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.
|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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