Brunch, above all, is a mood. It’s a Saturday 1pm mood. It’s a ‘my head is pounding and I desperately need coffee and lots of fried things’ mood. And it’s a ‘let’s have a three-hour catch up over poached eggs’ mood. Because seriously, when else do you get to eat a whole lobster, with a side of french toast? How often do you get to drink a cocktail at 11am, and it be socially acceptable? It’s genius, and these are the best spots you can do all of that in west London.
The phrase ‘this is nice isn’t it’ is guaranteed to be said by at least one member of your brunch group if you head to Cafe Beam on Westbourne Grove. Maybe they’re referring to the hanging lights, or the exposed brick, maybe it’s the spaciousness of it all, or maybe it’s the brunch menu that includes shakshuka, a halal full english, and nutella filled doughnuts. We’ll tell you - it’s all of the above. This spot is walk-in only, and open until 4.30pm everyday, so plan accordingly.
If you’ve ever had manakeesh, you’ll understand how important it is that this Lebanese bakery serves them until 10pm. And they’re not any old manakeesh, but some of the best in London. The brunch at this Acton spot isn’t limited by time, you aren’t judged for rocking up at 4pm in need of some doughey, meaty goodness. You can head there at 1pm on a Sunday for a platter of minced meat and cheese, or spinach and cheese manakeesh, and it’ll be just as good as when you come at 7pm on a Wednesday. Basically, what we’re trying to say is, whatever time of day it is, get the manakeesh. It’s usually populated with regulars coming in for a chilled brunch, or a speedy shish taouk and fattoush lunch, but don’t let anything distract you from what you came for. And for £3.50 a pop it’s London’s best bet for brunch on a budget.
Notting Hill is one of London’s prettiest neighbourhoods, and one of the best choices for brunch in Notting Hill is Farm Girl. This café goes all-in on the Aussie healthy eating up to the point where you might find yourself eating “coconut bacon.” That’s not something we would typically condone, but we actually find all of the food here to be quite good. And we’re not the only ones - Farm Girl is pretty much always mobbed.
Grand Designs-y style space? Check. Sun-trap roof terrace? Check. Jalapeño cornbread, baked eggs, and a serious drinks list? Check, check, and check. Vardo has got it all. This striking and spacious spot in Chelsea is from the same people as Caravan - so you know that they know their brunch - and the combination of an all-day menu and a roof terrace looking out over Duke of York Sqaure is pretty irresistible.
We love Over Under’s Earl’s Court spot for its pancakes and small but mighty brunch options. But when you want a sit down brunch, you’re better off heading to their Ladbroke Grove location. It’s got a lot more space inside, a soundtrack that’s basically just AJ Tracey’s Ladbroke Grove on repeat, and the same, excellent pancakes you can get in their other locations.
Granger & Co Notting Hill
You might have seen Bill Granger on the TV in some sun-drenched Sydney kitchen making sweet corn fritters, or things involving avocados and harissa. This is one of his restaurants (the others are in Chelsea, Clerkenwell, and King’s Cross), and it’s just as good as he is at selling the laidback Aussie dream - think tasty brunch dishes like fluffy ricotta pancakes, or toasted coconut bread that’ll hit the spot. The price to pay is a not unreasonable queue on weekdays - it’s no bookings - that can easily stretch to 30-60 minutes at the weekend.
This little spot on Uxbridge Road has been specialising in manakeesh for over a decade, and it shows. They’ve got all the classics like zaatar and labneh, and halloumi, as well as some Z&Z specialties like basterma with cheese, and cheese and honey. What’s more, most of them come within the £3 to £5 range. You can’t go wrong with a classic lahm beajin or spinach, and we like to ask for some cheese on them, because... well... melted cheese.
Other than the fact that you might run into the entire cast of Made In Chelsea here, this all-day restaurant on King’s Road is one of the best hangouts in the area. The space is huge, and their outdoor terrace is a great place to be when the sun is out. And you’ll find everything from french toast to a whole grilled lobster on their weekend brunch menu.
This Shepherd’s Bush cafe is a cosy neighbourhood spot that serves up some pretty great Australian-style brunch. The usual classics involving pancakes and avocados are particularly good, and the whole menu is pretty ideal for vegetarians. Our favourite time to be here is on the weekends when the weather’s nice and they set up chairs outside.