Smart Living

Five (non) English breakfasts to kick-start your weekend 

Sometimes, a full English isn't quite what the doctor ordered. Here are five tasty alternatives

Let’s be honest with ourselves. After a hefty night, sometimes all you want when you wake up is a massive fry up – sausage, egg, bacon, hash browns, fried bread, beans – the whole heavy shebang. But, what if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous and a tad less patriotic? Luckily, London isn’t just a city of culture, but of multi-culture, so why stick to a full English, when you can clear your head with the morning habits of another culture? Here’s where to go for the best alternative breakfasts in town.

non English breakfasts, Villa Mamas1. Villa Mama’s for Bahraini

There’s more to Middle Eastern than Lebanese, and the raft of restaurants offering the food of other states is growing. Bahraini chef Roaya Saleh is one of them, and his restaurant Villa Mama will introduce you to delights like khubus, a tandoor-cooked flatbread, served with meyhawa, a fermented sardine sauce that’s a Bahraini speciality, gers tabay, a sweet Bahraini date crêpe, and balaleet, sweet saffron and rose water vermicelli topped with scrambled eggs.

non English breakfast, London2. Chinese Laundry for northern Chinese

Chefs Tongtong Ren and Peiran Gong have strong memories of their childhood breakfasts and are keen to recreate the feast of dumplings, steamed buns, bings (Chinese pancakes), tofu curd and soup noodles that set them up for the day when they were young. Darjeeling Express play host to this breakfast pop-up while Chinese Laundry’s own site continues to be refurbished after a massive fire last year. Get in early to grab a foretaste of what’s to come when they reopen later this spring. 

4 and 11 February, booking £10 per person deducted from total bill. Tickets via

non English breakfasts, Joe Allen3. Joe Allen for American

If there’s a nation on the planet who know how to front load it’s the USA, and longstanding Covent Garden favourite, Joe Allen, is newly refurbished and gives a strong showing of the American breakfast. Steak is just one classic you can expect, with eggs, hash browns and tomatoes, as well as ‘slabs’ of bacon served with smoked sausage and melted cheese all on a bun. Ricotta-stuffed mushrooms are a (slightly) lighter option, and of course there’s the obligatory pile of waffles, smothered in blackberry compote, whipped cream, maple syrup and cinnamon sugar.

non English breakfasts, Monty's Deli4. Montys Deli for salt beef

This ones a sure-fire alternative hangover cure. Montys Deli is a down-to-earth gem in Hoxton, a proper deli serving some of the best Jewish soul food in London. Dishes range from hearty chicken schnitzel, brisket and smoked pumpkin, through to the Reuben sandwich. A salt beef sarnie as it should be, pastrami or salt beef is piled high with mustard, gherkins, sauerkraut and cheese on rye bread, served with fries. Its heavy, its meaty and its unbelievably comforting.

Koya City, review, London5. Koya for Japanese

Comfort me with carbs. Specifically, udon noodles. Japanese noodle bar Koya brings a Japanese twist to breakfast. It might sound familiar in some ways – smoked kippers and poached eggs doesn’t sound too exotic, after all. But in others it’s pretty unexpected – fancy your egg and bacon on udon noodles? Order Kama Tama. Go the whole hog and indulge in tarako, smoked cod roe and butter. Or if, deep down, you really do want a full English, go for the English Breakfast udon. That’ll sort you right out.