Although the weekend ritual of brunch began in England in the late 1800s, it’s only recently that London has started to catch up with its trendy international counterparts and the culinary level they have taken it to. So just how do you quantify brunch in London? It’s a unique mix of the old and the new. Here you can expect to find classic English breakfasts, sweet treats, different cultural imports, and experimental cooking. Presently, the standard is really high, but the most exciting part is witnessing London eateries create their own take on brunch, and the realization that there is more unique offerings to come as the tradition progresses.
The Phoenix Café, Brixton
If you fancy a classic greasy spoon for brunch then check out long-standing Brixton institution Phoenix Café. The Phoenix All Day Breakfast Special is a definite must. Then there are other options such as its bacon sandwich, rump steak and peas, cheese omelette and chips, and free range eggs on toast. After undergoing a recent renovation and move, let’s hope this unique eatery does not lose its original appeal.
Burnt Toast, Brixton
Taking inspiration from American brunch culture, this Brixton Café has an inspiring menu. Specializing homemade in sourdough toast, the café’s other highlights include its tasty meaty fry ups, baked eggs and their “frytato,” which is a rösti served with salmon and a poached egg. Oh, and their gigantic and luscious pancakes will leave you feeling filled all day and more.
Brindisia, London Bridge
Resting at the entrance of Borough Market, Brindisa is a busy yet inviting option for brunch. The food brings a distinct flavour of Spanish dining to London Bridge. With choices such as broken eggs over fried potatoes and ibarico pork sobrasada for £6.95, as well as grilled chorizo, eggs, and potatoes’ for £7.95, how can you possible resist? For those with a sweet tooth, there are surprisingly tasty but simple options such as toast with butter and honey, or more elaborate choices such as the divinely sweet pancakes with honey, fruits, and cream.
The ambience of Chapters is posh mixed with continental. This is well reflected in its menu where all dishes are executed to a decent standard. The 2 Rosette Star restaurant serves delectable breakfast/brunch options such as baked spiced haricot beans with chorizo and poached Egg, breakfast beef burger with bacon and cheese, eggs Florentine, French toast with strawberry jam and vanilla crème fraiche, and of course the full English breakfast amongst many other tasty options.
Dean Street Townhouse, Soho
Mushrooms on toast. Lorne sausage with tattie scones and fried egg? Orange, carrot, apple and ginger smoothie. Granola, banana and natural yoghurt. These are just some of the options that Dean Street Townhouse that makes choosing difficult. The place has history, too: built in 1732, Dean Street Townhouse is still a beating artery of London’s Soho. Fred Astaire, Francis Bacon, and Lucian Freud all frequented this majestic establishment. Although Dean Street Townhouse has an expensive members-only feel to it, the staff are known to treat all their guests well.
Duck & Waffle, Bishopsgate
If you are impressed by grandeur, check out newly opened Duck & Waffle. On the 40th floor of Heron Tower in London’s square mile, you are treated to a spectacular view of London Town. With a menu that boasts ox cheek benedict, BBQ-spiced crispy pig ears, and foie gras crème brûlée, the food is sure to live up to the view. Oh and let’s not forget the namesake Duck & Waffle dish, which is made up of crispy leg confit, fried duck egg, and mustard maple syrup.
Ottolenghi offers a tasty and rich alternative to traditional English breakfast. Have you ever tried the eclectic shakshuka? It’s a North African dish with eggs, peppers, and tomatoes served with labneh. and grilled focaccia. What about cannellini bean stew with bacon and chorizo served on toasted Italian white bread with a fried egg and black puddin’? It is certain that you will end up having a dining experience that is exquisitely exotic. Additionally, the décor is clean and the atmosphere is filled with trendy Islington’s dwellers.
The Breakfast Club, Islington
The Breakfast Club replicates that New York brunch vibe, and it does it really well. The menu includes a tantalizing huevos rancheros and the tasty ‘All American,’ consisting of pancakes, eggs, sausage, home-style fried potatoes, streaky bacon, and maple syrup. Then there is Boston beans, made up of slow roasted pork with a BBQ seasoned cannellini and butter bean mix, a fried egg, and egg bread. The atmosphere is retro and friendly but one word of advice: be prepared to queue!
The Delaunay, Aldwych
If pastries are your thing, then The Delaunay will not disappoint. Its famous Viennoiserie is made in its pastry kitchen, and offers sultana and orange zopf, pain au chocolat, and a cherry and almond muffin. There are of course savoury options as well; the potato rösti with fried eggs, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs; and grilled kipper with mustard butter are all worth sampling. Also, the unique oatmeal soufflé with stone fruit compote is a standout feature. Expect a décor that is beautiful and a service that is friendly.
The Rivington Bar & Grill, Greenwich
Rivington Grill has an exterior that is both upmarket and relaxed, where you can read the Sunday papers and enjoy your brunch. So what’s on offer? You can have a bacon sarnie, Forman & Sons smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, or a bubble and squeak of fried Burford Browns eggs and mushrooms. The coffee is really good—so good that you may have a few cups. Situated in the heart of Greenwich between the Greenwich Picture House and a petite market, where The National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark and Greenwich Observatory are all within walking distance, the location couldn’t be more convenient for a day about town.
The Trafalgar Cafe, Greenwich
The no-frills Trafalgar Café is another great greasy spoon that will leave you satisfied. Their fry-ups are great, hot sandwiches are good, and they even offer vegetarian sausages. Expect to pay under £6.00. Sure you may get builders tea, but the food is sustaining, generously portioned, and cheap. Plus, the service is fast and friendly. Another thing: The Trafalgar Café is always busy, which shows the cafés unwavering appeal, so why not give it a try?
The Wolseley, Piccadilly
Starting at 7 a.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. on weekends, breakfast at The Wolseley is truly special. The opulence is breath-taking, and the menu includes enticing options such as caramelised pink grapefruit, mixed basket Viennoiserie, and potato rösti with avocado, tomato, and a hen’s egg. Although the food is outstanding, it is really the whole extravagant camaraderie of the experience that makes breakfast at this eatery so superior.
Tom’s Kitchen, Chelsea
Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea is popular for a reason. The standards are high, the food is tasty, and the wooden décor is pleasant. On the menu you can find brioche French toast with caramelised apples and cinnamon cream, a tasty full English breakfast, and a crisp Belgian waffle with blueberry compote and Chantilly cream. With its friendly atmosphere, this restaurant is popular with families, and if you love milkshakes you will not be disappointed!
Kopapa, Covent Garden
A Maori word for “a gathering,” Kopapa is another great example of international cuisine in London. There are no other words to describe the offerings of Kopapa, other than to say the food is super tasty. Chorizo hash with two fried eggs, rocket, sriracha chilli sauce, and Crispy Shallots, Turkish eggs from Changa restaurant in Istanbul, and hot smoked salmon on toast with spinach, two poached eggs, and yuzu Hollandaise are just a few of the items offered. The Monmouth coffee is a bonus, and tables are close together and the atmosphere is cosy. Kopapa can get busy at time so you may have to wait, but all in all, expect great food and lots of warmth.