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Some of London’s best brunch at Vardo Vardo [Official Photo]

The Ultimate Brunch Restaurants in London

Eggs, avocado, dim sum, tacos — and so much more

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Brunch in London remains divisive, despite its (British) origins as the louche feast that delivers the best of both — a ‘Sunday meal for Saturday night carousers.’ A brunch invitation raises spectres of time-restricted levity fuelled by uric fizz, bland Bloody Marys and either cack-handed egg cookery or a new (read: tired) iteration of avocado on toast. But it doesn’t have to be that way, for London is heaving with restaurants that give the portmanteau repast ample opportunity to reclaim its dignity: eat brunch, don’t ‘do’ it.

London’s restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars reopen for indoor service from 17 May, with the rule of six in place. Customers can check with individual venues to determine their availability and Covid-secure measures before deciding to visit.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Vardo Restaurant

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9 Duke of York Square, Chelsea
London SW3 4LY, UK

Smack bang amid Duke of York Square, one half-expects dazed shoppers to bounce off Vardo’s glass walls like so many exceedingly coiffed pigeons. And yet, inside this purpose-built pavilion, all is serene. An evolution of the Caravan concept, much of the menu will be familiar to the mothership’s regulars, but within these surrounds, even long-standing Caravan classics such as seasoned rice with hot-smoked salmon, miso mayonnaise, pickled ginger, furikake — taste that little bit better. Soft boiled eggs, garam masala labneh, fenugreek-chilli butter, and toasted chickpeas on grilled flatbread are a Vardo-only standout.

2. Chiltern Firehouse

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1 Chiltern St, Marylebone
London W1U 7PA, UK

A class act, Chiltern Firehouse (discreetly) enables weekend extravagance. So why not go all in? Begin with a caviar and cornbread ‘Watchtower’, followed by lobster and crab omelette with shiso mayo, a red shrimp and jalepeno burger, or, belt duly loosened, the rib-eye shawarma with XO scrambled eggs and shoestring fries.

3. Milk

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20 Bedford Hill
London SW12 9RG, UK

A Balham treasure, Milk’s weekend-only specials, announced solely via instagram, have even brunch-deniers queueing on the regular. And with dishes such as buckwheat pancakes with roast apricot, lavender and bitter citrus cream, half-baked almond cake crumb — their reasoning is clear. No faux ‘barista coffee’ here — a good relationship with top Berlin roasters the Barn endures.

4. Honey & Co.

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25 Warren St, Bloomsbury
London W1T 5LZ, UK

The Big Breakfast with green shaksuka is a marvel, but as it’s only served till 11:25a.m. — and only sadists demand ‘brunch’ pre-midday — get stuck into masterful mezze, followed by individual mains such as Essaouira fish tagine with Cornish sea bass, chickpeas and swiss chard in chermoula sauce; or roasted mauve aubergines with a BBQ tahini crust.

5. A Wong

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70 Wilton Rd, Pimlico
London SW1V 1DE, UK

Traditionally a weekend family outing, indulging in dim sum is always a rewarding call. So make for Michelin-starred A. Wong in Victoria, (arguably) London’s smartest Chinese, where those divine dumplings are available individually, the best of which are the xiao long bao, topped with tapioca pearls.

6. Rovi

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59 Wells St, Fitzrovia
London W1A 3AE, UK

Yotam Ottolenghi’s impeccable Fitzrovia site is an assured crowd pleaser, anytime of day or night. At the weekend, early risers may nibble on pastry with homemade banana and passionfruit jam, while awaiting hot plates such as addictive Iranian fritters, piquillo sauce and fried egg, or butternut hummus, poached eggs, tomato and chilli on za’atar flatbread. As for the late crowd, the likes of crumpet lobster toast with kumquat; celeriac shawarma, bkeila and fermented tomato, and Jerusalem mixed grill with baharat onions will smooth reentry into civilisation.

7. Koya Soho

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50 Frith St, Soho
London W1D 4SQ, UK

Each Koya site offers a classic, nourishing ‘Japanese Breakfast’ (grilled fish, rice, miso, pickle) as well as smartly wrought bastardisations intended to woo the gaijin, including both udon noodle and rice porridge takes on the English breakfast, replete with fried egg, bacon and shiitake mushrooms. Smoked haddock and poached egg kedgeree, a satisfying spin on the Brit-Indian favourite.

8. Darby's

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3 Viaduct Gardens, Nine Elms
London SW11 7AY, UK

The team behind Clapham darlings The Dairy, Sorella and Counter Culture’s oyster bar, grill and bakery opposite the American Embassy remains a brunch paradise in lockdown — even without the live jazz soundtracks on Sunday afternoons. Fuss-free yet opulent remains the mantra, with the kitchen’s pastries paired with London honey or Baron Bigod, and the promise of brunch meal kits in the future. Or there are oysters and pasta, for something a little more substantial. Nothing will arrive that doesn’t elicit a gigantic, greedy smile.

9. Xi'an Impression

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117 Benwell Rd
London N7 7BW, UK

It’s always been worth fighting through the Arsenal FC match day hordes in Holloway to hit up this cult-hit, Shaanxi region-specialist for generous heady plates including cold skin liangpi noodles, pulled pork burger and biang biang noodles in an assortment of hot, sweet, piquant guises. Now there are no hordes, Arsenal’s form is in the toilet, and the noodles are still unmatched.

10. Black Axe Mangal [TEMPORARILY CLOSED]

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156 Canonbury Rd
London N1 2UP, UK

Every wild umami-laden combination cooked up by Lee Tiernan is a guaranteed palate-pleaser. And their ever-rotating brunch menu only reinforces B.A.M.’s reputation as a mecca for true food lovers. Head up to Highbury and get stuck into the likes of French’s classic yellow mustard pastrami steamed bun or the best B.L.T. in London. Not one to attempt with a splitting headache.

11. Brigadiers

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1-5 Bloomberg Arcade
London EC4N 8AR, UK

JKS’ latest (Gymkhana / Trishna / Hoppers) is pitched as a sports bar-cum-army-mess replete with billiards and tap rooms, and a secret poker table — and, yet, they get away with it, with aplomb. Indian barbecue, to be shared, is the thing here. The vast weekend menu stretches over six sections so sip an ‘Ooty Town Bloody Mary’ and split a tawa masala lobster and shrimp kati roll while choosing a sizzler or whatever wood-smoked glory is on that day.

12. Flor

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1 Bedale St
London SE1 9AL, UK

With the sunlight streaming into Flor’s first floor windows of a Saturday, the chic bakery, wine bar and restaurant by the laudable Lyle’s crew feels heaven-sent. Pam Yung is now firmly at the helm, and with lunch undivided from its mid-morning cousin, dishes might include cucumber aggressed by chicory and cocoa; a scallop aguachile with tarocco orange and rhubarb; or a maritozzo overspilling its cod brandade filling. Needless to say, the wine list is stellar. Finally, before breaching the market hordes, gird nerves with brown butter cake.

13. Jolene

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21 Newington Green, Mayville Estate
London N16 9PU, UK

On opening, Jolene swiftly won the hearts of Newington Green locals, and with its serene decor, friendly staff, swoon-making wine offering, exceptional house pastries, and failsafe, rotating small plate menu it’s easy to see why. Its curried egg, spinach, and crumb; fried eggs and potatoes with jamón, and toastie are must-haves. The duo behind Primeur and Westerns Laundry have lifted the curse on this particular parcel of real estate, expanding the bakery’s offering with Big Jo in Hornsey.

14. Santo Remedio

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152 Tooley St
London SE1 2TU, UK

Diners can sample chef-proprietor Edson Diaz Fuentes’ personal favourites, including a failsafe hangover cure from his university days in Yucatan: huevos motuleños with salsa roja on tostadas, topped with bacon, cheese, and plantains. Tacos now dominate the brunch offering, sporting soft-shell crab; black beans heady with avocado leaf; and a dessert of churros with cajeta and cinnamon sugar.

15. Esters

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55 Kynaston Rd, Stoke Newington
London N16 0EB, UK

This unfussy Stoke Newington cafe strikes the balance between neighbourhood fixture and city-crowning superstar with effortless panache. Brunch is for weekends, and the weekend special at Esters is always outstanding: perhaps ‘cochinita pibil’; perhaps Sichuan-spiced pork shoulder; perhaps a pressed duck hash; always based on respectful globetrotting and ingredients from a market down the road. Weekly stalwarts like a kale and sorrel rice bowl — sometimes a salad — clever use of fermentation, outstanding cookies, and quality coffee give the whole thing a sheen of sunny, LA confidence. If London had a Sqirl, this would be it — without the mouldy jam kitchen.

16. Bubala

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65 Commercial St, Shadwell
London E1 6BD, UK

It’s advisable to lure a couple of mates to this beguiling, plant-filled, bastion of contemporary Sephardic cookery — if only so that ordering the entire menu becomes a sensible prospect. (If flying as a duo, opt for the house set.) Bubala’s dishes, including: ful medames, lovage pesto, yoghurt, homemade malawach; halloumi with nigella and black cumin seed honey; confit potato latkes, toum, Aleppo chilli; fried aubergine, zhoug, date syrup — may not be super fancy, but they are, unfailingly, delicious.

17. Morito

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195 Hackney Rd
London E2 8JL, UK

This airy Mediterranean Hackney haven — sister restaurant of iconic Moro — is renowned for head chef Marianna Leivaditaki’s devilishly moreish small plates, which can discreetly tot up to a hefty bill. Their weekend breakfast, which features Turkish menemen eggs and a jamon and Tetilla toastie, is easier on the wallet, without sacrificing a crumb of enjoyment. Pro tip: Only a fool would swerve pan con anchovy.

18. Marksman Public House

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254 Hackney Rd
London E2 7SJ, UK

Relatively fresh to brunch service on Saturdays, the offering at the universally beloved Hackney Road gastro-pub is already up with the city’s finest. In fact, it’s worth a mini-fast to make room for a leisurely, seasonal English feast perhaps encompassing a genteel cured seatrout and scrambled egg muffin; smoked haddock kedgeree with green tomato chutney, or Tamworth bacon chop with egg and truly killer hash browns. The bloody mary is banging, too.

19. Ozone Coffee

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Emma St
London E2, UK

The second roastery and all-day dining space by the craft Kiwi coffee company is a slick, understated and wholly welcome addition to Hackney’s patchy brunch offer. Naturally, the coffee (served in umpteen iterations) is on-point. Less expected: the care  evident on each and every plate, including: pumpkin, feta, Essex quinoa tortilla with poached egg, greens, labneh and smoked beetroot kasundi; field mushrooms on toast with fermented chilli, pickled onions, Old Winchester and crème fraîche. As for chilled beverages, charcoal lemonade makes a cleansing preamble to appealing, low intervention wines.

20. Pavilion Cafe

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Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd
London E9 7DE, UK

Even when brimming over with pups, toddlers and joggers, Victoria Park’s lakeside hub tends towards the idyllic. Commendably sustainable, the affable team do a roaring trade in both British and Sri Lankan, meat-free weekend mainstays. If rabidly after the former, think zhuzhed up fry ups with home baked beans and halloumi, but it’s much smarter to opt for signature string hoppers with pol roti, dal and coconut sambol. Offering a serious range to takeaway for a walk in its splendid surrounds.

21. Bake Street

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58 Evering Rd, Lower Clapton
London N16 7SR, UK

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Feroz Gajia is defining the halal brunch scene at Bake Street, a café in Lower Clapton. There are currently lamb birria tacos and an Arby’s-emulating beef and cheddar bun on the weekend menu, part of a rotating cast of covetable specials that come and go to tempt the queue’s hypebeasts. If it’s eggs that are required, order chaka: poached eggs in tomato ragout with spinach and yogurt. The name is inspired by Turkish chaka breakfast and the Bake Street dish draws influences from it, plus shakshuka and menemen.

22. Sambal To Go

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169 Holloway Rd
London N7 8LX, UK

Mandy Yin’s tribute to Malaysian economy rice never got a fair shot. Nasi opened next door to Sambal Shiok for just two days before Covid-19 locked London down, and Yin is now repurposing the space as Sambal to Go — a one-stop shop for both restaurants’ greatest hits that will allow the original to flex a bit more come May. Expect laksa, fried chicken, and curry puffs.

23. Trullo

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300-302, St Paul's Rd
London N1 2LH, UK

Sure, have beef shin pappardelle to break the fast — why not, go big. But for an easy start to the day that doesn’t require a table and cutlery, head to Trullo’s deli and shop, next door to the north London Italian restaurant. Snag one of the savoury pastries which are hearty enough for a breakfast and lunch combo. There’s a meaty and spicy ‘nduja swirl or the grated cheese-dusted carbonara pastry with an oozy egg yolk sitting pretty in the middle. Get some extra napkins for this one.

24. Saray Broadway Cafe

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58 Broadway Market
London E8 4QJ, UK
020 7684 1651

The best £3.80 in the vicinity of Broadway Market is spent on gözleme from greasy spoon Saray Broadway Cafe. Upon unfolding the flaky Turkish flatbread from its paper bag, it might appear too big for one person alone to eat. But this is wrong. Between the lacy layers is a scattering of feta and shredded spinach, made to the perfect ratio that’ll have anyone coming back for another bite rather than being overwhelmed. This is always a “rip it and tear it” situation.

25. Mei Mei

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Unit 52 Rochester Walk
London SE1 9AF, UK

Satisfy a sweet tooth with Mei Mei’s kaya toast. Elizabeth Haigh’s Singaporeon restaurant-stall in Borough Market slings the addictive toasted finger sandwiches which are slathered in kaya, a coconut jam, and stuffed with a slab of butter. It’s absolutely worth getting the kaya toast set which also comes with soft poached eggs in soy (in which to dunk the toast) and teh tarik or kopi.

26. The Snapery @ Maltby Street Market

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Ropewalk, Maltby St
London SE1 3PA, UK

It’s hard to choose between The Snapery’s cinnamon and cardamom buns. [ed. note: it is not. cardamom.] so it’s probably best to order one of each. The former with warming cinnamon is sweet, sticky and swirled, primed to unroll the buttery dough all the way to the squidgy centre. The latter has an enriched, fragrant cardamom dough, is rolled in cinnamon butter and braided beautifully, wrapping itself up. Get them at Saturday’s Maltby Street Market or order online and collect from the south Bermondsey bakery.

27. La Chingada Mexican Food

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206 Lower Rd
London SE8 5DJ, UK

The beauty of tacos is that they’ll hit the spot whether a little something or a hand-held feast. La Chingada in Surrey Quays is the place to go for corn tortilla morsels that come topped with carnitas (confit pork), cactus leaves, suadero (confit beef) or al pastor (pork and pineapple). A couple of tostadas de tinga — crispy, crunchy fried tortillas filled with chipotle pulled chicken and piled with beans, shredded lettuce, cream and cheese — are also a must-order, with Sunday specials often including lamb birria, brick-red and hearty.

28. Italo.

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13 Bonnington Square
London SW8 1TE, UK

Strolling around idyllic Bonnington Square is a balm for the soul by itself — it’s easy to forget this oasis is just around the corner from the labyrinth of roads and relentless traffic outside Vauxhall station. And deli and cafe Italo makes the leafy neighbourhood even more dreamy. As it gets chilly, order a steaming bowl of porridge laced with maple syrup or one of the mega sandwiches on ciabatta. Think sausage and braised onions or good tomatoes and a fried egg. Browse the windows for any deli bits then head around the back to pick up the food. There are tables out front, or find a nook in the gardens opposite.

29. Zeret Kitchen

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216-218 Camberwell Rd
London SE5 0ED, UK

Variety is the spice of life at Zeret Kitchen, a Camberwell staple since the 90s. Injera, slightly sour, spongy, fermented flatbread, comes topped with a host of dishes to dip, scoop and feast on. Qwanta firfir and ye-beg fitfit are typical breakfast dishes on the menu – stews made with shredded injera and beef and lamb respectively. But really, whatever you order will make a banging brunch, whether you need to soak up last night’s booze or satisfy a growling appetite.

30. Sonora Taquería

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13-23 Westgate St
London E8 3RL, UK

Sonora’s regional dedication to gossamer pork fat tortillas and sticky, fiery chile verde and barbacoa is an ideal monument to what brunch can be in London Fields, with the bonus of one of London’s best coffee shops, Paradox, right next door to provide the necessary accompaniment. Get a pack of tortillas for the week at the same time.

31. Kapihan

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13A Parkgate Rd
London SW11 4NL, UK

This requires a little forward planning for Nigel, David, Plasmara, and Rosemary Motley’s formidable Filipino baking. Pre-order tinapaya, like the pan de adobo, or the dulce de leche bibingka, with a lechon rice, all crunchy pork belly, now added to the weekend rotation. Or just rock up for coffee from the hatch before rolling home or towards Battersea Park.

32. Towpath

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42 De Beauvoir Cres
London N1 5SB, UK

It is well-documented that an environment will enhance a given eating experience, and Towpath’s canalside surrounds do its dishes, scratched up on a blackboard, every favour. The fried eggs with mojo verde are a justifiable classic of the morning offer, but there might also be porridge with brown sugar and walnuts, or, if arriving at just the right moment, snow-white goat’s curd propping up heads of confit garlic, again on toast.

33. Catalyst

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48 Grays Inn Rd, Chancery Ln
London WC1X 8LT, UK

Catalyst, helmed by Vasilis Chamam and Alex Gkikas, might be the archetypal London breakfast cafe of the 2020s. It roasts its own coffee and does it very well; it serves a recognisable litany of British cafe foods — bacon sandwiches, scrambled eggs, hopefully soon, a sandwich with black pudding — but inflects all of these with the tastes and ideas of its owners’ heritage. There’s a coffee sriracha with heat that blooms like water hitting its filter coffees; a halloumi katsu sando; that “black pudding sandwich” features hispi cabbage and XO sauce. With so many of London’s best greasy spoons run by Greeks and Greek-Cypriots, it feels like both an inheritance and an evolution.

34. Nandine - Vestry Road

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82 Vestry Rd
London SE5 8PQ, UK

What marks Nandine apart from all its competitors is the level of care, skill, and soul put into the food on an almost microscopic level. It’s one thing to make hummus well, but it’s another to nail each of the eleven components of their mezze, from the taut texture of vine leaves to the notes of smoke in the aubergine qawarma to the crystalline finish on the meat kubba. Each mouthful always has something to surprise and delight: simple rice or cabbage dishes are judiciously anointed with judicious use of stewed fruit, or fresh herbs like mint and parsley. This is not a cuisine that is a stranger to dill. The very best thing though is at the original Nandine: a Kurdish breakfast comprising in-house yoghurt, white cheese, fig jam, honey, bread, and salad, a platter that is somehow simultaneously frugal and completely luxurious.

35. Balady

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750 Finchley Rd
London NW11 7TH, UK

Balady is an Arabic word that can mean home, but also homeland and when applied to something like an aubergine, it can mean a local or heirloom variety. The name is written out in both Arabic and Hebrew at this Temple Fortune cafe, nodding to the complex interaction of people that has created the food it serves. That food, all made in house by the Sabbo brothers, is a labour of love and generosity. Falafel so herby the insides look like emeralds, with hot crusts that crack on teeth; sabich as hefty as cannon balls, fluffy pitta containing and soaking up freshly fried aubergine, hard boiled eggs, hummus, chilli sauce, mango pickle, and chips. This is before mentioning the absurdly good shakshuka and cauliflower shawarma, heavenly chips, or weekend specials, like cigars filled with chopped fish, kuba soup, or fish kofta stews inspired by the duo’s Moroccan grandmother.

36. Talad Eatery

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533 King's Rd
London SW10 0TZ, UK

Natalie Tangsakul’s Northern Thai and Isaan cafe-deli is the best thing to have happened to Imperial Wharf since the Overground. At the far westerly end of the Kings Road, it’s open from breakfast until dinner. The menu encompasses pastries (keep an eye out for the pandan croissants), curries (gaeng phed ped yarng, grilled duck breast in red curry with sweet lychees and cherry tomatoes, is a star dish) and plenty of north eastern, herb-fragrant salads. Eating in has now resumed, but there’s also takeaway and a well-stocked Thai grocery section for click-and-collect.

37. Kanenas Coffee

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65 The Grove
London W5 5LL, UK

Naming a range of brunch pitas after Greek gods while plying locals with homemade doughnuts pretty much captures the vibe at Kanenas, a sunny neighbourhood cafe in Ealing that allows diners to have eggs, but on a croissant instead of toast; cinnamon buns; Greek-style iced coffees; and pastourmas or soutzouki in the stead of bacon and common-garden sausage.

38. Sunday Cafe & Restaurant

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169 Hemingford Rd
London N1 1DA, UK

Go early. That’s pretty much the only useful piece of advice for those bent on avoiding what can be one of the city’s fiercest queues, and a particularly brutal one for those yet to get their daily fix of caffeine. Once through the door, any further advice is moot — there really aren’t that many ways to go far wrong with a breakfast and brunch menu so long on inventive-but-still-comforting dishes like buttermilk pancakes and corn fritters. Anything involving smoked haddock, whether a chowder, or a ludicrously restorative riff on Welsh rarebit, may well be the best possible course of action; a side of banana bread should also be mandatory. Do not plan any strenuous activity for the afternoon.

1. Vardo Restaurant

9 Duke of York Square, Chelsea, London SW3 4LY, UK

Smack bang amid Duke of York Square, one half-expects dazed shoppers to bounce off Vardo’s glass walls like so many exceedingly coiffed pigeons. And yet, inside this purpose-built pavilion, all is serene. An evolution of the Caravan concept, much of the menu will be familiar to the mothership’s regulars, but within these surrounds, even long-standing Caravan classics such as seasoned rice with hot-smoked salmon, miso mayonnaise, pickled ginger, furikake — taste that little bit better. Soft boiled eggs, garam masala labneh, fenugreek-chilli butter, and toasted chickpeas on grilled flatbread are a Vardo-only standout.

9 Duke of York Square, Chelsea
London SW3 4LY, UK

2. Chiltern Firehouse

1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7PA, UK

A class act, Chiltern Firehouse (discreetly) enables weekend extravagance. So why not go all in? Begin with a caviar and cornbread ‘Watchtower’, followed by lobster and crab omelette with shiso mayo, a red shrimp and jalepeno burger, or, belt duly loosened, the rib-eye shawarma with XO scrambled eggs and shoestring fries.

1 Chiltern St, Marylebone
London W1U 7PA, UK

3. Milk

20 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9RG, UK

A Balham treasure, Milk’s weekend-only specials, announced solely via instagram, have even brunch-deniers queueing on the regular. And with dishes such as buckwheat pancakes with roast apricot, lavender and bitter citrus cream, half-baked almond cake crumb — their reasoning is clear. No faux ‘barista coffee’ here — a good relationship with top Berlin roasters the Barn endures.

20 Bedford Hill
London SW12 9RG, UK

4. Honey & Co.

25 Warren St, Bloomsbury, London W1T 5LZ, UK

The Big Breakfast with green shaksuka is a marvel, but as it’s only served till 11:25a.m. — and only sadists demand ‘brunch’ pre-midday — get stuck into masterful mezze, followed by individual mains such as Essaouira fish tagine with Cornish sea bass, chickpeas and swiss chard in chermoula sauce; or roasted mauve aubergines with a BBQ tahini crust.

25 Warren St, Bloomsbury
London W1T 5LZ, UK

5. A Wong

70 Wilton Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1DE, UK

Traditionally a weekend family outing, indulging in dim sum is always a rewarding call. So make for Michelin-starred A. Wong in Victoria, (arguably) London’s smartest Chinese, where those divine dumplings are available individually, the best of which are the xiao long bao, topped with tapioca pearls.

70 Wilton Rd, Pimlico
London SW1V 1DE, UK

6. Rovi

59 Wells St, Fitzrovia, London W1A 3AE, UK

Yotam Ottolenghi’s impeccable Fitzrovia site is an assured crowd pleaser, anytime of day or night. At the weekend, early risers may nibble on pastry with homemade banana and passionfruit jam, while awaiting hot plates such as addictive Iranian fritters, piquillo sauce and fried egg, or butternut hummus, poached eggs, tomato and chilli on za’atar flatbread. As for the late crowd, the likes of crumpet lobster toast with kumquat; celeriac shawarma, bkeila and fermented tomato, and Jerusalem mixed grill with baharat onions will smooth reentry into civilisation.

59 Wells St, Fitzrovia
London W1A 3AE, UK

7. Koya Soho

50 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SQ, UK

Each Koya site offers a classic, nourishing ‘Japanese Breakfast’ (grilled fish, rice, miso, pickle) as well as smartly wrought bastardisations intended to woo the gaijin, including both udon noodle and rice porridge takes on the English breakfast, replete with fried egg, bacon and shiitake mushrooms. Smoked haddock and poached egg kedgeree, a satisfying spin on the Brit-Indian favourite.

50 Frith St, Soho
London W1D 4SQ, UK

8. Darby's

3 Viaduct Gardens, Nine Elms, London SW11 7AY, UK

The team behind Clapham darlings The Dairy, Sorella and Counter Culture’s oyster bar, grill and bakery opposite the American Embassy remains a brunch paradise in lockdown — even without the live jazz soundtracks on Sunday afternoons. Fuss-free yet opulent remains the mantra, with the kitchen’s pastries paired with London honey or Baron Bigod, and the promise of brunch meal kits in the future. Or there are oysters and pasta, for something a little more substantial. Nothing will arrive that doesn’t elicit a gigantic, greedy smile.

3 Viaduct Gardens, Nine Elms
London SW11 7AY, UK

9. Xi'an Impression

117 Benwell Rd, London N7 7BW, UK

It’s always been worth fighting through the Arsenal FC match day hordes in Holloway to hit up this cult-hit, Shaanxi region-specialist for generous heady plates including cold skin liangpi noodles, pulled pork burger and biang biang noodles in an assortment of hot, sweet, piquant guises. Now there are no hordes, Arsenal’s form is in the toilet, and the noodles are still unmatched.

117 Benwell Rd
London N7 7BW, UK

10. Black Axe Mangal [TEMPORARILY CLOSED]

156 Canonbury Rd, London N1 2UP, UK

Every wild umami-laden combination cooked up by Lee Tiernan is a guaranteed palate-pleaser. And their ever-rotating brunch menu only reinforces B.A.M.’s reputation as a mecca for true food lovers. Head up to Highbury and get stuck into the likes of French’s classic yellow mustard pastrami steamed bun or the best B.L.T. in London. Not one to attempt with a splitting headache.

156 Canonbury Rd
London N1 2UP, UK

11. Brigadiers

1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR, UK

JKS’ latest (Gymkhana / Trishna / Hoppers) is pitched as a sports bar-cum-army-mess replete with billiards and tap rooms, and a secret poker table — and, yet, they get away with it, with aplomb. Indian barbecue, to be shared, is the thing here. The vast weekend menu stretches over six sections so sip an ‘Ooty Town Bloody Mary’ and split a tawa masala lobster and shrimp kati roll while choosing a sizzler or whatever wood-smoked glory is on that day.

1-5 Bloomberg Arcade
London EC4N 8AR, UK

12. Flor

1 Bedale St, London SE1 9AL, UK

With the sunlight streaming into Flor’s first floor windows of a Saturday, the chic bakery, wine bar and restaurant by the laudable Lyle’s crew feels heaven-sent. Pam Yung is now firmly at the helm, and with lunch undivided from its mid-morning cousin, dishes might include cucumber aggressed by chicory and cocoa; a scallop aguachile with tarocco orange and rhubarb; or a maritozzo overspilling its cod brandade filling. Needless to say, the wine list is stellar. Finally, before breaching the market hordes, gird nerves with brown butter cake.

1 Bedale St
London SE1 9AL, UK

13. Jolene

21 Newington Green, Mayville Estate, London N16 9PU, UK

On opening, Jolene swiftly won the hearts of Newington Green locals, and with its serene decor, friendly staff, swoon-making wine offering, exceptional house pastries, and failsafe, rotating small plate menu it’s easy to see why. Its curried egg, spinach, and crumb; fried eggs and potatoes with jamón, and toastie are must-haves. The duo behind Primeur and Westerns Laundry have lifted the curse on this particular parcel of real estate, expanding the bakery’s offering with Big Jo in Hornsey.

21 Newington Green, Mayville Estate
London N16 9PU, UK

14. Santo Remedio

152 Tooley St, London SE1 2TU, UK

Diners can sample chef-proprietor Edson Diaz Fuentes’ personal favourites, including a failsafe hangover cure from his university days in Yucatan: huevos motuleños with salsa roja on tostadas, topped with bacon, cheese, and plantains. Tacos now dominate the brunch offering, sporting soft-shell crab; black beans heady with avocado leaf; and a dessert of churros with cajeta and cinnamon sugar.

152 Tooley St
London SE1 2TU, UK

15. Esters

55 Kynaston Rd, Stoke Newington, London N16 0EB, UK

This unfussy Stoke Newington cafe strikes the balance between neighbourhood fixture and city-crowning superstar with effortless panache. Brunch is for weekends, and the weekend special at Esters is always outstanding: perhaps ‘cochinita pibil’; perhaps Sichuan-spiced pork shoulder; perhaps a pressed duck hash; always based on respectful globetrotting and ingredients from a market down the road. Weekly stalwarts like a kale and sorrel rice bowl — sometimes a salad — clever use of fermentation, outstanding cookies, and quality coffee give the whole thing a sheen of sunny, LA confidence. If London had a Sqirl, this would be it — without the mouldy jam kitchen.

55 Kynaston Rd, Stoke Newington
London N16 0EB, UK

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16. Bubala

65 Commercial St, Shadwell, London E1 6BD, UK

It’s advisable to lure a couple of mates to this beguiling, plant-filled, bastion of contemporary Sephardic cookery — if only so that ordering the entire menu becomes a sensible prospect. (If flying as a duo, opt for the house set.) Bubala’s dishes, including: ful medames, lovage pesto, yoghurt, homemade malawach; halloumi with nigella and black cumin seed honey; confit potato latkes, toum, Aleppo chilli; fried aubergine, zhoug, date syrup — may not be super fancy, but they are, unfailingly, delicious.

65 Commercial St, Shadwell
London E1 6BD, UK

17. Morito

195 Hackney Rd, London E2 8JL, UK

This airy Mediterranean Hackney haven — sister restaurant of iconic Moro — is renowned for head chef Marianna Leivaditaki’s devilishly moreish small plates, which can discreetly tot up to a hefty bill. Their weekend breakfast, which features Turkish menemen eggs and a jamon and Tetilla toastie, is easier on the wallet, without sacrificing a crumb of enjoyment. Pro tip: Only a fool would swerve pan con anchovy.

195 Hackney Rd
London E2 8JL, UK

18. Marksman Public House

254 Hackney Rd, London E2 7SJ, UK

Relatively fresh to brunch service on Saturdays, the offering at the universally beloved Hackney Road gastro-pub is already up with the city’s finest. In fact, it’s worth a mini-fast to make room for a leisurely, seasonal English feast perhaps encompassing a genteel cured seatrout and scrambled egg muffin; smoked haddock kedgeree with green tomato chutney, or Tamworth bacon chop with egg and truly killer hash browns. The bloody mary is banging, too.

254 Hackney Rd
London E2 7SJ, UK

19. Ozone Coffee

Emma St, London E2, UK

The second roastery and all-day dining space by the craft Kiwi coffee company is a slick, understated and wholly welcome addition to Hackney’s patchy brunch offer. Naturally, the coffee (served in umpteen iterations) is on-point. Less expected: the care  evident on each and every plate, including: pumpkin, feta, Essex quinoa tortilla with poached egg, greens, labneh and smoked beetroot kasundi; field mushrooms on toast with fermented chilli, pickled onions, Old Winchester and crème fraîche. As for chilled beverages, charcoal lemonade makes a cleansing preamble to appealing, low intervention wines.

Emma St
London E2, UK

20. Pavilion Cafe

Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd, London E9 7DE, UK

Even when brimming over with pups, toddlers and joggers, Victoria Park’s lakeside hub tends towards the idyllic. Commendably sustainable, the affable team do a roaring trade in both British and Sri Lankan, meat-free weekend mainstays. If rabidly after the former, think zhuzhed up fry ups with home baked beans and halloumi, but it’s much smarter to opt for signature string hoppers with pol roti, dal and coconut sambol. Offering a serious range to takeaway for a walk in its splendid surrounds.

Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd
London E9 7DE, UK

21. Bake Street

58 Evering Rd, Lower Clapton, London N16 7SR, UK

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Feroz Gajia is defining the halal brunch scene at Bake Street, a café in Lower Clapton. There are currently lamb birria tacos and an Arby’s-emulating beef and cheddar bun on the weekend menu, part of a rotating cast of covetable specials that come and go to tempt the queue’s hypebeasts. If it’s eggs that are required, order chaka: poached eggs in tomato ragout with spinach and yogurt. The name is inspired by Turkish chaka breakfast and the Bake Street dish draws influences from it, plus shakshuka and menemen.

58 Evering Rd, Lower Clapton
London N16 7SR, UK

22. Sambal To Go

169 Holloway Rd, London N7 8LX, UK

Mandy Yin’s tribute to Malaysian economy rice never got a fair shot. Nasi opened next door to Sambal Shiok for just two days before Covid-19 locked London down, and Yin is now repurposing the space as Sambal to Go — a one-stop shop for both restaurants’ greatest hits that will allow the original to flex a bit more come May. Expect laksa, fried chicken, and curry puffs.

169 Holloway Rd
London N7 8LX, UK

23. Trullo

300-302, St Paul's Rd, London N1 2LH, UK

Sure, have beef shin pappardelle to break the fast — why not, go big. But for an easy start to the day that doesn’t require a table and cutlery, head to Trullo’s deli and shop, next door to the north London Italian restaurant. Snag one of the savoury pastries which are hearty enough for a breakfast and lunch combo. There’s a meaty and spicy ‘nduja swirl or the grated cheese-dusted carbonara pastry with an oozy egg yolk sitting pretty in the middle. Get some extra napkins for this one.

300-302, St Paul's Rd
London N1 2LH, UK

24. Saray Broadway Cafe

58 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ, UK

The best £3.80 in the vicinity of Broadway Market is spent on gözleme from greasy spoon Saray Broadway Cafe. Upon unfolding the flaky Turkish flatbread from its paper bag, it might appear too big for one person alone to eat. But this is wrong. Between the lacy layers is a scattering of feta and shredded spinach, made to the perfect ratio that’ll have anyone coming back for another bite rather than being overwhelmed. This is always a “rip it and tear it” situation.

58 Broadway Market
London E8 4QJ, UK

25. Mei Mei

Unit 52 Rochester Walk, London SE1 9AF, UK

Satisfy a sweet tooth with Mei Mei’s kaya toast. Elizabeth Haigh’s Singaporeon restaurant-stall in Borough Market slings the addictive toasted finger sandwiches which are slathered in kaya, a coconut jam, and stuffed with a slab of butter. It’s absolutely worth getting the kaya toast set which also comes with soft poached eggs in soy (in which to dunk the toast) and teh tarik or kopi.

Unit 52 Rochester Walk
London SE1 9AF, UK

26. The Snapery @ Maltby Street Market

Ropewalk, Maltby St, London SE1 3PA, UK

It’s hard to choose between The Snapery’s cinnamon and cardamom buns. [ed. note: it is not. cardamom.] so it’s probably best to order one of each. The former with warming cinnamon is sweet, sticky and swirled, primed to unroll the buttery dough all the way to the squidgy centre. The latter has an enriched, fragrant cardamom dough, is rolled in cinnamon butter and braided beautifully, wrapping itself up. Get them at Saturday’s Maltby Street Market or order online and collect from the south Bermondsey bakery.

Ropewalk, Maltby St
London SE1 3PA, UK

27. La Chingada Mexican Food

206 Lower Rd, London SE8 5DJ, UK

The beauty of tacos is that they’ll hit the spot whether a little something or a hand-held feast. La Chingada in Surrey Quays is the place to go for corn tortilla morsels that come topped with carnitas (confit pork), cactus leaves, suadero (confit beef) or al pastor (pork and pineapple). A couple of tostadas de tinga — crispy, crunchy fried tortillas filled with chipotle pulled chicken and piled with beans, shredded lettuce, cream and cheese — are also a must-order, with Sunday specials often including lamb birria, brick-red and hearty.

206 Lower Rd
London SE8 5DJ, UK

28. Italo.

13 Bonnington Square, London SW8 1TE, UK

Strolling around idyllic Bonnington Square is a balm for the soul by itself — it’s easy to forget this oasis is just around the corner from the labyrinth of roads and relentless traffic outside Vauxhall station. And deli and cafe Italo makes the leafy neighbourhood even more dreamy. As it gets chilly, order a steaming bowl of porridge laced with maple syrup or one of the mega sandwiches on ciabatta. Think sausage and braised onions or good tomatoes and a fried egg. Browse the windows for any deli bits then head around the back to pick up the food. There are tables out front, or find a nook in the gardens opposite.

13 Bonnington Square
London SW8 1TE, UK

29. Zeret Kitchen

216-218 Camberwell Rd, London SE5 0ED, UK

Variety is the spice of life at Zeret Kitchen, a Camberwell staple since the 90s. Injera, slightly sour, spongy, fermented flatbread, comes topped with a host of dishes to dip, scoop and feast on. Qwanta firfir and ye-beg fitfit are typical breakfast dishes on the menu – stews made with shredded injera and beef and lamb respectively. But really, whatever you order will make a banging brunch, whether you need to soak up last night’s booze or satisfy a growling appetite.

216-218 Camberwell Rd
London SE5 0ED, UK

30. Sonora Taquería

13-23 Westgate St, London E8 3RL, UK

Sonora’s regional dedication to gossamer pork fat tortillas and sticky, fiery chile verde and barbacoa is an ideal monument to what brunch can be in London Fields, with the bonus of one of London’s best coffee shops, Paradox, right next door to provide the necessary accompaniment. Get a pack of tortillas for the week at the same time.

13-23 Westgate St
London E8 3RL, UK

31. Kapihan

13A Parkgate Rd, London SW11 4NL, UK

This requires a little forward planning for Nigel, David, Plasmara, and Rosemary Motley’s formidable Filipino baking. Pre-order tinapaya, like the pan de adobo, or the dulce de leche bibingka, with a lechon rice, all crunchy pork belly, now added to the weekend rotation. Or just rock up for coffee from the hatch before rolling home or towards Battersea Park.

13A Parkgate Rd
London SW11 4NL, UK

32. Towpath

42 De Beauvoir Cres, London N1 5SB, UK

It is well-documented that an environment will enhance a given eating experience, and Towpath’s canalside surrounds do its dishes, scratched up on a blackboard, every favour. The fried eggs with mojo verde are a justifiable classic of the morning offer, but there might also be porridge with brown sugar and walnuts, or, if arriving at just the right moment, snow-white goat’s curd propping up heads of confit garlic, again on toast.

42 De Beauvoir Cres
London N1 5SB, UK

33. Catalyst

48 Grays Inn Rd, Chancery Ln, London WC1X 8LT, UK

Catalyst, helmed by Vasilis Chamam and Alex Gkikas, might be the archetypal London breakfast cafe of the 2020s. It roasts its own coffee and does it very well; it serves a recognisable litany of British cafe foods — bacon sandwiches, scrambled eggs, hopefully soon, a sandwich with black pudding — but inflects all of these with the tastes and ideas of its owners’ heritage. There’s a coffee sriracha with heat that blooms like water hitting its filter coffees; a halloumi katsu sando; that “black pudding sandwich” features hispi cabbage and XO sauce. With so many of London’s best greasy spoons run by Greeks and Greek-Cypriots, it feels like both an inheritance and an evolution.

48 Grays Inn Rd, Chancery Ln
London WC1X 8LT, UK

34. Nandine - Vestry Road

82 Vestry Rd, London SE5 8PQ, UK

What marks Nandine apart from all its competitors is the level of care, skill, and soul put into the food on an almost microscopic level. It’s one thing to make hummus well, but it’s another to nail each of the eleven components of their mezze, from the taut texture of vine leaves to the notes of smoke in the aubergine qawarma to the crystalline finish on the meat kubba. Each mouthful always has something to surprise and delight: simple rice or cabbage dishes are judiciously anointed with judicious use of stewed fruit, or fresh herbs like mint and parsley. This is not a cuisine that is a stranger to dill. The very best thing though is at the original Nandine: a Kurdish breakfast comprising in-house yoghurt, white cheese, fig jam, honey, bread, and salad, a platter that is somehow simultaneously frugal and completely luxurious.

82 Vestry Rd
London SE5 8PQ, UK

35. Balady

750 Finchley Rd, London NW11 7TH, UK

Balady is an Arabic word that can mean home, but also homeland and when applied to something like an aubergine, it can mean a local or heirloom variety. The name is written out in both Arabic and Hebrew at this Temple Fortune cafe, nodding to the complex interaction of people that has created the food it serves. That food, all made in house by the Sabbo brothers, is a labour of love and generosity. Falafel so herby the insides look like emeralds, with hot crusts that crack on teeth; sabich as hefty as cannon balls, fluffy pitta containing and soaking up freshly fried aubergine, hard boiled eggs, hummus, chilli sauce, mango pickle, and chips. This is before mentioning the absurdly good shakshuka and cauliflower shawarma, heavenly chips, or weekend specials, like cigars filled with chopped fish, kuba soup, or fish kofta stews inspired by the duo’s Moroccan grandmother.

750 Finchley Rd
London NW11 7TH, UK

36. Talad Eatery

533 King's Rd, London SW10 0TZ, UK

Natalie Tangsakul’s Northern Thai and Isaan cafe-deli is the best thing to have happened to Imperial Wharf since the Overground. At the far westerly end of the Kings Road, it’s open from breakfast until dinner. The menu encompasses pastries (keep an eye out for the pandan croissants), curries (gaeng phed ped yarng, grilled duck breast in red curry with sweet lychees and cherry tomatoes, is a star dish) and plenty of north eastern, herb-fragrant salads. Eating in has now resumed, but there’s also takeaway and a well-stocked Thai grocery section for click-and-collect.

533 King's Rd
London SW10 0TZ, UK

37. Kanenas Coffee

65 The Grove, London W5 5LL, UK

Naming a range of brunch pitas after Greek gods while plying locals with homemade doughnuts pretty much captures the vibe at Kanenas, a sunny neighbourhood cafe in Ealing that allows diners to have eggs, but on a croissant instead of toast; cinnamon buns; Greek-style iced coffees; and pastourmas or soutzouki in the stead of bacon and common-garden sausage.

65 The Grove
London W5 5LL, UK

38. Sunday Cafe & Restaurant

169 Hemingford Rd, London N1 1DA, UK

Go early. That’s pretty much the only useful piece of advice for those bent on avoiding what can be one of the city’s fiercest queues, and a particularly brutal one for those yet to get their daily fix of caffeine. Once through the door, any further advice is moot — there really aren’t that many ways to go far wrong with a breakfast and brunch menu so long on inventive-but-still-comforting dishes like buttermilk pancakes and corn fritters. Anything involving smoked haddock, whether a chowder, or a ludicrously restorative riff on Welsh rarebit, may well be the best possible course of action; a side of banana bread should also be mandatory. Do not plan any strenuous activity for the afternoon.

169 Hemingford Rd
London N1 1DA, UK

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