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 …
1. This is a big city and there are so many good places to eat breakfast!
2. What’s your budget? Location? Occasion? Mood?
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. Well, it feels like that, anyway! Breakfast has become my absolute favourite 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 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 where you are staying in the city. As well as East London, I have blogs on the best breakfast spots in North, South, West and Central London, so be sure to check them out too!
Here are, in no particular order, London’s Best Breakfasts & Brunch | East London.
Hawksmoor is one of London’s most popular restaurants. They are famous for their steak dinners, however, in their Guildhall location only they also do a knockout breakfast menu. Sticking with their meaty roots you’ll find items such as steak and eggs, a giant full English breakfast to share between two and short-rib bubble and squeak. Don’t fret if you’re a veggie, they do plenty of great options for you too. Hawksmoor is sophistication at its finest without being pretentious. Breakfast is only available Monday – Friday and booking is essential.
Why go? For the ultimate full English breakfast.
10 Basinghall St, London EC2V 5BQ, https://thehawksmoor.com/locations/guildhall/
Circolo Popolare landed in London just a year or two ago and quickly gained a reputation for being the most beautiful restaurant in London. The twinkling lights & over the top interior make you feel like you’ve been transported to the Amalfi Coast. They do a selection of both sweet and savoury brunch dishes such as eggs florentine with Tuscan ham and thick french toast layered with Italian mascarpone. All dishes are served on tableware worthy of an Instagram snap. They get VERY busy so booking is essential.
Why go? For THAT Instagram snap.
54-56 Great Eastern St, Hackney, London EC2A 3QR, https://www.bigmammagroup.com/en/trattorias/gloria
Crispin are a cafe by day and restaurant by night. Their small hideaway is sat just behind one of my favourite markets, Spitalfields The food is substantial in both size and quality with some of the best-scrambled eggs and coffee around. Plus, they do a three-cheese toastie with a poached egg not to be missed. Clean, modern and delicious. Crispin is by the same people of Lundewic who you’ll catch on my Central London breakfast blog.
Why go? For the best-scrambled eggs.
Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, London E1 7NF, www.crispinlondon.com
A restaurant with a seriously amazing view. Duck and Waffle sit on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in the financial district of London. The menu is duck heavy, as you’d expect from the name, and their signature confit duck and waffle dish is what most people go for. It isn’t casual by any means but it doesn’t mean you have to dress in a three-piece suit and order the entire menu. Don’t be afraid to go just for some scrambled eggs and a pastry if you’re keeping costs down. Alternatively, order the entire menu if you can. They are open 24 hours a day so if you fancy some eggs at 4 am then this is your place. Booking is essential. Breakfast for a special occasion.
Why go? For breakfast with a view.
110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY, www.duckandwaffle.com
Ask For Janice are a trendy, neighbourhood hangout with industrial, shabby chic style decor and unsuspectingly great food. Word has got around the area of how great this place is and you’ll usually find it busy with city workers in the week and groups of friends on the weekends. Enjoy dishes like bubble and squeak with black pudding, baked eggs with merguez sausage and fresh homemade crumpets. They also do a fantastic value bottomless brunch where you order three ‘tapas-style’ breakfast dishes with unlimited drinks for £35!
Why go? For great value bottomless brunch.
50-52 Long Ln, London EC1A 9EJ, www.askforjanice.co.uk
Ozone Coffee is a really trendy, industrial-style cafe in Old Street, one of East London’s busiest areas. They are tucked away down a little side street but people tend to seek them out for their reputation for a delicious breakfast. Their menu has a bunch of unique dishes you won’t find at your typical cafe. For example, their eggs benedict is served on bubble ’n’ squeak cakes instead of muffins. Do you catch my drift? This is also a great place for a solo breakfast as they have counter seating next to the big windows. A perfect breakfast before a short walk to Spitalfields Market.
Why go? For a great solo breakfast.
11 Leonard St, Old Street, London EC2A 4AQ, https://ozonecoffee.co.uk/our-locations/11-leonard-st/
You know winter has finally gone in London when the Towpath Cafe opens. Hooray! They are a small cafe on the side of the Haggerston canal doing seasonal breakfast, lunch and sweet treats. The menu is small but everything is so fresh and always presented beautifully. Expect Turkish eggs, homemade granola and the best tomatoes on toast I’ve ever eaten – all done with a touch of Towpath’s unique flair. Not open during the winter and early autumn. Seating is limited and it gets really busy in the summer but it’s worth the wait for a sunny weekend breakfast.
Why go? For a unique location.
42 De Beauvoir Cres, London N1 5SB, m.facebook.com
Another cafe you’ll want to get your camera out for, as well as your wallet. Palm Vaults are a vegetarian/vegan cafe in a pink palm tree paradise. It’s regularly been called London’s most instagrammable cafe. Their vibrant interior also resonates in the food and coffee they serve with colourful smoothie bowls, vegan pastries and alternative lattes made with golden turmeric or purple beetroot. Their ethos is good, healthy and stylish food. They tick all of those boxes. FYI – No laptops allowed.
Why go? To get that Instagram snap!
411 Mare St, London E8 1HY, palmvaults.com
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 eggs, breakfast sandwiches and pancakes. A funky and trendy spot with no reservations. Expect to queue.
Why go? For a hearty, no fuss no frills brekkie.
2-4 Rufus St, London N1 6PE, www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com
10. Amber, Aldgate
Amber is somewhere to go when a full English breakfast or avocado toast just won’t do. The restaurant itself is bright and light with a sleek wooden design and the food is Middle Eastern in style. A few friends and I tried their burnt aubergine pitas, creamy shakshuka and smoked trout on cornbread which were a nice change to a usual breakfast. Coffee is from London’s famous brand Monmouth. Flavoursome and something a little bit different.
Why go? For something other than avocado on toast.
21 Piazza Walk Only accessible from Leman St and Alie St. Next to Curzon on the right-hand side Aldgate East, Whitechapel, London E1 8QH, thisisamber.co.uk
If you weren’t looking for The Dusty Knuckle you’d miss it! This bakery and breakfast spot sits off a side street in what looks like an old allotment or car park. Every day they make fresh batches of beautiful bread, pastries and a small selection of breakfast sandwiches made with their signature bubbly foccacia. A great one to support small, local business and particularly good for when the weather is nice when you can sit in their leafy, rustic, outdoor courtyard.
Why go? For beautiful baked goods.
Abbot St, London E8 3DP, www.thedustyknuckle.com
Brunswick East are an Australian cafe ran by two sisters in Dalston, East London. You could call the cafe a hidden gem due to its obscure and secluded location but word has got out about how great the brunch is here so despite being off the beaten track, it gets very busy. It screams look how cool I am in an unpretentious way. Each dish at Brunswick is so much more than your average breakfast. They do dishes like cauliflower toast, okonomi Japanese pancakes and wild mushrooms with sunflower seed butter on doorstop thick bread. Expect a young crowd of cool thirty-somethings.
Why go? To experience Australia’s brunch culture without leaving London.
3D, STAMFORD WORKS, Gillett St, London N16 8JH, brunswickeast.london
Host is a gorgeous little coffee shop inside St Mary’s Church in Mansion House. The menu is small with just a few toasts and pastries and you can enjoy them sat in the peaceful surroundings and grand architecture of the church. Escape here for an affordable breakfast and a bit of peace and quiet from the madness of London. A really different way to start your morning. Only open Monday – Friday.
Why go? Because who can say they’ve eaten breakfast in a setting like this?
St Mary Aldermary, Watling St, London EC4M 9BW, https://www.instagram.com/hostcoffee/
14. Barboun, Shoreditch
Fancy something other than avocado on toast? Barboun is your place! They do Eastern Mediterranean food inspired by the flavours of the Levant. For brunch, they have a whole host of flatbreads topped with things like smoked aubergine or pulled lamb. They also do traditional Eastern egg dishes like shakshuka and my favourite Turkish eggs bathed chilli oil and yoghurt. I highly recommend the Ali Baba toast for something sweet to finish. Beautiful interiors.
Why go? For something unique
61-67 Great Eastern St, Hackney, London EC2A 3HU, https://www.barboun.com/
Wait! Before you go…
You might also be interested in these other breakfast posts.