Knead a Little Love

A flat white, made with the Rocket Espresso blend from Extract, served at Knead a Little Love.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.

  • Walking along Ritherdon Road, Balham, a sign above a coffee shop caught my eye.
  • You can see it better in this photo, showing the view from the other direction.
  • That's right! It's Foxcroft & Ginger. Except it isn't. Rather than focus on the name...
  • ... at the top, take a look down here. It's actually Knead a Little Love.
  • This explains it a little better...
  • ... as does the excellent A-board.
  • Access is via the shallow ramp on the left, which leads to the back of the terrace.
  • The view of the terrace, as seen from the back.
  • This four-person table stands in front of the windows...
  • ... with these two deck chairs to the right.
  • Meanwhile, there are a pair of round tables at the front, this four-person one on the...
  • ... right, and this two-person one tucked in on the left.
  • The door, meanwhile, is on the left, at the back of the terrace.
  • Inside, Knead a Little Love occupies a simple space with the counter at the back.
  • A padded bench runs along the tiled wall to the left, while to the right of the door...
  • ... is a window-bar, currently home to several potted plants.
  • The main seating is along the right-hand wall, where there's another padded bench...
  • ... with four two-person tables in total, ending with this one just before the counter.
  • The walls are decorated in rather eclectic fashion, with plants on shelves...
  • ... and some works of art which are for sale.
  • There's also a framed newspaper article featuring Jess and Knead a Little Love.
  • The tables have flowers, housed in an interesting range of vases.
  • To business. The counter is at the back, with coffee dead ahead and the sweet things...
  • ... off to the left.
  • It was late in the day, so the display was a little depleted. However, never fear if your...
  • ... favourite doughnut isn't on display because there are always more in the kitchen.
  • The full list is on the menu, which also has other goodies, plus the brunch & lunch options.
  • Drinks are on the other side.
  • The coffee, by the way, is Rocket Espresso from Extract.
  • I had a flat white, which came in a glass...
  • ... with some neat latte art...
  • ... which lasted...
  • ... all the way to the bottom of the glass.
  • Finally, I had to have a doughnut, which I took home with me in a box...
  • ... and enjoyed over the weekend, which is where I'll leave you.
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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.


Knead a Little Love is currently crowdfunding for a move to a new space in Aldgate, hopefully at the start of 2022. I’m already looking forward to checking out the new place!

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

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  1. Pingback: Dee Light Bakery | Brian's Coffee Spot

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