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15 August 2023: Malabaarii - In the market for some South Indian


It's summer 2023 and there's another new curry kid on the block in Tooting. 

A small South Indian restaurant with dishes in the style of Roti King is not going to pass me by, so I took seasoned guest and local residence Spellins along to check it out.


If you haven't visited Tooting market yet, then I'm not sure what you're doing. In fact, it's so good there are two! Tooting and Tooting Broadway market sit adjacent to each other at the southern end of the high street near Broadway tube. And there's something for everyone in this vibrant, hidden burrow of bars and restaurants.

The latest addition - Malabarii - adds something different. Malabaarii is a small concession in Broadway Market offering a limited menu of South Indian classics and, whilst it isn't too much to behold on its own, as part of the whole market experience it benefits from an electric buzz and atmosphere.

Consisting of just four, plastic wrapped wooden covers, a tiny kitchen, and a plain black sign, simplicity is the order of the day. Think cheap and cheerful value and a new station on the market's culinary train rather than a destination in it's own right.


Starters and sides

Malabar Chicken Fry

Dosa Platter

The menu here really only has four items: porotta 'n' curry, dosa, fried bites, and desserts, but each comes with a few varieties, including vegetarian options. All food is also halal, I believe and takes its influence from the Malabar Coast of South India. As result, it's hard to look past the comparison with the famous Roti King of Euston (and now Battersea) but without the additional Malaysian menu.

Our dishes pretty much all came at once but I am classing the breads and deep fried Malabar chicken as sides. The latter was similar to any deep fried chicken piece snack in the 'chicken 65' style, with chutney and minty raita sides, and a salad garnish. It did the job, no more. We also sampled the vegetarian, cauliflower iteration which was perhaps a bit more exciting, but neither were more than tasty snacks to kick things off.

The porotta bread (think roti) was decent. Lovely, layered and flaky as is their style, but not quite up there with the best as they didn't quite hold their shape when torn apart, and the flour mix was a little more fluffy/lumpy than the best

NB. No alcohol is served here but that is by the by when it comes to scoring which is just a 5/10 for Starters and Sides.



Porotta 'n' Dhal

Porotta 'n' Mutton

Dosa Platter

As for the curry that came with the porotta, it was again simple. Not the most elaborate or textured, both the dhal and mutton curries came in a fair portion for the price. However, the former was a bit tastier with its tarka daal flavours, if a little soupy. The mutton sauce was also a little lacking of both meat and lacked the subtlety of the best South Indian curries - the deep rich, meaty flavours came through, but not much else.

The dosa platter offers a chance to try something different, but the three in the platter could be a little more varied. The dish includes plain (empty), potato masala, and duck fry dosas and three chutney sides. The green chutney is a south Indian classic but the others could have house a little heat for my liking. It's therefore only a modest showing for the mains here.



The three staff deserve points just for operating out of a broom cupboard sized kitchen, add to this a friendly welcome and attentive service and it's hard not to rate lower than a 7. Where more help might be needed is in distracting customers from popular neighbours, but our waiters best efforts with free samples in hand, were also commendable.


Value for money

Value is the order of the day here, with a nice parotta and dhal curry as little as £6.95. Perfect for a light lunchtime bite to eat. The food isn't the highest quality, but apt for its market surrounds and the prices reflect the casual nature too.



Sadly Malabaarii won't be setting the market alight, but hopefully it doesn't go the way of Baba G's whose time in the market selling Indian inspired burgers was far too short lived.

In any case, it's good to support small local businesses, so add this one to your list as a solid cheap eat.


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Address: Unit 74, Tooting Broadway Market, 29 Tooting High St, London SW17 0RJ

Cuisine: South Indian

Status: Open

Alcohol Policy: No alcohol

Price: £

Summary: Cheap and cheerful South Indian

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