I’m concluding my short series on Tooting Bec/South Balham with a chance discovery that I made enroute to Dee Light Bakery. An iconic sign above a coffee shop on Ritherdon Road caught my eye: Foxcroft & Ginger. Readers with long memories may recall the original Foxcroft & Ginger in Soho (now long since gone), one of my early Coffee Spot favourites. Naturally, I hurried to investigate, only to discover that it wasn’t Foxcroft & Ginger after all, Knead a Little Love having sublet the premises almost exactly one year ago in November 2020. So, in a sense, it was a double chance discovery.
Knead a Little Love is a vegan doughnut bakery, run by two sisters, but vegan doughnuts is only the start of it. As well as six different ring doughnuts and 12 filled doughnuts, Knead a Little Love has cookies, tarts and pastries, plus an all day brunch menu, along with a couple of snacks and two lunch options. And that’s before I get started on the coffee, where Extract Coffee Roasters makes a rare London appearance with its Rocket Espresso blend. There’s also a range of tea, plus a selection of fresh smoothies to round things out.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Knead a Little Love is on the northern side of the (relatively) quiet Ritherdon Road in South Balham, just three doors along from Dee Light Bakery, where I was heading before the iconic Foxcroft & Ginger sign stopped me in my tracks. Knead a Little Love, which moved into the premises a year ago, began life at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Jess, who was a pastry chef, started baking doughnuts at home. She joined forces with her sister, Becca, and together they run the coffee shop, along with a small team.
Knead a Little Love is part of a long parade of shops and cafés, all of which are set well back from the broad pavement. This leaves plenty of space for a row of large outside terraces, which, in the case of Knead a Little Love, is slightly raised and surrounded by waist-high wooden planters, with a long, shallow ramp running up the left-hand side. The front of Knead a Little Love is all glass, with a door on the left and three windows on the right, all of equal width. There’s a four-person table on the terrace in front of the windows, with two deckchairs to the right of that, while at the front, a round table occupies each corner.
Knead a Little Love occupies a fairly modest space with the counter at the back. A long, padded bench, lined with four two-person tables, runs along the exposed brick of the right-hand wall. This is matched by a similar bench along the tiled wall on the left, but this one has no tables, leaving a clear line between door and counter. There’s also a window-bar at the front which is currently out of use, lined instead by large pot plants. These help make Knead a Little Love a very green space, with more plants standing on various shelves.
All the doughnuts are made in the kitchen at the back, along with the rest of the food. I would have loved to have sampled the brunch menu, but having already eaten at Green Monkey, I settled for a flat white, which was served in a glass. The Rocket Espresso blend from Extract is lighter and sweeter than I’ve been used to recently, with some fruity notes coming clearly through the milk, which I appreciated. The milk was also beautifully steamed, holding the latte art to the bottom of the glass.
Naturally, I had to have a doughnut. I was torn between the classic ring doughnuts, but in honour of the awesome filled muffins that I loved so much at Foxcroft & Ginger, I had to have a filled one, eventually choosing rhubarb and ginger, which I took home with me to enjoy that weekend. It was lovely, the rich dough of the doughnut pairing perfectly with the rhubarb and ginger filling.
I confess that I was initially a little disappointed to find that Knead a Little Love wasn’t Foxcroft & Ginger, given my huge nostalgia for the original in Soho. However, given that it is no more (although the team behind Foxcroft & Ginger live on as Rockstar Bakers), I like to think that in some way the original spirit lives on through Knead a Little Love, where I can’t imagine it being in better hands.
November 2021: Knead a Little Love has had to quit its current premises in Balham due to a dispute with the landlord and it looking to move to a new space in Aldgate, hopefully early in 2022. I’m already looking forward to checking out the new place!
December 2021: Knead a Little Love was a runner-up for the 2021 Happiest Staff Award.
June 2022: Knead a Little Love has opened its new shop (which is in Shoreditch rather than the planned place in Aldgate). The address is 253 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AH. I’m hoping to visit in the near future, so I’ll let you know what I find.
|8 RITHERDON ROAD • BALHAM • LONDON • SW17 8QD|
|www.kneadalittlelove.com||+44 (0) 20 3489 1713|
|Monday||CLOSED||Roaster||Extract (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Doughnuts|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 15:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||22nd October 2021|
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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