An under-the-radar ‘curry corridor’ with some hot discount shopping.
Why go there?
Because it’s the new Shoreditch, just without the haircuts or the fixies braving the one-way system.
What’s the vibe?
Tooting Bec is the posher bit, while Tooting Broadway has quiet Edwardian and Victorian streets. Both tube stops are popular with smug commuters who can always get a seat on the Northern line. Mitcham Lane and Tooting High Street are busting, especially with Indian restaurants, cafés and discount shops. The adjoining Tooting Bec Commons have a lido, running track and lots of space for dog-walking (though not dogging – or not that we’ve found yet, anyway).
What’s that smell?
It’s delicious South Asian cooking. The restaurants between Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway make up one of London’s best ‘curry corridors’. I’m hungry already.
What’s on the menu?
The score and more of terrific restaurants – Pakistani, Sri Lankan and South Indian – cover a range of styles and tastes, and they’re all very affordable. Tooting is one of the few places in London where you can still eat out well for a tenner, for example at Dosa N Chutny, or Apollo Banana Leaf. It also now has the trendy Chicken Shop and Honest Burgers (all on Tooting High Street). And with several excellent Asian food stores (like Deepak on Greaves Place), it’s a true food village.
I could do with a drink.
Antic, the master of retro bar makeovers, runs several pubs and bars here, the best of them being The Antelope (Mitcham Road). There’s also Little Bar (Mitcham Road) for cocktails, and huge Victorian pubs, such as The Castle on Tooting High Street, which has a vast garden with cabanas and heating.
How about something a bit more relaxing?
Check out the Diwali lights, paid for by local donations, celebrating the Hindu festival of light, which happens this year on Thursday October 23.
And if I only do one thing?
Walk down from Tooting Bec to Tooting Broadway, taking in the sights on Upper Tooting Road such as Patel Brothers, where you can buy all sorts of stainless steel kitchen equipment, and Shiv Darshan, which is the place for farsan (Bombay mix-style snacks). And then there’s Tooting Market on the High Street, with stalls selling all manner of imported goods you never knew you needed.
By Guy Dimond, who likes nothing more than rooting for Tooting.