If you fancy some early-morning sustenance, you've usually got three options if you want to eat out - a croissant in a cafe, an artery- clogging fry-up in a greasy spoon or some posh nosh in a London hotel. But now an increasing number of restaurants are opening for breakfast during the week (several have done weekend brunches and the like for some time), serving up everything from pizza to kidneys to grilled salmon and seaweed.

Restaurateur Oliver Peyton decided to open his latest venture, Mash on Great Portland Street, at the rather untrendy hour of 8am after a fruitless search to find anywhere decent to eat in the area after early-morning site meetings with architects.

"The idea was developed out of my own hunger," he explains "It was either Burger King or Pret a Manger, but not much else."

To tantalise our tastebuds first thing in the morning he is offering buckwheat waffles, buttermilk pancakes, french toast and even a Mash Breakfast Pizza, with smoked pancetta, fried egg, mushrooms, tomato and home-made baked beans (above).

Over in the City, Chez Gerard, which opened last year in Bishopsgate, is giving the suits something a bit meatier. Their Petit Dejeuner Carnivore consists of calf's liver and black pudding or grilled steak and devilled lambs' kidneys.

However, tucking into a feast first thing in the morning doesn't mean to say you can't still be health conscious. In the heart of the West End, the Montcalm Hotel's Crescent Restaurant is offering an invigorating Japanese breakfast, featuring miso soup and fish. They claim that this innovative start to the day leaves the diner full of "get up and go" rather than "sit down and stay".


Mash 19-21 Great Portland Street, W1 (0171-637 5555) Breakfast is served from 8am until noon, Mon to Sat. If the idea takes off, it may be extended to Oliver Peyton's other London restaurant, The Atlantic. As well as offering pancakes and waffles, the deli also sells bagels, toast and muffins, with more than 10 different fillings, to take away.

Bank 1 Kingsway, WC2 (0171-379 9797) This haunt of City and media types opens for continental breakfast at 7am and full cooked breakfast from 7.30am, both served in the bar.

Chez Gerard 64 Bishopgate, EC2 (0171-588 1200) Breakfast is served in the cafe-bar on the ground floor from 8am until 10.30am. You can choose from Petit Dejeuner Carnivore or the Petit Dejeuner Compose, with its more healthy options of Greek yoghurt and fruit juice.

Crescent Restaurant Montcalm Hotel, Great Cumberland Place, W1 (0171- 402 4288) Their Japanese breakfast consists of a choice of grilled salmon, cod or jack fish with wasabi, sticky rice, miso soup with spring onion and tofu, dried seaweed and a soft, creamy "agitated" egg, accompanied by Japanese green tea (7-10am Mon-Fri; 7.30-10-30am Sat and Sun).

Pizza Piazza 39-41 Charing Cross Road, WC1 (0171-437 1686) This new pizza restaurant is open for breakfast from 9am until 11.30am, but rather disappointingly, they don't do their Lobster and Lime pizza during these hours, just more sedate ciabattas and pastries.