Come the weekend, you can’t move for cafés shouting about avocado on toast and flat whites. Brunch is everywhere – but that doesn’t mean it’s all good. Or that you should spend your hard-earned Saturday morning regretting your choice of destination over a plate of sad poached eggs. So to avoid that happening, we’ve rounded up the spots that do the best brunch in London.
Eat here, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on the banks of the Mississippi, instead of the Regent’s Canal. Nestled a stone’s thrown from the bustle of Angel is Plaquemine Lock, an tiled pub converted into a Southern-style pean to the joys of good old-fashioned comfort food. It specialises in Cajun and Creole dishes straight from the home country, and the three-course weekend brunch menu groans with the likes of gumbo, jambalaya and fried chicken with cornbread. It’s the perfect mix of hearty soul food with an attention to detail, flavour and texture that elevates it above the ordinary. A highlight was the Louisianian “Papri Chaat”, a simple salad of red beans, pineapple, maple syrup and crisp wild rice that was a delicious counterbalance to the heavier Creole Jambalaya, with rice, chicken, shrimp and Andouille sausage. The house’s speciality, the Creole Bloody Mary, is also just the thing for clearing your head on a Saturday morning, too. But, if I were you, I’d bring trousers you can discreetly undo – the portion sizes are generous, and those three courses are too enticing to pass up.
139 Graham Street, The Angel, London N1 8L, plaqlock.com
Bellanger is where to head if you fancy an authentic croque monsieur or two for brunch. Inspired by the mix of French and German cuisines that make up traditional Alsacienne food, Bellanger is part of Corbin & King’s stable of much-loved brands that also includes The Wolseley and Brasserie Zédel. Its dark wood and Art Deco interior might be on leafy Islington Green, but it feels like it was lifted straight from Paris. The weekend brunch menu is wide-ranging, from buttermilk pancakes to steak tartare, and even includes desserts like cheesecake and crème brûlée, so you can go to town on the best that France has to offer.
9 Islington Green, London N1 2XH, bellanger.co.uk
With its pink leather booths, marble table tops and sprinkling of succulents, Provisioners is the Instagram-friendly answer to your weekend brunch dilemma. It’s part of newly opened hotel The Dixon, housed in the former Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court that was designed by architect John Dixon Butler in 1905. But although celebrating design is high on the agenda for Provisioners, and The Dixon, that’s not to say the food plays second fiddle to the interiors. It’s run by experienced restaurateur Clive Watson, previously of Blixen and Riding House Cafe, and the kitchen is helmed by Lerrico Messina, whose serves up a menu of brunch classics with European and Middle Eastern twists. The Provisioner’s flatbread, with avocado, crème fraîche, bacon, tomato jam and egg, is a lighter twist on the breakfast butty, while the spiced rosti florentine with a pistachio nut and dukkah potato rosti, poached egg, spinach and hollandaise is a modern take on Eggs Florentine.
4 Queen Elizabeth Street, London SE1 2LL, provisioners.co.uk
Where The Pancakes Are
A stack of pancakes to start the day? Why not. Where The Pancakes Are is an independent pancake house based tucked away on the edge of Borough Market. Dedicated to all things made with batter, they fuse together the traditional art of pancake mixing with modern foodie trends, which makes for a truly moorish menu. From a classic stack of American pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, to its signature Dutch Babies (sweet Yorkshire puddings filled with a choice of toppings) Where The Pancakes Are is the kind of brunch destination that’ll leave you smiling – and seriously stuffed.
Opened in May 2016 by Sam and Samantha Clark, the duo behind Moro in Exmouth Market, Morito in Hackney is just the place to head to on a relaxed Sunday after a wander down the canal. Yes, it’s tapas, but think beyond patatas bravas; the Clarks have infused their dishes with North African and Eastern Mediterranean flavours that complement traditional southern Spanish fare. For brunch, the menu is a tantalising mix of East and West: beghrir (Moroccan pancakes) with fresh goat’s curd and thyme honey; Turkish menemem eggs with sujuk sausage; huevos rotos with peppers, smoked paprika and chorizo. These are plates to share, but if you’re anything like us you’ll keep them mostly for yourself.
The City isn’t just for Monday to Friday. It’s latest swanky members’ club, the Devonshire Club, is based in the East India Company’s historic 18th century warehouse, and offers a brunch menu that would tempt anyone east of a weekend. With a restaurant helmed by chef Adam Gray, who has worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, its menu takes brunch very seriously. There’s a choice of two or three courses, and you can choose from everything from American pancakes to beef short rib, washed down with bottomless prosecco, Bloody Marys, bellinis or G&Ts. It’s where to go when you really want to linger over brunch on a Saturday morning.
5 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YD, devonshireclub.com
Over in west London, and we’re back in France for brunch. But at Aubaine, everything’s picture perfect for the ‘gram, from the flower-strewn granola to eggs with the ultimate amount of ooze. But although it’s all pleasing on the eye, it doesn’t mean the food doesn’t hit the spot, too. The ‘Full French’ nods to its Francophone roots, with Toulouse sausage, Alsace bacon, potato rösti and eggs, while the lobster brioche takes the breakfast bap up a considerable notch. Take your most snap-happy friend, and dive in.
Across west London, aubaine.co.uk
The Good Egg
Bagels don’t get better than this. Founded in 2015 by three chefs, Joel Braham, Alex Coppard and Oded Mizrachi, The Good Egg is the restaurant to know for your Jewish comfort food fix. With a vibrant menu inspired by the best of Montreal’s Jewish foodie culture, as well as Tel Aviv’s buzzing street food scene, it offers contemporary takes on classic recipes. The Jerusalem Breakfast pays homage to the city’s iconic food scene, featuring dishes of beets and dill, lebneh, fried eggs, crispy halloumi and whipped feta. Or you could go for one of the brisket or smoked fish hashes – heaped onto sourdough and served with crispy potatoes and fried eggs – they’re difficult to resist. Follow all this up with a babka or rugelach and you’ll be set up for the day.
Ned’s Sunday Feast at The Ned
London just couldn’t get enough of The Ned when it opened in 2017, and its allure hasn’t waned yet. And, like most things, the hotel takes Sunday brunch to another level. Kick back in the glamorous surroundings of the hotel’s ground floor of an afternoon and settle in to Ned’s Sunday Feast. For £45 a head, you can eat as much as you like from a menu that includes lobster and oysters, breakfast dishes, roasts, salads and an extensive range of desserts. Yes, that’s all you can eat, plus a glass of prosecco on arrival – impressive, no? Take our advice: go slow and wear comfortable trousers.
£45 per person, excluding other drinks, thened.com
Flesh & Buns
Looking for something a bit different? Enter Flesh & Buns, the Izakaya spin-off of ramen-obsessed restaurant group Bone Daddies. Izakaya is the Japanese equivalent of a pub, where alcohol is served alongside tasty food in an informal setting. At Flesh & Buns, this means delicious steamed buns and sushi dishes, which on Sundays are served with all-you-can-drink red or white wine, or prosecco. It’s the perfect place to carry on where you left off on Saturday night – and, even better, there’s not an avocado in sight.
From £39 per person, fleshandbuns.com