Hearty and packed with flavour, the full English is a dish enjoyed across the country. London’s cafés and restaurants serve up some of the best around, with many putting their own twist on this breakfast classic.
Tuck into Hawksmoor Guildhall’s meaty full English
Hawksmoor Guildhall’s full English breakfast is not the cheapest, but it’s definitely worth the expense, with this steakhouse delivering on both quality and quantity. Its extensive menu features both a traditional full English and the more elaborate two-person Hawksmoor Breakfast, which showcases less-traditional early-morning treats, such as short-rib bubble and squeak, and grilled bone marrow. Top off the experience with a buck’s fizz or bloody mary, and enjoy a breakfast extravaganza.
With establishments all over London, The Breakfast Club is one of the most popular cafés in the city. It’s a fun, ’80s-themed restaurant, and its take on the traditional English breakfast is The Full Monty, with smaller portions and vegetarian options also available. As you’d expect in a restaurant like this, the brunch menu is huge, with everything from British classics to twists on American, French and Spanish dishes. Just in case you were wondering, the full English fry-up is indeed available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even late into the night, so if you’ve got a mid-afternoon craving, The Breakfast Club will sort you out.
Try an Indian twist on a British classic at Dishoom
Restaurant, Diner, Indian, $$$
If spicy food is up your street and you’re keen for something a little different, The Big Bombay from Dishoom is well worth sinking your teeth into. You won’t be disappointed with the char-striped smoked streaky bacon, peppery shropshire pork sausages, masala-baked beans, grilled field mushroom, grilled tomato and buttered home-made buns. Dishoom has been serving up Indian delights for a number of years now, so if you haven’t tried the breakfast yet, where have you been?
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Not to be confused with the expensive (but incredible) Italian restaurant The River Café, this is an old-fashioned greasy spoon next to Putney Bridge station in South London with a team of friendly staff who have a passion for home cooking – you’re sure to be back for more. River Café’s generously sized, delicious full English breakfast is fantastic value, while the quirky vintage decor will make you feel right at home.
Opened in 1946, this quaint Art Deco café is the embodiment of retro Britishness. Formica tables, brown seats and tiled walls might sound a little more greasy spoon than silver spoon, but this place was voted fifth-best restaurant in London by Yelp users in 2013 and featured in the film Layer Cake (2004). The full English breakfast is huge and very reasonably priced, with the sausages especially tasty. Extras are always offered and include items like bubble and squeak, and hash browns. The only downside to this amazing place is that it isn’t open on Sundays, so try it as a midweek pick-me-up or a Saturday treat instead.
Not all of us fancy a full English breakfast when we first wake up, so if that’s you and you’ve got a hankering for just a fried egg, bacon and a sausage or two, Polo Bar is open 24 hours a day. The traditional English breakfast will fill you to the brim with grilled bacon, cumberland sausage, free-range eggs, slow-roasted thyme tomato, baked beans, roasted mushrooms, black pudding and bloomer toast, all for around £10. As the name suggests, Polo Bar also has a full 24-hour licence, so if your night’s not quite over, you can grab a glass of prosecco, too.
Experience a spoonful of Paris in the centre of Covent Garden. The popular French-inspired Balthazar is notoriously difficult to get a table at, unless you are heading in for breakfast. While its speciality is seafood and the menu can be a little pricey, the weekday breakfast offers plenty of options, including a fabulous full English and a range of vegetarian dishes. Balthazar has a fantastic bakery next door that does takeout, so treat yourself to a pastry to finish off your fry-up.
Something about the British breakfast brings out the wartime nostalgia in everyone. Blighty Café is cosy, bright and modern with a 1940s vibe coming through in the details, from the menu designs to the shelf displays. This place prides itself on great coffee, while its full English breakfast, named The Winston, is a good size and is served in a quirky enamel bowl and mess tin. The attention to detail is what makes this place really special, from the Union Jack stuck in the sausage to the paprika on the eggs. The food is divine and the decor even more so.