East Londoners are a serious lot. When they’re not going to drum and bass yoga or foraging for organic berries by the canal, they’re on the lookout for brunch. Luckily, neighbourhoods like Hackney and Shoreditch have some of the best ones in town, and you’ll have a hard time walking down the street in those areas without someone trying to flog you a plate of eggs Florentine.
In this guide, you’ll find all the best brunch places in postcodes that start with an ‘E’, ranging from small cafes that’ll cure last night’s hangover to party-time restaurants where you can get started on today’s. Every one of these spots gets busy, but they’re all good.
Bistrotheque was one of the first restaurants to put East London on the map, and its brunch is especially strong. You’ll eat in a warehouse conversion with whitewashed walls, and when you’re halfway through sipping cocktails and tucking into a full English, a bloke with blue hair will start playing ‘Penny Lane’ on a baby grand piano. It’s pricier than the average rumble pit, but for a posh brunch, it’s one to put at the top of your list.
Broadway Market is one of the best areas to hang around East at the weekend, but the market itself always gets jammed up with prams and tourists from Battersea. Get brunch at Morty & Bob’s, a cafe just around the corner from the market. It’s hidden up several flights of stairs in Netil House, and the brunches have everything you want to eat when you’re a bit worse for wear. Make sure that you get one of the cheese toasties to share, as they make one of the best in town.
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 one of our favourite places in the area for brunch, and that’s because they make enjoyable food that’s exactly what you want after a heavy night of drinking. True to the diner theme, you’ll find filter coffee and classics like French toast and pancakes, as well as a chorizo and sweet potato hash. And not an avocado in sight. That’s a concept we can get behind.
Hoi Polloi isn’t the kind of place you come if you have any kind of serious plans at 3pm. It’s one of the only places on this list where a plate of eggs can turn into a full-blown affair with champagne, oysters, and pudding, and there’s also a live string quartet playing Prince covers. It goes without saying that brunch here is a scene (it’s connected to The Ace Hotel after all), but it’s a fun one that’s worth experiencing with a few friends.
Morito’s location on Hackney Road makes it feel like a neighbourhood restaurant, but once you’re inside, it’s immediately clear that this place that would murder the competition anywhere it opened. It’s always busy, and that’s because the food is exceptional. You’ll find a Mediterranean/North African twist on brunch, and it’s a great way to break an eggs royale habit. The poached eggs with spinach and chilli butter are the best thing on the menu, and you should definitely order those. The bougatsa (a Cretan filo pastry with fresh cheese, sugar, and cinnamon) is worth trying as well. Get there early or be prepared for a wait.
Red Rooster is a guaranteed fun time, particularly at brunch. The best time to come is on Sunday, when there’s a Gospel Brunch, an experience that’s worthy of those ‘100 things to do before you get hit by a Prius’ lists that we spend most of our work day reading. You’ll hear classic gospel songs as well as some UK garage thrown in for good measure. The Southern-style food is pretty average, but you’re really here for the atmosphere.
You know the usual brunch spots: the tables are packed together, it’s loud, and the waiter will probably forget at least one of the things you ordered. The Spitalfields location of Ottolenghi, our favourite of those around town, is the opposite of that. It’s a calm, low-key place to grab something in the morning, and all of the food is great. The shakshuka in particular is legendary, and you should also get the sweetcorn and polenta cakes with a poached egg. Be sure to book ahead.
After a big night out, catch up the next morning at Sager & Wilde, where there’s loads of room for a group and a big terrace that’s perfect for nice weather. While all of the food’s shareable, you should aim to have a couple of plates of maple French toast and pasta carbonara on your table. Also know that if you’re looking to keep it going, their cocktails are way better than those at your average brunch spot.
Blixen should be your go-to when you’re meeting friends for a boozy brunch close to Liverpool Street station. It’s an attractive brasserie with a short lineup of excellent brunch dishes, like a potato rosti with smoked trout and eggs that’s like a classed-up eggs benedict. The cocktails are good too, and there are also lighter dishes if you actually have things to do later on in the day. Even if ‘things to do’ actually translates to studying your ex’s tagged pictures on Instagram.
You’ll find Beagle beneath the railway arches at Hoxton Overground, which is a neat way of saying that it’s very trendy. That aside, the food’s always on point, and they take their brunch seriously here. They do tasty variations of eggs on toast, and an awesome crab and chilli linguine that’s more crab than pasta. Hit it for their bottomless brunch on Saturdays with a couple of friends or a group, and grab a spot on the terrace if it’s sunny. It’s popular, so book ahead.
Apart from a few stubborn hipsters in London Fields, most people who live in East London agree that Victoria Park is the best place to see grass and trees in this part of town. Get brunch in the park at Pavilion Cafe, which is where everyone seems to end up at the weekend. You’ll sit by the lake while sitting elbow-to-elbow with strangers, as well as the odd French bulldog. When it’s warm and they put the tables outside, it’s pretty glorious.
One of our favourite Indian places in town, Dishoom also serves a seriously good brunch. It’s probably the most civilised way to experience the restaurant, and it’s always worth asking if you can get a table in their verandah room, which feels like sitting in a rich guy’s garden in Delhi. The masala eggs and bacon naan should be on your table, as should the masala chai.
There are a couple of things to know before you visit The Good Egg for brunch. First, it’s extremely popular so be prepared to queue, and second, everything’s sharing-style, so definitely lean towards over-ordering. It’s always rammed with Stokey locals, and that’s because the Middle Eastern-ish food is consistently great. Get the shakshuka and as much challah bread as your table can eat.
If you live in Bow or Mile End, you know that most brunches in the neighbourhood tend to be disappointing. One of the exceptions is Mae and Harvey, where you can get a plate of well-executed brunch food without having to haul ass to Shoreditch or Hackney. Know that the cafe is very small, so there’s a chance you’ll end up sharing a table with strangers. Arriving at 11am before it fills up is a smart move.
Rochelle Canteen is hidden away in a quiet Shoreditch square, which makes a meal here feel like an escape from the city. Breakfast here is the same deal, especially during nice weather when you can sit outside. It’s excellent if your parents or friends are in town for the weekend, and while the food’s basically a posh version of things you’ll eat in a caff, your beans will be homemade and the pork for your bacon will be from local farms. The closer you get to midday, the harder it gets to rock up unannounced, so plan accordingly.
Our standard order at Monty’s is two servings of matzo ball soup, a reuben special, and a cookie and ice cream chaser. But at brunch, we substitute one of the soups for salt beef hash, followed by a challah French toast for dessert. It sounds like a lot of food, but we like to think of ourselves as glass-half-full kind of people. Afterwards, you can pick up a few freshly-baked bagels and some schmear to continue your weekend at home.
Rawduck is a casual restaurant that’s perfect for pretty much everyone, and they also do a nice brunch at the weekend. Each dish has a little twist - your salt beef hash will come topped with curried potatoes, or your poached eggs and avo will have chilli and coriander with it. Compared to the average brunch piss-up it’s remarkably civilised, and it’s a great place to hit if your crew wants to change things up.
You’re going to end up at Cream when the wait at your first choice is bare long, or you just want a calm environment to eat your eggs in peace. It’s a cool all-day cafe off Shoreditch High Street that doesn’t have a specific brunch menu, but does have a range of brunch-y dishes that you can get any day of the week. Their rotating menu ranges from healthy grain bowls to a plate of oyster mushrooms and Comté on sourdough, and it’s a fantastic place to sit when it’s sunny and they open the shop front onto the street.