Best Brunches In London
Brunch is London’s favourite meal and the choice of venues can be overwhelming on a bleary Sunday morning. Travel writer Heather Richardson shares with us a few of her favourite places to serve your weekend sunny side up.
Heather Richardson is an award-winning travel writer based in London. She has worked in print, online and in broadcasting in the UK, US, Asia and Australia. In 2015, she was selected as one of TTG’s 30 under 30 travel influencers for her work in the luxury travel industry. @HG_Richardson / www.hg-richardson.com
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Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell
At the top of St John’s Square in Clerkenwell – a bit of a ghost town during the weekend – Modern Pantry is located in a three-storey townhouse with window boxes of bright flowers and a terrace out front.
Shirking the current trend for hipster, try-hard styling, Modern Pantry keeps the vibe and service unpretentious and the airy interior elegant. They also take reservations for brunch – all too rare these days.
Image Credit: The Modern Pantry
Although the decor is classic, the fusion food does shake things up. There’s the rendang mince on toast that comes with a deep fried egg and chilli and lime dressing or the sugar-cured New Caledonian prawn omelette with smoked chilli sambal. The Vegemite soldiers that accompany the soft boiled eggs are a nod to chef Anna Hansen’s Kiwi upbringing. My usual is scrambled eggs with grilled chorizo, roasted tomatoes and delicious plantain fritters.
47-48 St John’s Square, EC1V
Brunch – Sat: 9am-4pm; Sun: 10am-4pm
As a former Islington resident, there have been many times I’ve had to reassess my brunch plans due to the queue at Ottolenghi on Upper Street. The original of the Yotam Ottolenghi’s line of restaurants, the Islington branch is still very popular and it doesn’t seem to matter what time you visit, although an early brunch is usually more successful.
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However, if you can afford to wait, it is worth it – and while you linger, you can admire the tables at the front stacked with cakes and deli offerings.
The white communal tables are furnished with red toasters and an array of condiments for your sourdough bread basket. Classics on the breakfast menu include shakshuka, a North African egg dish baked with peppers and tomatoes and served in a pan with labneh, a thick yoghurt, and grilled focaccia. The fluffy brioche French toast is a must-try for those with a sweet tooth.
287 Upper Street, N1
Brunch – Sat: 8am-12pm; Sun: 9am-1pm
Jackson & Rye, Soho
One of the things Americans do very well is brunch. Jackson & Rye is an American-style diner in Soho and an ideal spot to recover from last night’s escapades with its dim lighting, hearty portions and healthy juices, such as the superfood-packed green juice with avocado, spinach, mint and chia seeds. Or there’s bacon.
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Thematically styled with a nod to 1920s Manhattan speakeasy bars, there are leather booths, low-hanging lamps and glass partitions. The weekend brunch shift tends to be much quieter than weeknights when the restaurant can become quite noisy.
The brunch menu is long with plenty of American staples, such as the salt beef hash and buttermilk pancakes. The eggs benedict comes with avocado and fried potatoes – because sometimes eggs, hollandaise, bacon and toast just isn’t enough.
56 Wardour Street, W1D
Brunch – Sat & Sun: 9am-4.30pm
Caravan, King’s Cross
The King’s Cross branch of Caravan (the original is down the road at Exmouth Market) is based in a huge renovated warehouse in Granary Square with industrial decor to match. Despite that, the atmosphere is always warm and the service is friendly.
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You can’t book at Caravan – a London theme – but due to the building’s size the wait is normally quite short, even if the queue suggests otherwise.
The menu is international and interesting with less meat than most places. The kimchi pancake and pork belly is served with fried duck egg and barbecue crème fraiche, and the pumpkin waffle comes with ricotta, maple syrup and pecans. The baked eggs or the Caravan fry will satisfy your traditional breakfast cravings, and I like to keep it simple with a mountain of avocado on toast. Their home-roasted coffee is also top-notch.
1 Granary Square, N1C
Brunch – Sat & Sun: 10am-4pm
Duck & Waffle, City
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The food at Duck & Waffle is a stellar brunch-based effort, but you really come here for the view – and what a view it is. On the 40th floor of Heron Tower, the Duck & Waffle enjoys a skyscraper vantage point above London as the highest restaurant in the UK.
If you can, try and score a window table – easier if there are just two of you – though with floor-to-ceiling windows, most tables get a glimpse of the scenery. With the exception of the golden ‘waffle’ ceiling, the decor is simple, with brown leather booths and polished wooden floors.
The house special is of course the duck and waffle – duck leg confit and fried duck egg on a waffle with mustard maple syrup. Given the setting, it seems fitting to wash it down with a glass of fizz or two. For those who simply can’t wait for the brunch menu to start at 9am, Duck & Waffle is open 24/7.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N
Brunch – Sat & Sun: 9am-4pm