I used to think Tooting was the graveyard of Zone 3, a place where 22-year-old Corbyn supporters rent six-bedroom houses with their mates and drink beer out of shoes. But like all the once-grotty-now-edgy parts of London, it’s becoming gentrified with posh pubs and achingly trendy eating spots, all sandwiched between rubbish mounds and drunk people having a wee by the side of the road.
The latest place to open in this spurt of gentrification is Plot Kitchen, a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant specialising in British small plates. Situated inside Tooting Broadway market, its surroundings are more Rodney Trotter than Michelin star, with Instagrammable graffiti adorning the closed market stalls and a vague aroma of fish in the air. It might seem an odd spot to serve a gourmet menu, but that’s the beauty (or stupidity) of London’s foodies. We’d happily travel over an hour to an abandoned warehouse filled with genetically modified spiders if somebody said there’d be something nice to eat at the end of it. Plot only opened a few weeks ago, but this slick hipster paradise is destined to attract ironically tattooed, man bun types in their droves.
Sitting next to the heaters we ordered one of everything from the tiny but well-formed menu, which promised British ingredients and good-quality cooking. The first dish to arrive was the smoked haddock croquettes, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside and exactly as the universe intended haddock croquettes to be. The confit pork belly with shallot puree followed shortly after, another lovely (if slightly tepid) dish. (I suppose not having your food absolutely piping hot is one of the perils of eating outdoors in mid-February.) The cod was equally good, sitting on a bed of creamy artichoke and served with samphire, which is probably the best way to serve any fish.
While the food was undoubtedly good, the dishes were all served individually, which I felt was a little odd- even for a small plates restaurant. The saffron potatoes were delicious, but it would have been nice to dip them in one of the creamy sauces, or try them with the savoy cabbage (which arrived at least 10 minutes after we’d eaten the rest of the food). I mean as cabbage goes it was bloody good, but vegetables on their own are always a slightly sad sort of affair, like drinking tonic water without the gin.
Prices are in line with food quality, it’s no bargain, but it’s not desperately overpriced for London either. If you’re in the area and love eating in unusual venues, I’d recommend a visit. The food is very good and there’s nothing more urban and trendy about fine dining in a vaguely crappy market. Just be sure to bring your camera, the Instagram possibilities are endless.