The question i get asked the most…
One of the questions I get asked the most from friends or on social media is where to eat the best breakfast in the city. My answer to that is always is 1. this is a big city and there are so many good places to eat breakfast! … and 2. What’s your Budget? Location? Occasion? Mood? You need to consider all these factors when choosing the *right* place!
The London breakfast/brunch scene
The breakfast and brunch scene in London has tripled in size to when I first moved to London in 2011 and it continues to grow with a new place popping up nearly every week (it feels like that, anyway!) My first experience of a ‘real’ London brunch was when a friend and I ventured to Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea where i I took my first food photo and I’ve been hooked every since. Breakfast has become my absolute fayourite meal to eat out and the choice, quality and creativity in London has made that experience so much easier and enjoyable.
I’ve put together (or am putting together depending on when you’re reading this) a series of some of the best breakfast and brunch spots in each area that I’ve eaten at, loved and would recommend to you hungry lot out there. To make it easier I’ve also narrowed it down to area depending on where you live or are staying in the city but to be honest if you’re like me you’ll travel anywhere for good food. To start with, we’re heading to Central London around Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Soho and Fitzrovia
Here are, in no particular order, London’s Best Breakfasts & Brunch: Central London.
Sister to the iconic Duck & Waffle who has spectacular views over London, Duck and Waffle Local is a slightly more casual and affordable affair than its bigger sibling. Expect lots of duck inspired dishes with their duck leg and waffle being their signature. However, there are plenty of options for vegetarians and great waffles for those with a breakfast sweet tooth.
Why go? To experience Duck & Waffles signature food but without the price tag.
52 Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RP, duckandwafflelocal.com
A super instagrammble spot inspired by Australia’s famous brunch scene. Lots of healthy, colourful options but their banana bread sandwich with mascarpone and berries is their most recognised dish.
Why go? To get a good Instagram snap.
11 Sir Simon Milton Square, Westminster, London SW1E 5DJ, www.daisygreenfood.com
Inspired by the cafes of Bombay, Dishoom’s Indian inspired breakfast is one of London’s most sort after morning haunts. They do things like naan bread bacon sandwiches, bottomless date porridge and a giant Bombay breakfast which is a twist on the British classic. Don’t Leave without a cup of their refillable sweet and spicy chai tea. Book in advance or expect to queue.
Why go? For something a bit different.
12 Upper St Martin’s Ln, London WC2H 9FB, www.dishoom.com
A chic café just off Covent Garden with bare brick walls and funky lighting. The breakfast menu is substantial, creative and great quality. A good choice for those who love their coffee too.
Why go? If you love coffee as well as breakfast.
34 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5AA, www.theblackpenny.com
5. Balans, Soho
Balan’s originated in Soho (hence the name) but now have cafes across London. They’re an effortless place to grab breakfast with full English breakfasts to a fancier lobster eggs benedict. Plus their pancakes are some of the best around (See London’s Best Pancakes here) A great all-rounder for a casual or more special breakfast.
Why go? A place to please everyone.
34 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 4TS, www.balans.co.uk
This Danish bakery is most famous for their cinnamon buns which in my opinion is a perfectly acceptable breakfast (see all of London’s best cinnamon buns here). However, if you’re wanting something a bit less sugary in the morning they do a small menu of topped toasts, eggs and oats. A good solo breakfast spot (see more here) or somewhere to work.
Why go? For their famous cinnamon social or a fuss-free buy at the counter breakfast.
Unit 8, 67-79 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0NE, oleandsteen.co.uk
A small, minimalist ‘Scandi-esque’ coffee shop just off Covent garden with basement seating and a small but fantastic brunch menu of just 6 items. Get their early, order their avocado toast (one of the BEST in London) and take it downstairs for a moment of hygge.
Why go? For the best avocado toast ever!
45 Aldwych, London WC2B 4DW, www.lundenwic.com
A modern European restaurant with a grand art deco design. The Wolseley is not just your bog standard breakfast, it’s an entire experience. Tea is served in a silver teapot, service is classic in style and just because it’s a bit fancy doesn’t mean portions are small. Breakfast for a special occasion.
Why go? To treat yourself.
160 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EB, www.thewolseley.com
Dirty Bones do an NYC-inspired brunch menu of comfort food & cocktails. They’re not one to visit for quinoa bowls and whole grain porridge’s but more for chicken and waffles and steak and eggs. Expect a grungy and edgy atmosphere. A great one for a boozy brunch.
Why go? If you’re not watching your calories and love cocktails.
14 Denman St, Soho, London W1D 7HJ, dirty-bones.com
Abuelo is an Australian meets South American coffee-house and kitchen. The space is small and unique with a large communal kitchen table for you to connect with those around you over coffee, cake and brunch. Sits just off the hustle of Covent Garden.
Why go? For a quick but lovely pit stop and if you don’t mind communal seating.
26 Southampton St, London WC2E 7RS, abuelocafe.co.uk
Voted as Europe’s best independent coffee shop, Timberyard doubles as a friendly workspace for anyone living that laptop lifestyle. (purchases are required ) However, you don’t have to have a laptop to visit for a specialty tea (that comes with its own special brewing timer) and the pick of their breakfast menu which includes dippy eggs with soldiers and almond butter on toast. Bright space with a sleek wood design and large windows. A good one for a solo breakfast.
Why go? For a place to work without feeling guilty.
7 Upper St Martin’s Ln, London WC2H 9DL, www.tyuk.com
An independent coffee house as well as eatery and bakery. They serve Square Mile coffee, pastries made fresh in house every day as well toasted sourdough with a variety of toppings. A cosy, sort after spot in the lovely Neals Yard.
Why go? For a lighter breakfast and to enjoy the sights and bustle of Neal’s Yard
16A Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP, www.jacobtheangel.co.uk
26 grains also sits in the uber cool and colourful Neal’s Yard court. This small and sweet spot is London’s one & only porridge cafe specialising in sweet and savoury oats. Rest assured this isn’t one of those ‘fad’ places and their cracking bowls of oats are beautiful and laden with healthy nut butter, fresh fruits and alternative milk. If you’re not a fan of porridge they also do a small alternative breakfast menu. Limited seating inside but plenty outside.
Why go? If you love porridge or want healthy but tasty food.
1 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP, www.26grains.com
A small but perfectly formed bakery off the beaten track. Stop by for a morning bun, a cuppa tea and a look at all the other pastries and treats they have. A hidden gem.
Why go? To venture off the beaten track.
35 Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JA, www.fortitudebakehouse.com
15. Soderberg, Soho
Swedish Cafe Soderberg first established themselves in Edinburgh and have now ventured South to London’s Soho. Most people visit for their freshly baked cinnamon buns but they also do a small menu of eggs and toasts. A cool cafe with sharing tables, low lighting and hidden cave booths. Find London’s best cinnamon buns here.
Why go? For a Scandinavian experience.
36 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8RR, www.soderberg.uk
A popular Aussie brunch spot just behind London’s busiest shopping destination Oxford Street. Pop in for a stack of their sweetcorn fritters with bacon, chilli jam and a poached egg. Not many tables in this small cafe but worth the wait or make sure you book a table in advance.
Why go? A nice brunch to catch up with friends.
13 Charlotte Pl, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1SN, www.lantanacafe.co.uk
Sophisticated dining room inside a former fire station and 5* hotel. A destination for a swankier breakfast and great pancakes. A favourite with celebs including Lindsey Lohan and Dr Who’s Matt Smith who has been spotted multiple times.
Why go? To feel a bit swanky and maybe spot a celeb.
1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7PA, www.chilternfirehouse.com
This California style restaurant dedicated to all things Avocado. It’s easy to think that this might be a bit of a ‘fad breakfast spot’ but it has both style and substance. Of course, you’ll find your classic avocado toasts but it’s joined by things like avocado on sweet potato with coconut cream, avocado eggs benedict and pancakes with avocado butter. The perfect place for avocado lovers.
Why go? If you love avocado, of course!
24 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8ND, www.avobar.co.uk
Named after the 80’s cult hit movie, The Breakfast Club is the perfect retro hangout to nurse a hangover or just when you want a good substantial all day breakfast. There’s something for everyone on their huge menu of benedicts, pancakes, eggs and breakfast sarnies. A funky and trendy spot with no reservations. Expect to queue.
Why go? For some proper breakfast grub or to nurse a hangover.
33 D’Arblay St, Soho, London W1F 8EU, www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com