It’s no easy feat deciding where to go for brunch in London. From eggs with a view to colourful plant-based offerings, restaurants are increasingly serving up impressive takes on the capital’s favourite meal.
With five cafés dotted across the capital, Caravan has been a mainstay of London’s brunch scene since opening at Exmouth Market in 2010. Serving house-roasted coffee, inventive breakfast dishes and break-the-diet-worthy pastries, this is the perfect spot to kick-start your weekend. From sourdough toast topped with cheddar and kimchi to black sesame and tahini porridge, Caravan may well offer the most varied brunch in London. There’s a strict no reservation policy, but the food and coffee are worth the queues.
Australian-inspired café Lantana, with its rustic and laid-back decor, has marked itself firmly on London’s foodie map. Start with a vitamin-rich juice or smoothie while you peruse the extensive menu – dishes include avocado on toast with labneh, hazelnut dukkah and beetroot-cured salmon, and a next-level french toast, served with poached pears, orange mascarpone and pistachio crumble. There are now spots in Fitzrovia, London Bridge and Shoreditch.
Granger & Co. describes itself as “sunny, easy-going and generous”. Aussie food writer and chef Bill Granger heads this establishment, and the flagship restaurant resides in Sydney, where it’s famous for having the best scrambled eggs in town. Now you can get them over here, too, as Granger & Co. has opened several restaurants across London. Also on the menu are ricotta hotcakes, sweetcorn fritters, vegan granola and açai bowls.
Looking for an alternative to the traditional full English? For an unforgettable start to the day, join the queues at one of Dishoom’s five London restaurants, where a feast awaits. The bacon naan roll, which is laden with sticky-sweet bacon, chilli jam and cream cheese, has a cult following. For the full Indian-English experience, wash it down with a breakfast lassi made with banana, mango and oats, or indulge in a Dhoble breakfast cocktail, with vodka, jaggery and orange bitters.
For a taste of the Middle East, head to The Good Egg
Restaurant, Middle Eastern, $$$
Bringing Middle Eastern fare to Stoke Newington and Soho with chutzpah, The Good Egg isn’t one to miss. Inspired by the owners’ travels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the brunch and breakfast menu features dishes like feta hash with harissa, deep-fried halloumi drizzled with thyme honey, and labneh with pumpkin seeds, preserved lemon and chilli relish. There’s also an in-house bakery, so expect pillow-soft pittas, sourdough (try it with the date butter) and daily-changing pastries.
Tucked away just off Exmouth Market, Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings scoops the prize for the capital’s most stylish breakfast spot. Antique furniture sits atop whitewashed floorboards while botanical prints and potted plants add colour and life to the bright, airy rooms. Settle in for B&H’s legendary bottomless brunch on the weekend – the eggs benedict, made with ham hock, is out of this world.
Nestled inside Fitzrovia’s London EDITION hotel lies Berners Tavern, an all-day eatery headed up by Michelin-star chef Jason Atherton. The flamboyantly opulent, portrait-laden dining room is a gastronomic gem, serving up five-star breakfasts including smoked bacon and black pudding rolls, crushed avocado on Borough Market sourdough and slow-cooked ham hock croque-monsieurs. Booking a table is recommended as it’s a crowd favourite.
The brainchild of Yotam Ottolenghi, the chef who introduced Middle Eastern flavours to London, NOPI is a seriously smart brunch spot. The menu may be on the smaller side but makes up for it with flavour – think porridge topped with quince, orange blossom, sumac and pistachio or scrambled tofu with a side of rose harissa and avocado salsa. The serene space, complete with exposed brick and gold detailing, has an easy-going vibe – it’s hard to believe this foodie haunt is a stone’s throw from the bustle of Regent Street.
The Wolseley is a timeless classic in the heart of Piccadilly. Somewhere between a traditional Parisian brasserie and a grandiose Viennese café, it has an undeniable sense of occasion. The menu has something for everyone – from fruit (try the caramelised pink grapefruit) to caviar omelettes. With Buckingham Palace a half-mile walk away, The Wolseley is firmly on the tourist trail, so reservations are advised.
Those familiar with the original Balthazar in Manhattan’s SoHo district will feel at home in the Covent Garden edition. The hearty French fare never fails to disappoint, and the epic brunch menu has lazy weekends covered. As well as traditional egg dishes (try the scrambled eggs with cornish crab and crème fraiche), expect everything from lobster spaghetti to moules-frites. The red-leather booths and weekday breakfast menu, served from 7.30am, also make Balthazar the perfect spot for early-morning get-togethers..
The name of this restaurant is a reference to its famous dish: crispy confit of duck sitting on top of a waffle supplemented with a fried duck egg and mustard-maple syrup. The mere description of this would be enough to convince most people to climb to the 40th floor of Heron Tower where the restaurant is located. Of course, as Duck & Waffle is so high up in the sky, it provides diners with unparalleled views of the entire city. The brunch menu entwines British tradition with European influences and is hugely impressive with its offerings.