Nothing says the weekend is on us like a good long brunch, but with every restaurant and its uncle offering the meal these days, it's hard to know where to spend your well-earned cash. If you're looking for brunch in London, here are 11 of our favourite options in the capital.
If hobnobbing with the stars is your thing, head for this celebrity hang-out, where brunch is as good as it gets. Favourites include spiced Cornish crab and lobster omelette with coral mayo, chervil and shiso leaf, as well as the bacon cornbread with chipotle-maple butter. If you want a drink, try the Mary Celeste – an orange-based twist on a Bloody Mary that’s served with an oyster.
A favourite among vegetarians (although it does meat too), and serving some of the best coffee around, this is the third branch of this exemplary brunch venue (the other two are in Kings Cross and Exmouth Market). Both the decor and menu are hipster-inspired, but it’s surprisingly affordable. Popular dishes include aubergine puree with preserved lemon gremolata, sumac, yoghurt, poached egg and grilled flatbread, as well as the baked eggs, tomato pepper ragout, Greek yoghurt, grilled flatbread and merguez sausage. There’s the obligatory avocado on toast too, of course; here it comes garnished with Aleppo chilli, lemon and olive oil.
It’s an unfortunate fact that sky-high restaurants don’t always offer the best food, capitalising instead on their stunning views. Not so here. Located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, it’s known by every self-respecting foodie in town, where chef Dan Doherty offers an adventurous menu including BBQ spiced crispy pigs’ ears served in a paper bag, as well as the spicy ox cheek doughnut with apricot jam and smoked paprika sugar - plus, of course, the famous “duck and waffle” (crispy leg confit, fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup).
The fact that AA Gill wrote a book called Breakfast at the Wolseley tells you all you need to know about the status of this establishment in the breakfast stakes. A cross between traditional Parisian brasserie and grandiose Viennese café, it has an unquestionable sense of occasion, yet manages to be relaxing as well. There’s something for everyone here – from simple fruit (try the caramelised pink grapefruit) to the haggis and duck egg (our favourite). The pancakes are great, too.
One for meat, game and seafood lovers, this sophisticated art deco hangout is the place to go for a celebratory brunch. With its white linen table cloths and clientele all dressed in their glad rags, you can kick off with one of the best Bloody Marys in town and then expect to be wowed by the sumptuous dishes ranging from the salt beef rosti hash with fried duck egg to waffles with buttermilk fried chicken, crispy bacon and maple syrup.
The high-ceilinged dining room of this Grade II-listed building is classy and elegant without being intimidating or stuffy, while the emphasis is on great American fodder with a European twist. Choose from two brunch options – normal and superfood – or combine both. The former is bliss for the virtuous – raw juices, warm kale and butternut squash salad, avocado and tomato toast and buckwheat pancakes. The other includes the rather more indulgent corn beef hash with Béarnaise sauce and their signature dish – the chocolate French toast, which is out of this world.
On a nice day, grab a table outside on the terrace and tantalise your taste buds with dishes like Dorset crab omelette, spicy Boston beans slow cooked with Cumberland sausage, or the Brooklyn sandwich (waffles with bacon, maple syrup and vanilla ice cream). If you’re in need of a hit, there’s bottomless prosecco, a “Bloody Mary Cart”, or hard shakes, including the Big O-reo, a blend of Jim Beam Double Oak, vanilla, Oreo cookie and whipped cream.
Head upstairs to the chic and sun-drenched dining room and order the now legendary Turkish Eggs – a mainstay of Peter Gordon’s menu since this Kiwi restaurant opened 15 years ago. These poached eggs on whipped yoghurt with hot Aleppo chilli butter and toasted sourdough bread are the perfect way to start the weekend. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are plenty of other adventurous Middle Eastern-inspired brunch treats.
This Georgian townhouse, with its modern and laidback decor, has marked itself firmly on the foodie map. Start with one of their magnificent cocktails such as the Yuzu-limoncello Bellini, then sit back and indulge in one of New Zealand chef Anna Hansen’s distinctive dishes, whose East-meets-West highlights include the sugar-cured New Caledonian prawn omelette served with green chilli, spring onion, coriander and smoked chilli sambal. There’s a second location in Finsbury Square.
What’s not to love about Brown’s Hotel, with its comforting yet decadent old-London feel? Former guests of the hotel include Rudyard Kipling and Agatha Christie, although they’d hardly recognise Hix, the restaurant whose chef Mark Hix serves traditional food with a modern twist in an art-inspired environment. The Wiltshire ham, Montgomery’s Cheddar and Tewkesbury mustard toastie is a firm favourite among regulars and the kedgeree is one of the best around.
The original Balthazar was launched in Manhattan in 1997 to great foodie acclaim – and its London branch is every bit as good, staying true to the imaginative New York-style menu in a French brasserie environment. The pastries and breads (all made next door in the Balthazar boulangerie) are phenomenal, as are the fruits de mer. It’s a great option for families.
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