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 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. Today, we’re heading to where ALL the cool kids live (except me because I live West, haha).
Here are, in no particular order, London’s Best Breakfasts & Brunch: East London.
Cafe Miami are an art deco cafe and brunch spot in Hackney. The food is inspired by the Mexican influence of Miami with things like breakfast tacos and quesadilla.As well, they have a bunch of brunch classics they’ve put their own colourful stamp on. Inside is an Instagram dream with pink pastel walls, heart-shaped sugar cubes and retro furniture. Their cinnamon roll pancakes are currently my favourite pancakes in London! Not just style but plenty of substance.
Why go? For an escape to Miami without leaving London (also for those cinnamon pancakes!)
24 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5 0PD, www.cafemiami.co.uk
Crispin is a cafe by day restaurant by night. Their small hideaway is sat just behind one of my favourite markets, Spitalfields and has a clean, modern feel to both the cafe as well as the food. 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.
Why go? Because you’ll never eat better scrambled eggs.
Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, London E1 7NF, www.crispinlondon.com
Home to over 100 different types of cereal from around the world, this quirky cafe is any cereal lovers dream. Create your own bowls by mixing and matching from all the cereals and choosing from 12 types of milk and 20 different toppings. Inside is a throwback from a simpler time with novelty retro nick nacks and memorabilia from the ’80s and ’90s. It gets very busy so I recommend going early. It is a bit of a gimmick but who cares when it’s this fun.
Why go? Cos’ it’s fun and you’ll feel like a kid again.
192a Brick Ln, London E1 6SA, cerealkillercafe.co.uk
A restaurant with a view. Duck and Waffle sits 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 duck and waffle dish are what most people go for. It isn’t casual by any means but it isn’t too posh either so don’t be afraid to go just for some scrambled eggs and a pastry if you’re keeping costs down. They are open 24 hours a day so if you fancy some eggs at 4 am then this is your place. Booking is essential. A breakfast for a special occasion.
Why go? For breakfast with a view.
110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY, www.duckandwaffle.com
A super cool and unique hangout in the most hipster part of London. This quirky cafe sits tucked inside a railway arch and boats a menu that is heavily vegan influenced but not exclusively. Exciting dishes include Canadian beans with vegan chorizo, the vegan breakfast burrito as well as a load of vegan pastries and cakes. Whatever you order, and if you’re vegan or not, portions are large and the food is great. Coffee served is their own brand called Dark Arts. Inside has a communal vibe with sharing tables so only go if you don’t mind maybe sitting next to a stranger. All part of the fun I say!
Why go? If you’re vegan and also somewhere cool to hangout.
Arch 216 27a Ponsford Street, E9 6JU
If you’re looking for a classically British breakfast St John’s is your place. No, I’m not talking about a greasy spoon cafe for a sub-par English breakfast but a place with old fashioned cooking values focusing on using the nose to tail of the animal. They are famous for their bacon sarnies but also do things like blood cake with brown sauce and kidneys on toast. A beautifully elegant dining room setting. One for a classy breakfast.
Why go? For quintessential British dining.
94-96 Commercial St, London E1 6LZ, www.stjohngroup.uk.com
A trendy, neighbourhood hangout with an 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
Good and Proper Tea are dedicated to the British staple, tea and crumpets. However, in true London style, these are not just any crumpets and instead are square in shape and made using sourdough. Plus, every month they do a different collaboration with a local business or brand to bring you a creative topping. Good and Proper are also experts on loose leaf tea from around the world and if you’re a tea fan you’ll love it even more. Yes, we’re talking about £3.50+ for a crumpet but hey that’s London and you’re paying for the experience of which it’s a good one!
Why go? To experience the staple food of British culture.
96 Leather Ln, London EC1N 7TX, goodandpropertea.com
You know winter has finally gone in London because 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. This vegetarian/vegan cafe is a pink palm tree paradise that has regularly been called London’s most instagrammable cafe. Their vibrant interior also resonates in the food and coffee they serve with colourful smoothie and granola bowls, vegan pastries and alternative lattes made with golden turmeric or purple beetroot. Their ethos is good, healthy and stylish food and they tick all of those boxes. 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 brekkie. There’s something for everyone on their huge menu of benedicts, pancakes, eggs and breakfast sarnies. A funky and trendy spot. Expect to queue.
Why go? For a hearty, no fuss no frills brekkie.
2-4 Rufus St, London N1 6PE, www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com
12. Amber, Aldagte
Amber is somewhere to go when your 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 corn bread which were a nice change to our usual breakfast. Coffee is from London’s famous brand Monmouth. Flavoursome and a 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 and every day they make batches of beautiful bread, pastries and a small selection of breakfast sandwiches to enjoy in their little cafe. A great one to support 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 is an Australian cafe ran by two sisters in Dalston, East London that screams look how cool I am in an unpretentious way. 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. Each dish at Brunswick is so much more than your average breakfast with things 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. Super quality!
Why go? To experience Australia’s brunch culture without leaving London.
3D, STAMFORD WORKS, Gillett St, London N16 8JH, brunswickeast.london
Old Street Records cafe is joined to the popular live music venue and cocktail bar of the same name. Alongside the food menu, the cafe serves top quality coffee from Brixton based Assembly, as well as a range of alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and pastries. It also stocks a small but eclectic mix of vinyl for sale. Find people nursing a hangover from the night before and rest assured their Boston beans breakfast or their veggie special is the perfect cure!
Why go? One for music lovers.
350-354 Old St, London EC1V 9NQ, www.oldstreetrecords.com
Host is a coffee shop inside St Mary’s Church in Mansion House. The menu is small with just toasts and pastries but enjoyed in his unique space is something else! Escape here for a cheap, solo 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/
17. Ekte, Bloomsbury
Etke are a Nordic kitchen doing Nordic style breakfast. What does that consist of you might think? Well, imagine eggs on homemade rye bread, freshly baked cinnamon rolls and Raggmunk, a Nordic style pancake with various savoury toppings. Inside has an uncanny sleek design the Scandinavians are so well known for and plenty of Scandi ambience. Ekte sits in Bloomsbury Arcade amongst a host of other great eateries but this is a great option for a unique breakfast.
Why go? For some Scandi hygge.
2 -8 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR, www.ektelondon.co.uk