I really enjoyed the build up, it was great fun to see the development of this place and the excitement build with Tooting residents.
There is of course always a risk with such a build up the expectations are raised and possibly not met.
Before I had a chance to visit Tota myself, I had a report from someone whose opinion I trust who had been to Tota. Their experience was bad, amongst the worst dining experiences they have had. I'm not going to go in to detail, I wasn't there but rest assured those two friends will not be visiting Tota again.
This increased my curiosity so the next day I went in to grab a takeaway coffee. I picked up an almond croissant as well. I was impressed with the fit out, the staff were friendly and the food looked good. First problem was no bags for a take away croissant, they offered a plastic bag but that's not a great look, I'm not that precious though, and let's face it, I was going to stuff the croissant in my face as soon as I was out the door.
The next problem was the coffee, it was weak. That's all, but that's a big deal for me.
My first visit didn't put me off though, I was keen to see if things would improve.
Next visit included a sandwich (halloumi and roast vege - yum) and a smoothie (yum), Mrs Spiller had a flat white which unfortunately was weak.
This place has so much going for it that I took the unusual step of dropping Tota a line with my feedback on the coffee, they responded.
My next visit was just for coffee, everything else about this place had impressed me by this stage and on my third visit the coffee did too. I was so relieved and pleased for Tota.
My only photo comes from this visit. I highly recommend you read ColPorter's blog about the fit out and to see more of the interior of Tota.
I recently visited Tota again. A difference this time being we went at a peak time, they were busy, I was interested to see if being busy was going to challenge the quality of the service. It did not, we received very friendly, accommodating, attentive service and the food was great. Mrs Spiller declared half way through her meal that Tota was her new favourite place. She had bacon buttie (simple but good and reasonably priced) with chai latte (one of the best around). I had eggs Florentine (very tasty, egg slightly over done).
We finished off with delicious carrot cake and a flat white each. Oh dear, the flat whites were terrible. They were weak white americano's at best. It was a real shame but I guess we have to accept this is a restaurant first and foremost and perhaps our coffee expectations are too high.
That said, we really like this place. We're more likely to stick to chai lattes in the future. There is so much to like about this place, I'm not going to dwell on the negative. However, when it comes to the scores on this blog it is so much about the coffee, so without further adieu...
I am basing these scores on our most recent visit which was the visit I intended to use for this review.
Overall 7/13 (a tricky one, the coffee has really let Tota down. I suspect on a good day the score could be much higher)