When I say I like this restaurant I can do so safe in the knowledge that it wasn't just the mood I was in that day, or, warm fuzziness of two bottles of wine behind me.
Tota is on my doorstop, I eat there often and when they first opened up it was to a grateful sigh from us Tootingers? Tooters? people who live in Tooting Broadway.
When the Evening Standard said "Tooting Broadway is the next Shoreditch", I laughed and then when that subsided I looked out of my window perplexed.
I have a strong suspicion that the people who think "Tooting Broadway is the next Shoreditch," are the ones who bought flats here before the recent boom and want to rent them out for more than their worth, to unsuspecting hipsters.
It's only in the last year that there has been anywhere to get an edible weekend breakfast. Previous choices for dinner were the kebab shop which had a weird picture of a baby in a nappy on the front (hopefully not a clue to their ingredients) or, what I think must be the country's largest Chicken Cottage, (honestly, it's huge).
Apart from curry of course, there is admittedly some good curry here.
Then came Tota, the Soho House venture, Chicken Shop, the Tapas kitchen of Graveney & Meadow, Meat & Shake (that's more Bec admittedly) and many others, Tooting Broadway now has nice places to eat.
In fact, rather than go to Balham, or, Clapham I can have some really good food, on my doorstep.
This however, does not mean it's like Shoreditch, i'm still struggling with that comparison.
I mean, we have streets filled with rubbish because of our lack of wheelie bins, but in Shoreditch, their rubbish is ART, no really, that is a thing, look here.
The bad thing to come out of all this hype is that my landlady has put the rent up significantly, the good is that we finally have some decent food here and Tota is the best of it.
I have had breakfast, lunch and dinner at Tota (on different days I must point out) and each time I left praising the place.
It has some of the most friendly, thoughtful and helpful staff I have ever encountered, who seem to enjoy their jobs and are interested in their customers. WEIRD, I KNOW.
If, like me, you chatter away to anyone, they will hang around for a natter but will equally leave you to it if they sense you are less than chirpy* (*read hungover).
They decor really transforms throughout the day, breakfast and lunch is relaxed and informal but dinner feels slightly more intimate with the elegant candlelight and hushed music.
Their menu is creative but classic, it's local, fresh produce, home curing but most importantly a little gluttonous.
Breakfast offerings are what you would expect from a bistro, there's the fry ups, eggs florentine etc but with added flair, you can add bubble and squeak cakes, or, chorizo sausage. I've had many breakfasts here, they've all been well executed but their American buttermilk pancakes are particularly good.
Lunch is, again, standard fare but done well, sandwiches, salads etc.
In the evenings there's a constantly updated menu with ever changing specials and a half price steak and ribs night every Tuesday.
Particular highlights are their burgers with buttermilk onion rings, calamari, fritto misto, pork ribs and their delicate treatment of their fresh fish special, which changes daily.
The people behind Tota have put the focus on big plates of simple but delicious food, this is not true of many of the food establishments in Shoreditch.
In Tota there isn't a weird post-modern blah concept that was born from some creepy looking man with a biblical beard. The staff do not grunt at you from behind their achingly ironic NHS glasses. Tota have a big sign so that you know where it is, it's not a 'pop-up' and you can book here, they are deliciously reliable.
It's not such a trendy attitude to eating but judging by their busy dining room, it's popular.
Hipsters please stay in Shoreditch, there is nothing for you here.