Snapshot of Northcote Road

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This not-so-humble road, a stone’s throw from Clapham Junction station and Battersea territory, has an exhaustive list of shops, restaurants and cafes so for now we’ve built a small snapshot.

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Sure, there’s the high street chains – Oliver Bonas, Phase Eight, Whistles, Bill’s, Byron, Franco Manca, Nando’s, and so on –  but we can’t forget the local independent gems too.

Pictures for sale on their Saturday street market

Pictures for sale on their Saturday street market

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Inside Hutton's on Northcote Road

Inside Hutton’s on Northcote Road

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Many of the gift shops are admittedly hard to tell apart, as a lot of them sell pretty much the same stuff, but as ever the key is in the little quirks. In Hutton’s they post a daily horoscope on the counter (when they can remember to – the cashier admitted it’s easy to forget on a busy day) and their gift bags have recipes printed on them.

Flip the bag over for the recipe - cute!

Flip the bag over for the recipe – cute!

Outside Hamish Johnston

Outside Hamish Johnston

We’re building a little hit list of places to eat, drink and shop (oh hello Hamish Johnston, you look like a cheese haven), but let us know if there’s anywhere in particular that deserves a shout out.

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Le Tour de France, Streatham

Le Tour de France shop sign, Streatham

Le Tour de France shop front, Streatham

Excuse us for using a phrase that’s been done to death but this literally is a hidden gem, a couple of streets away from Leigham Court Road and Valley Road.

bread and pastries at Le Tour de France Streatham

Bread and pastries are baked on site

Supermarkets offering a wider selection of cuisine and the spike in internet food shops mean places like this are losing some relevance but we find delicatessens and local shops great to browse in. No shelf is the same and the individuality is what makes local towns so great.

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Anyway, soapbox moment aside, Le Tour de France specialises in – you guessed it – French food and drink, with a nod to Belgian delicacies too; they stock Rochefort Belgian beer, little found in London town.

Trappistes rochforte stocked at le tour de france streatham

Find Belgian beer on the shelves in this French cafe

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All their pastries are proved and baked on site every day, and they also stock a decent variety of meats, cheese and tarts on counter too. As a nod to changing dietary requirements you’ll find dairy-free and vegan cake options on offer.

Their shelves are a multicolour of tins, bottles and packets of classic French food.

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The nicest touch for us was the artwork adorning the walls throughout the place – French, of course.

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We stayed for breakfast but we’ll be back to stock up the essentials (cheese and wine, ahem).

Croissant, Cappucino, apple and cinnamon tea and a pain au raisin

Croissant, Cappucino, apple and cinnamon tea and a pain au raisin

Le Tour de France, 135 Sunnyhill Road, SW16 2UW.

Reviewed: Earl Grey & Rose, Streatham Hill

On our first ever walk up Leigham Court Road towards our new flat, we passed this quaint little cafe-cum-jewellery shop. The bottom of this road is a random combo of the usual shops – newsagents, barbers, charity shop and a restaurant called the Dorchester that looks like it’s in a time warp (we’re SO visiting there soon).

Earl Grey & Rose sticks out – the pale blue shop sign, windows stuffed with looks-good-enough-to-eat cakes and bakes (just as well, of course). We’ve lived in Streatham for a month and this was our first opportunity to visit.

No detail has been spared – you’ve got bunting, jam jars, rows of teapots and homemade chutney (more on that later), and a miss mash of shabby-chic tables and chairs, not to mention Radio 2 in the background (pleasingly it was Tony Blackburn’s show, which fitted the vintage feel rather nicely).

So, food. We had:

*Brie, bacon and avocado sandwich (£4.50). You could choose between white, granary and rosemary/olive oil bread, and toasted or not. We went for rosemary/olive oil, plus toasted (who can resist the melty texture of brie?).

*Ploughman’s (£7.50)  – choose between a huge variety of cheeses, then whether you want it as it is or half and half (that’d be with a helping of ham).

*Strawberry cupcake. Choose between various basic but delicious flavours, all made that day – lemon, blueberry, chocolate etc. All delicately decorated, as you’d expect…

*We washed it down with Victorian Lemonade and elderflower cordial – hardly their fault, but I always think these bottles are way too tiny for the price sold and the amount you really want. I’d finished mine before our food even arrived.

We only waited around ten mins for our orders. Everything was in huge servings, garnished with soft lettuce leaves (none of the leftover stalky stuff you’re reluctant to gnaw on), and a syrupy honey/mustard/balsamic style dressing. When we say huge, we mean it. Check out the HUGE chunks of ham!

Delicate enough to tear apart easily with a fork, there was actually another layer of the stuff underneath the lettuce, pictured. The gherkins and pickled onions were a fab traditional touch, and the homemade chutney was sweet with a pleasingly sharp aftertaste. You can buy the stuff to take home, too.

The sandwich didn’t lack any ingredient, and the bacon was also substantial and fat-free. Quite frankly, we were too full for the cupcake but we did our duty and gobbled it up. See, strawberries all the way inside too…

Our lunch came to just under £20 – we won’t need to eat until dinner now. It wasn’t as busy as the likes of Lavish Habit, which surprised us. Perhaps because it’s not quite in the hub of Streatham, we don’t know. Do make a visit though. The relaxing environment let us take a step out of our hectic lives, if only for an hour…

Enq: Earl Grey & Rose, 1 Streatleigh Parade, SW16 1EQ.