We don’t know when and we don’t know how but at some point it was collectively decided that the breakfast meeting is A Thing. Whether this boils down to a depressing trajectory for everyone’s work life balance or it's simply because someone very smart figured out you could eat pancakes and put it on your expense account, we just can’t say. Either way, the breakfast meeting is here to stay. But there are some important things to remember to ensure that you don’t end up in the corner of a Starbucks with 'GRANDE MOCHA FRAPPUCCINO FOR BECKY' as the soundtrack to your meeting.
First off, you’re going to need somewhere that opens early. Obviously. Then, you’re going to need somewhere with food that makes getting up that early worth it. And finally, you’re probably going to want it to be somewhere impressive or cool, or a combination of both. But whether you’re bravely schmoozing a client before coffee or meeting up with your manager, these restaurants are perfect for a breakfast meeting.
THE BREAKFAST SPOTS
Open from 7.30AM
The word ‘preserves’ is one of our breakfast meeting buzzwords. Jam is fancy, jam is classy, and jam is deeply comforting when you’re in the midst of a monologue entitled All The Reasons I Didn’t Meet My Deadline. You’ll find ‘preserves’ on Ham Yard Hotel’s menu, as well as things like eggs royale and organic porridge. It’s an eclectic hotel restaurant, complete with stately home ornaments and fireplaces in their adjoining covered terrace area and it's also very helpfully located in Soho so you’re covered if ‘somewhere central’ has been mentioned. Service can be a little hit or miss but it’s worth it for a location that feels perfect for a little schmoozing.
Open from 7AM
We have a big fat crush on The Colony Grill Room. It’s one of those old school brasseries where you can momentarily trick yourself into thinking that you’re a Hollywood starlet whilst also eating French toast. That’s a hard combination to pull off but thanks to the leather booths and dressed-up wait staff, you’ll be chucking the word ‘darling’ around before you even finish your americano. Inside Mayfair’s swanky The Beaumont Hotel, prices can be high but there are several great dishes around the £12 mark and it’s an excellent shout if you’re looking for somewhere that feels private. Not that you’re meeting up with a competitor to lure them to your company through the siren call of a pain au chocolat. No, definitely not. But hypothetically, if you are, The Colony Grill Room would be the place to do it.
Open from 9AM
If you’re someone whose email auto-fills ‘would’ with ‘you like to meet for breakfast’, then chances are you’ve been for a breakfast meeting at one of the Ottolenghi’s. There’s a reason why this mini-chain of upmarket delis-cum-restaurants are so many people’s go-to breakfast spots. They serve fresh tasty food that falls somewhere between Middle Eastern and North African, with enough harissa and inventive sauces to ensure that you don’t feel like you’re in the world’s most middle class Café Nero. It’s reliable, its pastries are delightful, and its Spitalfields location is particularly useful if you need somewhere close to that creative agency in Shoreditch.
Open from 7AM
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day then booking The Wolseley is the most important thing you can do to make sure your most important meal is flawless. Quite the sentence, we agree. Anyway, this epic converted 1920s car showroom has a doorman who will offer you a perky smile, iron chandeliers that make for the perfect conversation filler, and a truly glorious full English. It’s most definitely a jaw-dropper of a space with proper Mayfair energy but it’s also still casual enough that no one’s going to think you’re about to propose over an Excel sheet and some hefty pancakes. Oh, and those pancakes? Fantastic.
Open from 8AM
The thing about Beam, is that it’s the kind of spot that inspires positivity. What does that mean? It means that the hanging lights, and open space, means you’ll want to say yes to the pistachio croissant, yes to the parmesan mushrooms on toast, and yes to the buttermilk pancakes. And so will your client. You’ll want to arrive before them so there’s no awkward waiting for a table outside—which isn’t usually the case if you’re arriving before 11am on a weekday—and you’ll want a spot in the front half of the cafe. That way you’ll get the natural lighting from the ceiling to floor glass doors, and the attention of the servers, which can be a bit hit and miss if you’re hidden at the back.
Open from 7.30AM
Excuse us for asking, but how much action can your corporate card take? You see, Hide is arguably one of the greatest places for breakfast in London. The creative viennoiserie is baked to order, the croque madame with truffle will have you giving your toastie maker a resentful side-eye, and you can have caviar before you even have your coffee. It’s glorious. It’s also very expensive. A chocolate barley croissant here will set you back £12 but there are views of Green Park, truly exceptional service, and they’ll even give your handbag its own little stool. So, if you’re running riot with a generous expense account, then by all means Hide is the place for you.
Open from 9AM (Wednesday - Friday)
Despite its location in a slick new build and its cool marble white interior, there’s an unmistakable warmth about Café Cecilia. That’s why it makes total sense that breakfast here isn’t about trying to find a brand new way to eat avocado but satisfying classics like a bacon sandwich, granola with poached rhubarb and yoghurt, and the piece de resistance, buttered toast with marmalade. It’s all deeply stylish without any of that pretentious faff. Definitely a prime option for those creative agency meets or a PR breakfast where you know the journalist is going to have minimal interest in another stiff chat over white tablecloths.
Open from 8AM
Sometimes the purpose of your breakfast meeting is to impress a potential client and then sometimes the purpose of your breakfast meeting is to get out of the office and merrily eat some avocado. The Rail House Café is perfect for the latter. It’s a large modern space in Victoria with a long menu that’s got everything from vegan options to gluten-free bread to deep-dish pancakes, because honestly that’s very important too. Expect breakfast classics with a tahini or coconut clotted cream twist and top coffee by Allpress. And yes, an urgent caffeine boost is a valid reason to arrive at the office late.
Open from 8AM
There was a time when Langan’s was renowned for Mick Jagger sightings and full-throttle eighties parties, which arguably makes it sound like a meeting here is a one-way ticket to an awkward conversation with someone in HR. But trust us, Langan’s has very much calmed down. Now, it’s your classic Very Good Looking Brasserie with colourful artwork on the walls and white tablecloths that are inevitably destined to be covered in maple syrup and freshly-squeezed OJ. On Stratton Street in Mayfair, you’re definitely going to want to get involved in the pancakes and thanks to the fashionable clientele, it’s a no-brainer for sophisticated PR meets.
Open from 9AM
Striking, spacious, and home to a golden spiced milk that will make any cinnamon fans feel all the feelings, Vardo should rank right at the top of your west London breakfast meeting agenda. Grand Designs style space? Check. Sun-trap roof terrace? Check. A sizzling jalapeño cornbread with smashed avocado that will impress your dining companion who signs off their emails ‘regards’? Check, check, and check. From the people behind Caravan, you can also expect really great coffee and there are fresh juice shots if that’s what really helps you get the old brain ticking first thing.
Open from 8AM
There are four Granger & Co’s dotted around London, but the Clerkenwell location is the one you should choose for a breakfast meeting, and here’s why. It’s spacious, so you won’t be knocking anyone else’s chilli fried eggs with your jacket when trying to get to the sofa seating. Secondly, it’s got the same casual atmosphere as their other spots, except the open plan here means a server is only ever a polite nod away. And lastly, a satisfying and tasty mix of menu items means that whether your client’s sole personality trait is eating avocados, or they’ve been slagging them off for the entire walk to the restaurant, they’ll find something they’ll like here. And if they’ve never set foot in this popular Aussie cafe before, be sure to recommend the ricotta hotcakes.