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London is the brunch lover’s paradise: with exciting new restaurants popping up from Hampstead to Clapham, it’s easy to find a good spot for a solid fry-up or sophisticated Parisian-style brunch. Our guide explores some of the trendiest, cutting-edge brunch spots, where designer décor and art projects meet mouth-watering food and great coffee. Take a look at Part I of our London brunch series for even more inspiration.
Tucked away down Regent’s Canal towpath near Whitmore Bridge is Towpath. Opened in 2010, this four unit-long café continues to entice passing joggers and cyclists with delicious breakfasts and drinks. Perfect for a summer’s day with outdoor seating for gazing lazily at the swans in the canal, the café’s customers should try the grilled cheese sandwich with a big mug of coffee, also known as the ideal weekend brunch. Lori De Mori, an American-Italian food writer and fanatic, runs Towpath with chef Laura Jackson and barista Amanda Thompson. The team of girls offer friendly warm service with scrumptious treats to suit any mood from toast to granola to their homemade quiche.
Towpath, 36 De Beauvoir Crescent, London, England, N1 5SB +44 2072 547606
On London’s finest boulevard, Piccadilly, the Wolseley, a European-styled café and restaurant has an impressive exterior. Starting as a prestigious car showroom in 1921, the Wolseley was renovated in 2003 to now offer a breakfast fit for a king. Offering a range of choices from croissant aux amandes, to bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese, or even haggis with fried duck eggs. The Wolseley has magnificent interior, excellent service, and an entertaining atmosphere with a bustling brasserie full of people, making it the perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion on a lazy weekend morning.
The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London, England, W1J 9EB +44 2074 996996
The Wapping Project in east London defines city living: situated in an art space with free entry, it’s also home to a restaurant in an astonishing industrial building, the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station that closed due to a collapse. Receiving no public funding, but using the art and the restaurant to host events such as leaving parties for the editor of The Times, The Wapping Project is one of a kind. Every meal or drink at the venue is a contribution towards its preservation, and the perfect opportunity for a Sunday brunch in the company of art.
Situated on two spacious floors of a former Victorian Warehouse on Leonard Street (East London) is the younger and slightly smarter sibling of Queen of Hoxton: The Book Club. Offering enough food, drink, wit and wisdom to completely revamp the East end’s cultural scene, The Book Club fuses together lively events, workshops, talks, cultural showcases, parties, ping pong, new music and of course, a menu of brain-teasing and mind-expanding food for thought. The interior uses a mix and match of vintage furnishings with mosaics, lighting features, and even a constantly evolving exhibition wall. In terms of brunch, The Book Club serves traditional English grub with thick porridge oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and fresh raspberries, or buttermilk pancakes with banana, strawberry and maple syrup. The full English fry up is, of course, a popular option.
The Book Club, 100-106 Leonard Street, London, England, EC2A 4RH +44 2076 848616
Two sisters, Johanna and Aoife, created this cute little café hidden in a courtyard between Clerkenwell Road and Great Sutton Street on the ground floor of an old diamond-cutting factory. J + A Café, named after the two girls, is a homely, old-fashioned venue serving organic meals and homemade bread inspired by traditional family values. Serving up fresh-baked soda bread, a big pot of tea and cake, J+A café knows exactly how to do breakfast and brunch using simple recipes and fresh produce. The sisters love healthy comfort food more than anything else, so whether you pop in for breakfast or brunch, their menu will have something to make you feel cosy, toasty and satisfied till dinner.
J+A Café, first floor, 1+4 Sutton Lane, London, England, EC1M 5PU +44 2074 902992
Brawn is located just off the beaten track of Columbia Road with excellent views to watch the world go by. This cute and stylish restaurant with smiling service provides a superb quality old-fashioned brunch. With an emphasis on meat from the pig, Brawn provides pork rilettes, saucisson, prosciutto or a selection of charcuterie. Other options abound, however: the potted brown shrimps, hand chopped Tuscan style beef, sea bream, or roast quail are other signature dishes. With Hackney Wild Sourdough baked in London Fields by the e5 bakehouse, cheese matured in Androuet in Spitalfields, or coffee by Allpress, Brawn knows exactly how to provide great quality brunch.
Brawn, 49 Columbia Road, London, England, E2 7RG +44 2077 295692
As its name suggests, Printers & Stationers started off as a printers and stationers workshop, situated just off Columbia Road. Over the years it has changed hands regularly, from a showroom (which explains the roses hanging from the ceiling) to an antique shop, making this quirky warehouse space the perfect spot for a café. Augustin, the owner, was born in the Champagne region in France and took the space over in 2011. He kept the name and original painted front door sign, and now serves a selection of handpicked wines from small and independent estates. Augustin also offers a selection of regional, seasonal artisan cheese, bread and charcuterie to compliment the wines. Printers & Stationers also recently featured on Radio 4 Good Food programme where Augustin discussed champagne and taste with Andrew Lefford.
Printers & Stationers, 21A Ezra Street, London, England, E2 7RH +44 2077 299496
Situated on Great Titchfield Street (West London), Riding House Café is the perfect spot for weekend brunch. The interior is beautifully decorated, offering the option to sit at individual tables, at the grand candelabra-lit communal dining table, in the more secluded dining room, or even at the bar. The antiques and wall lamps made from stuffed squirrels suggest that this café is like no other. Serving a Saturday brunch of chorizo, hash brown or eggs hussard, and a Sunday brunch of buttermilk pancakes and Scottish smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, the Riding House Café is an elegant and quirky way to celebrate the weekend.
Riding House Café, 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, London, England, W1W 7PQ +44 2079 270840
On the first floor of this East End trendsetter is a white restaurant with a big oval bar called Bistrotheque. Despite the clientele being of the hipster and young type, the service is welcoming and friendly. They provide a popular weekend brunch with American-style pancakes topped with bacon and maple syrup. This is a reliable and fun restaurant with tons of entertainment from the alternative performance scene. Pop in and see new experiments and routines that are certain to shock and surprise; Bistrotheque is where musical alternatives Bourgeois & Maurice and Lipsinkers started off.
Bistrotheque, 23-27 Wadeson Street, London, England, E2 9DR +44 2089 837900
Food stylist Tonia George and restaurant managers Emma and Nicholas Scott spent a lot of time in Europe, Australia and New Zealand where they sampled the best coffee beans around. In comparison to London’s ‘milky nothingness’, the team decided it was up to them to teach London all about food and coffee. In 2009 they opened Ginger & White in Hampstead (North West London) and now source their own coffee beans from London’s boutique roaster, Square Mile, as well as producing the finest artisan produce from British farmers. This distinctly British coffee shop has now opened a second shop in Belsize Park (North West London) with an extended brunch menu and even more space.
Ginger & White, 4a-5a Perrin’s Ct, London, England, NW3 4TG +44 2074 319098
By Jenni Chattaway
The London Culture Guide is a new series brought to you by The Culture Trip’s most seasoned writers. The authoritative series, which spans food, design and art, is the perfect chance to get reacquainted with London’s bustling culture scene and explore new, exciting venues in the UK capital.
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