Tooting’s on the up. Although the Antic group, with their three bars on Mitcham Road, appear to have cornered the market in shabby chic for aspirational Tooting folk, there’s still plenty of room for other well-priced, mid-range places to eat.
Tota has a contemporary design that looks like something out of a Livingetc shoot, with a menu that shifts according to the time of day: it serves breakfasts, light lunches, and a dinner menu with equal conviction. The dinner menu showcases grill dishes, such as slow-smoked pork ribs; ours were good, but served lukewarm. Perhaps the chefs were having trouble mastering the heat in the new kitchen, as a bavette steak wasn’t so much rare (as requested) as raw in the centre. Other details were good: crisp, dry fries, and pert spring greens.
The wine list is succinct, and the beers bottled – it’s always great to see beers from Camden Town or Hogs Back Breweries on the list.
Tota is a sharp-looking place, and once the front-of-house staff smiles don’t feel quite so forced, this could give places like Antelope some competition.