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Poco, Bristol: Restaurant Review

Best brunches in London

Published: May 30, 2022 at 9:00 am
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There are so many contenders for the best brunch in the city! We've narrowed it down to our favourite morning feasts, including the best places for pancakes, avocado on toast, Bloody Marys and more. There's even a dedicated list of vegan brunches...

Looking for the best brunch in London, or best breakfast in London? You've come to the right place! We've eaten morning feasts at restaurants and cafes all over London to find the best brunches and breakfasts in the capital. Read on for Bloody Marys, pancakes, eggs benedict, avocado on toast and coffee-fuelled fun.

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For the best breakfast spots, check out our best breakfast in London guide.


Best brunches in London

We take 'brunch' to mean a really lazy breakfast-cum-lunch meal that you can spend hours enjoying. It's something indulgent (think pancakes, waffles and eggs royale), usually enjoyed at the weekend (who doesn't love a Sunday brunch?), and booze is very often present... your brunch should go on until after midday, after all! Head to one of our below recommended London brunch spots with family or friends, because you're worth it.

Best Spanish-inspired brunch – Seabird, Southwark

Sit at the counter or bag a seat on the terrace for one of the capital’s coolest brunches. The top floor of hotel Hoxton Southwark brims with life as big family tables, gangs of gal-pals and tables of two get stuck into its menu of Spanish-inspired sharing plates. Start with a glass of natural cava, a few English, Irish or French oysters and bite-size anchovy toasts, slathered in a distinctive raw butter. Those feeling celebratory will gravitate towards sharing centrepieces like the Calypso or Cousteau shellfish platters, or whole lobster rice, but humbler tastes are catered for, too – calamari and chipstick-style patatas bravas with confit egg are must-orders. Brunch specials include brown shrimp crumpet, chorizo eggs with herbed yogurt and sourdough, and Seabird’s famous octopus brioche with padrons and pickled onion. All with a backdrop of mellow tunes thanks to the in-house DJ. seabirdlondon.com

A hand pouring water from a fish-shaped jug into a glass, next to a range of brunch plates and cocktails. The table is outside on a rooftop

Best for Middle Eastern twists on classics – Ottolenghi, Spitalfields

Ottolenghi Spitalfields is the largest outpost of the Ottolenghi empire, with a dining room serving breakfast through dinner, cocktail bar and modern deli for takeaways. Furnishings are kept to a minimum, with wooden furniture, flowers and draped curtains providing a relaxed setting to while away the hours.

Clear your head with a pear, apple juice and basil mocktail, or continue weekend revelries with a classic mimosa. You can expect loosely Middle Eastern twists on classics, from shakshuka with braised eggs, to scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with grilled focaccia – all the flavours synonymous with Yotam. Welsh rarebit on sourdough with a fried egg and salad is cheesy and unctuous, while vegan scrambled tofu with grated tomato and confit garlic is a smoky spin on scrambled eggs.

Finish with a trip to the counter of cakes – highlights include spiced date cake with orange icing and pecan brittle and a flourless orange and almond cake with chocolate ganache. Choose from a selection of pastries, from almond croissants to cinnamon brioche pretzels – best served with a frothy cappuccino. ottolenghi.co.uk/spitalfields

The interiors at Ottolenghi Spitalfields, including wooden tables and chairs and draped red curtains

Brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn, Notting Hill

London’s Notting Hill is the ideal setting for this vibrant corner spot that balances being American without feeling themed. The menu covers all the brunch bases, service is friendly and professional and the room has an outside-in feel with a central foliage chandelier and wooden furniture. Pancakes are plate-sized, drenched in a chocolate praline sauce. Steak is slices of charred hanger steak (onglet) with scrambled eggs, toast and home fries, which also appear on the sausage dish but are confusingly called something else. Burgers are stacked high, available as cauliflower or chicken versions but we went for the classic which had the flavour you only get from good provenance. Fun cocktails are well mixed – we tried the signature pineapple and rum Honey Bear on Holiday that comes in the iconic bear-shaped honey bottles and the more morning friendly Champagne Problems (bubbly and strawberries). All this plus a list of extras so you can customise, great coffee and freshly squeezed juices had us feeling there wasn’t much more we could ask of brunch.

Triple stack pancakes with hazelnut maple praline and brown butter

Best for pancakes – Where The Pancakes Are, Fitzrovia

The newly opened site with an eco interior and unrivalled pancake offering. Brunch-obsessed Londoners will already know about this all-day breakfast hotspot in London Bridge. Now, their second restaurant has opened in Fitzrovia, serving the popular buckwheat and buttermilk pancakes. Designed largely using recycled materials, the casual interior is light and relaxed, with a marble bar made from reclaimed dining tables and – impressively – black tiles made from recycled desert-soldier uniforms.nnYou can’t go wrong with the classics on the menu; thick and fluffy American pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, or the classic English breakfast with homemade baked beans. But, if you’re after something different, opt for the pulled beef pastrami with crunchy kale slaw, creamy thousand island sauce and sauerkraut, or the Montgomery cheddar and goat’s cheese Dutch baby (a bit like a giant Yorkshire pudding), complemented by thyme and radiccio. The Fitzrovia site also has Korean miso pancakes and polenta chips with bacon mayo from 5pm. The zesty hummingbird pancakes with cinnamon-poached pineapple and coconut, which can be made vegan, are great if you want something sweet. If you’re not recovering from the night before, we'd recommend ordering a breakfast-inspired cocktail, like a maple old fashioned or espresso tequila martini. It is the weekend, after all. Brunch-obsessed Londoners will already know about this all-day breakfast hotspot in London Bridge, and now, a second restaurant has opened in Fitzrovia, serving the popular buckwheat and buttermilk pancakes. Designed largely using recycled materials, the casual interior is light and relaxed, with a marble bar made from reclaimed dining tables and – impressively – wall elements made using recycled desert-soldier uniforms.

You can’t go wrong with the classics on the menu; thick and fluffy American pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, or the classic English breakfast with homemade baked beans. But, if you’re after something different, opt for the pulled beef pastrami with crunchy kale slaw, creamy thousand island sauce and sauerkraut, or the Montgomery cheddar and goat’s cheese Dutch baby (a bit like a giant Yorkshire pudding), complemented by thyme and radiccio. The Fitzrovia site also has Korean miso pancakes and polenta chips with bacon mayo from 5pm. The zesty hummingbird pancakes with cinnamon-poached pineapple and coconut, which can be made vegan, are great if you want something sweet.

If you’re not recovering from the night before, we'd recommend ordering a breakfast-inspired cocktail, like a maple old fashioned or espresso tequila martini. It is the weekend, after all.

wherethepancakesare.com


Best for egg buns – Eggslut, Notting Hill

Founded in California in 2011, with the aim of brining gourmet eggs to the breakfast table, Eggslut opened its first UK branch on Notting Hill’s Portobello Road in August 2019. The décor is stark (think grey walls, a metal counter and high wooden stools) with pops of yolk yellow in the neon signs.

Choose from six options, all of which come with Bread Ahead brioche buns and Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs. Our pick is the Fairfax, where buttery, softly scrambled eggs mixed with sweet caramelised onions, chives, sriracha mayo and a generous slice of melting cheese for an indulgent (and hearty) start to your day.

eggslut.com

A golden brioche roll filled with scrambled eggs and caramelised onions

Best classic neighbourhood brunch – Milk Beach, Queen's Park

Stray off the main high street of Queen’s Park down a pretty little mews to find this neighbourhood café and wine bar. There’s a communal wooden table to slouch round, with surrounding smaller marble-topped tables for smaller groups, and, on sunny days, white stable doors open out onto the cobbled pavement.

The café’s co-owners source specialty coffee from around the world to roast on-site each week, and decent brunch options do the coffee justice – bread and pastries come from Little Bread Pedlar in Bermondsey (save room for a flaky pain au chocolat). Order the sourdough soldiers, their crevices flooded with puddles of butter, ready to duck into a jam jar of coddled eggs, cream, sweet potato purée and chives.

milkbeach.com

Brunch plates at Milk Beach Queens Park

Best for natural light – Crispin, Shoreditch

In a quirky, purpose-built zinc and glass pavilion, designed to look like an origami-folded bird, light pours into the back onto the cool polished concrete bars, and terrazzo-topped ash bar. There’s Assembly coffee from Brixton during the day, and at night Fernando Berry of Otros Vinos has helped curate a rotating wine list focussing on natural and low-intervention wines.

Breakfast starts at 7.30am and covers the classics, alongside trendy new contenders. There’s an organic bacon sandwich with house ketchup; bright-yolked, boiled Burford Brown eggs with Dusty Knuckle Bakery soldiers; and Secret Smokehouse (made in London Fields) on sourdough (check out our guide to sourdough here) with soft cheese, lemon and dill. Be sure to order the super-crunchy, smoked ham toastie – oozing with melted cheddar, topped with a crispy fried egg and showered in finely grated, nutty Berkswell cheese.

crispinlondon.com

Crispin, London E1

Best brunch for coffee geeks – Kiss The Hippo, Richmond

Kiss The Hippo, so named to mark the coffee shop’s environmental ethos (all cutlery, straws and cup lids are fully compostable), brings a bright and airy hangout to Richmond’s George Street.

Up front, a gigantic coffee station caters to the trendiest of coffee geeks, with niche brews including Ugandan Nitro Cold Brew coffee and Japanese-style iced filter coffee, dripped through a Kalita over ice cubes to bring out delicate elderflower and bergamot notes.

Pastries and brunch dishes are prepared by the chef consultant from London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Try tiny Sicilian apricot and mango tartlets with a delicate vanilla scent, or super light cinnamon rolls with cinnamon paste swirled through and white chocolate glaze slathered on top.

kissthehippo.com

Interiors of Kiss the Hippo - a large pale wood counter with a coffee machine on top

Here are more of our favourite coffee shops in the UK...


Best classic brunch with a twist – Brother Marcus, Angel

Balham brunch institution Brother Marcus has opened its doors in north London with a relaxed all-day dining spot in Angel. Tucked down buzzing Camden Passage, grab a seat on the street for an al fresco breakfast, or, head inside and cosy up on tables for two under a lush living wall. Each of the classic brunch dishes has a twist, from Sugar Daddy, where cinnamon French toast comes in crumpet form, to Sister Special – bacon and poached eggs on toast served with a side of avocado and spinach drizzled with rocket oil.

brothermarcus.co.uk

A blue plate topped with sweet potato and feta fritters, kale and a poached egg that the yolk is running out of

Best for a friendly vibe – Friends of Ours, Hoxton

In the middle of Old Street and Hoxton stations in trendy east London, Friends of Ours is far more than a playground for bearded hipsters. Instead, it draws those seeking bright brunches and speciality coffee from across the capital.

Park yourself outside on the long wooden tables if the weather is nice or relax inside on teal blue chairs that contrast dark wood tables and floors. A large counter gives the epic coffee machine pride of place, along with a display of cakes (made in-house) and pastries from Dusty Knuckle.

Kedgeree is given a sophisticated twist courtesy of hake (from local fishmongers Sutton & Sons) that had been smoked in-house with black tea, subtly spiced black rice and an egg yolk cured in soy sauce.

Click here to read our full review of brunch at Friends of Ours

An overhead shot of a table laid with brunch dishes including porridge and filled croissants

Best for a diner-style buzz – Electric Diner, Portobello Road

Electric Diner’s interiors are true to its name – ribbed red leather banquettes are set up, train carriage-style, down one side of the narrow room, condiments are waiting to be used on wooden tables, and the buzzy atmosphere bounces off low curved ceilings and exposed brick walls. Slide into a booth or sit on a green leather stool looking onto the open kitchen to make sure your eggs are being prepared just how you like them…

The egg-heavy brunch menu features omelettes laden with gruyere cheese, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and all of the classics – Benedict, Florentine and Royale.

electricdiner.com

Eggs with Hollandaise sauce on a plate next to a plate of half grapefruit and a bowl of strawberries and banana

Best Middle Eastern brunch – Honey & Co, Warren Street

There’s a wholesome, homely vibe to Honey & Co, a cosy cafe that bring the flavours of Jerusalem to Warren Street. Shelves lined with jars of tahini, date syrup and preserved lemons act as decoration, with wooden tables simply laid with paper tablecloths that are whipped off and changed after each sitting.

Go with a group to make the most of the big breakfast, where tiny white bowls come piled high with hummus, labneh, pickles and tomato salad. Choose your eggs to go alongside, from classic tomato shakshuka with a punchy coriander zhug sauce, to flaky merguez sausages roll served with harissa and a boiled Cornish farm egg.

honeyandco.co.uk


Best for Indian brunch – Dishoom, across London

With five sites across the capital, Dishoom brings the flavour and flair of traditional Irani cafés to London. There’s an elegant yet relaxed vibe, with unique touches in each restaurant (think rusty weighing scales and ornate tiled flooring).

Reinterpreted Bombay dishes are the focus, from fluffy coconut appam pancakes topped with a dollop of shrikhand (a sweet Indian dish made of strained yogurt, sugar and cardamom) to comforting chilli cheese toast. Flaky naans (baked in a tandoor oven) filled with cream cheese, chilli tomato jam and crispy smoked bacon are a must, but, if you’re feeling peckish, order the ramped-up version with a frilly fried egg and peppery pork sausage.

dishoom.com

A naan bread is filled with a fried egg, streaky bacon and sausage on a blue and white floral patterned plate

Best for Swedish brunch – Söderberg, Soho

Relax in the cool, calm interiors (think blonde wood, retro sofas and muted tones) of this Scandi café and enjoy a Swedish-style breakfast or brunch.

Breakfast trays make ideal grazing material with a little bit of everything – a dinky glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a jar of crunchy granola with thick yogurt, Lescure butter for spreading over Swedish crisp bread and seeded sourdough, slices of serrano ham and a fruit salad of fresh figs, blackberries and sweet, tangy kumquats. There’s a vegan option that swaps yogurt for coconut yogurt and butter for olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Squidgy buns are laced with cardamom and cinnamon and perfect for taking away.

soderberg.uk

Soderberg Soho Cinnamon Buns

Best for Antipodean dishes – Ozone, Shoreditch

Exposed brick walls, florescent strip lights and weathered floorboards give a minimalist vibe to this Shoreditch coffee roastery and eatery just off Old Street’s Silicon roundabout.

Upstairs, staff in dark-denim aprons prepare fruity single-origin espressos at the brew bar, while an open kitchen has chefs whipping up Antipodean dishes such as wagyu mince on focaccia; and smoked carrot, chard and house ricotta-stuffed omelettes. A spongy kaffir lime pancake comes with Crouch End honey, rhubarb, dark chocolate shavings and a dollop of labneh, while crispy bubble and squeak cakes make a hearty change from muffins for the eggs hollandaise.

ozonecoffee.co.uk


Best Japanese brunch – Koya, Soho and City

Stop by either of Koya’s Soho or City sites for an alternative savoury brunch. Choose a window table simply laid with chopsticks and napkins, or take a seat on one of the high bar stools to watch chefs at work. The menu, split into udon noodle and rice dishes (with the option for small side plates) combines Japanese dishes and twists on English classics. Keep it simple with Kizami – a bowl of noodles topped with fried tofu and spring onions – or mix things up with a feast of kippers, poached egg, butter rice and miso soup.

koya.co.uk

A bowl of udon noddles with bacon, fried egg and mushrooms at Koya, London

Best vegetarian and vegan brunches in London

The Spread Eagle, Homerton

Sitting on the corner of Homerton High Street, The Spread Eagle is London’s first 100% vegan pub serving Mexican inspired street-food, cooked by residents/vegan street-food specialists Club Mexicana. Sit around an rustic wooden table sipping on punchy Bloody Mary’s made with horseradish-infused vodka, tea mojitos brewed with earl grey syrup or funky, gently-spiced ginger kombuchas produced locally in Hackney Wick.

The brunch menu takes Mexican and American classics like burritos and huevos rancheros and gives them a vegan twist. If you're after something really indulgent, go for the fluffy waffles drizzled with spicy chilli-infused maple syrup, smoky tempeh bacon and fried ‘chicken’ (which lacks the satisfying crunch and tenderness of the real deal).

A selection of Mexican inspired vegan street-food brunch dishes at Club Mexicana, The Spread Eagle
Credit: Jade Nina Sarkhel

Best sweet brunches in London

Best for French toast – Esters, Stoke Newington

For the best brunch in Stokey, head to this neighbourhood café just off Church Street. White walls, grey slate, angular tables and pops of orange give this small space a sleek HAY-inspired Scandi vibe, while families spend the morning sipping on flat whites and friends get a post-run refuel.

Don’t expect to find avocado on toast here, rather crispy pork belly with punchy wakame salsa verde, wafter-thin slithers of fennel, fried egg, sweet tomatoes (grown just down the road at Stoke Newington’s Growing Communities vegetable patch) and chunks of bread to mop up the rich aïoli. For those with a sweet tooth, order the French toast, where toppings change based on the seasons.

estersn16.com

A grey plate topped with French toast and berries
Credit: Jonathan Simpson

Best babka – The Good Egg, Soho and Stoke Newington

Take a seat on one of the dark-teal wooden chairs and watch chefs at work behind the metal counter. Walls are covered in jars of pickles and bottles of wine and blackboards list names of the meat, fish and veg producers that feature on the menu.

The menu offers a selection of sweet and savoury choices. The rich, buttery brioche-like babka is a must, with a thick chocolate spread running through the layers of dough and a crisp crust. If you fancy something savoury and want a small taste of everything, try out the Jerusalem breakfast plates, small dishes that range from spicy merguez hogget sausage with preserved-lemon yogurt and sweet marinated aubergine with tahini and smoked paprika to crispy fried eggs with chilli and vinegary beets and dill.

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Click here to read our full review of The Good Egg

Christmas babka at The Good Egg

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