Poco, Bristol: Restaurant Review

31 best brunches in London

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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Best classic 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 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 small plates – St Leonards, Shoreditch

Spend your Saturday chilling in the sleek surroundings of Shoreditch’s fire-and-ice restaurant, St Leonards.

Snack on next-level cheese toasties, where slithers of sourdough sandwich comte cheese, with a side of sweet-yet-punchy leek-top kimchi. Bacon and eggs come reinvented, with blushing-pink slices of bavette steak and a crisp fried egg lifted with sweet corno peppers. Blood marys come laced with beef stock and forest salt for a heady umami kick, but if you fancy something booze-free, the house-smoked mule pairs lemon juice with ginger ale and smoked clementine for a zesty start to the day.

stleonards.london

Click here to read our full review of St Leonards…

A dark circular plate is topped with two fried eggs, a red pepper and pink slices of steak

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 worldwide brunches in London

Oklava Bakery + Wine, Fitzrovia – for Turkish breakfast

The new incarnation of Selin Kiazim’s Oklava comes in the form of a bakery at the top of Fitzrovia. The window counter is brimming with freshly baked pastries and breads (try pilavuna, a savoury pastry filled with twice-cooked halloumi, mint and sultanas; or pogaca, a puffy dough sandwiching rhubarb and cardamom custard), while a smattering of tables is ideal if you want to linger. Tuck into poached eggs with silky garlic yogurt, or fluffy whipped feta on toast, pepped up with plump sticky dates and fragrant rosemary brown butter – a next-level open sandwich.

oklava.co.uk

A table spread with plates of cheese, pastries and breads
Credit: Clerkenwell Boy

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 for £9 – 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 for fusion brunch – The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

Clerkenwell institution, The Modern Pantry, is the place to visit for a fusion breakfast. Grey wooden panelling, white washed tables and chairs and sleek low-hanging copper lights bring a slick yet welcoming vibe to this North London townhouse.

If you’re looking for something lighter, go for the roast plum with cocoa, pecan and sour cherry granola served with coconut yogurt (fruit changes with the seasons, so expect everything from passion fruit to peach), or visit on a weekend when the menu extends to fluffy ricotta and blueberry pancakes with berry and liquorice compote as well as coconut and cassava waffles drizzled with maple syrup.

themodernpantry.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 for Danish brunch – Snaps and Rye, Golborne Road

Inside Snaps and Rye, simple and stylish Scandinavian-style furnishings are complimented by bright red bar stools, contemporary artwork and cosy throws over the back of chairs. Industrial shelves groan with Scandi produce and ceramics, including little tubs of Lakrids – our favourite ever liquorice balls (try their new salted caramel version).

Start with a selection of Smørrebrød from the counter. They’re perfect little squares of homemade rye bread, topped neatly with combinations including egg, tomato and cress; smashed avocado and red onion; and home-cured salmon with paper-thin radish slices. The must-order is the kedgeree, it’s a family recipe that, though heavy on the cream, is surprisingly light and fluffy – it’s almost soupy, like a risotto, because they use short grain rice instead of basmati.

Read our review of dinner at Snaps + Rye here


Best vegetarian and vegan brunches in London

Wild Food Café, Islington

Sat on Islington’s bustling Upper Street, the second Wild Food Café (the first of which is tucked away in vibrant Neal’s Yard) offers an entirely vegan and gluten-free menu. The pristine space is warmed with splashes of colour – sea-blue wooden panels, velvet cushions and dinky succulents.

Bowls of granola are spot-on, with dollops of light coconut yogurt, mango and apple topped with clusters of sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds, cocoa nibs and quinoa puffs. Slices of date-and-walnut-packed banana bread toast come warm and squidgy. Slather over the super-smooth, homemade hazelnut butter and lip-puckering wild berry jam.

wildfoodcafe.com

Bowl of granola, coconut yogurt and fruit at Wild Food Cafe, Islington

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 vegetarian brunch – Rovi, Fitzrovia

Ottolenghi’s sleek, stylish restaurant in Fitzrovia focuses on Middle Eastern flavours. Sit next to the open kitchen to watch head chef Neil Campbell cooking vegetables over open flames, or peruse the shelves lined with jars of colourful pickles and bottles of olive oil.

The menu is entirely vegetarian, with punchy flavours running throughout. Go sweet with bircher muesli served with black fig and walnuts, or a chunk of toasted banana bread slathered with butter. For a hearty brunch that’ll keep you full all day, go for the butternut hummus with za’atar flatbread and poached eggs.

ottolenghi.co.uk/rovi

Click here to read our full review of Rovi

Back of the restaurant and the grill

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 for pancakes – Where The Pancakes Are, London Bridge

This is a pancake house with serious style. As it says on the tin, this clean and bright spot specialises in stacks of buttermilk pancakes. Where The Pancakes Are takes pride in its sourcing of ingredients, with high welfare eggs from Kent, organic flour and 100% pure maple syrup, hand-tapped in Quebec, Canada (plus, it’s packed with minerals and antioxidants).  

Yorkshire pudding for breakfast may sound a little odd, but Where The Pancakes Are makes a mean Dutch Baby. These super light soufflé-like pancakes are baked in a cast iron dish with extra eggs to make them rise. Choose between a sweet filling of Bramley and Cox apples with tart fresh berries, cinnamon and almond flakes; or the cheesy savoury option that combines soft baked goats cheese, Parmesan and cheddar with rosemary and thyme to lift. 

wherethepancakesare.com

Where The Pancakes Are brunch

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.

Click here to read our full review of The Good Egg

Christmas babka at The Good Egg

Best alternative brunches in London

Best for a meaty brunch – Hotbox, Spitalfields

Stop by Spitalfields on a Sunday morning hangover, and this BBQ joint will sort you out. The large room is dark and moody, perfect for when you’re feeling a bit delicate and want to hide from bright lights, but also ideal for a Sunday party to chatter around the long wooden tables with a big group of friends.

The menu is meat-heavy, with a rotisserie smoker centre stage to slowly cook dry-rubbed succulent cuts of meat. Brunch burgers are piled high with smoked pork belly, a fried egg, gherkins and red sauce, and skillet smoked meat hash comes to the table sizzling in the pan and laden with onions, green sauce and red sauce. The fried chicken thigh on a Belgian waffle is crisp, carb-heavy heaven, sprinkled with truffle salt and drizzled with maple syrup. 

hotboxlondon.co.uk

A wooden tray topped with bacon, sausage and a fried egg

Best for grown ups – Bad Egg, Moorgate

The wonderfully named Bad Egg’s £30 weekend brunch menu offers a spiced-up menu of diner classics and breakfast cocktails – definitely for adults only. Kick off with a Bloody Mary spiced with gochujang – and if anything can wake up jaded tastebuds it’s this Korean red pepper paste. Forget gentler breakfast staples like smoked salmon bagels or eggs benedict – Bad Egg packs a full-on flavour punch. Sticky Korean fried rib tips are hot with ginger and more gochujang; tacos are filled with scrambled eggs, chipotle, salsa and guacamole, and beans on toast is ramped up with pulled pork and kimchi.

Click here to read our full review of brunch at Bad Egg


Best for twists on classics – Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

Merchants Tavern take on brunch is concise and balanced between classics and more quirky creations. Those after the former can choose from the likes of porridge with prunes, pecan nuts and honey, ricotta pancakes with berry compote and the obligatory avo-toast concoction (here served with egg). The latter options include mushrooms with spinach and Jerusalem artichoke, venison ragu with parmesan, and fried oysters.

We try out the ‘dirty’ bacon sandwich, which, we’re happy to discover, also comes with fried egg and sausage. If by ‘dirty’ Merchants Tavern means no pretensions, just the kind of gloriously meaty, greasy stack one would inhale after a night of alcoholic indulgence then this sandwich certainly lived up to its description – in a good way.

merchantstavern.co.uk

A white plate with fried chicken and waffles

Best weekday breakfasts in London

Breakfast is usually a speedier affair than brunch, and perhaps more midweek. The below breakfast spots, which we’ve all checked out personally, are great for business meetings, catching up with friends or a solo pick-me-up on the way to work. But of course, you can labour over your breakfast as long as you want to!

Best for choice – Granger & Co, King’s Cross

Breakfast is big at Granger & Co, and the King’s Cross branch is handy for pre-train meetings and catch-ups. Perch on a leather and brass fixed stool at the huge bar, or lounge on an olive leather sofa for breakfast with Australian-style seamless service.

You can go healthy with various juices and grains (try the buckwheat bowl, poached egg, kefir goat’s milk, rose harissa, avocado and alfalfa sprouts), or less so, with Bill’s spiced Bloody Mary made with clamato, wasabi, lime and coriander. The classics are where it’s at – fluffy ricotta hotcakes, banana and honeycomb butter and sweetcorn fritters with toasted tomato, spinach and bacon.

To read our full review of Granger & Co click here


Best for shakshuka – Nopi, Soho

At Nopi, the decor’s clean and contemporary but luxe – a classy mix of black and gold.

The menu, too, is hard not to be in awe of. There are the breakfast staples you’d expect, such as scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on sourdough and croissants, but also more unusual starts to the day such as black rice with coconut milk, banana and mango; beef brisket hash with gremolata and a fried egg; and French toast with a star anise sugar, berry compote and orange yogurt. There are freshly pressed juices, too, which you can load with greens or keep fruity.

ottolenghi.co.uk


Best for a healthy start – Shoreditch Grind, Old Street

Old Street’s Shoreditch Grind is an easily accessible breakfast spot for morning commuters, perched as it is on the edge of one of London’s busiest roundabouts.

A generous portion of smashed avocado on toast is spiced up with chilli and your choice of extra topping  (smoked salmon, prosciutto, poached egg and feta can rack up quite the mound). The crispy quinoa eggs dish is a substantial and healthy start to the day with plenty of crunch and perfectly poached eggs. For a refreshing palate-cleanser before you head off to work, try iced fruit salad with zingy lime granita and crunchy hazelnuts.

grind.co.uk


Best for a treat – The Black Penny, Covent Garden

A Covent Garden coffee shop with a short but thoughtful menu that focuses on British seasonal ingredients. House baked beans are slow-cooked and served with goats’ cheese and a poached egg on fresh sourdough, and Ozdemir pasha fried eggs with grilled halloumi, butterbean hummus and a sweet-sour hint of sumac with homemade grilled Turkish bread are a real treat.

Coffee is taken seriously, too, with several different blends from South London roasters, Alchemy. Expect to find cortardos, syphon and buttered espresso alongside your usual flat white, as well as matcha lattes and a selection of teas, each served with a timer to make sure it’s brewed just right.

To read our full review of The Black Penny click here


Best hidden gem – Cambridge Street Cafe, Pimlico

Tucked away in the back of Pimlico, away from the bedlam of rush hour at Victoria, Cambridge Street Café (set in the boutiquey Artist Residence hotel) is the perfect setting in which to enjoy a leisurely start to the day.The room itself is bright and airy with exposed wood in muted, distressed greys, cloth-covered banquette seating and quirky art on the walls.

Food is divided into cooked, grains and pastries, and sides. All the classics are here and if you’re not indulging, yogurt with quinoa, peach goji berries and mint is a generous portion bursting with fresh flavours. Avocado, poached egg and rocket on rye is a safe choice done very well, with a kick of chilli and zing of lemon.

To read our full review of Cambridge Street Cafe click here

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Best for eggs – Egg Break, Notting Hill

If you’re into eggs, this cute Notting Hill café is the breakfast spot for you. Split into basics (eggs on toast, egg benedict), buns, plates, salads and sides, most dishes at this daytime café come with an egg of some sort, be it poached, fried or – surely the most fashionable egg of the moment – 63 degrees: cooked slowly in a water bath at, you guessed it, 63 degrees.

A wooden table topped with three plates of brunch food and a green juice
Credit: Rebecca Hope