You will find pretty much everything in London; all cultures, all music scenes and my favourite – all cuisines. It’s a melting pot of culture and this weekend I had the pleasure of exploring South London, more specifically Tooting.
There’s been an explosion of Indian culture in Tooting over the past 30 years forming a large Indian community. With this has come the arrival of curry houses, sweets and savoury shops, beauty parlours specialising in techniques originating from India and beautiful clothes shops selling saris and Indian attire. Therefore making Tooting my hidden gem find.
I was keen to explore the area and discover all of this for myself. My first port of call was to Beauty and Style, a beauty shop which offers threading for just £3! My friends who live in the area all get their eyebrows done there and at just £3 it was hard to resist! In case you don’t know, eyebrow threading is a hair removal technique which originated in India, it uses only a piece of thread to remove hair from the root- a surprisingly accurate way of hair removal, so I had my eyebrows done.
All beautified, I strolled along Tooting High Street where there was no shortage of fruit and vegetable stalls, curry houses and clothes shops. I headed to Chennai restaurant, close to Tooting Bec, which a friend had recommended. It’s a restaurant chain known for their Masala dosas, a famous dish in Southern India. I would describe a dosa as a crispy, savoury pancake that is accompanied by a variety of chutneys which included a coconut based one, green chilli, coriander and sambar (a curried vegetable sauce) chutney. There are also different types of dosas, which are stuffed with potato, onion, meat, paneer etc. I opted for the masala dosa and a mango lasee. Both of which were delicious and very reasonably priced!
With savoury ticked off my list the next stop had to be the Indian sweet shops. I passed them all until deciding upon the one called Pooja because the selection looked mouth-wateringly divine! There massive queue of people lined up out of the shop also persuaded me to settle on this shop because although the British love a good queue, I also presumed Pooja was popular for a reason. And I was right. After doing some sampling I chose a box of the colourful coconut, almond and pistachio flavoured sweets for a very reasonable price of £5. This sweet shop was my favourite hidden gem of all!
My day ended there, and I left thoroughly content and loaded with scrumptious treats! It makes for a nice day or afternoon out especially if you’re a fan of Indian cuisine. It’s also very kind to your pocket, making for a cheap day out too.
Hidden Gem Tip: If you want to get some grocery and household shopping done I would recommend Tooting Market, it’s indoor and sells everything from fruit and vegetable to furniture fashion, arts and crafts and beauty products.
To get to Tooting hop on the Northern line and get off at either Tooting Bec or Tooting Broadway.
Go on, venture south off the beaten track and discover my hidden gem find for yourself!
Have you been to Tooting? What did you think and do you have any recommendations of your own? Leave a comment below and fill me in! x