Garratt Lane is really long: 1,085 numbers long. But wait! Before you reach for your silly ‘adult’ scooter, calm down, because you can largely ignore the northern reaches, dominated by chain shops and the looming Southside Shopping Centre.
Garratt Lane starts to get interesting around Earlsfield: a place which you might not even have heard of, overshadowed as it is by nappy valley Battersea, posh Clapham and tube-blessed Balham and Tooting. It’s just close enough in to feel like ‘proper London’, but it’s still the kind of place whose Wikipedia page lists a Sainsbury’s Local as a site of interest.
In a way, Earlsfield represents the best of Zone 3. It’s relaxed and low-key compared with central areas, but has strong transport links, albeit not underground ones. There’s a notable absence of hip, but you can still enjoy a pint of craft ale, sip on a flat white, gorge on global cuisine and scratch your chin to cross-cultural theatre, all on one street. It was laidback enough to serve as the writing retreat for Louis de Bernières, who penned ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ in Earlsfield Library, but still has enough bars and pubs for a decent Friday night. Come and experience a bit of London with one foot out of the metropolis.
A pint of refreshing old-man ale in one of London’s best beer gardens at The Leather Bottle. This place is massive, but very popular: guard your alfresco table with your life.
A Nude Espresso from artisan café Bean & Hop – which, as its name suggests, also does every Londoner’s other favourite drink.
A friendly pint of bitter at the Old Sergeant pub, especially when they’ve got the roaring fire going.
Pork belly with spring greens, carrot and cardamom purée, roasted beetroot and chimichurri at ‘Masterchef’ winner Dhruv Baker’s restaurant. He’s the proud occupant of the kitchen at The Jolly Gardeners.
Linguine pescatore in unpretentious surroundings, from local Italian favourite Il Girasole.
Something cold and sweet from new Italian gelateria Cremoloso Gelato. It’s arrived in Earlsfield in time for the summer.
Panag prawn curry from The Green Curry Thai Café, which serves belly-busting portions at wallet-saving prices.
A mighty, meaty sharing platter that could probably feed a whole family, from steak joint Roxie.
A Korean bulgogi barbecue feast (with a bottle of BYO wine) at local favourite Cah-Chi.
See east-meets-west performances at Tara Theatre, one of south-west London’s most forward-thinking playhouses.
Take a picnic to King George’s Park, which forms part of the scenic Wandle Trail.
Make a wonky bowl and get covered in wet clay in a group pottery session at MiniPotters.
Proper curry ingredients from The Thai Grocer, which stocks wonderful veg you’ve never heard of.
South African biltong from Kruger’s, one of London’s best Saffa delis.
And if you only do one thing…
Flip out at Flip Out. Yes, it’s a trampoline palace that kids love. But they also host adults-only parties, so when you fall on your face you won’t suffer the indignity of being laughed at by a ten-year-old future Olympian.