Enjoying a good breakfast can be pivotal in setting up your day the right way. Almost as important, say, as brushing your teeth; as combing your hair; heck, as remembering to wear pants.
Basically, it's important: not only, to risk sounding like your mother, because it's good for you, but also because breakfast is the best meal of the day and a little bit of joy every morning never did anybody any harm.
Keep scrolling for Foodism's pick of where to pick up the best breakfasts in London, en-route to work or on a weekend morning when you've got time to while away some good company and even better food. From light as a feather croissants from Pophams, to fluffy scrambled eggs pots from Bad Egg, to salmon stuffed-sourdoughs from The Barge House. Never go hungry again.
24 best breakfasts in London
1. 26 Grains
Where? 1 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP
Takeaway? Pastries and coffee
Originally just a tiny pop-up stall in Old Street station, 26 Grains has become a must-try on the London breakfast scene thanks to its array of both sweet and savoury porridges.
The Scandinavian-inspired classics span warming tahini oats – topped with cacao, honey and sesame – and slightly more unconventional bowls for the savoury-lovers garnished with chicken, tomato and coconut. Menu options now also include crispy, crunchy sourdoughs slathered in homemade salted almond butter and berries; weekly changing seasonal; dukkah-topped salads; and salted rye brownies. Grab and go with a coffee or sit down adn enjoy admiring the colourful setup of Neal's Yard, natch – because brownies are totally acceptable for breakfast, right?
Where? 19 Prebend Street, N1 8PF
Fancy sinking your teeth into roughly 729 layers of flaky, crunchy dough, swirled with thick, salty ribbons of maple-soaked bacon and inspired by the towering stacks of maple and bacon pancakes in the US? Yeah, we thought so.
It's American food without any of the gluttony or excess. There's no hotter croissant in London right now, so get down to Pophams in Islington, Hackney or newly opened Arcade Food Theatre (one of Foodism's favourite food markets in London). You can choose from more traditional plain, almond and pain au chocolat croissants, or be adventurous and try Pophams' apricot and tonka bean custard croissant, rosemary and sea salt twist, or Marmite, Schlossberger and spring onion twirl. Pophams does weekend specials, too: the peanut butter, jam and banana is a particular standout. Top tip: go early or you'll likely be left empty handed.
Where? 26 Southampton Street, WC2E 7RS
While Covent Garden is predominantly full of tourists, pre-theatre pasta deals and builders cafés, dig deep enough and you'll find some real hidden gems. Like Abuelo, for example, a kitsch little place run by an Argentinian-Australian mother and daughter team who pride themselves on serving fresh, locally sourced, uncomplicated grub. The best dish is the honey whipped mascarpone, fresh figs and crushed pistachios on sourdough, plus you can't go wrong with the freshly baked cakes, homemade energy balls and fruit loaves. Try not to drool.
Where? 4-6 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ:
Opening its doors in London back in 2013, Balthazar is somewhat of a legend on both the New York and London food scenes, earning itself the title of the 'most exciting restaurant opening of 2013' and a review from the likes of Jay Rayner (of course). Feast under a high, swooping ceiling and dangling, glistening chandeliers safe in the knowledge that you're in the hands one of New York's greatest restaurateurs, Keith McNally.
He does Parisian dining and he does Parisian dining well. The menu is extensive: you can eat everything, from an eight-piece fried bread topped English breakfast, to bearnaise-drenched lobster royale, to oysters. If you're looking for a lighter option, Balthazar also has a walk in boulangerie next door, which, fun fact, is supplied by its self-run bakery, located in Lambeth. Flaky pastry galore.
Where? Various locations
Cinnamon buns, pastries and freshly baked sourdough, oh my! Gail's (now multitude of) bakeries across London serve over 30 different morning bakes ready for you to steal away with in brown crinkly paper and a smooth, foamy coffee in hand. Dunk said flaky pastry to your heart's content, chow down on bacon or salmon breakfast sandwiches, or, for a lighter option, grab a pot of overnight oats or mango and lychee topped Greek yoghurt, instead. Delightful.
6. The Pavillion Victoria Park Café
Where? Victoria Park
If you live East, you're not short of good breakfast spots but The Pavillion in Victoria Park (from the team behind Eliot's) is particularly special. If you can make grabbing a coffee and a pastry from here part of your morning commute, we envy you; you get to enjoy the peacefulness of the park and the flaky, melt-in-the-mouth cinnamon buns and croissants at once. There are yoghurt pots and fresh fruit to-go, too, or you could always sit by the lake for avo-topped sourdough or doorstop veggie-packed sandwiches.
7. Sourced Market
Where? Various locations
First testing the waters as a food truck at festivals for the summer of 2016, Sourced Market was born from a general interest in the public for trying new, local and independent products and fresh produce on-the-go. Stop by on your way to work or at the weekend for a killer cup of coffee, granola bars, bacon sandwiches, almond porridge pots and all the hottest new products to have on your radar. In stock at current – Nice wine cans, Native popped lotus seed snack packs and Loveraw peanut butter cups. Need we say more?
8. Bad Egg
Where? City Point, 1 Ropemaker Street, EC2Y 9AW
You're hungry, it's payday and you want more than a croissant to fill that breakfast-shaped void in your soul that's sucking all your energy. Enter Bad Egg, serving mega breakfasts-to-go perfect for any craving. Whether you're after a 'crack muffin' – a buttery English muffin piled high with sausage, bacon, egg, hash browns, sriracha and cheese – American pancakes – complete with blueberry jam, vanilla cream, maple bacon or fried chicken (yep) – or a Calabrian omelette – a fried Nduja, spinach and cheddar affair – you’ll be smug-as-a-bug as your envious work colleagues try to disguise their envy. Yeah. Take that, al desko Special K.
9. St John Bakery
Where? 3 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP
Indulge in a daily changing rota of (rather famous) sourdough sandwiches, anchovy puffs and cinnamon rum buns, fresh coffee, doughnuts and loaves wrapped in brown piggy paper at St John in its new Neal's Yard location. Despite the recent move, it's a London institute of its own, having introduced the City to nose-to-tail dining way back in 1993 before it was trendy or talked-about. Alongside a Michelin star winning restaurant, founder and chef Fergus Henderson is a baker passionate about bread. He once said, "A happy loaf glows with potential. With a proud loaf in your kitchen, sandwiches, toast and trenchers… mopping and soaking… all these become imminent promises. Bread is the ultimate expression of possibility". Amen to that.
10. Prufrock Coffee
Where? 23-25 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TE
Serving some of the best coffees in London – think Square Mile Coffee, as well as a variety of guest roasters from all over Europe including Five Elephant, Koppi Coffee, Coffee Collective, Tim Wendelboe, La Cabra, Drop Coffee and Belleville – you'd be a fool not to swing by Prufrock for breakfast. Alongside a banging cup of joe, enjoy croissants, toast and an assortment of bakes to go – Foodism favourites include the banana and blueberry loaf and the orange and mint loaf from Fortitude Bakehouse.
Where? Various locations
Ah, Fabrique. Home to hygge and scandi-chic and possibly the best cardamom buns in London – and that's an achievement. Breakfast here isn't exactly on the cheap side – around £7 to £8 side for a bun and a coffee – but for a pay-day treat, boy, is it worth it. Revel in the feeling as the spicy, warming cardamom bake fills your tummy, cinnamon sugar clinging to your lips and sticky dough coating your fingers. Fabrique also has a new blueberry bun on the menu which is, for those with a slightly sweeter palate, a total delight. Breakfast heaven.
Where? Bedford Hill, SW12 9RG
Milk is cool – like, Dacre Montgomery from Stranger Things levels of cool. The food is fit – yep, like Dacre Montgomery from Stranger Things levels of fit. Milk's breakfast menu is just one of its draws as – like Montgomery's aptitude in acting, podcasting, and looking gorgeous – its a place with many hidden talents. Plus, they've both got Aussie roots – need we draw any more parallels? Only thing is – because Milk is (as previously mentioned) super cool, you won't get a seat at a weekend without queueing for a good chunk of your Saturday morning. Beat the queues and stop in on a weekday, instead. We strongly recommend you try the burnt halva butter and salted pumpkin seed tahini banana bread or the blood orange, stem ginger and burnt marzipan buckwheat pancakes, alongside an extra zingy fresh juice and steaming mug of locally brewed coffee. Yep.
13. Brother Marcus
Where? Various locations
What happens when three school friends put their heads together? In normal society, that'll stereotypically get you a few rounds of drinks and a night on the town. For the Brother Marcus trio, however, you get a successful breakfast and brunch spot that has just opened its second location in Islington. There are several reasons Brother Marcus is a must try for breakfast, brunch and anything in between. Number one, because one menu option is called sugar daddy; and number two, because said menu option consists of brioche french toast slathered in coconut and duck egg custard, bacon floss and palm sugar syrup. Swoon.
Where? Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, E1 7NF
What's better than Assembly Roast coffee, Burford Brown eggs and Dusty Knuckle soldiers? Not a lot, to be honest. If you pass through Shoreditch in a morning, or happen to work there, don't miss this hidden gem (for our complete guide to what to eat and drink in Spitalfields, click the link). If you don't have time to eat in, there are Crispin croissants, pain au chocolat, apple turnovers and banana flapjacks ready to fuel you through the day. Ahhhh yeah.
Where? 10 Basinghall Street, EC2V 5BQ
Remember the plate-so-full-a-hash-brown-escapes-off-the-side English breakfasts you used to enjoy as a kid? Yeah, those. Reminisce about the heavenly matrimony of beans, bacon and buttery bread at Hawksmoor, best known for its steaks but also on-the-grapevine loved for its hearty (to put it lightly) breakfast portions. The full English comes topped with bone marrow. Need we say more?
Only available in Hawksmoor's City location, and to eat-in, but worth the trek – however, be warned. You will roll out the door.
Where? Various locations
Takeaway? The naan rolls and the yoghurt, granola and fruit dishes
Another brekkie spot with somewhat of a cult following is Dishoom, now with seven locations across the UK. You know the breakfast naans are the beating heart of its ever-popular breakfast menu and the new the double bacon roll, complete with two times the amount of streaky bacon; the Wrestler’s roll, jam packed with more bacon, sausage and egg than you can shake a stick at; or the vegan roll, complete with flavourful peppery vegan sausage are particularly good. Naans not your thing? The keema per edu, aka spicy chicken liver, runny-yolked fried eggs and sali crisp-chips, and sweet appam pancakes topped with creamy shrikhand, fresh berries, toasted coconut and jaggery syrup are both pretty darn good, too.
Where? 30 Uxbridge Street, W8 7TA
From the masterminds behind Soho House and the Hoxton hotel group comes Eggbreak, an eggcellent (pardon the pun) egg-serving breakfast spot nestled in the heart Notting Hill. Foodism recommends you opt for the restarurant's buns – made famous by Instagram and rightly so, stuffed generously with sausage, sriracha and egg of choice. Try not to drool.
19. Granger & Co
Where? 50 Sekforde Street, EC1R 0HA
Does the sound of hot ricotta hotcakes slathered in banana and honeycomb butter get your attention? Yeah, and the entirety of London, who seem to be queuing outside the various Granger & Co's across the Capital. The restaurant is the brainchild of celebrity chef Bill Granger, bringing a sunny-Aussie vibe to any breakfast with his poached peach and pistachio bircher muesli, jasmine smoked salmon furikake and eggs and bacon, tomato and spinach sweetcorn fritters.
20. The Wolseley
Where? 160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB
Possibly one of the most well established grand cafes in London – the late A.A. Gill titled one of his books after it, to start – The Wolseley is known worldwide as a must-try London food joint. The former bank-turned-restaurant opened its doors post refurb in 2003, and serves pretty much every breakfast option you can think of from 7am every morning.
Stop by for home-made pastries, classic egg dishes, fresh fruit and yoghurt bowls, and full English breakfasts.
21. Duck and Waffle
Where? 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Fancy tucking into crispy duck leg-topped waffles dripping in maple syrup and finished off with a sunny-side-up fried egg? It may sound weird, but trust us when we say breakfast at the Duck & Waffle is delicious. Also spectacular: the Full Elvis, a waffle stack for the sweet-toothed topped with peanut butter, jam, caramelised banana and chantilly cream. It's also London’s highest 24 hour restaurant. Head along for magnificent views of the City and an Americano in style.
22. The Barge House
Where? 46a De Beauvoir Crescent, N1 5RY
Stick breakfast in bed for breakfast in bread, quite literally at The Barge House, where the Saturday morning saviour is famous for its shakshuka and eggs baked in hollowed out sourdough loaves. It's a hell of a thing, and a tasty one at that. There are a wide range of fillings on the menu; don't miss the 'Adam and Eve', brimming with black pudding, smoked bacon, apple, leeks, garlic mushrooms and sautéed spinach, or the 'Hot Stuff', overflowing with hot homemade baked beans, pepper, chilli, chorizo and egg.
23. Coal Rooms
Where? Coal Rooms, 11a Station Way, SE15 4RX
Albeit only available at weekends, this bacon sarnie is worth waiting until Saturday for. They've got a variety of other budget-friendly options on offer, too, but the bacon bap is our favourite. It's glued together with brown sauce made in-house and, quite simply, bloody delicious.
24. Dusty Knuckle
Where? Abbot Street, E8 3DP
Ah, The Dusty Knuckle. We know, you've heard of it – so why on earth not make it a Monday morning tradition? Pick up a rye or sourdough loaf for the week ahead – the shelves are piled high with fresh bakes everyday – and grab a glistening doughy brioche, bun or bake for the best start to the day. The bakery also serve some of the tastiest sandwiches in East London – again, doorstop size only, natch. The sarnies are constantly changing, but always good. And not only will you be treating yourself and your soul, you'll be supporting social enterprise, too – the co-founders work closely with those caught up in youth violence to offer them an alternate path.