Streatham is one of the most diverse constituencies in the country: it has a huge African and Caribbean population, a strong Portuguese influence, a lot of Polish people (with a very inviting Polish delicatessen which I am yet to check out!) and a lot of young professionals and first time buyers like ourselves moving into the area to take advantage of the still affordable (for London) house prices. Within a 10 minute walk from our flat we have a Roman Catholic Church, a Mosque and Islamic centre, a Jewish Synagogue and the largest gay sauna in London – now how is that for diversity!!!
I discovered during the recent general election that Streatham has one of the youngest age demographics in the UK, with only a quarter of the population in Streatham being over 45. I’m not sure how that compares to other constituencies but it sounds very young to me. Streatham has also been home to a number of “celebrities” – some more noteworthy than others – including Naomi Campbell, Ken Livingstone, Roger Moore (aka Bond) and David Harewood (David Estes in Homeland).
Now having only been in our flat since March, this post may be a little premature. But alas, here they are: my top five places (so far) to go in Streatham, in no particular order:
1. The Manor Arms, Mitcham Lane
I almost feel it is a bit of a cliché putting the Manor on my top 5 but it is – the Manor has a really friendly vibe, is always busy enough to give it atmosphere but not so busy that you can’t get a seat, it does a top notch quiz on a Thursday night and it has a Tuesday night steak night (two steaks and a bottle of wine for £25). Plus it has a cute wee beer garden which has made it a perfect summer hang-out.
2. Cafe Barcelona, Streatham High Road
We discovered this coffee shop/wine bar/live music venue during our many many many visits to Streatham house hunting. Since then, I can’t seem to walk past it without going in. Which says it all really. If you go, make sure you try the custard tarts. They’re AMAZING! I’m yet to go to one of their live music nights but it’s high up there on the Streatham to-do list. Oh and they do some pretty darn tasty Spanish breakfasts too!
3. Bravi Ragazzi, Sunnyhill Road
Simply put: the best pizza in South London! For more, see my post here
4. The Wholemeal cafe, Shrubbery Road
We discovered this little vegetarian cafe a few months back during a busy day painting. It offers veggie or vegan options and is incredible value for money combined with super friendly customer service. Lots of great food combinations and colourful salads, plus a very tasty banofee pie that is well worth sampling:
5. Pratts and Payne, Streatham High Road
Deciding on the final spot was a hard one as I have lots of places left that could easily make it – Mrs Wongs Chinese takeout (easily the joint best Chinese in London, along with Mr Kongs in Soho), Streatham’s weekend Market, all of the incredible green spaces surrounding Streatham including the Rookery on Streatham common and Tooting Bec Common and Lido and the newly refurbished pub, The Bull. However considering the number of times I have been here already in my short time in Streatham, it had to be Pratts and Payne.
Taking its name from the renowned Streatham brothel owner famous for throwing wild sex parties in the 70s and 80s, Cynthia Payne, and the once revered Pratts, a John Lewis store on Streatham High Road that closed in the 90s, Pratts and Payne sports quirky decor and a great wee beer garden out back. Sadly it’s food lets it down a bit and I’ve had some pretty poor service, however it’s proximity to our front door and guaranteed lively atmosphere on a Friday and Saturday night, secures this place it’s spot on my top 5.
So there you have it: my Streatham Top 5 (so far). The next places on my list to check out are the Hideaway for a dinner and jazz night, the Railway near Streatham Common Station and dinner at the renowned, Hood, in Streatham Hill. So many places, such little time…