Marie Claire's guide to the best breakfasts in the Big Smoke
London’s best breakfasts – where to find them?
If you’re looking for bottomless or boozy all dayers, check out the best brunches London has to offer.
But if you’re up and out early enough on the weekend, there are some places that will absolutely make your Saturday morning.
From beautiful bowls of granola to hangover fry ups (and everything in between) we’ve rounded up London’s best breakfasts, where the food is both delicious and highly Instagrammable.
London’s best breakfast places
Sushisamba, Covent Garden
Designer shopping and world-class opera and theatreland only yards away, it’s no wonder Sushisamba’s second London location in Covent Garden’s Market Building is also a must-stop for an unforgettable Piazza Terrace Breakfast (Monday – Sunday, 9am – 11:30am). Transport yourself from the morning crowds in the historic cobbled piazza, and savour an outstanding winner from this concise menu – every dish is a star turn.
In fact, whether you’re in the mood to start the day with savoury or sweet, you’re in the right place. For savoury lovers there’s Casca Louca (£7.50) a mouthwatering fusion of plantains, red chilli, chives, lime, shallots and a bell pepper puree; or Pao de Queijo con Salmao, (£9.50) is a moreish orange cured salmon with aji Amarillo fresh cream and a quail egg. Although the five-star performer with a five-star price tag to match (19.50) is a lobster stuffed croissant (with quail egg) drizzled in yuzu hollandaise sauce and topped off with oscietra caviar. It’s so good, and we swear you won’t feel peckish for a long time.
For sweet lovers, there’s Acai (£11) – a fun dish served up in a giant ceramic egg bowl filled with acai berries, homemade granola, berries, mango and coconut mousse. Or try the £9 Rabanada – not only is it an excellent name to get your lips around but any dish with dulce de leche frozen yogurt gets my vote. And I didn’t ignore the caramelised pineapple, crispy bacon, peanuts, super tasty brioche and bacon snow, yes that’s correct, bacon snow, all served up with dulce de leche. Did I mention the dulce de leche? Good.
Wash your breakfast down with a choice of juices, grapefruit, orange and our favourite, watermelon. Gagging for a hit of caffeine? Don’t panic, fine teas and coffee is available too.
Based in the heart of Fitzrovia, Caravan is a well-loved address in central London for breakfast and lunch. On Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant and coffee roastery offers brunch options such as a coconut, mango and banana smoothie bowl (£7.5) and chorizo, potato and cavolo nero hash (£12), as well as favoured classics like eggs (poached, scrambled or fried) on toast, porridge and the Caravan fry.
After midday, Caravan starts serving pizza – definitely one of the best sections of their brunch menu. You can order a traditional pizza with tomato, mozzarella and basil (£9), or opt for a funkier variation like the one with kale, porcini cream, mozzarella and oregano (£9.5) – it’s really good.
In addition to their tasty food, Caravan is also a good spot for coffee (they use their own blends) and cocktails. Or why not combine the two and order a Single Origin Negroni or Espresso Martini?
Located just off Piccadilly Circus, Sophie’s Soho is the breakfast spot you didn’t know you needed to visit. The recently launched menu is limited – only offering six options – but pleases everyone. The Soho-based restaurant serves favourites such as a full English (£12), a brioche bap with breakfast sausage or thick cut bacon (£5) and Greek yoghurt with winter fruit compote and toasted hazelnut granola (£6) as well as sweet breakfast treats like croissants with butter and jam.
What really sets the tone for Sophie’s Soho is the interior. The blush tones, wooden floors, green foliage, marble tables and natural light (thanks to the glass roof) work well for the Gram. Even though that shouldn’t be the only reason for visiting this hidden breakfast venue – their Shakshuka (£9) is amazing too – it surely makes for a convincing factor.
Avobar, Covent Garden
Nestled in pretty Henrietta Street in the cosy weekend spot that is Covent Garden, sits Avobar: London’s first all-avo dining destination where green is the theme. Bringing the Cali lifestyle to our London streets, this cafe has dedicated itself to the popular superfood. The interior is complete with bright scatter cushions and house plants galore, making it the perfect spot to become your regular health brunch haunt.
There is of course the classic smashed avo on toast -done to perfection with a sprinkle of chilli. (£9.70) However must-tries include: matcha pancakes with avo butter and caramelised banana, (£9) spicy huevos rancheros with guacamole, (£10.50) and kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches with kewpie mayo and avo slices (£9.20). After something lighter? The avocado cobb salad (£14.30) or avo tuna poke bowl (£12.60) are ideal. Finally, dessert and yes, you guessed it – they include avocado too. Vegan white chocolate cheesecake (£6.30) or avo chocolate brownies with sweet potato syrup (£4.90) will convert even the most unlikely of avocado eaters into full on fans in just a few bites. Of course, no brunch would be complete without fresh juice and coffee. We’d suggest trying the speciality turmeric or beetroot lattes (£3.40) or the avo-sunshine smoothie (£5.50) packed full of protein and antioxidants.
Just to make you feel even better, all the avos used (and there are so many…) are all sourced sustainably from farmers around the world. Open from 8am- 10pm all week and 9am- 10pm on weekends on a walk-in basis, there is also a new evening menu coming at the beginning of February.
Café Forty One, Bayswater
Located in a Georgian townhouse on the edge of Hyde Park, just a two-minute walk from Bayswater tube station, is vegan French patisserie Café Forty One. Offering an all-day dessert menu, as well as a mouth-watering breakfast and lunch menu, it’s the perfect brunch spot for anyone that follows a plant-based diet, even if it’s on a one-off basis.
From sweet foods such as brioche French toast with roasted plums (£9.50) and coconut Bircher muesli with caramelised bananas (£7.20), to savoury dishes like mushroom and black bean porridge (£7) and avocado on sourdough toast (£9.50), Café Forty One pleases all – and if you want to go for the full experience, there is the option of adding a side of vegan salmon.
Of course, breakfast wouldn’t be complete without pastries, it is a French patisserie after all, and their banana muffins and viennoiserie are a must-try. Plain or filled with jam, the croissants are just as buttery and flaky as their non-vegan counterparts, and accompanied with un café, it’s the perfect way to begin your day.
Kettner’s Townhouse, Soho
You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find peace and tranquillity in Soho, but Kettner’s Townhouse offers exactly that. Less than five minutes away from Leicester Square tube station, the restaurant, champagne bar and 33 bedroom townhouse offers breakfast every day from 7am-12pm. Kettner’s serves classics such as Eggs Royale (£12) or a Full English (£8/£14), as well offering the particularly indulgent option of adding Exmoor caviar to the dishes.
We were blown away by the sheer number of freshly made juices and smoothies that Kettner’s offers, too – the Energy botanical (£4.50), with its mix of orange, mango, passionfruit, ginger, lime, cacao, maca perked us up and the Matcha shake (£5) was a delicious creamy healthy(ish) option to end our meal.
The Social Pantry, Clapham
There’s a friendly neighbourhood feel to this chic, award-winning independent cafe on Lavender Hill. It’s also a great compromise if the group you’re meeting up with includes both a hungover pal in need of a salty fry-up and a virtuous yogi who’s been up since seven and wants to mainline some grains. From the ‘something filling’ section of the menu there’s delicious chai-spiced French toast and the full English ‘Pantry’ breakfast, while your yogi friend will love the super-C smoothie bowl.
Berners Tavern, Berners Street
Step into The London EDITION for a taste of their renowned breakfast menu in a beautifully decorated restaurant. With high ceilings, walls covered in paintings and attentive waiters, this is a pretty special place to start the day. Sack off the healthy options (chilled citrus salad with ginger and lime is one) for the Hazelnut waffles, berries and cream.
Foxcroft & Ginger, Balham
With a working bakery downstairs you can just be ‘popping out to buy some bread’ when you head to Foxcroft & Ginger. And while you’re there picking up your sourdough or rye, you might as well try something from the incredible breakfast menu. All the egg dishes are spot on.
Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower
With views stretching out over London, Duck & Waffle has become one of the most sought after reservations in the whole of the city. As the restaurant is open 24 hours, we suggest turning up before sunrise (whether that’s straight from bed or straight from the club) and settling in for breakfast with a view. Tip: order the restaurant’s eponymous dish, put it on Instagram and you’ll probably get a comment or two from the chefs. The new version of ‘compliments to the chef.’
Fantastical, photogenic and bloody well brilliant, sketch may be a little bit out of your budget to become your ‘regular’ but this is definitely a place you can name-drop and Instagram to your heart’s content, which is what most of us want these days from a meal out, isn’t it? Once you’re there, you might as well hang around for their equally brilliant Afternoon Tea.
Andina, Redchurch Street
Currently daydreaming about spending your days on a beach somewhere with a wildly good looking man fanning you? Take a trip to Peru (while staying in Shoreditch) at Martin Morales’ Andina where you can eat Granola Andina and greek yoghurt or Peruanazo which is two fried eggs, tacu-tacu with rice and butterbeans, belly bacon and saltado criollo. Who needs the bright blue shores of Mancora?
Brew, Putney and Clapham
While Brew do an incredible take on Turkish Eggs, we’re more likely to order the soft-boiled eggs with soldiers – which come with a choice of Marmite or Vegemite, may we add – as an homage to our childhood days spent dipping soldiers into runny yolk.
Carluccio’s, various locations
Probably not the first place you may think of when your best friend suggests ‘breakfast?’, but Carluccio’s has got a pretty substantial morning menu and one you should definitely try out. With their handy little deli you can also pick up some lunch while you’re there. Easy like Sunday morning and all that…
Eelbrook, New King’s Road
A favourite spot with the Chelsea lot, Eelbrook’s brunch should ideally be eaten al fresco on the terrace overlooking London’s Eel Brook Common so you can people-watch as you munch. We love the Baked Tilley’s Eggs with tomato, yoghurt, harissa and grilled flatbreads – a London brunch with a Middle Eastern twist.
Farm Girl, Portobello Road
Make like Julia Roberts and head to Notting Hill for a breakfast with a twist at Farm Girl. With naturopathic doctor (nope, us neither) Melly Lou of Liquorice Lifestyle advising on nutrition for the menu, you can guarantee you’ll come home feeling grrrreat.
Granger & Co, various locations
Go healthy with the slick Granger & Co by ordering one of their fruit and grains dishes with a smoothie; we’re a big fan of the buckwheat bowl.
Ottolenghi, Various Locations
Famous around London for being one of the best delis around, Ottolenghi serves up a mean breakfast. While the whole menu is great, it would be wrong to go there and not order their signature Shakshuka. It’s seriously tasty.
Street Kitchen, Parkgate Road
Street Kitchen on the Broadgate Circle is run by Jun Tanaka and Mark Jankel with a mission to serve up ‘slow food, fast.’ Pick up a Caravan Roosters coffee from the barista before stuffing your face with one of their SkMuffins with farm sourced ingredients.
Dishoom, Covent Garden
The bacon naan has become the stuff of brunch legend in London, with eager queues of early bird city dwellers vying for a table. Luckily they serve coffee in the queue.
London’s best breakfasts: the fry-up
Two of our favourite spots for a traditional fry-up…
Bibendum, Fulham Road
There’s a bit of a story behind this one so bear with us: Bibendum is named after the Michelin man (yes, the Michelin man). He’s actually known as Monsieur Bibendum, a name which comes from the Latin phrase Nunc est Bibendum which translates as ‘now is the time to drink’. While this may be a slightly inappropriate name for a mascot used to advertise car tyres, it’s a bloody great name for a restaurant. With all that in mind, we’d recommend heading there for the two most important Bs in life: breakfast and a Bloody Mary.
Parlour, Regent Street
Parlour’s quirky breakfast menu features classics such as smoked salmon with scrambled eggs as well as their full English Parlour Breakfast. You can also DIY at their toast station with some fresh baked bread.
Have we missed any of London’s best breakfasts? Let us know where you love to go @marieclaireuk.