Just before I left Paris, to return to Tooting, my facebook and twitter feed was awash with the news that Tooting is a listed among the top 10 coolest neighbourhoods, rubbing shoulders with Vesterbro in Copenhagen and Sunset Park, New York City. What? Tooting? Really, how can that be? In the two years I have been away, Tooting has changed, it’s almost unrecognisable. And yes, it’s a fantastic neighbourhood to live in, and especially great if you love food. Because quite frankly, Tooting is a food lover’s heaven.
If you love Asian food
Then Tooting is the epicentre. Tooting’s curry mile has some world class Indian, Pakistani and Sri-Lankan food. My particular favourites are Apollo Banana Leaf, Dosa n Chutney, Sree Krishna, Lahore Kahari, and Spice Village.
A humble pie shop launched an off-Broadway smash hit
Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop was the setting for the Tooting Art’s Club revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd, and it just happened to find itself hurtling across the pond for an off-broadway run. Not bad for SW17. And you can still get pie and mash at Harrington’s in Tooting,
Tooting Market is experiencing a renaissance
We have two markets, Tooting Market and the Broadway Market. You can get pretty much anything at the market, from a goldfish to a joint of lamb for your Sunday roast.
But now, wow! The market is bursting with artisan chocolate, vintage comics, bespoke gin, craft beer, indulge in wine at Unwined, gourmet burgers…. stopping now because my mouth is watering.
A place where you can eat your way around the world
Who needs to travel, just take a trip on the Northern line and hop out at Tooting Broadway.
We have English pie and mash, fiery Sri-Lankan curries, crispy South Indian dosas (large crispy lentil based pancake filled with spicy potatoes and onion – scrumptious!), soothing bowls of Japanese ramen, Spanish tapas, Lebanese Meza, Portuguese grilled chicken, Caribbean jerk chicken, Mexican tacos, French steak frites, Australian gourmet coffee, the world is here ready and waiting for you to grab a bite.
A thriving cafe culture
Even though Paris is famed for its cafe society, Paris doesn’t do good coffee. But come to Tooting, and you’ll find that coffee culture is thriving.
My personal favourites are Mud – where they also do excellent sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches, Brickwood Coffee & Bread just give their Tim Tam muffin a try. Tooting’s newest coffee outpost is Milk Teeth, where I’ve seen people queue out the door for their weekend brunch.
Another little place, just up the road in Streatham, is Estate Office Coffee – a tiny yet perfect place that serves excellent coffees and delicious cake.
And, where we harvest our own wine
OK, I’m not talking about the rolling vineyards of south London, I’m talking about vines growing in people’s back gardens and allotments. These are collected by Richard and Paul from the Urban Wine Company and transformed into Chateau Tooting. Yes’ it’s true, I have a bottle in my fridge!
The next year’s vendage or wine harvest is scheduled for September 29th – hoping 2018 is a good vintage for Chateau Tooting!
Living in Paris was great, amazing, a chance in a lifetime. But tell you what, it’s kinda great to be home, back in Tooting.
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