If you’ve ever been scrolling through Instagram looking for breakfast inspiration you are bound to have come across Breakfast London.
Breakfast London are a fantastic foodie Instagram account that share the best breakfast hot spots around the city as told by the people who know it best … YOU! Every week hundreds of people tag them in London’s best breakfast gems and everyday they share one of those with their 238k followers. It’s a brilliantly curated reference of THE go to place for all your brekkie and brunch needs!
Bianca Bridges is the brains behind this brilliant brand and I sat down with her at the lovely Swallow Coffee Shop (one of my favourite cafes) to talk all things breakfast! Read my interview with her below of how it all got started, her personal favourite breakfast spots and what exciting things she has in the pipeline for Breakfast London and beyond.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I grew up in Singapore until I was 16 and moved to the UK to do A-Levels in History, Business and Drama. I later went to the University of Bath and studied a BSC in Business Administration. Part of the course was going out on placements where I did my first 6 months at Hello Fresh and did their operations and marketing and in the second 6 months I worked for a creative digital agency called Analog Folk which was fantastic . In my final year I did 6 months in Copenhagen at Copenhagen Business School. I started my first blog, a personal blog, called Pretty Hungry which I thought would be a great way to document my travels, where I ate and my experiences. It took off which was great because I thought only my family and friends would read it. It won the Cosmopolitan award for best food blog in 2015. Then I started Breakfast London in my third year of university.
How did BreakfastLondon start?
I started Breakfast London in my third year of university and this was the time when Instagram was at its peak. There were so many accounts to follow and I followed a million food accounts, including ones abroad (as I was born in Sydney), so I followed things like ‘Breakfast in Sydney’, ‘Breakfast in Melbourne’. The breakfast scene in London was really taking off and there were so many great places to eat with more and more places opening every day it was hard to keep track of. It didn’t make sense there wasn’t a specialist Instagram account for breakfast in London and I wished someone would make this account so I thought why don’t I make it. So, I did! It very quickly became a community account. It wasn’t my account anymore it was OUR account. People would use it to share and discover and tag us in their great breakfast discoveries.
A couple of years into Breakfast London we started a website. Instagram is such an amazing tool where you can scroll through pictures and they catch your eye but it wasn’t as efficient in finding somewhere you’re looking for be it special occasions, bottomless brunch, or somewhere with a private room. We’re in the process of updating the website and building an even stronger community that Breakfast London is. It would be nothing without its contributors.
What are your top three breakfast spots in London?
It’s difficult. A lot of people ask me what the best breakfast in London is and I always say it depends on what you like, what location and what occasion. I’ve thought about my top three but obviously it chops and changes depending on your mood but at the present moment it’s…
I Will Kill Again:
An amazing kitchen and coffee roastery called Dark Arts Coffee. They aren’t vegan but they have a lot of vegan dishes and there are so many interesting, innovative options. I’ve had amazing vegan breakfast muffins, waffles, breakfast burritos. It’s great and the coffee is fantastic. I always leave with a vegan sausage roll and brownies and cakes!
Duck and Waffle:
Whenever I have friends that visit that’s where I always take them. Whether they’re jet-lagged and want breakfast at 5 am or we’re out and want scrambled eggs at 1 am or just for a special occasion. It’s a great place to take people because the whole experience is so impressive and the food is great. It’s a place I don’t go that often but in the sense that it’s a great place to take visitors and friends who come to London and a good way to show off London.
Unreal! It’s run by two sisters from Melbourne who are so lovely. They make so much of their stuff in house and they use Dusty Knuckle sourdough cut in thick doorstop slabs. Once you go there and have any dish with that toast you cannot go back to thinly sliced bread. They make their own jams, chutneys and nut milk. They use incredible ingredients and have incredible suppliers which they use to make really creative and innovative dishes which flawlessly come together.
Why do we love breakfast so much?
The love for breakfast is probably deeply rooted in British culture in the sense of our love for greasy spoon cafes, full English breakfasts, crumpets and eggs and soldiers – typical British breakfast items. However, I think globalisation has had a huge impact. Australian cafe culture is sweeping over London and you can’t turn a corner without seeing an Australian cafe. Melbourne is a breakfast hot spot. The amount of creative, inventive concepts they have is amazing and New Zealand has a huge emphasis on quality coffee. They have some fantastic coffee. Everything is very colourful, fresh, seasonal and I think those qualities have definitely shifted over to the UK. Also, from America in the sense of diner breakfasts, all day breakfasts and bottomless brunches. London is such a melting pot of cultures and having so many people from different corners of the world bringing their piece of their home, their culture and their experience mixing together in London has created such a vibrant, exciting breakfast scene that is constantly growing.
What is your desert island breakfast choice? … Mine’s pancakes!
My instant first thought was pancakes as well because there are so many ways you can do them, sweet or savoury. I do love pancakes but I thought I’d mix it up and say the most underrated dish is mushrooms on toast. It’s the dish I make and eat the most at home. Otherwise, pancakes are a very close second!
Being vegan yourself, what do you think of the vegan breakfast scene in London?
The amount it’s grown is insane. A few years ago It would be a lot more difficult. You’d be scouring the menu, making up something out of side dishes. The fact there are so many vegan places and the freedom to choose whatever you want from the menu is amazing. So many restaurants are doing vegan menus, Dishoom’s new vegan menu is fantastic. There are three vegan markets in London on the weekends and the power of Instagram as a tool to help you discover new vegan places constantly is amazing.
Leaving breakfast for a second, tell me about your new venture Good Belly Pizza?
When I was at university I built a vegan burger concept … this was before veganism has hit a mainstream stride. I was looking for a site to launch it in London but unfortunately, London rent was so expensive I had to delay that further and further. Good Belly was born between myself and two other guys, one being my boyfriend, Luke. We turned our garage into a fully licensed operating kitchen which was amazing and we got a delivery only license. You’d have people travelling from far away and waiting in a car or outside a shop to collect it. A space with bricks and mortar is something we are looking at for the future and we will see what we can do in 2019. The response for Good Belly has been amazing. You struggle to get really good vegan pizza in London and I’m a perfectionist and Luke’s a perfectionist and we only want to serve what we think is the best vegan pizza. I genuinely believe it is the best vegan pizza in London. Hopefully, we have more plans for that this year.
While browsing the internet and researching for my blog on ‘Must Have Books For Eating Out‘ , I stumbled across a BreakfastLondon book! Tell us more…
I was on a social panel a year ago and one of the questions was one ‘What’s next for Breakfast London? Are you going to do a book?’ and I remember thinking what a ridiculous idea, what would Breakfast London do? It’s an Instagram account and online channel how would that even work?! We started looking at it and I did a book proposal. Thankfully we got an amazing agent and worked on it until it was exactly what we wanted. Thankfully, I also got my dream publisher. This book has been about a year in the making. It’s been amazing to do and there is so much food porn in the book. Each of the chapters are different postcodes, there are vegan and dog-friendly keys plus there’s ‘best for’ lists at the back if you’re looking for somewhere for a special occasion or boozy brunch. It’s super useful guide book and tool for people who live in London and love breakfast. Buy it here!
Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to start their own Instagram account?
Find your USP – Everyone follows someone on Instagram because they offer some sort of value to them. You need to find out what value you want to offer people. You should always be yourself on Instagram because if you want longevity in it and you’re not yourself you’re going to get bored of it.
Collaborating – Collaborating is a great thing to do. You meet like-minded people and social media can be quite lonely so it’s great to meet people who like to do what you like doing.
Don’t buy followers – What’s the point? Organic growth is important and it adds value to what you’re doing. It’s not worth it and it’s not what the platform is about.
Separate yourself from Instagram – Especially younger people who see Instagram and depend on likes for their self worth. Instagram changes its algorithm constantly so separating yourself from a really highlighted, filtered and cultivated thing is important for your mental health. To understand that social media presents amazing opportunities both personally and professionally but don’t rely solely on it and have other platforms be it a blog or something else. At the end of the day in 10 or 20 years time if it becomes obsolete and you put all your eggs into one basket and build your career solely on Instagram, you need something else going on for your own sake.
What’s next for BreakfastLondon?
Re-doing the website and building a stronger community. Continuing to work closely with incredible independent cafes. We’d love to collaborate more and more and I think it’s a really exciting year for BreakfastLondon!
A HUGE thanks to Bianca for sharing her story with us. She let me in on a little secret about an amazing piece of work she has up her sleeve for this year and all I can say is keep your eyes peeled for what she has planned next. Make sure you check out Breakfast London on Instagram, their website and don’t forget to buy the book here!