The 18 Best Breakfasts In London
Whether you need to impress at an early morning meeting, or the endorphin hit of your knife nudging open an oozing yolk, these are the best breakfasts in London.
Just like your mum and that pseudoscience podcast you listen to said, breakfast is sometimes the most important meal of the day. Maybe you need to impress at an early morning meeting, or maybe you just need the endorphin hit of your knife gently nudging open an oozing yolk to kickstart the day. Whatever the reason, these are the places to go when early morning consumption is your priority.
THE BREAKFAST SPOTS
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
On the surface, a US-style diner in Dalston might sound like an awful concept dreamed up by someone with a trust fund and nobody who will tell them the truth. But Hash E8 is actually very good. It’s an excuse-me-sorry-just-squeezing-by kind of place with 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.
Ta’mini Lebanese Bakery
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.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
In an area filled with excellent breakfast options, this North African cafe on Balham high street 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 the Moroccan m’semen for dessert and thank us later.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
££££20 Bedford Hill,
Milk isn’t just one of the best cafes in Balham, it’s one of the best breakfast spots in the whole city. The inventive brunch dishes mean you’ll order more than you can eat, the coffee has the silk factor of Victoria’s Secret pyjamas, and the friendly service is something you don’t always expect from somewhere that’s regularly got queues down the street. The breakfasts themselves are a fomo-inducing list. Order the famous fish sando? You’ll wonder if you should have gone for the fluffy buckwheat pancake special. Get the pancakes, and you’ll kick yourself for not getting the golden cornbread with nutzilla. You get the idea.
Sometimes you don’t want dangling foliage and conservatory-style windows emphasising every pore on your face as you self-consciously eat your eggs. You want red curtains and leather seats, you want to live your moody Mad Men fantasy as you frown over a negroni at 11am. Gunpowder might be better known for its evening menu, but the breakfast is just as good. Think Indian-style baked eggs or cardamom pancakes with caramelised bananas, in a setting that makes you think of cigars and Don Draper. Even though this breakfast is only available on weekends, it’s worth making a trip for.
Getting a counter seat at the wooden bar at Koya, a Japanese udon noodle bar with an open kitchen, is a foolproof start to the day. The Soho spot serves breakfast every day, which is just as well because after that inhaling the 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 a must-order.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
The Quarter Kitchen
A churchyard isn’t a conventional breakfast spot, but The Quarter Kitchen isn’t a conventional place. The Mexican kiosk, round the back of St John at Hackney church, is slinging 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 alfresco and very much open to the elements, although everything is available to take away too. But they’re breakfast dishes we’d brave outdoor seating for even in winter.
The Twenty Two
Some days you wake up and want someone waiting on you with a butter dish and a freshly ironed newspaper as you carve the top off of your boiled egg. For those days, there’s The Twenty Two, a grand Edwardian manor turned hotel in Mayfair. There’s a calming energy in the morning, and it’s one of the only times you’ll remember that you’re on the ground floor of a hotel. The breakfast crowd ranges from guests starting their day with a full English, to people in suits discussing business over ricotta and blueberry pancakes. Best of all, you can come wearing jeans and your friend in their electric pink co-ord, and neither of you will look out of place.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
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 as you first glimpse this huge jaw-dropper of a space, you’ll think that getting this kind of treatment before your first coffee of the day is a human right. 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. Starting your day here is just glorious.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
Going to Pophams in Hackney is sort of like starting your day in a lovely, whitewashed dough factory where the setting is just as photogenic as the passion fruit and mango custard pastries. As well as excellent coffee, this place has great options if you find choosing between sweet or savoury super taxing. A lot of the best things here include both—yes, we’re looking at you bacon and maple danish.
A raging perfectionist, Hide is a huge three-storey, and somewhat ridiculous, Mayfair restaurant that doesn’t do breakfast by halves. Arrive via a private lift from the car park or waft up the sweeping oak staircase, like you aren’t usually swigging from a Sports Direct mug and microwaving eggs at this time of the morning. Which brings us to the food—expect everything from smoked maple butter banana bread, to Porthilly oysters with caviar, to a seriously tarted-up version of your classic full English.
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, heart disease-inducing fried bread. The rest of the menu is made up of old-school Italian classics, including a lasagna that is likely to put you into a deep coma.
This upmarket restaurant inside the Sofitel hotel in St. James’s looks distinctly like a velvet showroom, and honestly, we’re very into being surrounded by this many soft surfaces before our first coffee of the day. Although there’ll usually be a few people around who look a little like they’ve just stumbled out of their rooms and that sleepy dust is still their primary concern, this is still a great spot for a business breakfast. The full breakfast spread situation here is good, but your best bet is to go for the vegetarian full English that comes with an excellent sweet potato and cauliflower hash.
The Colony Grill Room
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.
There’s a reason why everyone—from your neighbour to your boyfriend’s little sister’s best friend’s mum’s dog walker—has recommended the Dishoom bacon and egg naan. It is really, really, really good. So good you’ll probably want more than one. Of all the Dishooms, the Shoreditch branch is one of the best, mostly because it has a chilled-out atmosphere. There’s a nice verandah with wicker chairs that’s made for warm days, and the booths overlook busy Shoreditch High Street and City skyscrapers in the distance.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
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. A useful coffee shop doing much more than really great coffee, Ozone is a solid option to add to your breakfast rotation.
Ottolenghi, the veg-forward cafe in Islington, is the place that made London fall in love with salad, firing dozens of fresh flavours on to each plate in a way that wasn’t just healthy but also exciting. Salads are the main draw, but it’s also a reliable choice first thing in the morning, whether you’re craving polenta cakes or some bacon, eggs, and focaccia. And the five locations mean it’s a go-to around the city.