Robata Grill & Sushi Bar

Tooting is home to two covered markets, Tooting Market and Broadway Market Tooting. It doesn’t really matter if you confuse them because they’re right next to each other. They are also both a shoo-in for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. But let’s talk lunch. In the first, you can fill your boots with Lebanese Meza wraps; hearty bowls of Koi ramen, and salted fish and roasts from Guyanese cuisine at Pepi. Next door at Broadway Market Tooting, bite into jerk chicken and oxtail stew at Kimmies Jerk Joint, or sushi rolls (perhaps washed down with cheeky sake at lunchtime) at Hi -Ki Robata Grill & Sushi Bar.

A slate menu bristling with Caribbean dishes
We will have everything on the menu. Picture: Kimmies Jerk Joint

At the South Indian cantina Dosa n Chutney, dig into the enormous crispy dosa with paneer chilli, served on metal trays in an understated setting. Another budget option is Vijaya Krishna, where they will serve you delicious curries like chicken calicut and green lamb masala.

The Selkirk Pub opens its kitchen from 12pm to 3pm daily (all day weekends) and is one of your best bets for gastropub bites (think pan fried cod with brown prawns and buttermilk). seaweed; and an appetizing Sunday roast).


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Sensational Pakistani Street Food by Spice Village

Mouth-watering fish masala, tangy papri chaat, fragrant and warming chicken biryani – just some of the delicious dishes on the menu at Spice Village, an award-winning Pakistani restaurant on Tooting Road.

Spice Village offers authentic South Asian flavors and traditional cooking methods – think comforting street food, prepared on hot stones, charcoal grills and conventional tandoori ovens. It’s available for both home delivery and pickup, but if you’re looking for an even more spectacular dining experience, you have to try dining on site.

Not only is the service always super polished, but it’s a jewel box of a restaurant, with beautiful marble-effect surfaces, a wall of lush greenery, and a sparkling turquoise bar. The “Valentine” dining room, with its dramatic red and gold interior and Wall of Fame adorned with Pakistani icons, is perfect for a date night, and free shows are available for special occasions. Book your table today by calling 02086720710, or click here to see the full menu (warning: may make your mouth water).

Can’t come to Tooting? Try Spice Village Southall instead!


Pubs and bars in Tooting

people drink in the subdued atmosphere of the Antelope
One of the best pubs in Tooting. Picture: The antelope

You are thirsty ? Tooting will quench it admirably. The Antelope remains one of our favorite pubs in the area; a sprawling, paneled Antic thing, which makes a good pint of Siren Soundwave (and a good Sunday roast). The outside castle area with miniature winter “cottages” is pretty awesome, but it’s a Young’s pub, so don’t expect the beer to wow you. The Wheatsheaf is also a cool pub, where better to indulge in a G&T. For lip-smacking beers, it’s time to head back to those markets. We brought beer is a pint sized beer shop/bar with very well stocked fridges and a beer or two on tap, like Gipsy Hill and Howling Hops. It’s seconds away from Unwined – one of the least pretentious places we’ve ever poured a pinot noir – and Graveney Gin, which we haven’t tasted yet, but how wrong can you be with gin? Above Broadway Market is another wonderful little craft beer shop/bar, aptly named Craft Tooting, its shelves stocked with DEYA, Kernel et al. There are few seats, which makes you feel all the more special when you score a stool.

The neon-lit banquettes of Tequila Mockingbird
They really like a pun in this joint. Image: Tequila Mockingbird

For something stronger, The Goldfinch is a cute little cocktail bar, where you can sip a Finch Negroni (mixed with blackcurrant) in their cute little brick courtyard. Tequila Mockingbird Wins Harper Lee’s Best Alcoholic Pun Award; it’s one of many outlets across London, and believe it or not, they do a decent margarita (visit during happy hour for a two-for-one drink). Good Neighbor (see Dinner in Tooting) is also a good helping hand with alcohol.

Dinner in Tooting

Through the window of a crowded Lahore Karahi
“How long will you be?” Image: Lahore Karahi

Whole libraries could be written about Tooting’s South Asian food scene, and our advice is to gradually work your way through the lot. So far, we’ve enjoyed excellent mutton rolls and fish masala at the Sri Lankan restaurant Apollo Banana Leaf (it’s BYOB); and deep-fried seafood sautéed with a faluda (made with milk, ice cream and rose syrup) at Jaffna House. One of Tooting’s top-rated restaurants is Pakistani Curry Lahore Kahari, which is a bit flashier than many of its neighbors, and absolutely snapping most nights. The rushed staff may be blunt (we were greeted with a “how long will you be?”), but the signature karahi dishes are rightly praised by the likes of Tootingite Sadiq Khan. (It’s also BYOB.)

Various tapas, including padron peppers and arancini
Where to start… Image: Little Taperia

Elsewhere, The Little Taperia is a lovely tapas joint serving ham croquettes and chorizo ​​cooked in red wine (their cocktails are also worth trying). Good Neighbor has multiplied since its beginnings in Camberwell; going by the original, you can expect Tooting Outpost to offer well-chosen wines paired with delicious small plates divided into ‘Veg’, ‘Meat’ and ‘The Sea’.

Papa Bao comes from the same team as the ridiculously popular Mr Bao in Peckham, and does a similar menu of jaw-dropping buns (prawns, brisket, tofu and more), with smashing sides (how is it possible to make cucumber so good?!).

An amazing shrimp po boy
Oh hello, you’re not going to exist in five minutes. Image: Bayou Bar

And again, Tooting’s markets come into their own for evening cuisine; there are plenty of French bistro delights in Bordelaise; crab buns and cream mussels at the Sea Garden & Grill; or transport yourself to the Deep South with blackened shrimp po’ boys and deep-fried buffalo cauliflower at Louisiana-style haunt Bayou Bar. (They also serve signature New Orleans cocktails like hurricane and sazerac.)

Always hungry?

fish universe and fish world next to each other
Memetastic. Picture: Londoner

It’s our cue to remind you that Tooting is home to the largest Chicken Cottage in Europe – ideal for the after-dinner chicken scran. And if you want to get yourself a nice piece of tilapia to take home, call on Fish World/Fish Universe, the near-identical, memetastic neighboring fishmongers with a juicy war history.