Ever wondered which restaurant Heston Blumenthal favours for his Full English? Check out our guide to the best breakfasts in the Big Smoke, with the trends ranging from immaculate brunch classics to experimental fusion breakfasts. The simple, bog-standard fry-up cuts the mustard no more. Whether you’re doing business over flat whites and posh bacon sandwiches, or having a lazy weekend brunch, the streets are brimming with a wealth of top-notch restaurants for breakfast in London.
1. Hawksmoor Book Hawksmoor
Mac daddy of the steak, king of the breakfast. Not content with reigning supreme for the best steaks and burgers around, Hawksmoor has been hailed by GQ as offering ‘the best power breakfast in London.’ Mustering all its carnivorous strength, the gargantuan Hawksmoor breakfast for two to share includes smoked bacon chop, short rib bubble and squeak, meaty grilled bone marrow, trotter baked beans and trademark HP gravy. Less hefty choices might include lobster benedict or scotch pancakes with streaky bacon and maple syrup. If you need a nudge to wake you up, there are a host of stonking breakfast cocktails like the zesty marmalade cocktail or the cornflake milkshake with bourbon! The Salty Dog with grapefruit knocked my socks off, with a vodka hit and a citrusy tang. And yes, they actually have doughnuts on their breakfast menu. Check out the bountiful abundance of top-notch breakfast goodies at the Hawksmoor Guildhall venue in Bank.
Free online booking available: Hawksmoor - Guildhall
2. KopapaBook Kopapa
Global fusion breakfasts at Kopapa are top drawer; the kaleidoscopic menu spans all corners, with ‘king of fusion food’ Peter Gordon’s masterful influence in full evidence. I wanted something a little bit different, and Turkish eggs with whipped yoghurt, hot chilli butter and crisp flatbread fitted the bill, turning out to be one of the best breakfasts I have tried. For eclectic brunch with bundles of flavour, Kopapa can’t be beaten. There are also other exotic offerings on the menu, like spiced banana French toast with orange blossom labne, grilled bacon and spiced tamarind chutney. If you are schmoozing around Seven Dials, then Kopapa should be your first port of call for the best breakfast in Covent Garden.
Free online booking available: Kopapa
3. The Wolseley
Inspired by the tradition of the Austrian grand café, The Wolseley is surely the most celebrated spot for breakfast in London, with a loyal celebrity following including gastronomic connoisseur chef, Heston Blumenthal. When I paid a trip, I tried the classic eggs Benedict with an immaculate hollandaise sauce; the lightly poached eggs were cooked to absolute perfection with a seamless yolk. If you want to see how this classic should be done, The Wolseley should be high on the agenda. You don’t have to be rolling in it to have a decent breakfast here, but it feels like somewhere special. However, if you are feeling flush, there’s a luxurious caviar omelette, a snip at just under £70!
4. Breads Etc.
Retro Dualit toasters on each table at Breads Etcetera are perfect for hot, buttered toast with your breakfast. After you’ve sliced up the freshly baked sourdough loaves from the award-winning onsite bakery, bung the slices in your very own toaster and you’re away, with as much DIY toast as you can manage. Fresh fruit and nut French toast with maple syrup and cream is one of the most popular breakfasts, and The Full English here has the best thick-cut bacon I’ve tasted. Other breakfast menu options include the wild mushrooms with toast and chicken liver pâté, or the Scandinavian, Aussie or Cowboy brekkies. Breads Etcetera is popular with in-the-know Claphamites, and transforms into a bijoux pizzeria come evening time, specialising in freshly baked sourdough pizza. This place reminds me of a cosy little New York-style neighbourhood café and everything is always super-fresh and impeccably sourced. Without fail, I regularly see queues for breakfast spilling out of the door every weekend. Yes, it really is that good.
5. The Riding House Café
In my opinion, The Riding House Café offers pretty much the best Sunday roast in London, so I was curious to see how their breakfasts measured up. From the same team behind The Garrison and Village East, this funky brasserie has been a hit with Londoners since its doors opened. Inside, rustic mingles with garish; think posh diner meets eccentric country pad. Eggs hussard with spinach, thick ham and rich bordelaise is an excellent and mildly quirky twist on the classic, while chorizo hash browns with mushrooms and poached eggs is one of the most popular breakfast dishes. To accompany your breakfast, there are some top-notch juices and smoothies, like the wake-me-up chocolate, espresso and banana smoothie or a detox-esque apple, cucumber and mint juice.
6. Pimlico Fresh
Pimlico Fresh has surely created the best hangover breakfast out there. Avocado, chargrilled bacon, juicy-sweet red cherry tomatoes, and wholegrain toast feels a little bit healthy, like it will repair some damage. A little worse for wear one day, this breakfast, along with a steaming-hot mug of strong coffee, became my saviour. Rustic bench tables allow for laidback communal dining in front of elegantly scrawled big blackboards with daily specials. Victoria is not necessarily known for its abundance of modern eateries, but I would happily take a trip back to this hidden breakfast gem.
7. The Breakfast Club
Any place with the tagline of ‘sex, drugs and bacon rolls’ has to be pretty damn cool. If you’re on the hunt for an all-day breakfast hangout, you’ll be pleased to know that brunch is served from 9 - 5 every day at The Breakfast Club, with venues in Hoxton, Angel, Soho and Spitalfields, all rocking a shabby-café vibe. The Breakfast Club classics include fat pancakes topped with an insane amount of salty, crisp bacon and sweet maple syrup, or hot American-style pancakes with fresh berries, maple syrup and vanilla cream. From the bounteous menu, the Boston beans dish with slow roasted barbeque pulled pork was a winner when I visited. Some crowd-pleasers from the ‘eggulars’ section are also worth a try.
8. The Delaunay
Jeremy King and Chris Corbin are the restaurant industry giants behind The Delaunay, a sleek Viennese-style restaurant with a modern edge, and posh silver teapots. We had the mixed basket of pastries with croissant, pain au chocolat and fresh pastries, which couldn’t have been done better. A European grand brasserie, but on a smaller scale than elder sibling The Wolseley, the glam-factor is still in full force with David Collins design and Art Deco chic. Yes, The Delaunay does breakfast bling, with a loyal celebrity following, but eating here doesn’t break the bank, and service is amiable without fail.
9. The Table CaféBook The Table Café
Along London’s vibrant South Bank, The Table Café is housed in a swanky floor-to-ceiling glass structure, and a 2-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association ensures a quality breakfast with ethically sourced items. Try the brioche French toast with grilled bacon and honey, or The Borough Full English with fresh, sunny side-up eggs, free range pork and leek sausages, and chunky smoked baked beans. Head chef Cinzia Ghighoni has previous experience at Duck Soup, Zucca, and has worked alongside Gordon Ramsay protégée Angela Hartnett.
Free online booking available: The Table Café
10. The Modern Pantry
A breakfast joint with a sterling reputation amongst clued-up Londoners, The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell generated a big breakfast buzz when its doors first opened. The globe-trotting menu features inventive combinations, like The Modern Pantry signature breakfast dish of New Caledonian omelette filled with sugar-cured prawns, and served with smoked chilli sambal; Fay Maschler was a big fan of this dish when she tried it. And not for the fainthearted, the rendang mince on toast has a fiery kick with chilli lime dressing and crispy egg. Hailed by Time Out as ‘the most exciting place to eat in Clerkenwell,’ The Modern Pantry offers a colourful, vibrant spot for an East meets West breakfast.