"Short stories and travel reports from my life adventures around the globe".

Travel Report: Dee Light Bakery, London.

Entrance Dee Light Bakery.

Dee Light Bakery, Tooting Bec, London.

May 2019. Boy have I had some fun over the years exploring the rich cafe scene of London’s Tooting Bec neighbourhood. Over the course of my many stays in South London, I’ve seen the range of coffee shops mushroom; the crown of favourite passing from head to head on several occasions. 

Soon, I’ll provide a rundown of my top Tooting Bec cafe picks. First, allow me to share the place that, when push comes to shove, is my best-loved local spot for a latte and a bite. It was Henry of course who first told me about Dee Light Bakery. Situated on Ritherdon Road, technically the cafe lies in the neighbourhood of Balham. Nevertheless, I still think of it as a Tooting Bec spot, as it takes me just ten minutes to walk there from Henry’s place on Elmbourne Road.

Dee Light Bakery London.

Dee Light Bakery.

Dee Light is an Australian owned independent bakery. Its creator, Dee, has been baking professionally since she was just fourteen years old! As a young adult she studied Creative Cake Design in Sydney and then Creative Technology in London. Eventually, Dee’s experience and qualifications led her to striking out alone with the opening of Dee Light in 2011.

Dee Light Bakery, London.

Dee Light Bakery Australian owned bakery in London


As has been said many times on these pages, I can be a bit… high maintenance when it comes to cafes. However, from my very first visit Dee Light delivered in all those areas that usually irritate me with coffee establishments.

Dee Light Bakery in London.

Dee Light Bakery.

First, the service is always excellent. Friendly faces all round and genuine warmth, with not a trace of the gruffness I’ve experienced in other London cafes. What’s more, come here a few times and they’ll soon be remembering your usual order, favourite seat and other little preferences. Actually Henry, who prefers to be invisible in cafes, hates all that shit. But I love it… what can I say, I’m easily charmed.

Dee Light Bakery Balham

Dee Light Bakery.

Dee oversees a team of professional bakers, with everything made fresh each morning. Whatever you order, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Indeed the bakery has won several London awards, including Baker of the Year at the Farm Shop & Deli Awards.

I’ve tried just about everything on offer. There are breakfast pies, sausage rolls and ham and cheese croissants, in addition to pain au chocolat, muffins, cookies, scones and flapjacks. Their almond croissants enjoy special acclaim, with some customers driving across London simply to pick up a bag.

Best coffee shop bakery Balham Tooting Bec

Dee Light Bakery.

Moreover, there’s a full range of gluten-free pastries. In fact, Dee herself grew up gluten and dairy free and has a cousin who is a celiac. Consequently, Dee now teaches gluten free baking for Divertimenti in South Kensington.

Where to Eat and Drink in London.

All fresh press coffee Balham London.

Dee Light Bakery.

Next comes the all-important subject of the coffee itself. Dee serves allpress coffee, while the lattes, mochas and cappuccinos are just how I like them: hot, sweet and creamy. Never once have I been served a lukewarm/cold coffee and they provide pots of brown sugar on each table, always a sign of a decent cafe in my book.

Dee Light Bakery logo.

Another big part of why Dee Light works for me, and indeed Henry, is that it’s a decent place to come and work. For the most part their wifi holds up very well. And, if you avoid the morning rush, it’s a peaceful enough spot to knuckle down with a cuppa and a pastry. 

Working breakfast Dee Light Bakery.

Dee Light Bakery.

For a while I settled into a routine of hitting Dee Light late morning. There was usually just a handful of customers and it was fun to see Dee and the team busying away making sandwiches and rolls for the lunch crowd and office deliveries.

Fresh sandwiches Dee Light Bakery.

Dee Light Bakery. 

Weather permitting, my favourite Dee Light spot is outside on the patio. From here I can admire the pretty houses on the Ritherdon and Huron roads. If the sun is out in full force or there’s some light rainfall, one of the waitresses will come out and pull the awning down.

Dee Light Bakery, London.

A creamy cafe latte Dee Light Bakery

Dee Light Bakery.

It’s surreal to think that it’s already been over two years since I last stopped by Dee Light. I remember the occasion well because I had come for a long overdue reunion with my old friend Dr. Phil.

We hadn’t seen each other in fifteen years! Not since we parted ways in the south of India. We had a dee-light-full morning (sorry) reminiscing about our old adventures, many of which you can read on these pages in my short story collection, Incidents in India

Meeting an old friend Dee Light Bakery

With Dr. Phil, July 2019.

Dee Light Bakery is a great choice for a drink and a bite if you’re in the Balham/Tooting Bec area. They also host parties, make celebration cakes to order and put on baking and cooking classes. For more info, have a look at their snazzy website.

Leighton Travels travel reports short stories.

Like this? I’ve written more travel reports on Tooting Bec.

For more on my home city, why not delve through my many reports from across London.

Or maybe search further afield with my articles from all around England.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

Leighton Travels logo travel reports and short stories.


  • Sheree

    Sounds a great place!

    September 2, 2021 - 10:04 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Sheree!

      September 2, 2021 - 10:04 am Reply
      • Sheree

        Always a pleasure your posts are very informative

        September 2, 2021 - 10:27 am
  • Little Miss Traveller

    Dee Light Bakery looks to be a perfect spot to call in for a coffee and a pastry. If ever I’m in the Tooting Bec / Balham area I’ll search it out!

    September 2, 2021 - 10:27 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Great to hear! People in Tooting Bec and it’s surrounds are somewhat spoilt for choice when it comes to decent cafes and bakeries. But this one is just about my pick of the bunch.

      September 2, 2021 - 10:34 am Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    Dee Light (love the name) sounds just like the type of coffee shop we like! The moment you mentioned “almond croissants”, you’ve won me over!
    It’s great to find these coffee shops around – we have one like that here in my hometown and we try to support them often 🥐☕️.

    September 2, 2021 - 2:07 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Nice to hear from you! These kind of places are so important to me. Not only because I love coffee and baked stuff. But to find a place that’s good for working, where the people are friendly etc. Glad you have such a place in your neck of the woods!

      September 2, 2021 - 2:11 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    A good bakery with great coffee is hard to find. I can see why you keep coming back here. Those sandwiches look delightful. Dee is a smart lady to give the service that customers want and need. Thanks for sharing. Happy Thursday. Allan

    September 2, 2021 - 2:28 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Allan! Only in Belgrade did I truly realise the important of a great cafe. Unfortunately, service is generally poor, people routinely smoke in them and the coffee is consistently served at a temperature I can only describe as “barely warm”. After a month or so we simply gave up and bought a Nespresso machine for home use. Looking forward to returning to Dee Light when I get back to London.

      September 2, 2021 - 3:24 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Always enjoy your food reports. So you’d go to Dee Light for Dee coffee and Dee bakery goods even though it isn’t in Dee Tooting Bec and Dee isn’t Dee native English. Sorry, couldn’t help myself, but I’d like to help myself to Dee lunch sandwich. They look Dee tasty.

    September 2, 2021 - 3:59 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Memo, you’ve outdeen yourself there. Glad you enjoyed the article!

      September 2, 2021 - 4:05 pm Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    Oh this sounds like such a lovely place. All I want to do this morning is go there and become friends with Dee while I try every one of her pastries. Maybe I can call in sick to work on account of needing pastries in South London…. 🙂

    September 2, 2021 - 4:00 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I think that’s an excellent excuse for calling in sick if ever there was one. Thanks for reading Meg!

      September 2, 2021 - 4:07 pm Reply
  • salsaworldtraveler

    Dee Light looks dee lovely! I’ll admit, though, to being totally out of the coffee house scene. Friends like them, and I’ll go with them occasionally. They have their fancy orders down pat. I just order a regular American coffee, black. I find such places to be a little bit intimidating as well as a tad expensive since I haven’t become a fan. There are so many choices about which I have no clue.😄 I can see the attraction but haven’t worked up the nerve to experiment.

    September 2, 2021 - 4:33 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Well thanks for your interest in the article, despite your general apathy about such places. Coffee and sweet bites are my weakness. Not too bad in the grand scheme of things I guess. Don’t smoke, drink alcohol in moderation, never really got into heroin. Would be interested to read about any experiments you conduct in the coffee department.

      September 2, 2021 - 6:19 pm Reply
  • ourcrossings

    Looks like a fantastic place to pick up a few freshly baked pastries. We are fortunate enough to have many amazing bakeries in Sligo too. While I’m not a coffee drinker, it’s challenging for me to walk past and say No to baked goods 😂

    September 2, 2021 - 10:15 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I hear ya. A sweet or indeed savory bite can make a morning. With a latte 😉 Thanks for reading!

      September 2, 2021 - 11:15 pm Reply

    I don’t really have a sweet tooth but I am definitely a coffee addict! I worked in Balham for a few months back in the ‘90s, long before Dee Light was there. I do like finding a favourite coffee haunt though, both at home and abroad. It’s one of those things that has disproportionate levels of feelgood.

    September 3, 2021 - 6:39 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Yup, a definite comfort factor for me. I find it very hard to stay away from all that stuff. Cool that you know the area, I’m guessing it has changed enormously over the last 20 plus years. Thanks for reading!

      September 3, 2021 - 9:26 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    Well, those pastries certainly look to be a “dee-light!” Although I have low tolerance to coffee, I do love the ambiance of cafes and would stop at least to order a latte and enjoy the vibes. Looks like this bakery is calling my name, and I’ll have to return to London just for a pop in!

    September 4, 2021 - 5:17 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers Rebecca! I think we should do a favourite cafe swap between London and L.A. ha ha.

      September 4, 2021 - 8:27 am Reply
      • Rebecca

        Absolutely! Well, I’ve already shared my picks in an earlier post, so it’s now your turn to share all of yours!

        September 4, 2021 - 11:27 pm
  • travelling_han

    Ooo I’ll have to try it soon 🙂

    September 4, 2021 - 9:10 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Please do Han, if you’re in the area. It’s a relatively peaceful spot too by London standards.

      September 4, 2021 - 9:12 pm Reply
  • cbd oil


    September 4, 2021 - 10:01 pm Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    Ah, I need to stop at my favorite coffee spot in town after reading this for my regular latte!

    September 6, 2021 - 4:11 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      There’s nothing like a trusted coffee joint eh Ruth? Thanks for reading!

      September 6, 2021 - 8:17 pm Reply

Leave a Reply