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The 16 Best Breakfasts In London

Whether you want to impress at an early morning meeting, or need the endorphin hit of your knife nudging open an oozing yolk, these are the best breakfasts in London.
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photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Or, so your mum and that bro science podcast you listen to say. Whether you need to impress at a breakfast meeting, or just need the endorphin hit of your knife gently nudging open an oozing yolk to kick-start the day, these are the places to go when early morning consumption is your priority. 

If you’re craving something specific, we’re experts on the city’s best fry-ups, pancakes, and french toast. And if you tend to rise later in the day, we’ve got you covered for London’s best brunch spots too.


THE SPOTS

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$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastQuick EatsDining Solo

At Borough Market, the early bird gets the full English fry-up. Although Maria’s Market Cafe serves until early afternoon, come in the morning before stalls open. The wipe-clean tablecloths, fake flowers in old bean tins, and plastic bottles of red and brown sauce give it an old-school caff feel. And the food is wholesome, nap-inducing stuff. If you don’t fancy going all in on a fry-up, we’re big fans of the soft, floury roll with juicy sausage and crispy-edged bacon too. 

photo credit: The Table Café

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At The Table Café—a breakfast and lunch spot in Southwark beloved by locals and office workers—hugs are exchanged over huge stacks of toasted bagels with cascading waterfalls of baked beans. Business meetings are all but abandoned as a pancake tower with apricot compote hits the table and demands your undivided attention. It’s a busy, happy place with a menu divided into “the benedicts,” waffles and pancakes, fry-ups, and burgers. It’s hearty, quality stuff—much like the playlist which features a lot (a.k.a. the right amount) of Bryan Adams. 

Someone’s graduated, someone’s made it to 18 without being incarcerated—whatever the reason for celebrating, breakfast at Fallow fits the bill. The St James’s postcode, marble tables, and wedding-worthy flower and lighting arrangements are all giveaways that this is somewhere for a very fancy breakfast. Juicy sausage patties are sandwiched between Fallow-branded buttery croissant pucks, and a black pudding benedict soaks into a honey waffle ready for dunking in rich mushroom ketchup. The prices are steep, but for a celebration and some photos, it’s a good shout.

Although Norman’s is only open from Wednesday to Sunday, the trendy Tufnell Park caff is a favourite for a young and mulleted crowd in dire need of aesthetically pleasing plates of bacon, bubble and squeak, beans, and whatever else your stomach is grumbling for. The vibe is stylised slices of white bread and squeezes of ketchup, but in a reasonably priced way. The breakfast sets are reliably delicious, though a chip butty can go a long way, too. That said, it might also see you stagger back to your duvet.

The Stoke Newington cafe is best known for its weekend brunch that has N16 locals lining up outside like it’s a YMC sample sale. But the equally lovely weekday breakfast served from 8am until noon is a much less busy affair. Like the brunch plates, breakfast at Esters is equal parts comforting and creative. Bodega-style breakfast sandwiches (if said bodega stocked Perelló olives and biodynamic wines) with egg, honey mustard mayo, cheddar, and wild garlic are the perfect example.

Though Juliet's is a must-visit destination for brunch, the Tooting cafe is open from 9am daily for delicious breakfasts to jazz up dreary weeks. There’s a confident, creative panache to everything this cafe makes. Their benedict comes with smoked eel or rainbow trout and is smothered in deeply flavoured espresso hollandaise, their waffles are paired with bitter almond ice cream or kalamansi lime curd, and their Montréal-style everything bagels are made in-house.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

$$$$Perfect For:BrunchDelivery

Hash E8 in Dalston is an excuse-me-sorry-just-squeezing-by kind of place serving US-inspired breakfast food. There are cosy seats that put you elbow deep in someone else's plate, but that just invites conversation—even if it is to apologise for kicking over someone’s Cézanne tote bag. True to its American-inspired theme, there’s a steady flow of filter coffee and classics like french toast and pancakes, as well as a hearty chorizo and sweet potato hash.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

This small Lebanese bakery, slap bang in the middle of Fulham Road, makes excellent pastries. Put your daily croissant order to one side and survey the counter full of freshly baked fatayer (a bready pastry with anything from minced meat to a tangy sumac-heavy spinach filling). If you’re after a more substantial start to the day, manakish, a soft dough topped with cheese or za'atar, is the way to go.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

$$$$Perfect For:BrunchHalal

In an area filled with excellent breakfast options, this North African cafe on Balham High Road is one that will have you googling house prices in SW12. A cosy little spot that’s often packed on the weekend, this is the place to come for an excellent halal full English. Just about everything on the menu that includes their roasted seasoned potatoes is a winner. If you’re torn between the buttermilk pancakes or another hot chocolate with marshmallows, get both, and Moroccan m’semen for dessert.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Getting a counter seat at Koya, a Japanese udon bar with an open kitchen, is a foolproof start to the day. The Soho spot serves breakfast daily, which is just as well because after inhaling that first bowl, you’ll want it with alarming regularity. The English breakfast udon bowl—a combination of crispy bacon, mushrooms, gooey egg, broth, and noodles—is how we’d ideally like to start every day.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

A churchyard isn’t a conventional breakfast spot, but Bad Manners isn’t a conventional place. The Mexican kiosk, round the back of St John at Hackney Church, slings excellent breakfast burritos—tortilla-swaddled scrambled eggs, sausage, hash brown, american cheese, and salsa roja—plus hearty egg, bacon, and hash brown tacos. One important thing to note about the simple seating setup is that it’s al fresco and open to the elements. But they’re breakfast dishes we’d brave outdoor seating for, even in winter. 

Whether you’ve got out-of-towners to impress or it’s payday, starting your day at The Wolseley is an experience you’re not likely to forget. You’ll walk past Green Park, up to their beautiful double door entrance, the doorman will let you in, and you’ll get your first glimpse of this huge jaw-dropper of a space. All around you, business breakfasts are happening over seasonal berry pancakes that are as thick as a bible, groups of tourists order a full English each, and someone is getting a birthday viennoiserie and eggs benedict. 

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Don’t be put off by the fact that the Regency is London’s most famous, best-looking, and most photographed cafe. It’s also—alongside E. Pellicci—its best. Portions are generous without being too much, which is why you should get your plate loaded up with as much as you can afford. The fact that your order will be yelled to the room when it’s ready shouldn’t deter you from being a glutton. There’s no shame here. And hearing Claudia holler “full English, beans, all the extras, twice” is the reason you came.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

E. Pellicci opened in 1900 and has been run by the same family ever since. If you’re looking for a slap on the back, a joke about your mum, and a fry-up so big you’ll need a half-time break, then this is the place to go. The food is all about comfort. They serve some fairly epic fry-ups, which includes the long-forgotten, much-loved, heartburn-inducing fried bread. 

This old-school, American-style grill room in the Beaumont Hotel is the kind of place you want to merrily grow old in, until one day you keel over into your perfect pile of mixed berry buttermilk pancakes. There are plenty of big red leather booths, crisp pink tablecloths, and black and white portraits of Hollywood screen sirens to make you feel appropriately Mayfair fancy. But there are also breakfasts that’ll shut your stomach up until dinner time. All the usual suspects are here, but there are also some wild cards that are worth a try, like the duck egg hash or the savoury cucumber yoghurt pot.

Ozone is less a coffee shop and more of a breakfast emporium. Food at this Leonard Street outpost ranges from an excellent kedgeree to roasted hispi cabbage with whipped tofu. During the week you’ll be sitting among people pitching up with their laptops and catching up over miso granola. Expect to fight for seats at the counter if you’re someone who chooses violence in the morning, or get to know your neighbours on one of the massive shared tables.

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