5 fun places to have breakfast in London (updated)
Have you noticed the number of restaurants which have started offering breakfast - and I don’t just mean a full English?
Breakfast seems to have become the new lunch though goodness knows how hard-pressed execs have time to chat over a bacon naan* (see below) before they hit their desks. Maybe they’ve already been there since six and this is their mid-morning break ….
It makes sense of course from a business point of view. Restaurants have to be open to prep lunch so they might as well offer breakfast to cover their overheads. And for customers breakfast is cheaper than lunch and certainly dinner. No alcohol for a start.
I’ve taken to breakfasting with friends regularly so here are five of my current favourites (updated from back in July 2014) together with five more you might enjoy . . .
The Modern Pantry, 47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell
One of the first restaurants to become creative about breakfast, Anna Hansen’s bright, light Modern Pantry offers a dazzling selection of breakfast dishes that’s only slightly less extensive than their weekend brunch. Options range from homemade bircher muesli with roasted pineapple, raspberry compote and toasted seeds (£5.80) to sugar-cured prawn omelette with green chilli, spring onions, coriander and smoked chilli samba (£9.20) - still my favourite though I enjoyed the sweetcorn, feta, green chilli and curry leaf waffle the other day. Breakfast is served from 8-11am. It gets rammed so you need to book
Fischer’s, 50 Marylebone High Street (Marylebone Village)
One of my new favourite breakfast - and frankly any-time-of-day - spots, Fischer’s is the latest opening from Chris Corbin and Jeremy King of The Wolseley, Brasserie Zedel and Delaunay fame. Like The Delaunay it has an Austrian vibe - only even more so - it feels just like one of those grand Viennese cafés. Sadly it doesn’t serve strudel for breakfast - or didn’t when I went - but the Gröstl (£11.25), a robust country-style fry-up of eggs and paprika-spiked potatoes, will make up for it. Pretzels are excellent too. Monday-Sunday 8am-11.30am
Honey & Co, 25a Warren Street (near Great Portland Street tube)
Honey & Co’s tiny restaurant is famously hard to get into - I imagine even more so after the publication of their hugely successful book - but at breakfast you at least stand a chance. I rocked up at 9.30 recently and walked straight in. The dilemma is choosing between healthy middle-eastern options such as flatbread with egg, spinach, yoghurt and pickles (about £7-ish) or cake - if you’re lucky the plum (or cherry), coconut and pistachio cake will be on. Stay all morning and you can justify both. From 8am.
Koya Bar, 50 Frith Street, Soho
If you fancy a Japanese breakfast, Koya Bar (next to the original Koya) is the place to go. It has the Japanese classics like salmon onigiri and miso soup but also, when I last went, clever riffs on classic British offerings such as ‘kedgeree’ (porridge with smoked haddock and poached egg) and English breakfast noodles with egg, bacon and shiitake mushrooms. Sound a bit hard core? Admittedly you need to wake up feeling adventurous but I love the deeply savoury flavours and sitting up at the bar watching the chefs at work. From 8.30am.
The Greek Larder, King's Cross
The Greek Larder sees the welcome return of the talented Theodore Kyriakou whose The Real Greek was one of my favourite restaurants of the early noughties. He now has a new place in uber-trendy Kings Cross, just up the road from the Guardian and round the corner from Grainstore, Caravan and the latest branch of Dishoom (see below) whose bacon naan you shouldn't overlook either. As the name suggests it’s a deli, takeaway and wine shop as well as a restaurant with all kinds of Greek goodies it’s hard to find anywhere else. I went for breakfast and had some delicious baked eggs with pistachio-infused goats cheese, Koulouri (sesame bread) and Greek mountain tea.
1 York Way, London N1C 4AS. Tel: 020 378 02999. Nearest tube: Kings Cross/St Pancras. There's a useful map on the website if you're not familiar with the area.
And 5 others worth trying . . .
Either branch of Dishoom (in Covent Garden or Shoreditch) for their bacon naan roll* (£5.20) - a thing of beauty. Some delicious-sounding new spicy egg dishes too I haven’t tried. 8am-11.30am.
Duck and Waffle, Heron Tower, Bishopsgate (City)
For an early morning breakfast after a late night’s clubbing or, simply for the stunning views - it's on the 40th floor. The signature duck and waffle (£15), never mind the Full Elvis Belgian waffle, is a touch sweet for me. Try the ox cheek benedict (£11) instead. 6am-11am.
Newman Street Tavern, 48 Newman Street (Fitzrovia)
One of those quiet under-the-radar restaurants that never lets you down. The Newman Street Breakfast includes roast suckling pig - great value for £10. Excellent bacon and egg sandwich too made with huge doorsteps of white bread. 7.30-11am.
Quo Vadis, Dean Street (Soho)
Worth going just for the stylish room and beautifully drawn menus (see top of post). Last time I went I had tomatoes on toast with goats curd which doesn’t seem to be on the menu currently. But bacon 'manchets' are. The kind of place to indulge in a kipper. 8am-11am.
Hawksmoor Guildhall, 10 Basinghall Street (City)
Declaration of interest - this is my son Will’s restaurant but if you feel in the mood for steak (or pig’s cheek scrapple) for breakfast - £22 or £8 respectively - washed down with an ‘anti-fogmatic’ cocktail this is the place to go. (Monday-Friday 7am-10am)
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