A rundown of the best curry in Tooting: probably the best curry in the whole of London.
Tooting: the part of town where spinach is labelled saag and fenugreek methi. The high street with more curry houses than chicken shops. More veg stalls than supermarkets. More Mumbai than Morden…maybe that’s a step too far but you get the drift: Tooting is great for curries.
Dosa N Chutny – Tooting’s Best Curry
Number one on this list is arguably the best curry house in the capital. Don’t be fooled by the no-frills interior of canteen tables and mirrored walls – this place is no barbershop.
Start your banquet with a range of cheap South Indian dishes such as UFO-like idly cakes with sambar mustard seed gravy or crispy dosa pancakes with three types of chutney.
Then move on to the intense and aromatic mains. Saag aloo is rich, smoky and creamy while lamb bhuna ghost is the archetypal British curry: all the flavours you grew up with but cooked in a way you’ve never experienced before. Extinguish the exquisite spice with your favourite bottle of beer – it’s BYOB.
68 Tooting High Street, SW17 0RN
Jaffna House – Tooting’s Cheap Curry House
Jaffna is the budget king. Number two on this list has been serving the punters of Tooting for over 25 years now and its prices have barely changed in that time. This means you can get a set lunch of five curries, salad, rice, poppadum and drink for under a fiver. During the evening full portion curries start at around five quid and freshly made veg starters are available for under a pound.
But Jaffna wouldn’t make it to number two on cheapness alone. Oh no. These fragrant Sri Lankan and South Indian curries are delicious: think coconut and tamarind bases with sharp hits of red chili paste, garlic and ginger.
90 Tooting High Street, SW17 0RN
Apollo Banana Leaf – Tooting’s Most Exotic Curry
Apollo may be a bit of a trek away from the curry-laden high street but it’s certainly worth the walk for a taste of Sri Lanka’s more exotic spiced delights.
Sweet and crispy fried plantain bhajis are the Sri Lankan take on banana fritters. Egg and onion stringhopper rice noodles conjure memories of Thai stir-fries. And sliced wheat flour flatbread kottu is considered Ceyon’s equivalent of the American hamburger in terms of popularity.
90 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SF
Rayyan’s – Tooting’s Best Fish Curry
Another restaurant that finds itself slightly off the beaten path, Rayyan’s boasts an impressive roster of dishes.
You can’t go wrong with a couple of sizzling lamb seekh kebabs, served on their grill plate with seared onions and fresh parsley, to start. Order in some naan breads and get stuck into a deliciously meaty afghan karahi lamb curry or an aromatic and succulent karahi fish. Fill up on, slightly greasy, biryani rice.
169-171 Mitcham Road, SW17 9PG
Lahore Karahi – Tooting’s Meaty Meaty Curries
Lahore specialises in Pakistani cuisine. Think lots of grilled meats marinated in yoghurt and flame-grilled on skewers. Thin and fluffy naan is rolled and baked in seconds and it’s so good you needn’t use any cutlery at all. This place is nearly always busy with the buzz of hungry customers but the food is served fast enough to fill your tummy before the last sip of your store-bought beer or wine.
1 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN
Chatkhara – Tooting’s Late Night Curry House
Chatkhara is a canteen-cum-takeaway-cum-restaurant. It’s open later than most and has the look of a souped-up kebab shop. Most of the curries are re-heated in microwaves before your eyes but the hot, spicy succulent lamb balti is a real standout dish.
The best post-boozer curry in town.
15 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7TS
Chennai Dosa – Tooting’s Pancake Curry House
It’s in the name: Chennai Dosa is famed for its extravagant sharing dosa rice pancakes. Get the family together or arrange a sport’s team night out and get stuck into a massive spongy crepe – the longest dosa in Europe no less! Perfect for scooping up oozes of different gravy sauces of varying heats.
33 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7TR
Daily Fresh Naan – Tooting’s Naan Bakery
This place is more of a bakery – an Iraqi bakery at that – than a restaurant but they serve hot filled naans, made to order, so they make it in at number eight. £1.50 gets you a thick fluffy naan topped with cheese, chilli, chicken, paneer or saag. A great lunchtime snack if you’re in the area but not enough to traverse the southern limits of the northern line for.
176 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7ER