Best for midweek-to weekend, all-day brunching – Portobello 177
Served from 8am-3pm from Tuesday to Sunday this is a collaboration with Kiwi sandwich master ‘World Famous’ on (world-famous) Portobello Road. But there’s more to the well-written menu than just its excellent chicken sandwich (with dill mayo and gravy) and the classic salt beef reuben. Braised lamb sausage roll with pickle; smashed pea with smoked beets and its signature merguez, eggs any style, seasonal green and house hash speak to the kitchen’s skills and imagination. Upstairs from cocktail bar Trailer Happiness, the space is diner by day, atmospheric small-plates by night. portobello177.com
Best breakfast with a view – Mount St. Restaurant
Sit among works by Picasso, Warhol and Matisse for breakfast at Mount St Restaurant, a light-flooded dining room located above the landmark Mayfair pub, The Audley. Art decorates the entire space, with mosaic-marbled floors creating a one-of-a-kind setting to awaken the senses. Think opulent updates on classic London dishes, such as white truffle-flecked scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, omelettes topped with Oscietra caviar or porridge pepped up with a dram of whiskey. Sausages, chutneys and honey are sourced from Durslade Farm Shop, while beef and lamb come from its farm in Somerset. For drinks, choose from a selection of vibrant juices or a top-quality coffee made behind the glossy white bar. Ask politely for a postprandial tour of the dazzling private rooms located on each floor, including a luxe Venetian-inspired dining room and cosy games room turret.
Best brunch with sweeping city views – Seabird, Southwark
Sit at the counter or bag a seat on the terrace for one of the capital’s coolest brunches. The top floor of hotel Hoxton Southwark brims with life as big family tables, gangs of gal-pals and tables of two get stuck into its menu of Spanish-inspired sharing plates. Start with a glass of natural cava, a few English, Irish or French oysters and bite-size anchovy toasts, slathered in a distinctive raw butter. Those feeling celebratory will gravitate towards sharing centrepieces like the Calypso or Cousteau shellfish platters, or whole lobster rice, but humbler tastes are catered for, too – calamari and chipstick-style patatas bravas with confit egg are must-orders. Brunch specials include brown shrimp crumpet, chorizo eggs with herbed yogurt and sourdough, and Seabird’s famous octopus brioche with padrons and pickled onion. All with a backdrop of mellow tunes thanks to the in-house DJ. seabirdlondon.com
Best brunch with an Eastern Mediterranean twist – Brother Marcus, South Kensington, Angel, Borough & Spitalfields
Brunch institution Brother Marcus has opened its doors in west London with a relaxed all-day dining spot in South Kensington. A stone’s throw from the station, grab a seat by the large windows framing the restaurant for an al fresco breakfast with a prime people-watching spot. Each of the classic brunch dishes has a twist, from Sugar Mama, where a hot, homemade doughnut is topped with date and tahini ice cream, glazed with chocolate and topped with pistachio pastelli, to Fried Chicken Rosti – kefir fried chicken served alongside crispy potato rosti and two fried eggs, drizzled with bacon jam. brothermarcus.co.uk
Best for Middle Eastern spin on staples – Ottolenghi, Spitalfields
Ottolenghi Spitalfields is the largest outpost of the Ottolenghi empire, with a dining room serving breakfast through dinner, cocktail bar and modern deli for takeaways. Furnishings are kept to a minimum, with wooden furniture, flowers and draped curtains providing a relaxed setting to while away the hours.
Clear your head with a pear, apple juice and basil mocktail, or continue weekend revelries with a classic mimosa. You can expect loosely Middle Eastern twists on classics, from shakshuka with braised eggs, to scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with grilled focaccia – all the flavours synonymous with Yotam. Welsh rarebit on sourdough with a fried egg and salad is cheesy and unctuous, while vegan scrambled tofu with grated tomato and confit garlic is a smoky spin on scrambled eggs.
Finish with a trip to the counter of cakes – highlights include spiced date cake with orange icing and pecan brittle and a flourless orange and almond cake with chocolate ganache. Choose from a selection of pastries, from almond croissants to cinnamon brioche pretzels – best served with a frothy cappuccino. ottolenghi.co.uk/spitalfields
Brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn, Notting Hill
London’s Notting Hill is the ideal setting for this vibrant corner spot that balances being American without feeling themed. The menu covers all the brunch bases, service is friendly and professional and the room has an outside-in feel with a central foliage chandelier and wooden furniture. Pancakes are plate-sized, drenched in a chocolate praline sauce. Steak is slices of charred hanger steak (onglet) with scrambled eggs, toast and home fries, which also appear on the sausage dish but are confusingly called something else. Burgers are stacked high, available as cauliflower or chicken versions but we went for the classic which had the flavour you only get from good provenance. Fun cocktails are well mixed – we tried the signature pineapple and rum Honey Bear on Holiday that comes in the iconic bear-shaped honey bottles and the more morning friendly Champagne Problems (bubbly and strawberries). All this plus a list of extras so you can customise, great coffee and freshly squeezed juices had us feeling there wasn’t much more we could ask of brunch.
Best for pancakes – Where The Pancakes Are, Fitzrovia
Brunch-obsessed Londoners will already know about this all-day breakfast hotspot in London Bridge. Now, their second restaurant has opened in Fitzrovia, serving the popular buckwheat and buttermilk pancakes. Designed largely using recycled materials, the casual interior is light and relaxed, with a marble bar made from reclaimed dining tables and – impressively – black tiles made from recycled desert-soldier uniforms.nnYou can’t go wrong with the classics on the menu; thick and fluffy American pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, or the classic English breakfast with homemade baked beans. But, if you’re after something different, opt for the pulled beef pastrami with crunchy kale slaw, creamy thousand island sauce and sauerkraut, or the Montgomery cheddar and goat’s cheese Dutch baby (a bit like a giant Yorkshire pudding), complemented by thyme and radiccio. The Fitzrovia site also has Korean miso pancakes and polenta chips with bacon mayo from 5pm. The zesty hummingbird pancakes with cinnamon-poached pineapple and coconut, which can be made vegan, are great if you want something sweet. If you’re not recovering from the night before, we’d recommend ordering a breakfast-inspired cocktail, like a maple old fashioned or espresso tequila martini. It is the weekend, after all. wherethepancakesare.com
Best for egg buns – Eggslut, Notting Hill
Founded in California in 2011, with the aim of brining gourmet eggs to the breakfast table, Eggslut opened its first UK branch on Notting Hill’s Portobello Road in August 2019. The décor is stark (think grey walls, a metal counter and high wooden stools) with pops of yolk yellow in the neon signs. Choose from six options, all of which come with Bread Ahead brioche buns and Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs. Our pick is the Fairfax, where buttery, softly scrambled eggs mixed with sweet caramelised onions, chives, sriracha mayo and a generous slice of melting cheese for an indulgent (and hearty) start to your day. eggslut.com
Best classic neighbourhood brunch – Milk Beach, Queen’s Park
Stray off the main high street of Queen’s Park down a pretty little mews to find this neighbourhood café and wine bar. There’s a communal wooden table to slouch round, with surrounding smaller marble-topped tables for smaller groups, and, on sunny days, white stable doors open out onto the cobbled pavement. The café’s co-owners source specialty coffee from around the world to roast on-site each week, and decent brunch options do the coffee justice – bread and pastries come from Little Bread Pedlar in Bermondsey (save room for a flaky pain au chocolat). Order the sourdough soldiers, their crevices flooded with puddles of butter, ready to duck into a jam jar of coddled eggs, cream, sweet potato purée and chives. milkbeach.com
Best for natural light – Crispin, Shoreditch
In a quirky, purpose-built zinc and glass pavilion, designed to look like an origami-folded bird, light pours into the back onto the cool polished concrete bars, and terrazzo-topped ash bar. There’s Assembly coffee from Brixton during the day, and at night Fernando Berry of Otros Vinos has helped curate a rotating wine list focussing on natural and low-intervention wines.
Breakfast starts at 7.30am and covers the classics, alongside trendy new contenders. There’s an organic bacon sandwich with house ketchup; bright-yolked, boiled Burford Brown eggs with Dusty Knuckle Bakery soldiers; and Secret Smokehouse (made in London Fields) on sourdough (check out our guide to sourdough here) with soft cheese, lemon and dill. Be sure to order the super-crunchy, smoked ham toastie – oozing with melted cheddar, topped with a crispy fried egg and showered in finely grated, nutty Berkswell cheese. crispinlondon.com
Best brunch for coffee geeks – Kiss The Hippo, Richmond
Kiss The Hippo, so named to mark the coffee shop’s environmental ethos (all cutlery, straws and cup lids are fully compostable), brings a bright and airy hangout to Richmond’s George Street. Up front, a gigantic coffee station caters to the trendiest of coffee geeks, with niche brews including Ugandan Nitro Cold Brew coffee and Japanese-style iced filter coffee, dripped through a Kalita over ice cubes to bring out delicate elderflower and bergamot notes. Pastries and brunch dishes are prepared by the chef consultant from London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Try tiny Sicilian apricot and mango tartlets with a delicate vanilla scent, or super light cinnamon rolls with cinnamon paste swirled through and white chocolate glaze slathered on top. kissthehippo.com
Here are more of our favourite coffee shops in the UK…
Best for a friendly vibe – Friends of Ours, Hoxton
In the middle of Old Street and Hoxton stations in trendy east London, Friends of Ours is far more than a playground for bearded hipsters. Instead, it draws those seeking bright brunches and speciality coffee from across the capital.
Park yourself outside on the long wooden tables if the weather is nice or relax inside on teal blue chairs that contrast dark wood tables and floors. A large counter gives the epic coffee machine pride of place, along with a display of cakes (made in-house) and pastries from Dusty Knuckle.
Kedgeree is given a sophisticated twist courtesy of hake (from local fishmongers Sutton & Sons) that had been smoked in-house with black tea, subtly spiced black rice and an egg yolk cured in soy sauce.
Click here to read our full review of brunch at Friends of Ours
Best for a diner-style buzz – Electric Diner, Portobello Road
Electric Diner’s interiors are true to its name – ribbed red leather banquettes are set up, train carriage-style, down one side of the narrow room, condiments are waiting to be used on wooden tables, and the buzzy atmosphere bounces off low curved ceilings and exposed brick walls. Slide into a booth or sit on a green leather stool looking onto the open kitchen to make sure your eggs are being prepared just how you like them… The egg-heavy brunch menu features omelettes laden with gruyere cheese, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and all of the classics – Benedict, Florentine and Royale. electricdiner.com
Best Middle Eastern brunch – Honey & Co, Warren Street
There’s a wholesome, homely vibe to Honey & Co, a cosy cafe that bring the flavours of Jerusalem to Warren Street. Shelves lined with jars of tahini, date syrup and preserved lemons act as decoration, with wooden tables simply laid with paper tablecloths that are whipped off and changed after each sitting. Go with a group to make the most of the big breakfast, where tiny white bowls come piled high with hummus, labneh, pickles and tomato salad. Choose your eggs to go alongside, from classic tomato shakshuka with a punchy coriander zhug sauce, to flaky merguez sausages roll served with harissa and a boiled Cornish farm egg. honeyandco.co.uk
Best for Indian brunch – Dishoom, across London
Best for Swedish brunch – Söderberg, Soho
Best for Antipodean dishes – Ozone, Shoreditch
Exposed brick walls, florescent strip lights and weathered floorboards give a minimalist vibe to this Shoreditch coffee roastery and eatery just off Old Street’s Silicon roundabout. Upstairs, staff in dark-denim aprons prepare fruity single-origin espressos at the brew bar, while an open kitchen has chefs whipping up Antipodean dishes such as wagyu mince on focaccia; and smoked carrot, chard and house ricotta-stuffed omelettes. A spongy kaffir lime pancake comes with Crouch End honey, rhubarb, dark chocolate shavings and a dollop of labneh, while crispy bubble and squeak cakes make a hearty change from muffins for the eggs hollandaise. ozonecoffee.co.uk
Best Japanese brunch – Koya, Soho and City
Stop by either of Koya’s Soho or City sites for an alternative savoury brunch. Choose a window table simply laid with chopsticks and napkins, or take a seat on one of the high bar stools to watch chefs at work. The menu, split into udon noodle and rice dishes (with the option for small side plates) combines Japanese dishes and twists on English classics. Keep it simple with Kizami – a bowl of noodles topped with fried tofu and spring onions – or mix things up with a feast of kippers, poached egg, butter rice and miso soup. koya.co.uk
Best vegetarian and vegan brunches in London
The Spread Eagle, Homerton
Sitting on the corner of Homerton High Street, The Spread Eagle is London’s first 100% vegan pub serving Mexican inspired street-food, cooked by residents/vegan street-food specialists Club Mexicana. Sit around a rustic wooden table sipping on punchy Bloody Mary’s made with horseradish-infused vodka, tea mojitos brewed with earl grey syrup or funky, gently-spiced ginger kombuchas produced locally in Hackney Wick. The brunch menu takes Mexican and American classics like burritos and huevos rancheros and gives them a vegan twist. If you’re after something really indulgent, go for the fluffy waffles drizzled with spicy chilli-infused maple syrup, smoky tempeh bacon and fried ‘chicken’ (which lacks the satisfying crunch and tenderness of the real deal).
Best sweet brunches in London
Best for french toast – Esters, Stoke Newington
For the best brunch in Stokey, head to this neighbourhood café just off Church Street. White walls, grey slate, angular tables and pops of orange give this small space a sleek HAY-inspired Scandi vibe, while families spend the morning sipping on flat whites and friends get a post-run refuel. Don’t expect to find avocado on toast here, rather crispy pork belly with punchy wakame salsa verde, wafter-thin slithers of fennel, fried egg, sweet tomatoes (grown just down the road at Stoke Newington’s Growing Communities vegetable patch) and chunks of bread to mop up the rich aïoli. For those with a sweet tooth, order the french toast, where toppings change based on the seasons. estersn16.com
Best babka – The Good Egg, Soho and Stoke Newington
Take a seat on one of the dark-teal wooden chairs and watch chefs at work behind the metal counter. Walls are covered in jars of pickles and bottles of wine and blackboards list names of the meat, fish and veg producers that feature on the menu.
The menu offers a selection of sweet and savoury choices. The rich, buttery brioche-like babka is a must, with a thick chocolate spread running through the layers of dough and a crisp crust. If you fancy something savoury and want a small taste of everything, try out the Jerusalem breakfast plates, small dishes that range from spicy merguez hogget sausage with preserved-lemon yogurt and sweet marinated aubergine with tahini and smoked paprika to crispy fried eggs with chilli and vinegary beets and dill.
Click here to read our full review of The Good Egg