Were brunches made for weekends 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 – especially when you get one of London's best.
There's nothing better than having a lie-in and assembling your squad together to attack some of the best breakfast and brunch dishes 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 a list of the very best brunches to try out in London, including some of the best bottomless brunches to boot. Because life is too short for a bad brunch.
London's best brunches: 18 cracking ways to start your weekend
167 Junction Rd, Archway, N19 5PZ
Are you hungover? We've got the cure: Norman's on Junction Road in Tufnell Park offers caff-style food done good: ham egg and the most gloriously crispy chips; a chicken escalope sandwich with a slice of red leicester; chip butties and baked beans that are somehow better than actual baked beans. Sure, it's not a glossy bottomless number with fake flowers for that all-important Instagram shot, but we consider Norman's to offer one of the best brunches in London all the same.
Unit 2, 4 Pancras Sq, N1C 4AG
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We'd pretend to be annoyed at the fact that the BAO trio keep opening up new spots all over London, but every time they do, the concept is different, excellent and it always reels us right back in, whether it's with oodles of noodles or pillowy new bao creations. Café BAO in King's Cross is one of the more recent openings, and offers a Taiwanese-style breakfast that knocks your avocado toast out the park. King of the menu is the Taiwanese savoury soy milk, a take on the traditional dou jiang breakfast dish found in Taiwan and China, made with sun-dried daikon, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and served with crispy fried dough to dip into the milk.
175 New Kings Rd, SW6 4SW
Breakfast poutine, 'mix-and-match' eggs benny, Canadian wines and caesars, that clammy Canadian twist on the bloody mary: new opening West 4th brings the best of West Canadian food culture to Parsons Green. The area isn't hugely well known for restaurants, so this makes for a welcome addition to the neighbourhood – especially given the presence of indulgent plates of marshmallow fluff with graham cracker and chocolate drizzle that stop it from straying into the realms of frou-frou. Throw in a wine list dominated by fantastic Canadian numbers that are only just beginning to get their time in the sun this side of the pond, and you've got the trappings of a destination restaurant.
10th Floor, 10 Argyle St, WC1H 8EG
If your brunch isn't served in a stunning 70s-style room that'll make you want to buy a pair of velvet flares immediately, well, you're doing it wrong. So skip what your friends wanted to do before and stand firm: only the Mexican-Spanish cooking of Michelin-starred Peter Sanchez-Iglesias will do. Think baja tacos meets a hefty Spanish tortilla and huevos a la flamenca, and morcilla and chickpeas.
Korean Dinner Party
Top Floor, Kingly Court, W1B 5PW
Korean Dinner Party, or KDP as it's affectionately known, is the glorious love child of a dream team of food and drink brains from Senor Ceviche and TaTa Eatery, which means it's got a lot of hype to live up to. Thankfully, it does just that with a menu of posh junk food inspired by LA's Koreatown, the result being a mash-up of Korean and Mexican/Californian classics, like pork neck al pastor tacos served with ssamjang (a Korean fermented soy bean and red chilli paste) and Asian slaw, and the KDP corn dog, a heart-attack-inducing hotdog stuffed with mozzarella and deep fried. On Sundays, they do a bottomless brunch offer with prosecco and JINRO soju, but given the cocktail credentials you should definitely check out the mixed drinks list too.
36 Tavistock St, WC2E 7PB
Angela Hartnett's Café Murano is one of the London classics, but before you go pooh-poohing the dark leather banquettes and old-school vibes, you should first know that the food here absolutely bangs whether you're coming for the first or the 100th time. The new brunch menu will give you extra incentive to come back, too: 'nduja and smoked cheese toasties; spinach and ricotta puff pastry rolls; and ricotta pancakes with blueberries and honey, all washed down, of course, with bellinis. Cin cin…
Riding House Café
43-51 Great Titchfield St., W1W 7PQ
If you want to get brunch midweek (lucky you), it can actually be pretty hard to find a good spot unless you go to a hotel. Riding House Café is the answer to your prayers: it offers a brilliant breakfast from 8.30 till 11.45 Monday-Friday, brunch 9am till 4pm at the weekends. And what a brunch it is! The menu is extensive, but Riding House Cafe is particularly known for its pancakes: malted, deep-dish numbers topped with the likes of smoked streaky Dingley Dell bacon and maple syrup, or berries and clotted cream. There's a whole section devoted to hollandaise, that sunshine yellow sauce of the gods: kassler ham benedict (kassler is a German-style smoked pork) and the Burger-dict (the usual eggs benedict set-up, but with a dry-aged beef patty) get a special mention.
Duck & Waffle
110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
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You can't talk about brunch in London without mentioning Duck & Waffle, the 24-hour restaurant at the top of the Heron Tower. If you think it's a London cliché, you're absolutely right and you know what? It's still excellent. Go early enough and you can watch the sun rise over the Big Smoke while you scarf down waffles (obviously) topped with things like lemon curd, lemon meringue, lemon sherbert ice cream and dill; or the classic duck leg with a hen's egg and hollandaise. Don't knock it till you've tried it.
34 Duke Street, St. James's, SW1Y 6DF
Breakfast or brunch at a French-inspired restaurant just screams baguettes and croissants, but there's much more to indulge in at this Mayfair spot – namely the tiny, caramelly canelés Bordelais, so tasty you want to throw them in your mouth in one go. For something more substantial, there are eggs in all their glorious forms, mushrooms on toast with pistou and a selection of cocktails, sweetly called 'Early Risers'.
1 Westgate St, E8 4RU
Bar Flounder's lobster rolls, made with fresh Scottish native lobster, can get right in our face and stay there. The newish seafood shack in Netil Market comes from Fin & Flounder, Broadway Market's beloved fishmongers – so you can be sure what you're munching is the freshest fish and seafood around. Munch your way through fritto misto with aioli; turbot tenders with buffalo hot sauce; and the scallop and bacon butty and your day is bound to get off to a swimming start.
374 Coldharbour Ln, SW9 8PL
When Peter Gordon, fusion cooking pioneer, closed The Providores and Tapa Room, London (or at least the Foodism team) mourned: where would we be able to eat his Turkish eggs? Thankfully, Mel Brown, a fellow Kiwi and former Gordon employee, has come to the rescue, by serving the dish at her own restaurant, The Laundry in Brixton. Alongside those famous eggs, you'll can choose from dishes like the croque madame, or a handmade warm scone. Given Brown's skills as a sommelier, it'd be rude not to sample a glass of sparkling Kiwi wine and say cheers to Peter Gordon and his eggs. Talk about a cracking start to the day...
Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge, SW7 1DW
Sitting pretty in Knightsbridge's Bulgari hotel, Sette is everything you'd expect from a restaurant located in a hotel owned by one of the world's most famous luxury brands and in one of London's poshest 'hoods. But don't let that fool you into thinking it's all gloss and no trousers: the brunch menu boasts a hearty croissant sando, stuffed with scrambled eggs, prosciutto cotto and cheddar. Elsewhere, there are the usual brunch culprits (fancy avo toast, fluffy ricotta pancakes, many kinds of eggs), with a New York spin – which makes sense, as the team behind Sette are also involved in the Big Apple's Scarpetta.
Temper's Bottomless Barbecue Brunch
25 Broadwick St, W1F 0DF
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Looky here, you little sausage: if you're after a delicate genteel brunch to kickstart your weekend, Temper Soho isn't the one for you. If you want to eat loads of (ethically sourced, natch) meat, drink bottomless wine, beer, cosmopolitan or margaritas and leave feeling very full and more than merry, Temper's Saturday brunch most definitely is the one for you. Each Temper restaurant has a slightly different theme: the Soho outpost is Peruvian-influenced, which means you'll get to chow through aji panca (a Peruvian red pepper) beef skewers, smoked cheddar humita (a South American corn dish) and cassava chips. And ringing in at £39.50 a head, we think that's one hell of a bargain.
13-14 Cork St, W1S 3NS
Stork is a Pan-African restaurant in Mayfair, bringing gloss and glamour to a cuisine that's growing in popularity – and alongside the food, the walls are adorned with a rotating selection of artwork to further introduce you to the rich culture of the African continent. We'd go all in with the Pan-African breakfast: Nigerian-style soft agege muffins, spiced beans, scrambled egg, beef sausage, yam, hash browns and plantain; and Zambian vitumbua pancakes with moringa cream; followed by a ras el hanout lamb beignet with harissa aioli, just to make sure we had all bases covered.
Wun's Tea Room
23 Greek St, London W1D 4DZ
Even within Soho's glittering array of restaurants, Wun's Tea Room shines brighter than most of the reast. Inspired by 1960s Hong Kong, the space nods to a bygone era in feel, while the food itself is ceaselessly interesting, inspiring and delicious. We won't get into the dinner menu right now, but we can tell you the brunch offering also delivers, with dishes that bring together Chinese and European cuisine. There's devilled mackerel egg; char siu iberico pork silk scrambled, served with claypot fried rice; and the Sichuan Jungle Mary, made with tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns that bring new meaning to the terms 'sharpener'.
1 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP
Porridge, the simple dish of oats and milk, gets elevated to a thing of beauty at 26 Grains, which actually started life as a shop in Old Street station selling porridge pots. Fast forward six years, and you've got a Nordic-inspired restaurant – specially in grains, natch – that's know just as much for delicate, seasonal cooking for any meal of the day, not just breakfast. That being said, the seasonal offerings are wonderful way to start the day: almond milk spiced oats with pear, cacao nibs, seeds, greek yoghurt and maple syrup is the kind of porridge that'll have you asking, “please sir, can I have some more?"
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 plum wine negroni for £18 is also pretty hard to pass up.
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, 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? Or the chicharron sandwich with fried egg, for that matter. No matter which you choose, both are 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.
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 braised curly kale on wood-fired sourdough with curly cream 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, because it's indubitably one of the best lunches in London.
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, which shot Dishoom to fame for serving one of the most talked-about brunches in London. The latter is like no bacon sarnie you've ever had before. Smoked streaky bacon from Ramsays of Carluke 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 £42.50 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.
Santo Remedio's Mexican Margarita Brunch
152 Tooley St, SE1 2TU
Hold on to your sombreros and bring aspirin, because Santo Remedio has launched a margarita brunch. For starters, it's a frankly excellent way of getting your chops around the menu of one of London's best-loved Mexican restaurants. You can choose between either a selection of specially created brunch dishes or favourites from the usual menu. Kick things off with sharing plates of pork belly tacos or fresh and zingy prawn aguachile; then feast on hibiscus flower enchiladas with chihuahua cheese (from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, nothing to do with the dog), a pork belly torta with heaps of pickled onions and red salsa, or a hangover-saving Mexican burger topped with chorizo and chipotle ketchup. If that weren't enough, you can cap things off with light, crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside churros with a pot of gooey chocolate sauce. Mmmmhm. And now for the kicker: included in the £33 are margaritas, and plenty of 'em. Well, we did say bring the aspirin...