A place crammed with local gems, from sumptuous street food to chilled cocktails
So I lived in Tooting from 2018 and left recently in 2021. Despite having previously lived here for 3 months when I first lived in London too, rather shockingly, I only ventured to Tooting Market to explore about six months into my second spell here. The Market, or I should say Markets have since become a fond favourite for an afterwork drink or a chilled weekend day out.
There are two Markets located very close to one another and the tube station – (Tooting) Broadway Market and Tooting Market.
Terrible I know!
Tooting Broadway Market
Personally I like Broadway market the best. It is a little more intimate and nearly everything is independent, whereas many of the food/drink vendors in Tooting market are chains.
Plus it has my favourite of the restaurants – Bayou Bar.
This is one hell of a place. Their Louisiana style food is to die for and very reasonably priced. And if that wasn’t enough, they do incredible frozen cocktails. Mostly rum or tequila based.
It was one of the first places to open back up when covered markets were allowed to operate again after the first lockdown, so we spent a fair bit of time here.
Former favourites pre-pandemic
Sadly a few of my favourite restaurants and bars have not survived Covid, but I will leave them here anyhow just in case!
Plot and Tikitail
My boyfriend at the time was actually the catalyst for my first real trip here after reading about a restaurant called Plot in the Market, which was supposed to be very nice, so he made a reservation.
We arrived early straight from work with dinner booked for 8, so we went for a wander to figure out what was about. There were a good few bars and restaurants open considering it was a Thursday night, and we settled on heading to a cute little Tiki bar which had tiki umbrellas outside with fairy lights so I was sold! The cocktails were pretty tasty and the standard classics were on offer for happy hour!
After a few of those, we headed over to Plot for our dinner. They have a small menu with a few small plates designed for sharing.
We ordered the bread with marmite butter for starter and it was so good I still actually dream about it. I love marmite and I love butter and it was such a perfect salty concoction with honey drizzled on it, sounds weird but so so good!
We then ordered a few sharing plates, including barbecued greens, onglet, crab ravioli and a pork dish and possibly something else but I can’t remember because it was two months ago and I should really have written this then! I am a fussy eater and a work in progress, I actually quite liked the crab ravioli and the pork but the beef was too rare and I am not ready for the raw meat texture.
We ordered a brownie for dessert and my god it was good. It had a big sugared shard for decoration and came with coulis, marshmallow smear and ice cream and it was excellent.
So my first dining experience was pretty awesome and I was keen to go back.
Sadly both Plot and Tikitail have now moved on, you can find Tikitail in Balham however just a few stops up the Northern Line!
Finally found the time to do so last weekend, choosing to spend some time wandering around, having a few drinks and maybe a cheeky snack.
Our first stop after a recon walk was Bayou – a Deep South Louisiana burger joint and bar which looked quite busy.
I opted for a hurricane cocktail, which had a generous portion of rum in it and the boyfriend a beer, and we ordered some hot and blue Cajun fries and they were so tasty, almost too spicy for my delicate mouth but the blue cheese sauce cooked it down and they were so damn tasty!
The Hill Station
We had liked the look of the Himalayan mountain shack themed bar, the Hill Station, but it wasn’t open on our initial walk around. However we saw it opening and fancied going for a cocktail there, and ended staying for 3 drinks. The cocktail menu was excellent and they had a wonderful gin specials menu.
The theme inspired us to spend ages talking about travel plans which we do loads anyway but it was such a cool venue we couldn’t help it. One day, Everest Base Camp. One day. We sat outside the venue on a lovely bench with cushions and fake snow leopard blankets and I am all about the big cats so I loved that touch! The market was heated so it was pretty pleasant to sit there.
After that we thought we would walk over to the other market, Tooting market, further from the tube station. This one is much more open with higher ceilings and has more venues inside. We went to the large bar at the back of the market and had more cocktails.
It was a little chillier in there being a bigger venue, so I think the first market has that going for it more, as well as feeling a little more intimate, which I like.
There is lots more I would like to explore, and lots of food to enjoy and I really am looking forward to going back soon.
I am so mad at myself for leaving it so long before checking it out! So if you live in the area and are thinking about it, go! I would encourage everyone to explore their surroundings a bit to discover new things, you might find a new favourite spot!