The Fancy Brunch Guide
Serious dinners and 9pm drinks are out, and messy, pancake-filled brunches are in to celebrate special occasions.
Maybe your bestie is having a baby and you're tasked with planning the shower/trying to source some blueberry pancakes for a surprise gender reveal. Or maybe you’re celebrating a 30th birthday and want some poached eggs with a view of London (and a reason to wear your new sunglasses inside). Whichever one it is, you need a brunch spot that feels fancy enough for the occasion. Here are nine great options around the city.
THE BRUNCH SPOTS
photo credit: Christopher's
The brunch energy at Christopher’s, an American restaurant in Covent Garden, is OTT in the best way. There are things like lobster mac and cheese, and steak and eggs on the weekend-only brunch menu. But you’re here for the best french toast in London. Thick brioche with a soft gooey centre, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and more melted chocolate—this is reason enough to plan a whole baby shower around the theme of ‘all things French’. Every time we've been in the upstairs dining room, with high ceilings, white tablecloths, and space for groups, we’ve seen people clinking bloody marys and celebrating something.
photo credit: 14 Hills
What automatically makes a meal feel special? A 14th-floor view of London. But you know what makes it feel even more special? When that view is from this sky garden situation at the top of 120 Fenchurch Street. 14 Hills looks like The Jungle Book got a makeover by the producers of Made In Chelsea. The set brunch menu includes salmon with crème fraîche and a mushroom benedict, but you’re not really here for the food. You’re here for a big birthday brunch that starts with their signature cocktails and ends four hours later with a blueberry compote cheesecake that might very well be the ultimate compensation for ageing. 14 Hills is a glitzy, feelgood forest with 10/10 photo opps.
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photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
Mount St. Restaurant
Not everyone looks like a work of art at 9am on a Saturday morning, so it’s a good thing that Mount St. is owned by Hauser & Wirth gallery. The chi-chi British restaurant’s glamorous, bacon-heavy (meat, not Francis) brunch experience combines two great weekend activities: an art gallery and a full English. Nothing here is as simple as it seems: scrambled eggs come topped with shaved white truffle and the painting of prawns on the wall is by some bloke called Lucien Freud. Bog-standard eggs benedict and a frothy mimosa, this is not. In fact, Mayfair’s Mount St. even has a special breakfast martini to enjoy in their colourful and kaleidoscopic dining room—and nothing says celebratory brunch like a martini and a sausage sandwich.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
With brilliant, sweeping views over King’s Cross and a vibe that will either embolden you or prematurely age you, Decimo is the place to go when brunch will more than likely be the only meal of your day. The Spanish meets Mexican restaurant is on the 10th floor of The Standard, London hotel so expect stunning views and stunning content from everyone luxuriating in your red velvet booth with cocktails and gooey tortillas in front of them. The Saturday brunch menu is pretty brief—fish tacos, huevos a la flamenca (baked eggs), and the like—but it’s all about the scene in this Hollywood-ish setting.
photo credit: Bistrotheque
Bistrotheque has been the shrieking heart of celebratory east London brunches for years. The whitewashed warehouse mixes a pianist twiddling out Rihanna with gallons of bloody marys and banoffee french toast. The atmosphere oscillates between those in desperate need of a pick-me-up to politely popping, and the odd drag performer helps keep things buzzing too. Soft shell crab benedict and a half roast chicken with punchy aioli and chips are our pick of the menu. But it’s hard to go wrong at Bistrotheque as long as you stick to the classics (alongside a bottle of pet nat).
photo credit: Emma Lee Photography
Ah, Chiltern Firehouse. Every celebrity's favourite hangout circa 2015, and your best chance of spotting Orlando Bloom deep in conversation with Lindsay Lohan over cocktails. It might not provide us with the same fallen-out-of-Firehouse pap shots anymore, but this Marylebone spot still serves a great, European-leaning brunch. It feels properly fancy to eat excellent waffles in a pretty garden that Cara Delevigne has probably smoked in. Instagram potential? Definitely. Thick, fluffy pancakes? By the stack-load. Plus, teas and coffees are served in delicate, blue-etched china and most egg dishes can come topped with truffle. Brunch here is a see and be seen thing, with actually good food.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
Maybe it’s your birthday. Maybe you haven’t seen your friends for a while. Or maybe one of you got divorced. It doesn’t matter what the cause for 12pm celebrations is, Gloria will see you right with a brunch that involves sinking Aperols and sinking into Aperol-coloured cushions. You can order the perfectly fine toffee apple french toast and eggs alla fiorentina, and pretend that’s why you're at this Italian trattoria in Shoreditch. But we see you stumbling off to the bathroom for a photoshoot with a photogenic fern. This is your chance to live inside a Dolce & Gabbana fantasy—breakfast sandos and pancakes are just props. Just know that brunch is only available on weekends.
photo credit: Duck & Waffle
Duck & Waffle
It’s 6am and you’re on the 40th floor of a Bishopsgate building watching the sun rise. Lobster roll in one hand, champagne in the other, a single tear rolling down your cheek. Yes, 6am is early for brunch. But at Duck and Waffle, a sky-high restaurant in The City, you can get breakfast all the way from 6am to 4pm. And there’s no hastily mashed avocado with a sad sprinkle of paprika here. Instead work your way through signature crispy confit duck with waffles drenched in mustard maple syrup. By the time 4pm rolls around you’ll be waving a fermented corn rib at the window while shrieking, “issaa gherkin!!”. Sober up and stay for dinner if you really want to keep the celebrations going.
photo credit: Seabird
After whizzing up 14 floors of The Hoxton hotel, you’ll be delivered to Seabird, a seafood restaurant that’s Côte d’Azur by way of Southwark. Tall potted trees are placed between every table, well-heeled guests recline in rattan chairs, and there are enough seashell details to leave you wondering whether Sebastian from The Little Mermaid has forayed into an interior design side hustle. Carry on walking and you’ll find the London rooftop jackpot—a long glamorous terrace complete with tropical foliage and decorative cushions. Get involved in icy platters of dressed crab, razor clams, and oysters. Eating Louët-Feissers while the rest of the world is waking up to Crunchy Nut? A flex.