Travel Report: Dee Light Bakery, London.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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