Dee Light Bakery

Looking down the length of the cafe area of Dee Light Bakery towards the bakery at the back.Last week I visited Tooting Bec to explore its speciality coffee scene, so it’s slightly annoying that today’s Coffee Spot, the delightful Dee Light Bakery, is actually in Balham, even though it’s closer to Tooting Bec station than it is to Balham station. Located in a parade of shops with flats above, it’s on the northern side of Ritherdon Road, just off the A24 which links Balham station (north) with Tooting Bec station (south).

Geography woes aside, Dee Light Bakery is very much a part of the neighbourhood and will be celebrating its 10th birthday in November. First and foremost, it’s a bakery, with everything (except the bread) baked by hand on site. There’s a wide range of goodies on offer, from breakfast through to lunch and afternoon tea, plus lots of cakes and pastries on the side. This is all backed up by an espresso-based menu using the Allpress espresso blend, along with a wide range of teas from Canton Tea Co in Bristol. You can sit inside at a short row of tables opposite the counter, or outside, where you’ll find a spacious, sunny terrace in front of the bakery, which is well set back from the road.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Dee Light Bakery, on the northern side of Ritherdon Road in Balham.
  • The spacious terrace has five tables in all, three on the left...
  • ... and two more on the right.
  • You can also sit on the front wall, which has a handy, padded top.
  • Two large windows flank the central door, while a retractable awning provides shade/sheter.
  • What's that I can see through the window? It looks very much like...
  • ... COFFEE!
  • Getting inside is made easy by this barely perceptable concrete ramp.
  • Let's go in.
  • For now, you're limited to the cafe area at the front of Dee Light Bakery. This extends to...
  • ... the table at the back, which blocks your progress. The counter is on the left...
  • ... while the seating is on the right. There's a row three tables, with a two-person table...
  • ... at the far end and two four-person tables at the front (seen here from the back).
  • The shelves in the window, by the way, are stocked with produce, including bread & eggs.
  • There's a whole lot more at the back of the cafe, where the table is loaded with...
  • ... Australian products, mostly for those of you with a sweet tooth.
  • There's more (of the same stock) on another table further back on the right.
  • There's also a small range bottled and canned Australian beer.
  • Beyond the table is the bakery. Although off limits, you can still watch the bakers baking.
  • Dee Light Bakery has a couple of lovely clocks. This one is in the bakery...
  • ... while this is over the seating. Any rumours that the skeleton is ex-staff will be denied!
  • One of the lights hanging above the seating, with one of the...
  • ... fierce light bulbs (so fierce, it has to be kept in a cage) from above the counter.
  • You order and pay at the back corner, by the way...
  • ... where you'll find the drinks menu.
  • The coffee is from Allpress, while there's also tea from Canton Tea Co...
  • ... with all the shots pulled on the La Marzocco Linea in the window.
  • The counter serves to display the various sweet and savoury goodies, all baked on site.
  • There's so much going on, it's hard to keep track.
  • The last of the pastries were out by the till when I was there.
  • Next there's a range of brownies...
  • ... with various loaves underneath.
  • There are more sweet things in the middle section...
  • ... with cakes underneath.
  • The front part of the counter is a mix of sweet and savoury.
  • The sweet part is on top, where the Anzac tins give away the bakery's Aussie roots...
  • ... while the savories are below.
  • I decided to sit outside, where you find cutlery and sugar on the tables.
  • It was lovely and sunny that day...
  • ... perfect autumn weather to sit outside with my Bakewell slice...
  • ... and my cortado, served in an oversized red cup, which is where I'll leave you.
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Dee Light Bakery was opened in November 2011 by the eponymous Dee, who wanted to create a small slice of Australia in her adopted South West London home. Conceived as an interactive bakery, it’s always been a place where people can come to see the bakers at work, enabling them to ask questions. It’s also about transparency, so customers can see what goes into every product.

Long and thin, Dee Light Bakery is split into three parts: a café area at the front, the bakery in the middle, with a children’s play area and demonstration room at the back. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dee Light Bakery was busy every weekend, with children’s parties and baking demonstrations, but these days, you’re restricted to the café, which has received an overdue refurbishment, Dee taking advantage of the enforced COVID-19 closure. The bakery is still visible though, so you can watch the bakers at work if you want to. In that respect, it reminds me of the original Exploding Bakery or Hart’s Bakery, with the smell of baking filling the space.

Dee Light Bakery is on the northern side of the (relatively) quiet Ritherdon Road, part of a long parade of shops and cafés (which includes Knead a Little Love), all of which are set well back from the broad pavement. This leaves plenty of space for a row of large, outside terraces, with Dee Light Bakery separated from its neighbours and the pavement by low, brick walls.

The terrace has five tables in all, three on left, two on right, each with a pair of chairs, except the back two, which have benches in front of the windows, one each side of the central door. These two tables also benefit from the large, retractable awning that extends from the front of the bakery. Finally, you can sit on the two walls at the front, which have padded tops (in case the idea of sitting on a brick wall doesn’t appeal).

Looking at Dee Light Bakery, the coffee is on the left, its La Marzocco Linea and Mazzer grinders clearly visible through the window, while on the right, loaves of bread and other groceries tempt you (although by the time I got there, at one o’clock, it had almost all sold out). The central door is slightly above the level of the terrace, although an almost imperceptible concrete ramp makes access easy.

Inside, there’s a large counter on the left, with the seating, a row of three tables (two four-person ones at the front and a two-person table at the back) opposite on the right. The counter is loaded with goodies, both sweet and savoury, while you order and pay at the back of the counter, where you’ll find stacks of Australian produce for sale, including Tim Tams and other Arnott’s biscuits. There’s also vegemite and a small range of Australian beers.

Dee Light Bakery has a range of breakfast and lunch savouries which are on sale until they’re all gone. This includes wraps and pastries (breakfast) plus toasties, sausage rolls and quiche (lunch), although there’s no kitchen per se, as Dee doesn’t want the smell of cooking competing with the smell of baking.

I was there in the afternoon, having had brunch at Green Monkey, so settled for a cortado and a Bakewell slice. My cortado was served in an oversized cup, providing the perfect ratio of coffee to milk, the Allpress espresso blend producing a strong, smooth drink. The Bakewell tart, in contrast, was sweet, with a crumbly pastry base and soft, moist sponge, the perfect companion to my coffee.

14 RITHERDON ROAD • BALHAM • LONDON • SW17 8QD
www.deelightbakery.com +44 (0) 20 8672 0250
Monday CLOSED Roaster Allpress (espresso only)
Tuesday 08:00 – 15:00 Seating Tables; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 15:00 Food Cakes, Sandwiches, Savouries
Thursday 08:00 – 15:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 15:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 16:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:30 – 15:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 22nd October 2021

If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.


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2 thoughts on “Dee Light Bakery

  1. Pingback: Communion Coffee | Brian's Coffee Spot

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