Brickwood Coffee & Bread
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There’s a rustic feel to Brickwood – all bare wooden boards and wall tiles. There are good lighter breakfast options – granola and freshly made pastries on the counter, including some gluten- and dairy-free options – and the classics are done very well: the smashed avocado is ripe and juicy and plentiful on top of a good thick slice of sourdough, with perfectly runny poached eggs and thick slices of sweet and peppery chorizo. Corn fritters seem to be ubiquitous on brunch menus at the moment, and you can sample some great specimens here, with roasted veg and beetroot crème fraiche. The brioche French toast is sweet and soft and comes with either maple banana or bacon – or both for the greedy bruncher.
Jackson & Rye
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This rye isn’t referring to excellent bread, but rather excellent whisky! Possibly a bit early for hard liquor but at Jackson & Rye anything goes. The menu is long and will satisfy every brunch craving you could possibly imagine, from the expected bacon pancakes or avocado with eggs, to the less expected toasted marshmallows or a chargrilled whole lobster with fries. It feels a bit like you’re an eccentric film star staying in an old hotel in New York or Paris and that you should order whatever you fancy right at that moment, just because you can. Even if it’s an Oreo and rye milkshake at 8am.
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Bare brick walls? Tick. Set under some old railway arches? Tick. Excellent and unusual cocktail menu? Tick. You must be in East London! Styled a little bit like a station café, Beagle is everything you’d expect from a Hoxton bar and restaurant. It is even named after an old steam train that used to travel the rails above it. The menu is predominantly American–English – buttermilk pancakes with seasonal fruits, eggs and hollandaise on toasted brioche, smoked bacon hash with fried eggs, or a smoked ham and sauerkraut toastie. A Middle Eastern wild card is the goat kofte with freekeh, labneh and flatbreads. There are also lots of extras you can add-on to your plate, so you can create your own dream breakfast. And as we all know, anything is infinitely improved with duck fat chips.
Honey & Co.
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As well as Middle Eastern meets European treats – merguez sausage rolls, frittatas and a fantastic display of sweet cakes and bakes in the window – you can also enjoy figs with honey and pistachios, a heart-warming bowl of shakshuka, green shakshuka (with spinach), or roasted aubergines with a dinosaur egg! That’s right: a dinosaur egg. There are beautiful tiles on the floor for you to covet, and produce to buy on the shelves so you can take home some of the magic.
Duck & Waffle
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Even if you’re only here for an hour for brunch, there’s something quite magical about being 40 floors up above London – the highest restaurant in the UK, FYI. The menu swings a bit wildly from Asian to American to British, via Italy and France, but it’s all very delicious. And there are a few items that marry unexpected flavours: oxcheek doughnuts, and foie gras crème brûlée being two notable examples. The signature duck (leg and egg) perched on a waffle is suitably impressive. There is a good range of sweet plates too – a peanut crunch dark chocolate sundae is quite enough sugar for the best of us.
Granger & Co.
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Laid-back and generous – both with food and service – at Bill Granger’s Notting Hill venture, brunch doesn’t feel like something only for the weekend, or as a result of getting up too late for breakfast; it’s a way of life. There are, of course, plenty of health-conscious options – almond milk chia pots and house granola, but even the larger dishes feel good for you. Eggs on sourdough with your choice of extra toppings is a great place to start. There are some more unusual add-ons – tea-smoked salmon, miso mushrooms and a punchy salsa. In fact, most of the dishes come with surprising flavours – the bacon and egg roll has a definite chilli hit, mellowed by mango chutney. It’s exactly what you’ve always wanted without even knowing it.
The Modern Pantry
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There’s something about The Modern Pantry that makes you want to hide your hangover. There’s just too much to enjoy here to even contemplate a headache. And that’s before you even get to the food. The menu has all you’d expect from an English brunch, but everything has a little twist or tasty surprise to get you excited. The salmon is tea-smoked, the hollandaise is subtly flavoured with yuzu, the chips are cassava, and the chicken burger is Persian and comes with coconut and black sesame labneh. And I’d recommend a house hot chocolate if you have any room left – classic, liquorice and chilli, or malt and caraway.
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Everyone talks about the atmosphere at Mud and when you arrive you’ll understand why. It’s just so friendly. It’s relaxed and welcoming and the smiley staff seem only concerned with making sure you enjoy some really good food and coffee. The menu is short but the range of optional sides (avocado, cured salmon and house-made beans among others) means there are endless combinations. The Breakfast Burger is enough to challenge even the hungriest, most hungover in your group – it has all the usuals and an additional surprising carby layer of potato cake. The buckwheat pancakes are worth a very special mention too – topped with caramelised fruit and pretty, edible flowers, they are so comforting and such a pleasure to look at, you’ll feel like you’ve been hugged from the inside.
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With a long menu that includes sides and pudding, you could easily stay at Caravan for the whole brunch service – from 10am–4pm – eating your way through the list. The fry-ups (with optional add-ons of chorizo or wild boar sausages) are superb, but it would be a shame not to try some of the more unusual listings while you’re there. Coconut bread with fruit, or the pumpkin waffles with ricotta and maple syrup are just the right side of sweet, while their homemade jalapeño cornbread with chilli jam and feta will leave you feeling satisfied and ready for a day of wholesome activity. If you can handle something a bit richer, the kimchi pancakes with pork belly, duck egg and sweet and smoky crème fraîche will give your taste buds a treat.
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The menu at Franks is small but perfectly formed, changing from time to time to keep up with the seasons and sometimes just to keep things interesting. Breakfast is served all day, so you can relax and enjoy the sunshine streaming through the windows while sitting at one of the sturdy wooden farmhouse tables. There’s space for only a chosen few so get there early if you can. The eggs, bacon, sausages and smoked salmon are all sourced from around England, and the black pudding is particularly moreish. But, when it’s on the menu, it’s the kedgeree that really wins out here: creamy and satisfying and perfectly spiced, the flavours are balanced to perfection. Keep going back to see what’s new to try.