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 ever since. 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 (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.
Here are, in no particular order, London’s Best Breakfasts & Brunch: South London
Burnt Toast are a small corner cafe in the middle of vibrant Brixton Village Market. This small cafe serves up a great all-day brunch with some of the BEST pancakes and eggs around. Plus, their fig and walnut french toast with butterscotch sauce might be the best you ever have. If you haven’t been to Brixton Market before, imagine an indoor ‘village’ where restaurants and cafes have their own little shop and customers sit outside each one. It’s really cool and has a great communal and energetic vibe. Seating at Burnt Toast is limited and there will probably be a small wait for a table on the weekend, however, they do turn around quickly. Burnt Toast is one of the most popular brunch spots in London and it’s easy to see why.
Why go? For an insanely good french toast.
88, Brixton Village, Brixton, London SW9 8PS, www.instagram.com/burnttoastcafeldn
For me, there’s nothing better than a good, solid neighbourhood cafe or restaurant. Somewhere that’s off the beaten track and requires you to walk through streets you’ve never wandered down before. That’s the best kind of cafe. Louie Louie is a gorgeous spot in the middle of an unassuming residential area of South London. In the weekdays, their brunch menu is more simple with pimped up toasts and hearty oatmeals topped with freshly blitzed almond butter. On the weekend it’s much more creative and little unusual. I mean how good does ‘spinach & mustard seed brioche with a fried egg, horseradish cream & smoked salmon sound’?? YES PLEASE! Inside is minimal, modern with sleek lines and little retro touches here and there which makes it ooooooooooooze trendiness. Also, open for dinner in the evening.
Why go? For a neighbourhood gem.
347 Walworth Rd, London SE17 2AL, louielouie.london
Senzala Creperie is another great breakfast place in bustling Brixton Village Market (see number 1 if you want more info on the market). They are a small, independent creperie that does french crepes with a Brazilian flair! The large menu has so many great options of both sweet and savoury crepes which are freshly made to order. You could get something like the ‘Femiere’ which is ham, fried eggs and asparagus, or go full-on sugar overload with Belgian chocolate, strawberries and whipped cream. Otherwise, you can mix and match and create your own. Senzala is a great, easy and delicious place to please everyone without spending too much. Plus, because their crepes are made from buckwheat so it’s great for anyone who is gluten intolerant.
Why go? For a cool atmosphere.
41-42 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8PS, www.senzalacreperie.co.uk
SOOOOOO many people told me about Mughead Coffee that I had to go and pay them a visit myself to see what the fuss was about. They are a small, independent coffee house that, of course, does a great cup of coffee and a croissant but the biggest reason you’ll want to come here is for freshly baked cinnamon rolls. News flash, the hype is real. Their buns are baked fresh in house every morning and massaged in are gooey, sticky cream cheese frosting until they are soaked right through. An unassuming little cafe with some almighty buns. Thanks to those who people who recommended it to me and brought it into my life!!!! What a start to the day!
Why go? For those cinnamon rolls.
359 New Cross Rd, London SE14 6AT, www.instargam.com/mugheadcoffee
Brickhouse is a large farmhouse style cafe and bakery in leafy Dulwich. They make and bake all of their bread and pastries every day and host them on their all-day brunch menu. This includes boiled eggs with homemade sourdough soldiers, smoked haddock and potatoes, plus, freshly made croissants and Danish pastries. Inside is airy and modern with rustic charm. Large communal tables form the centre space with counter seating around the edge that’s perfect for a solo breakfast date. (Lots more solo dining places here if you are interested) It gets very busy at the weekend with families enjoying a day out. Go early to avoid the crowds.
Why go? For rustic charm.
1 Zenoria St, East Dulwich, London SE22 8HP, www.brickhousebread.com
If someone told you there’s a brunch spot in London where your fried egg will be as big as your head you’d think they were having a laugh, right? Wrong! Modern brasserie Florentine has a breakfast menu of great egg dishes including a £75 English breakfast that comes with a huge fried ostrich egg, feeding 4-6 people. If that’s not your thing you can’t go wrong with their eggs Benedict or scramble on toast covered in shaved black truffle. Florentine is sleek, classy and one to take the parents to for a nice breakfast.
Why go? For a special occasion and if you love eggs.
6 Hercules Rd, South Bank, London SE1 7DU, www.florentinerestaurant.co.uk
Victoria and Westminster are two of London’s busiest areas but there’s a sweet spot in the middle of them where things get a lot less crazy – that’s where Iris and June sit. No, that’s not two friends called Iris and June but a lovely coffee shop and breakfast spot that is a little bit undiscovered to the masses! A smaller breakfast menu is served weekdays with a larger more interesting menu on the weekends. I mean, there at not many places that do smashed avocado in a poppadom or espresso and tahini sufganiyot (Jewish doughnuts). Inside is not full of bold colours or fancy flowers – more minimalist, Scandinavian vibes!
Why go? For a hidden gem.
1 Howick Pl, Westminster, London SW1P 1WG, www.irisandjune.com
Salon in Brixton prides themselves in serving seasonal, inventive dishes. This small, rustic cafe looks quite unassuming from the outside until you climb the stairs to their upstairs restaurant and enter into their dining room. The space is a design dream with shabby chic accents and long wooden tables which will have you pinning to your Pinterest board immediately! Dishes include pea & mint with Berkswell cheese on toast or fried eggs with spicy sausage and pickles on sourdough. Yes, it does sound a little pretentious and it’s not the most casual brunch place you’ll ever go to but when food is this good we can deal with that. The third breakfast spot in Brixton Village on this list. Yes, I love that place if you couldn’t tell.
Why go? For a simple, chic brunch.
18 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LD, www.salonbrixton.co.uk
Every Saturday morning you’ll find a long queue of eager people waiting for the Little Bread Pedlar bakery to open its doors. Once the shutters are unfolded from what was once a railway arch, you’re greeted with piles of fresh croissants, pain au chocolate and freshly baked bread. Little Bread Pedlar sits in Spa Terminus, a small group of working food production outlets that open themselves up to the public on weekends. Get up early, queue for your pastry and grab a spot on a nearby kerb to enjoy or take home to pair with a coffee.
Why go? If you appreciate baking and love pastries.
Arch Spa Business Park 4, 6 Dockley Rd, London SE16 3FJ, lbpedlar.com
I love places where you’re walking down a really residential area and a little cafe just happens to be sat there on the corner. Cut the Mustard is a hidden gem of south London. It’s clearly full of loyal locals and I’d be confident to say they visit not just for convenience but because it’s actually bloody good. They bake fresh pastries every day (marmite scrolls and Nutella cinnamon swirls to name a few) and they’ve put their own stamp of what could be just a boring breakfast menu with their njuda (spicy sausage paste) with butter beans, poached egg and a side of layered potatoes – that’s what I’m talking about! People kept popping in every so often to get a freshly baked loaf until they sold out. I wish I lived closer. I’d pop in most days.
Why go? For a local gem.
68 Moyser Rd, London SW16 6SQ, cutthemustardcafe.com
11. Story Coffee London
Story Coffee London has two spots in Clapham Junction – one just for coffee and then another that serves brunch. They named themselves to show their belief in the transparency and traceability of their products they use in the cafe every day. This includes Cacklefarm eggs for their hickory smoked bean dish, BreadBread bakery for their avocado toast and square mile coffee to get you going in the morning. The cafe is small but dreamy in its design with wooden tables, whitewashed walls and beautiful hanging lighting features. Pinterest eat your heart out!
Why go? For Pinterest inspo.
Dominque Ansel is named after its owner and esteemed pastry chef known for his innovative and creative pastries and desserts. The cafe/bakery/restaurant opened in London a few years ago after whipping up a storm across the pond in New York when Ansel created the cronut – a croissant, doughnut hybrid! While the bakery is mostly known for its unusual desserts such as the ‘frozen smore stick’ or ‘banana paella’, its breakfast and brunch menu must not be forgotten. The freshly baked Welsh rarebit croissant with an oozing mustard centre is spectacular, or perhaps the famous DKA “Dominique’s Kouign Amann” which is caramelized pastry on the outside with flaky and tender layers within. If you want to go super extra for your brekkie, the Croque monsieur is insanely good (and insanely calorific) with layers of ham, cheese and bechamel sauce. The cafe sits off a side street so you probably wouldn’t find it if you weren’t looking for it but I highly recommend you seek them out. They get really busy on weekends so go as early as you can.
Why go? Cos’ it’s famous.
17-21 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP, www.dominiqueansellondon.com
13. Milk, Balham
Balham is a lively neighbourhood in South London that is heavy with 25-35-year-old Australian expats with yoga mats – basically the pinnacle of the brunch crowd. Thankfully, Balham has lots of great brunches to offer for them (and you!) and that includes Milk. Milk is a trendy Aussie cafe full of ‘cool kids’ and you’ll hardly ever see it without a queue. They have Australian staples like sweetcorn fritters, toasted banana bread & my favourite eggs with burnt butter hollandaise. Plus, great coffee of course. Make sure you get a giant freshly made Aussie lamington (sponge with chocolate and coconut) to take away for later. P.S They also have a sister cafe not too far away from here called Milk Teeth!
Why go? To hang with all the cool kids.
110 Mitcham Rd, London SW17 9NG, www.milk.london
Federation Coffee are the fourth brunch place on the list that lives inside Brixton Market – A quirky, colourful indoor ‘village’ full of great places to eat. They are a small corner cafe in the village that are very proud of the coffee they serve. The brunch menu is small and simple with just a few toasts & sweet options so it’s not one if you want something extravagant but more for a nice bite to eat in a really cool place.
Why go? For good coffee and people watching.
77-78 Brixton Village Market, Brixton, London SW9 8PS, http://federation.coffee/
Founded in 2013 by Jayke Mangion from Melbourne, Brickwood quickly became one of the most authentic Aussie cafe experiences in London. On the weekend it pulls in the trendy brunch crowd who are looking for a quality weekend feed with loads of delicious Aussie inspired options. Cosy feel and a great playlist. Two locations in South London.
Why go? For an Aussie experience.
Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High St, London SW17 0SN, www.brickwoodlondon.com
Wait! Before you go…
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