Over the summer King of the Mountains secured a secondment to Paris, and we have spent a frantic eight weeks during September and October finding a school for the children, an apartment to live in, letting our house, and moving our family to France, opening a new bank account, equipping a kitchen and working out the Ikea website, in French.
There was the odd nail biting moment – children’s passports arrived the day before we were due to leave. But we made it just in time for the kids to start school after half term.
We have lived in Tooting for four years. It was the place we decided to settle in and have our children. At least that was the plan until this summer.
When we moved here, the town centre was down at heel, Marks & Spencer had moved out, Primark moved in. Other shops that dominate the high street are budget supermarkets, phone shops and pound shops. Though I have bagged a bargain or two in TK Maxx (Missoni scarves, Clements Ribeiro dress).
For me the real heart of Tooting are the Indian restaurants that start at Tooting Bec heading all the way to Colliers Wood. They cater for an Asian clientele so you can bet the food is as good as mum makes.
My personal favourites are:
Dosa & Chutney – specialises in South Indian crispy pancakes with a spicy potato filling. I love the mutton masala dosa. Ignore the orange décor and wall-to-wall mirrors and enjoy a great meal for under a tenner.
Apollo Banana Leaf – when I first walked in here I was transported back to my granny’s kitchen in Colombo. Apollo serves great Sri Lankan food, which uses coconut as its base (so very on trend). Seafood is a Sri Lankan specialty – the crab curry is to die for. Try the hoppers, a Sri Lankan style pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk – just tear into pieces and dip into the delicious curry sauces.
Sree Krishna – is another of my South Indian favourites – specialising in Keralan food. I love their vegetable dishes – green beans & coconut, beetroot and cabbage thoran. The food here has always been consistently good.
Others that are worth a mention – Spice Village and Rayaans (try the Afghan lamb – there’s nothing quite like it).
Over the past four years Tooting has started to change. A crop of new bars and restaurants have started to appear: Honest Burger, Chicken Shop, Little Bar, Graveney & Meadow, Mud, Little Taperia. The 80 year old Tooting Market is undergoing a renaissance with the Kickstarter funded, Unwined wine bar, Breakfast & Burgers, Pedal Back Café….I have even heard that Franca Manca maybe scouting for a site.
If you get a chance pop down to SW17, and give Tooting a go.
(First published 11/9/15)
Picture credit: John Curnow, and Peter Daniel Creative Commons license.