Foodies abroad: Brunch in London
London is calling, brunch lovers.
Australia is clearly the brunch capital of the world, but one metropolis doing its best to play catch up is London, probably in thanks to the constant flow of twenty-something-year-old Aussies on Tier 5 visas who move over and take their smashed avo addiction with them.
Our love of brunch has spread so far that London cafes have gone and ‘Australianised’ themselves, putting Oz-inspired corn fritters on their menus, upping their coffee game, and getting a little bit more creative than the old full English breakfast.
So whether you’ve just gotten off a 28-hour flight or you’ve been in town for a week and are feeling woozy from the lack of Vegemite and flat whites, here’s where to cure your homesickness for Sunday brunch and find the best breakfasts in London.
Duck & Waffle | East
No prizes for guessing the signature dish at this sky-high breakfast spot – their crispy deep-fried duck legs atop fluffy waffles with a side of maple syrup is so good, it’s no wonder they went and named the restaurant after it. You might need to book a table three months in advance just to get in, but all that prior planning will be worth it for an Instagram shot of the iconic dish sitting in front of the iconic London skyline. Best of all, they can whip everything up gluten or dairy-free (and with no loss of flavour).
Where the Pancakes Are | Central
If it’s pancakes you’ve got a hankering for, don’t bother going anywhere else – Where the Pancakes Are is where you’ll find them sweet, savoury, gluten-free, dairy-free and even dinner worthy (they’re open until 9pm). Be warned; the queue starts early on a weekend, so go on a weekday if you can – then you’re free to stay all day for slow-cooked brisket and gruyere cheese-topped pancakes in the morning and a stack with poached pears and salted caramel in the afternoon.
Daisy Green | Central
Want proof that pretty much all the good brekkies in London are Australian inspired? Prepare to feel homesick and head for one of the nine Daisy Green cafes around town, where the menu literally spruiks an ‘All-day Aussie brunch.’ Swear to bacon, it’s true! All your Sunday morning faves make an appearance here – think spicy shakshouka, broccoli and corn fritters, and our personal pick – the banana bread sandwich stuffed with mascarpone, berries, and honey.
Bourne & Hollingsworth | Central
Pack your fanciest stretchy pants for this joint, because B&H is known for two things and two things only – its uber Instagrammable décor and must-do bottomless brunches. Being drunk before noon is only just catching on in Brisbane, but in London it’s a Sunday tradition, and B&H is THE place to do, with pre-mimosa carb loading provided in the form of pancake stacks and crispy potato hash. Be sure to clear your afternoon.
Sunday | North
It might be a tiny hole-in-the-wall tucked away in the suburbs, but Sunday makes it on to this list for one simple reason (other than its seriously creative breakfasts): half portions. Before you worry we’ve lost our appetite (and our minds), let us point out that this means you can get half a portion of pancakes AND half a portion of French toast, no tough decisions necessary. Can this trend catch on please?
The Good Egg | Central & North
Small plate lovers get egg-cited – The Good Egg’s Jerusalem breakfast plate piled with labneh, whipped feta, eggs, pita and more, is the answer to any indecisive eater’s prayers. Just make sure you get a side of cornbread and a slice of the café’s infamous babka (a sweet Israeli cake) on the side.
The Barge House | East
The Barge House’s claim to fame isn’t its sunny canal-side location but something far more droolworthy – their signature Breakfast in Bread. A sourdough loaf is hollowed out, stuffed with breakfast essentials like eggs, bacon, mushrooms and cheese, and baked to perfection. And yes, it tastes as good as it sounds. Word of warning: you’ll only need one of these bad boys between two of you, and be sure to book in advance.
Dishoom | Central
One for anyone who’s ever woken up to an empty cereal box and decided to make do with leftover naan from takeway the night before, Dishoom’s Indian-inspired breakfasts will make you want to put naan bread on your morning menu permanently. Their bacon and egg naan roll is best paired with a side of masala beans and a chocolate chai. You butter (chicken) believe its good.
The Modern Pantry | Central
The Modern Pantry’s weekday breakfasts are fairly ordinary, but on weekends things take a turn for the scrumptious. Skip the Vegemite soldiers and soft-boiled eggs you think you want (that’s nostalgia talking, not your appetite) and instead go for smoked ricotta and yuzu pancakes, or grilled cornbread with chorizo, eggs and salsa.
Whether you’re a sweet or savoury bruncher, London’s numerous brunch hotspots truly have something for everyone – Aussie or otherwise.