Eating out in the evening is speedily being replaced by early morning munching as the breakfast culture spreads across town. What better place to chow down on a deliciously quirky breakfast than the capital? So get out of your hotel and see what you can find - here's 6 of the tastiest places to treat yourself to brunch in London, and yes, cocktails will make an appearence.
Caravan describe their brunch as ‘well travelled’, and few things sound more delicious than that. Except perhaps their green eggs: asparagus, spring greens, edamame, miso, green chilli and soy; or their jalapeño cornbread, chorizo, avocado, chipotle butter and fried eggs; or the slow roast pork belly with kimchi pancake, gochujang ketchup and a sunny duck egg. You get the idea. Having made a name for themselves in Exmouth Market, the folks at Caravan have now brought their globe trotting menu to a Grade II listed Victorian grain store, where industrial chic meets an Antipodean coffee roastery. You can’t book a table for brunch, but all the more excuse to languidly sip your coffee who’s beans have been roasted behind the bar, read the menu ten times over in a vein attempt to choose your dish and generally just soak up the buzz of the place. Whispers abound that this really is the best brunch in London town.
Flesh and Buns
The only thing better than a bottomless brunch is one which involves Kimchi Bloody Marys and endless small plates of Korean fried wings, seafood ceviche, squid fried with Japanese pepper, chicken yakitori and sashimi. Throw in soft, pillowy steamed buns which you stuff with melt in the mouth, crispy skinned pork or tender flat iron steak and barbecue sauce and you’ve got the makings of a decadent morning. Just make sure you hold back enough to leave some room for dessert, namely a charcoal brazier which arrives at your table for you to toast your own marshmallows on and make s’mores. But a little indulgence never hurt anybody, and who says you can’t eat gua bao in a Japanese izakaya style bar for breakfast? Flesh and Buns’ offering is a set menu, and while it’s on the pricey side at £39 you can choose limitless small plates as well as fluffy steamed buns, a dessert, and unlimited wine and Prosecco.
Imagine if you could brunch on dishes inspired by the Peruvian Andes, without ever leaving Shoreditch? Well, you can, although we’re the first to admit that we would prefer to be in the Peruvian Andes if for no other reason than there are llamas there. But we’re willing to let it go since their ceviche is so distractingly good. And their superfood smoothies. And the avocado pancakes with crispy pork and salsa criolla, the grilled octopus with butterbeans and lúcuma purée and the corn and pork tamale with egg and avocado salsa. Their menu of small plates is brimming with native Peruvian superfoods like quinoa, maca and goldenberry, so even if you indulge in a Super Bloody Mary alongside street food like their fondant soft, melt in the mouth Chicharrón pork sandwich, you won’t feel too bad about the whole situation. The fare at Andina is probably not what you’re used to for brunch, but that’s all the more reason to try it.
If you took the sounds, smells and tastes of Harlem and transplanted them into the heart of Shoreditch, you’d more than likely end up with something that sounded, smelled and tasted like Red Rooster. A Harlem institution, this restaurant has made it across the pond and continues to serve up their signature Southern soul food with a sprinkling of NY flavour and a side of live music - which on Sundays, means their incredible House Gospel Choir. You’ll wonder how you ever sipped a Sunday morning Bloody Mary without their spine tingling vocals alongside. An alternative Sunday service if we ever saw one, indulge in fried chicken, waffles and mac ’n’ greens and prepare to be blown away by the choir who’ll leave you wanting to make this a weekly ritual.
The Good Egg
If there were ever difficult decisions to be made at brunch, you’ll find that none are so difficult as at The Good Egg. Namely because you’ll want to order everything. And who can blame you in a restaurant where Israeli street food and Jewish café culture meet a Montreal deli and boulangerie? Their small Jerusalem breakfast plates make the job of choosing a little easier; but with crispy halloumi, whipped green feta, marinated aubergine, labneh and Merguez sausages making an appearance, you’ll want to order them all. With hand rolled bagels, fluffy Israeli pittas and signature babka still warm from their bakery’s oven and what we’d call the best shakshuka in London also on the menu, arrive hungry! If you find yourself in the centre they have an outpost in Kingly Court, but the original spot in Stoke Newington with its whitewashed bricks and jars of pickles lining the walls is our favourite.
Tucked away in Soho is NOPI, part of the Ottolenghi family where bold Middle Eastern meet Mediterranean flavours. You’ll find brunch classics like granola with thick Greek yoghurt and French toast which is lifted by a hint of star anise, but it’s their signature dishes which really shine. Dunk freshly baked focaccia into the pillowy soft braised eggs of their shakshuka, letting the house made labneh and smokey piquante tomato sauce whisk you away. If you can squeeze it in, don’t miss their black rice simmered with coconut milk and crowned with juicy mango and banana; it’s not how our grandmas made rice pudding but it will just as easily find a place in your heart. If the sleek white tablecloths, white marble and sparkling white tiles are a little too much for you at this time of day, head downstairs where large communal tables overlook the kitchen and jars of pickles, olive oil and sumac lining the walls.
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