Were brunches made for the weekend or were weekends made for brunches? We know that it's probably the former, but surely you can't help but agree that brunch really is the perfect activity for a Saturday and Sunday morning. There's nothing better than having a lie-in and assembling your squad together to attack some of the finest food and beverage that London has to offer. Especially considering it gives you the rest of the day to slowly stupor into a food (and possibly prosecco) induced coma. When it comes to weekend helpings of huevos, London is a pretty great place to be.
The only problem with brunch nowadays is that everyone seems to be at it. Like when your favourite underground band suddenly starts getting radio airplay, brunch has gone a bit too mainstream for our liking. Take a gander at Trip Advisor and you're likely to find more than a generous handful of eateries in your local area all offering the same kitsch approach to smashed/crushed/mushed/trampled avocado on toast. The world of brunch has become a bit too safe. A bit too blasé for our sophisticated, thrill-seeking palates. To combat that, we've collated some of the best alternative brunches to try out in London. Because life is too short for a bad brunch.
Bottomless brunch at Mr Bao
293 Rye Lane, SE15 4UA
Have you ever had a bao bun for breakfast? No? Well, Peckham favourite Mr Bao is here to change that with its deliciously distinct brunch menu that runs from 11am to 4pm. Offering taiwanese takes on traditional British breakfast fair with dishes like Bao Benedict and the Full Taiwanese (a gut-bursting assortment of Taiwanese sausage, spring onion pancake, smoked bacon, bao bun, Asian beans, and spiced eggs), this isn't brunch as you know it. It's much, much better. The option to indulge in a bottomless hour of cocktails like the Bloody 'Hell' Mary – sparkling sake, vodka, fresh tomato juice, wasabi, sriracha, and wasabi salt – for £17 is also pretty hard to pass up.
Sunday gospel brunch at Red Rooster
45 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT
Praise the lord because your brunch prayers have finally been answered. Transforming Shoreditch's Curtain Hotel into a church of good eating every sunday, Red Rooster is the only place in London (and quite possibly the world) where you can brunch while being serenaded by the House Gospel Choir. Chef Marcus Samuelsson's American/Swedish/African inspired menu is equally soulful and includes a host of breakfast classics to wash down the music with. Chicken 'n' Biscuit and Uptown Steak & Eggs are both hearty, fill-your-boots options for a weekend treat, however, if you really want to push the boat (and your belt) out you could opt for the Bird Royale Feast: a whole fried chicken with waffles, biscuits, mac & greens, pickles, and signature Rooster sauce for company. Booking ahead is definitely recommended.
Bottomless Weekender at Le Bab
Top Floor, Kingly Court, W1B 5PW
Having already performed the Herculean task of actually making the kebab a sexy item of food, Soho's Le Bab has also managed to make them acceptable to eat at any time of the day via its introduction of a weekend bottomless brunch. At only £18 per diner, you can enjoy bottomless a selection of Bloody Mary's, Prosecco, or an Elderflower or Raspberry Spritz when ordering a main dish from the a la carte menu. Which shouldn't be too difficult when options include the BBQ paneer, with beetroot puree, crispy onion, pickled rainbow stems and curry mayo; a chicken shish served with squash hummus, pickled heritage carrots, toum and chilli sauce; and the Le Bab falafel kebab with hummus, garlic toum, chilli sauce, pickled chard leaves and mesclun leaves. In fact, the hardest part might be narrowing it down to just one...
Disco brunch at Dalston Superstore
117 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB
More regularly considered a place to get a boogie rather than a brunch on, the Dalston Superstore do a pretty great job at combining the two. Head on down to their hugely popular party brunches every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4pm to dance with your favourite drag stars and dine on breakfast staples like salmon, avocado and eggs. It's a unique and inherently London experience that's reflected by the slightly more out-there dishes available like the sweet potato and beets with eggs – poached eggs, fried sweet potato and beet hash drizzled with tahini, toasted seeds, and chives. Dalston Superstore is designed to satisfy pretty much any craving you might have. Culinary or otherwise.
Peruvian brunch at Andina
1 Redchurch St, E2 7DJ
Brunch shouldn't be boring. Brunch should smack with flavour and remind you of why you've left the house at the weekend. Andina's brunch, consisting of food inspired by the Peruvian Andes, will make you never want to return home again. What better way could there be to start the day than with a tart and refreshing ceviche? Well, how about the most millennial sounding meal in existence: avocado pancakes. Andina's avocado pancakes come in two renditions: sweet, with pink peppercorn whipped cream, chancaca honey, strawberry preserve, popped kiwicha, Huacatay herb; and savoury, with crispy pork belly, spicy Peruvian salt, salsa criolla. Both begging to be added to both your stomach and Instagram feed. As a special brunch cocktail you can also get your lips around Andina's super bloody mary, complete with celery, black pepper and chilli-infused pisco, tomato, red vegetables, tiger's milk, and gluten free soy sauce.
Middle Eastern brunch at Berber & Q
Arch 338 Acton Mews, E8 4EA
Food is meant to be shared with the people you love. Berber & Q's brunch is made to be shared with the people you really love. Because once you start gorging, you'll going to find it pretty painful to part with half of the feast. The full Israeli is a breakfast for two that contains hummus, baba ganoush, honeyed feta, dak dak salad, boiled eggs, avocado, tahini, yoghurt and date syrup, roasted beets, and marinated red peppers. Which is a hell of a lot of food, even for two. If you're more of a carnivore when the sun's out, you can always opt for the meat-heavy Mangal breakfast. You don't even have to feel guilty about it considering that all of Berber & Q's meats are free-range and naturally reared. Your cholesterol, however, might disagree.
Brunch at Milk
18-20 Bedford Hill, SW12 9RG
When it comes to hitting that sweet spot in between breakfast and lunch, Milk knows exactly what it's doing. Open for brunch Monday to Saturday from 8am to 5pm and Sunday from 9am to 5pm, it's pretty much the Balham outlet's specialty. That, and coffee. Aesthetic eats like the buckwheat pancakes come topped with seasonal produce ranging from poached rhubarb to plump gariguette strawberries and are so photogenic you almost feel awful eating them. Well, until you take your first bite and promptly wolf down the rest. Savoury dishes such as the perfectly fried sweetcorn fritters are also worth the wait. Which there most certainly will be at the weekend. So be prepared to queue. But for good reason.
Bombay Breakfast at Dishoom
Start your day off with a bit of spice at Dishoom where you can find a hearty Indian breakfast served from 8am to 11.45am on weekdays and from 9am to 11.45am on weekends. The array of aromatic options contains crowd pleasers like the Kejriwal (essentially two fried eggs on a punchy chilli cheese toast) and the ever-popular Bacon Naan Roll. The latter is like no bacon sarnie you've ever had before. Smoked streaky bacon from The Ginger Pig is dry-cured for five days with rock salt and Demerara sugar before being cold-smoked over oak chips. The bacon is then cooked to crisp perfection and ushered inside a freshly baked, fluffy naan with a smattering of cheese, chilli tomato jam and fresh herbs. If that hasn't already got you (bacon and) egging for a reservation, then there's no hope for you. But on top of the good food, Dishoom also does good deeds, too. For each meal Dishoom serves, it donates a corresponding meal to a child via charity Magic Breakfast, which provides a nourishing, free breakfast to schools and pupils in the UK that would otherwise go hungry.
Sunday brunch at Shack-Fuyu
14A Old Compton St, W1D 4TJ
Shack-Fuyu specialises in Western-inspired Japanese dishes known as Yōshoku. Shack-Fuyu does a bottomless brunch on Sundays. For £39 per person, Shack-Fuyu will practically become a member of your family. Like an over-zealous uncle, Shack-Fuyu will limber you up with a yuzu kosho bloody mary or strawberry bellini on arrival with a choice of free-flowing white wine, red wine or prosecco as you continue to feast your way through the morning. Like a loving grandmother, Shack-Fuyu will stuff you with an unlimited selection of small dishes like tako tacos (octopus with shisho avocado and gochujang) and Korean-fried chicken wings alongside the tantalising offering of one big dish per person. The Iberico Pork pluma is one such 'big dish' equally big on flavour. After you've been sufficiently tippled and stuffed, kinako french toast with soft serve ice cream is also provided for the entire table to enjoy at the end of the meal. Bring an appetite.
Bottomless brunch at KuPP
Unit 53, Merchant Square, W2 1AS
Bringing a slice of Stockholm to Merchant Square, KuPP are capitalising on the Scandi obsession with a pretty banging bottomless brunch deal every weekend.This place is all about the hygge and the huge portions. For just £25 per person, you and your Stieg Larsson-loving mates can get stuck into one of KuPP's signature smögås 'bords' plus an hour and a half of unlimited drinks from a selection of KuPP lager, Aperol Spritz, and prosecco. The board is comprised of everything from smoked pork meatballs to beetroot stained gravalax, freshly baked rye bread and just about anything Swedish you can imagine in between.This isn't flat-pack food.
13 North Hill, N6 4AB
Love your beer and reckon you can sink more than one pint in two hours? Gorgeous Brewery's bottomless beer brunch might just be the one for you. This new microbrewery in the beer garden of The Bull in Highgate puts on a pretty impressive spread, coming in at around £35 per person. Settle in and get ready to chow down on some classic brunch dishes: expect to encounter anything from French toast with apple and cinnamon or a full English – all washed down, of course, with a pint (or three) of Gorgeous' on-site brewed craft beer. Pico de gallo-laden huevos rancheros and a pint of Pacific pale ale? Good morning, London.
The Royal Brunch at Jamavar
8 Mount Street, W1K 3NF
Get the royal treatment at Jamavar, the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant on Mount Street. Kicking things off with a glass of Laurent Perrier La Cuvée champagne, this top-class brunch menu will have you feasting on galouti kebab (a succulent lamb dish with aromatic cardamom and saffron), king prawns made even more delicious with a brown garlic, cream cheese and yoghurt pairing, masala egg dosa and even more. It’s a far cry from your basic brunch of avo on toast and bottomless prosecco, but there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong at all.