Whether you want a first-rate coffee, the best breakfast in town or a scrumptious salad for lunch, here’s our pick of the best cafes, delis and coffee shops in South West London, from Balham to Fulham
Lead image: Story Coffee
1 MILK, Balham
MILK, formerly, but thankfully no longer, M1LK, remains a cool Balham brunch spot, despite doubling in size in 2015. From coffee, cookies and cakes, to a full English breakfast or sweet-corn fritters, all produce at MILK is locally sourced – ‘from independent, family-owned suppliers around London, and the south east. We work closely with our butcher to source organic, heritage and rare-breed meats from individual farms in Sussex, Norfolk and Surrey.’
20 Bedford Hill, Balham SW12 9RG; m1lk.co.uk
2 Walker Wyatt Coffee, Tooting Bec
Back in 2009 independent estate agents Walker Wyatt started selling coffee to commuters to stay afloat during the housing slump. They didn’t bank on it being such a successful venture that they would have to relocate the estate agency side of their business. As well as first-rate coffee and tea, it also serves fresh food and cakes daily.
3 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7TS; facebook.com/Walker-Wyatt-Coffee
3 Brew Café, Battersea, Wimbledon & Wandsworth
Brew Café has three sites in south west London – in Battersea, Wimbledon and Wandsworth, so it must be doing something right in the SW community. It’s the coffee it’s famous for, but Brew is also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
45 Northcote Road SW11 1NJ / 21 High Street SW19 5DX / 42 Old York Road SW18 1SS; brew-cafe.com
4 Shot Espresso Ltd, Fulham
‘Finally, proper flat whites have come to Fulham Broadway!’ says Stephen Finch, Director of Vagabond Wines. ‘We need lots of caffeine at Vagabond, so we’re probably at Shot Espresso at least twice a day. The guys there are also super friendly.’ So that’s the coffee and the service covered. Shot Espresso also serves home-made cakes and pastries, regular brunch specials and lunch – including fresh panini, sandwiches, piadina wraps, salads, quiches and soups. It also has an alcohol licence, and is open until 10pm. Perfect for an apéritif.
11 Jerdan Place, Fulham SW6 1BE; shotespresso.com
5 Bertie & Boo Balham
Independent neighbourhood café Bertie and Boo in Balham is a favourite amongst young families. The colourful coffee shop opened in 2006 (look out for the vintage car for kids out front). Enjoy your latte at an old school desk or terrace in candy striped deck chair on the terrace. Further down Balham High Road (opposite Du Cane Court) you’ll find Bertie & Boo’s AdventureIsland, complete with soft-play area. ‘Bertie is really entertaining when he does story time. He is good, gets all the kids involved, he knows how to keep them in the zone,’ says local resident Jessica Davis, mum to four-year-old Flora.
162 Balham High Road, Balham SW12 9BW; bertieandboo.com
6 Brickwood Cafe, Balham, Clapham, Tooting & Streatham
Hildreth Street in Balham is close to becoming café city central, with Brickwood – which has a la Marzocco coffee machine – now sitting a few doors down from MILK and across the street from the Blackbird Bakery. Don’t miss the Caravan blend iced coffee and try a cold-pressed juice. Baked goods are fresh with a unique twist (a scone that was the size of a small plate and grilled banana and walnut bread with whipped espresso butter and orange and cinnamon brioche with vanilla mascarpone). Branches in Clapham, Tooting & Streatham, too.
11 Hildreth Street SW12 9RQ; brickwoodlondon.com
7 Dee Light Bakery, Balham
‘A neighbour brought a huge tray of focaccia from Dee Light Bakery to our Street Party and is was so incredibly delicious with an unusually light fluffly texture and plenty of rosemary that I had to investigate more,’ says Sudi Pigott. ‘On a furiously busy Saturday morning, sausage croissants with wholegrain mustard were flying out as were properly crisp croissants, posh apple muffins and luscious looking Swiss rolls. Besides offering a bespoke cake service, there are lots of classes ranging from parent and child cupcakes to more sophisticated two layer wedding cake workshops.’
14 Ritherdon Road, Balham SW17 8QD; deelightbakery.com
8 North Street Deli, Clapham
Clapham Old Town’s North Street Deli is a favourite of the SW Resident team. Choose between the fresh salad selection (hot and cold) and add a slice of quiche, or try a North Street sausage roll (they’re famous in SW4). You can stock up your larder too while here, and there there’s a garden out the back, perfect for alfresco eating.
26 North Street, Clapham Old Town SW4 0HB; facebook.com/NorthStDeli
9 Gail’s Artisan Bakery, various
Artisan bakery Gail’s began life in Hampstead in 2005 and now how countless branches across London. In SW London, you can find them in Clapham, Earlsfield, Putney, Wimbledon & Richmond. Founders Ran Avidan and Tom Molnar think ‘bread is beautiful’ and so might you once you’ve tasted a Gail’s loaf. And don’t just try the bread, impressive cakes and biscuits also catch the eye. Wash it all down with a coffee, or stay for lunch (fresh salads and sandwiches and the like).
10 Story Coffee, Battersea, Wandsworth & Clapham Junction
Jo and Sof’s first venture on Battersea’s St John’s Hill offers exceptional coffee in a stylish, Scandi-style setting. ‘Everything we offer has its own story and absolute transparency, hence the name,’ says Sof. Story Coffee is the first to bring east London’s Square Mile Roasters coffee to Battersea, and now you’ll find it in Wandsworth and Clapham Junction, too. Fresh food, including pastries from Comptoir Gourmand, are also on the menu.
11 Blackbird Bakery, Balham
South London staple Blackbird Bakery opened its sixth site on Hildreth Street in Balham, shortly followed by a venue in Streatham. The bakery offers excellent sourdough and a range of snacks, including Scotch eggs, tortilla and mini quiches, ideal for lunchtime. Everything is baked in house using impeccable organic and Fair Trade ingredients – a real asset to Balham.
12 Hildreth Street, Balham SW12 9RQ; blackbirdbakerylondon.co.uk