If you travel south of Clapham, continue south at Balham and keep going a smidge further, you’ll reach Tooting. I consider this small London enclave a hugely underrated place to visit in London. It’s home to some incredible restaurants, shops, and bars that are absolutely worth a bit of your time!


Proud of its South-Asian culture, Tooting is best known for its curry houses, serving Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan delicacies that are packed full of flavour and affordably priced. Check out the menus at Lahore Karahi, Mirch Masala and Apollo Banana Leaf if you’re planning an evening in Tooting.


MUD

But if you’re visiting for brunch, MUD is the place to go. Independently owned and located on Mitcham Road, MUD is loved by locals for its friendly, laid-back atmosphere and great food.

If you’re planning a visit, check out the corn fritter stack on the menu, which is served with avocado, chilli jam and poached eggs - delicious!

Tooting is a complete hive for flavour, and you can’t visit the area without hitting the markets.


Bordelaise, Broadway Market in Tooting

First opened in 1936, Broadway Market is one of London’s oldest markets. These days, it can be found full to the brim on a Friday or Saturday evening, so make sure to book ahead.


Restaurants such as Bordelaise, the French bistro-styled restaurant serve affordable, but no less delicious flat-iron steaks for £13 and beef dripping skinny fries as a side for £3.50. The Tapas Room is another favourite with its Basque & Spanish drinks menu and flavourful tapas and deli produce.

Daddy Bao

If your lockdown was consumed, like mine, with deliveries from make-it-yourself takeaways, then you may have tried the very popular London restaurant, BAO. Steamed buns containing delicious morsels, which quickly became a highlight of my lockdown experience when they arrived with the post.


Since lockdown ended, I’ve visited Tooting-based Bao restaurant, Daddy Bao a few times and it has quickly become a favourite of mine. The independent Taiwanese menu is next-level kind of great. With 24-hour marinated chicken, teriyaki shiitake mushrooms and ginger-braised tofu, there’s something for everyone.


Though vintage, interiors and antique shops aren’t plentiful in Tooting, there is one place that should be on your radar if you’re visiting. Curio Corner on Aldis Street is a great stop for antique and restored furniture. The antiques shop was first launched during lockdown in a couple of the previously named Mac Motors showrooms, and it still displays the signs outside the store. I love the organic nature of Curio Corner, where you can actually see the restoration process in progress when you visit, as the workshop is situated directly next to the store.



If you’re into painting, you’ll know that unless you’re in the centre of London, art stores aren’t the easiest places to find, so having a store in Tooting that is filled with oil paints, brushes and canvas is incredibly useful. K & K Stationers & Printers is a trove of arts and crafts products, and I’m often found searching the shelves for new materials to use for my paintings.

Other great places to visit include pubs, The Castle and The Wheatsheaf, brand new roof-top bar The Corin and Tooting Commons, which span from Tooting to Balham to Streatham, so leisurely Sunday walks are a must.