Restaurants · Uncategorized

New baby? Need coffee? Here’s your ‘cut out and keep’ guide for Tooting

Before I had my baby the day time goings-on in my local neighbourhood could not have mattered less to me. My husband and I and our friends busied ourselves testing the latest pubs, bars and gin stalls that have popped up in the last few years. Then, everything changed and going out at night became an impossibility. Going out together became an impossibility BUT, what we have discovered is that Tooting is an absolutely brilliant place to be on maternity/paternity leave.

Our baby is now eight months old and I think I can safely say that I, and the dozens of other new mums I’ve met since Oliver arrived, am helping the daytime economy to thrive.

Being alone with a small baby for 12 hours a day is exhausting, testing and at times, lonely. I have to get us out of the house at least once a day for fresh air, exercise (walking and pushing a pram, nothing crazy!), company and to maintain my sanity. Luckily we are spoilt for choice with welcoming places to go for a quick coffee, bite to eat or baby friendly group right on our doorstep.

I wanted to share them on this blog for anyone who else who needs to get out but perhaps isn’t sure where is suitable for prams, nappy changing or comfortable for feeding.

Here is a list of a handful of places for mums, dads and babies to hang out, eat cake and drink that all important coffee by the bucketload. I am not a coffee aficionado at all so I can’t rate places on the quality, but like many new parents, the priority really is the availability of caffeine and how easy it is for me to consume!

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and everyone will have their own preferred places, but it may be useful for anyone new to daytime socialising and night-time wakings!

Mud

This Australian coffee and brunch cafe is possibly one of the most popular in Tooting, often appearing in Time Out and on ‘best coffee shop’ lists. While there are queues out of the door at weekends, weekdays are much quieter.

The brunch dishes, cakes and Ozone coffee are all delicious but this is not the best place for a group of new parents. The space will only fit around two or three prams comfortably, and there is no baby change facility.

I like to get a takeaway coffee from here and head to the common for a walk.

Cake: √

Baby changing: x

Space for pram: 1 or 2 but not a group

The Gorringe

A very baby friendly pub which has a downstairs cinema showing kids films in the week for free. There is also a Rhythm N’ Babes singing session held here a few times a week.

The coffee is good and there is often a nice cake sat on the bar waiting to tempt you. It is not the best pub grub in Tooting but a cosy place to have a catch up with friends.

Cake: √

Baby changing: √

Space for prams: √

Coffee @27

Next door to The Gorringe is Coffee @27. This serves Kimbo coffee at prices cheaper than many of the other establishments. It has a small room at the back with tables so isn’t a huge space for prams but it does have seating outdoor for watching the world go by. A few times when I’ve been in I’ve found they don’t have skimmed milk which can be frustrating.

There is a good selection of cakes and sandwiches.

Cake: √

Baby changing: √

Space for prams: √ one or two but not a big group

Graveney and Meadow

This is one of the bigger bars and restaurants in Tooting Broadway and consequently is a popular place with NCT and other parent groups. It can be quite quiet in the day and again hosts some baby/toddler groups in the week.

It has a really good brunch menu but the coffee isn’t as good as others  in town. It’s served in small glasses and I think it is overpriced and not that well made. When we first moved to Tooting, G&M had a HUGE table covered in cakes, brownies, meringues and other tempting delights. This no longer exists and unfortunately it does not offer anything which might be needed to raise energy levels during those 3pm dips.

There is a lot of space for prams though and the table service is really handy when stuck feeding a baby for half an hour!

Cake: x

Baby changing: √

Pram access: √

TartineTooting Broadway and Tooting Bec

There are two Tartines, one on Tooting High Street and the other near Tooting Bec station. Me and my NCT friends would meet at the Broadway one when we were pregnant but as the babies starting arriving, we soon found that there was no space for the prams and we relocated. Also, I found the chairs very uncomfortable for breastfeeding.

However, they do really nice coffees, milkshakes and cakes – and a wide variety of French-Moroccan savoury food. We are convinced that the brownies may have brought on labour in three out of six of us in our NCT group!

The Tartine near Tooting Bec is more spacious and is very popular.

Cake: √

Baby changing: √

Pram access: x and √

The Castle

This is a really good place for good pub food whether it’s fish and chips or just a sandwich you’re after. There is loads of space and a big restaurant which is good for feeding or rocking sleeping babies, away from the busier bar area.

Being a pub it’s not a go-to place for coffee and cake but it does do ‘sweet shots’ which are small portions of different desserts you can mix up and have a selection of. I think it’s something like three for £6 and includes desserts like banoffee pie, crumble, brownie etc. Perfect for a wintery afternoon… or summer’s day….or day ending in ‘y’…!

It also has a huge garden with fake grass, wooden chalets and dozens of tables which will be ideal in summer.

Brickwood

I guess this cafe is similar to Mud in that it’s run by Antipodeans and is a popular brunch spot. The warm banana bread with espresso butter and Tim Tam muffins are pretty epic and the coffee is decent.

Located in Tooting Market, it’s a really buzzy place but limited in space for prams and groups.  The stools are also not very comfortable for feeding on. There are pub benches outside the cafe which are easier to sit at and the staff will bring your drinks and food to you.

Cake: √

Baby changing: √

Space for prams: x and √

The Sound Lounge

One of the newest additions to Tooting after a successful crowdfunding campaign, this is a vegetarian/vegan cafe which is also a live music venue in the evenings. The space is huge which is great for prams and there is a wide selection of drinks and nibbles. There are juices and smoothies on offer and the mint Aero brownies are pretty special.

Cake: √

Baby changing: √

Space for prams: √

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