London’s best brunches, from Dishoom to Ozone (2023)


f breakfast feels like a duty and lunch can seem like an obligation then brunch is the renegade meal of the day, something decadent that exists for no other reason than to occupy a chunk of the late morning when in all likelihood one would not be doing anything else. And what could be a more delightful way to pass the time than eating pimped-up breakfast dishes that because it’s around midday it is entirely acceptable to wash down with alcohol?

That, at least, was the imported American version of brunch which took off stateside in the Thirties, though the word itself was invented by the British, appearing in Punch magazine in 1895 to describe “a Sunday meal for Saturday night carousers”.

But while the hair-of-the-dog hangover brunch remains the choice for hedonists, there’s now an impressive array of antipodean-inspired cafes for more wellness-minded diners who, instead of staying in bed with a headache, will likely have swum the length of Bondi Beach before looking for something to eat – or that’s the fantasy peddled by the new-wave of Aussie-style brunches springing up all over the capital. Middle Eastern brunches, meanwhile, are great for vegetarians, while the brunches at Dishoom and Mr Bao prove that the only international boundary for brunch is the creativity of the kitchen.

So from French toast to Taiwanese buns, stacks of pancakes to eggs every which way, here are London’s best brunches worth getting out of bed for. And remember, brunch isn’t just for weekends — though cocktails before midday almost certainly should be.


“Café” doesn’t quite do justice to this daytime-only Stoke Newington eatery where an easygoing charm belies the seriousness with which it takes its food and drink. Responsibly sourced coffee comes from B Corp-certified Hasbean, hot chocolate from Pump Street in Suffolk, leaves from Postcard Teas in Mayfair and sourdough and pastries from Little Bread Pedlar in Bermondsey. Brunch stapes get an eclectic spin — the French toast is topped with bergamot oil and blood orange, the breakfast sarnie is a potato roll stuffed with Isle of Mull cheddar and wild leek — while more lunchy options include soy-braised pork belly with coconut cream. Brunch is Saturday only; the rest of the week (Tuesday to Friday) there’s a breakfast menu from 8am until midday. “Well-behaved” dogs are allowed, too, but no laptops on a Saturday. Quite right, too.

When? Sat 9am-2.30pm

55 Kynaston Road, N16 0EB,


Quite possibly the primary reason Balham property prices have shot through the roof, Milk recently celebrated its 11th anniversary in SW12 with a snazzy refurb. No one minds waiting for a table at the weekend, not only because coffee orders are delivered to the queue, but the kitchen goes the extra mile to ensure that the food is worth standing in line for. Banana bread comes with halva butter and pumpkin seed tahini, sweetcorn fritters are topped with halloumi, avo and a poached egg and there’s even a fish sando constructed from panko-fried red snapper and Japanese milk bread. Ingredients such as Gloucester Old Spot sausages are as high quality as the kitchen is boundlessly creative, though possibly the best thing of all is only served on weekdays, a dish of baked Crackleberry Farm eggs with old bay artichoke, sweet potato, basil stem cream and housemade chilli oil: as good a reason as any to phone in sick.

When? Mon-Sun 8am-3.30pm (Sat Sun -4pm, Sun opens 9am)

18-20 Bedford Hill, SW12 9RG,

Toast Rack Bake House

The first thing most will notice upon walking into the Toast Rack Bakehouse is the fresh bread: boules, baguettes, and dark, weighty rye, the sight and comforting smell of which suggests that this is the place to order bread-based dishes. The second will probably be the dogs, which the Toast Rack welcomes, and — being opposite Wandsworth Common — receives in abundance, enhancing its homely, friendly atmosphere. The third is what people are eating. This is food one is more likely to order by looking around than by looking at the menu: the buttery spool of folded eggs crowned with whipped feta on the neighbouring table, the squishy cinnamon bun spied at the counter, the beetroot cured salmon with a pillowy poached egg currently being enjoyed by the lady in the corner with the cockapoo. The coffee, from speciality roasters Alchemy, is excellent enough to warrant picking up a bag upon leaving, along with a pastry to continue the experience at home.

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When? Mon-Sun 7am-5pm

314 Trinity Road, SW18 3RG, @toastrackbakehouse

The Wolseley

It seems heretical to say so, but the departure of Wolseley founders Jeremy King and Chris Corbin has not dented the popularity nor quality of the restaurant that made their name, possibly because the formula of approachable glamour they perfected has such an eternal appeal whoever is at the helm. There’s no brunch per se at The Wolseley, just breakfast served until 11.30am and an all-day menu made up of things that feel like brunch whatever the hour, even if that hour is last orders at 11pm: smoked haddock kedgeree, Severn and Wye oak-smoked salmon, croque monsieur and eggs every which way. Still, morning really is the best time to come, when a line-up of house-special breakfast dishes keeps the tradition of grand hotel grill rooms alive and well but for around half the price. Tuck into grilled kipper with mustard butter or haggis with duck eggs and whisky sauce and you’ll wonder how the Savile Row suits who are this place’s pre-lunch clientele ever do a day’s work afterwards.

When? Mon-Sun 7am-11pm (Sat Sun 8am-)

60 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB,

Morito Hackney Road

While the original Morito in Exmouth Market is famous for its North African-accented take on tapas, this Hackney Road offshoot applies the Mediterranean approach of parent Moro to brunch. Still, given how short the menu is, a table of four (or a very hungry duo) could easily polish off the whole lot tapas style. Naturally there’s avocado on toast, but here it comes with chorizo; the dishes with stronger flavours of the Med are even better: menemen, the Turkish dish of eggs scrambled with tomato, peppers and feta and here served with spicy sujuk sausage, a toastie of tetilla cheese, guindilla pepper and sweet onion, or Cretan sausage with flatbread, chopped salad and Greek yoghurt. Walk it all off with a stroll along the Regent’s Canal afterwards and, if you’re up early on a Sunday, pick up some flowers from Columbia Road Market first.

When? Sat-Sun 10am-noon

195 Hackney Road, E2 8JL,


Brunch is a meal of signature dishes — avocado on toast, pancakes with blueberries — but few restaurants manage to create a signature brunch dish all their own. The bacon and egg naan at the UK’s best Indian chain, however, is the sort of invention that once tried becomes a habit that excludes all else when the opportunity to eat it arises. Sure, one can order fried eggs on chilli cheese toast, a Parsi-spiced omelette or a stack of sweet uttapam at Dishoom, but why pass up the chance to have crisp slivers of streaky bacon snapping within a tandoor-fluffy naan smeared with chilli jam as egg yolk drips down one’s fingers? Like the most perfect pleasures, the availability of this one is fleeting — it cuts off at 11.45am, unless, of course, one buys the meal kit to re-create the dish at home.

When? Mon-Sun 8-11.45am (Sun 9am- )

Various locations,


Quite what part of this cafe its name refers to remains a mystery. It’s certainly not it’s dishes, which are amongst the most colourful in London; nor is it the coffee, which is roasted by Ozone and beautifully served by baristas whose latte hearts are a source of pride. But no matter. The important thing here is that this somewhere big on fun and flavour, where dishes arrives strewn with petals and pretty leaves or sesame seeds in an assortment of shades. Portions are generous, with piles of toast and lashings hollandaise or feta. There is no skimping of the house-cured salmon in the eggs benedict, or the fruit on the granola or waffles. Menus change reassuringly regularly, reflecting the seasons and the staff’s energetic creativity; and there’s a courtyard, so on sunny days Mud feels like a hot slice of the Antipodean.

When? Mon-Sun 9am-3pm

141 Mitcham Road, SW17 9PE, @mudcafes

Milk Beach Queen’s Park

The namesake Milk Beach is a pristine stretch of white sand in Sydney’s exclusive beachside suburb of Vaucluse offering views over turquoise waters to the city skyline and Harbour Bridge. The outlook from the alfresco picnic tables at this airy London homage, opened by Aussie Elliot Milne in 2018, aren’t quite as evocative, though the pedestrian-friendly mews in Queen’s Park is the nicest restaurant row between West Hampstead and Notting Hill. Coffee is supplied by Milne’s Album Coffee Roasters; just as much attention is paid to a food offering that ranges from ultra-healthy oats with poached pears or a green bowl of broccoli and Thai-spiced carrot to eggs benedict, salmon royale and St John doughnuts — washed down, perhaps with a mimosa or kir royale.

When? Tues-Sun 9am-3pm (Sun -4pm)

19-21 Lonsdale Road, NW6 6RD,

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Santo Remedio Shoreditch

Santo Remedio began life in Shoreditch as a pioneer of authentic Mexican in London before closing five months later and crowdfunding its way to a bigger site in London Bridge. This more café-focused reincarnation feels more in tune with the casual spirit of the original and serves a short brunch menu featuring a trio of dishes that makes ordering easy (simply order all three): blue and yellow corn tortillas with avocado leaves, black beans, chorizo, cream and feta with either a zingy housemade salsa verde or smoky salsa roja, or a weekend-only taco of crumbled black pudding, fried egg and salsa verde. Side orders include guacamole with the option of a sprinkling of fried grasshoppers: a protein hit with a kick. Still hungry? The main menu is basically brunch anyway: soft-shell crab tacos and chorizo quesadillas. Bottomless brunch is served at both the Shoreditch and London Bridge Santo Remedios at the weekend for a £27 supplement.

When? Mon-Sun noon-11pm

55 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HP,

Grounds and Grapes

Grounds and Grape is somewhere where the potential to get back on it the morning after hangs in the air like an illicit liaison. Even those going with the best of intentions will struggle not to be convinced by the cocktails, which are as colourful and artful as the floral arrangement adorning the frontage. That said, the food is beautiful and satisfying enough as it is. As with Mud, coffee comes from Ozone — more-or-less a byword for fine coffee these days — and the reassuringly short menu has all the best bases covered: Turkish eggs, granola, overnight oats, the obligatory banana bread and of course avocado. The showstopper, though, is the warm buttered cornbread with smoky and spicy chipotle baked beans, topped with poached egg. Add to this a warm, rustic yet refined setting and Grounds and Grapes is a place to happily while away the day in — and maybe, just maybe, the night.

When? Sat-Sun 9am-3pm

41 Honor Oak Park, SE23 1DZ,


When hangovers strike, it’s time for Parlour, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it brunch spot in Kensal Rise where the cure can usually be found. There’s a courtyard out the back that is both sunny and serene, and indoors boasts banquette seating in soothing yellow, set against calm blue panelling. There is unlimited toast at £1 (!) to get things started and range of herbal teas. The back door smoked salmon (so called because they literally smoke it out the back of the kitchen) and housemade soda bread are the trusted headache-clearer, but many swear by the Banjo fried egg and bacon bap with Oxford sauce. The double Bloody Mary’s are banging to boot.

When? Mon-Sun 10am-10pm

5 Regent Street, NW10 5LG,

Mr Bao

London’s other Taiwanese bun specialist with “bao” in its name, Peckham’s Mr Bao proves that one can stuff anything into a steamed bun with pretty much guaranteed deliciousness. For brunch that means a ham-hock fritter with egg and plum sauce, braised beef brisket with wasabi slaw and fried chicken with wasabi mayo, plus salmon, shiitake and tofu spins for the non-meat eaters. Elsewhere on the menu are Taiwanese takes on a cooked breakfast plus chicken dumplings and kimchi pancakes. If you haven’t turned up with a hangover, the option to go bottomless for £18 per hour with Asian-inspired cocktails means that you will probably leave with one. Tooting relative Daddy Bao offers something similar if you need to be near a Tube.

When? Sat-Sun 11am-4pm

293 Rye Lane, SE15 4UA,

Pavilion Café

Combine two classic London weekend pastimes — brunch and a walk around the park — at east London’s Pavilion Café, where alfresco tables sit on an awning-shaded terrace jutting over the boating lake of Victoria Park. Inside is just as nice, with seating gathered under a domed ceiling and with a log fire in winter. Owner Rob Green is a baker who spent time in Sri Lanka and the meat-free menu showcases his twin passions. Pastries come as freshly baked croissants, pain au chocolat and a trio of sweet buns (cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric); the short meat-free menu includes a Sri Lankan breakfast of dhal and curry mopped up with hoppers and roti or a brunch plate of smoked salmon, avocado and soft-boiled egg. There are pancakes with maple syrup and creme fraiche, too, and cups of tea for one quid.

When? Mon-Sun 11am-3pm

Victoria Park, Old Ford Road, E9 7DE,

Tram Store

House plants. Exposed beams. Distressed brick. An old transport hub reimagined for the 21st century. Even before the food and drink, Tram Store ticks almost every east London cliché in the book, but the sum of all these well executed parts is, it must be admitted, a gorgeous room. Factor in one of the Tram Store’s signature big breakfasts — poached eggs, dry-cured back bacon and mushrooms for meat eaters, with scrambled tofu and smashed avo for vegans — and it’s little wonder this place has garnered something of a cult following amongst locals. The Clapton rarebit, a joyous mess of London-produced cheese, mustard, fruit chutney and prosecco, is reason to go in itself, but the sourcing is also top notch: think Redhill Farm pork, Clarence Court eggs and Cimpson and Son’s coffee.

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When? Mon-Sun 7.30am-4pm (Sat Sun 8.30am-)

38 Upper Clapton Road, E5 8BQ,


Brunch has many uses, whether a late breakfast, an early lunch or a carb-loaded, fried-food fest hangover cure. It also makes for terrific pre-theatre, and few places in the West End do that better than this glossy Manhattan import designed along the lines of how New Yorkers imagine a traditional French bistro to look, which is to say three times the size and something that wouldn’t be out of place on a Hollywood film set. Dedicated brunch dishes include egg or avocado benedict with frites, croque monsieur with a mixed leaf salad and oak-smoked salmon with granary toast. One could, of course, simply regard the brunch options as starters to a menu proper that includes sole goujons, steak tartare and truffled mac and cheese. Nothing groundbreaking, perhaps, but it’s all decently done and as crowd-pleasing as the latest West End smash, washed down with classic cocktails, familiar French wines and a quartet of Champagnes by the glass.

When? Weekends and bank holidays 10am-4pm

4-6 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ,


Before anyone had heard of Bill Granger, flat whites and sweetcorn fritters, Lantana was pioneering an Aussie approach to eating in London, first in Fitzrovia and then in Shoreditch and London Bridge. The trio of cafes is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but it’s weekend brunch that has the most meal appeal, not least because Lantana has kept ahead of the antipodean brunch bunch by offering clever spins on the classics. Corn fritters come with halloumi, spinach and crème fraiche, smashed avocado on organic sourdough with poached egg, labneh and pistachio dukkah while the potato hash is made with slow-cooked beef brisket and bound together with sweet onions, pickled jalapeños and fried egg. If the clean-living, Bronte Beach vibe of it all somehow doesn’t appeal, there’s a bottomless brunch option for £46, with as much Prosecco as one can neck in 90 minutes.

When? Sat-Sun 9am-4.30pm

W1, EC1 and SE1,

Ottolenghi Spitalfields

Given that Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi is a frequent contributor to the food pages of the weekend papers, it’s no surprise to find that the Spitalfields flagship of his Middle Eastern chain is as fine a purveyor of lifestyle porn as any colour supplement, all scarlet velvet curtains and extravagant flower arrangements. Ottolenghi can lay a claim to having introduced Londoners to shakshuka, now found on brunch menus all over the capital but arguably never bettered than this version of a skillet bubbling with braised eggs, baked tomatoes and smoky labneh. There are scrambled or turmeric eggs, too, porridge with roasted plums and side orders of smoked streaky bacon for anyone who thinks Ottolenghi is only for vegetarians. Mimosas are on hand by way of refreshment, but the chamomile or strawberry coolers are so nice you won’t miss the booze.

When? Mon-Sun 9-11.45am

50 Artillery Lane, E1 7LJ,

Sunday in Brooklyn

The Aussies and Kiwis may have stolen a march on defining the brunch experience for Londoners but Sunday in Brooklyn arrived in Notting Hill in 2021 as a reminder that the Americans pretty much trademarked the concept. The original Williamsburg restaurant is one of the most celebrated brunch spots in the Big Apple so it makes sense that this first international outpost feels right at home in US expats’ favourite American enclave in London. Everything is executed with the professionalism one associates with eating Stateside, from the have-a-nice-day service to the quality of ingredients and huge portions: pancakes stretching to the corner of the plate soaked in a praline brown-butter sauce, towers of burgers (beef, chicken or cauliflower) with sticky sauces, charred hanger steak with mounds of cheesy Cheddar-scrambled eggs. Coffee and cocktails encourage lingering in the high-ceilinged, light-filled room and there are pavement tables under candy-striped awnings for when the sun shines.

When? Mon-Sun 9am-12N (Sat-Sun 8.30am- )

98 Westbourne Grove, W2 5RU,

Riding House Cafe

Sort of like a Wolseley for Millennials and Gen Z, brunch at the West End’s two Riding House cafes isn’t just restricted to the weekend. Breakfast is served until 11.45am on weekdays, which is basically the weekend brunch menu with shorter hours, minus the booze and with more of an emphasis on healthy options. Malted pancakes are what the place is most famous for, cooked “deep-dish”-style like an especially fluffy pizza and with lovely things to ladle on top like smoked Dingley Dell bacon, toasted marshmallows and clotted cream, and berries and maple syrup. Hollandaise sauce is the other speciality, whether in the expected eggs benedict, royale and Florentine or a “burgerdict” of dry-aged beef patty. Elsewhere are all the usual bacon, egg and sausage combos, sugar-rush desserts and roasts on Sundays.

When? Sat-Sun 9am-3.45pm

43-51 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PQ and 1 Brunswick Centre, WC1N 1AF,

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The Blue Legume

In a city where it’s an achievement for restaurants to reach even their first birthday, an unassuming independent cafe which has seen more than a decade of poached eggs and smashed avo is worth toasting. Enter The Blue Legume, a beloved and abiding fixture in Islington and Stoke Newington with a brunch menu that transcends international borders, managing somehow to serve Welsh rarebit, croque madam, huevos rancheros, a Mediterranean breakfast, Turkish eggs and – of course – a full English. For locals, the Blue Legume is the brunch equivalent of slippers: familiar, accessible and gratifyingly comfortable. Besides, there aren’t many places these days where you can find an omelette that has no pretensions beyond ham and cheddar cheese.

When? Mon-Sun 8.30am-4pm

177 Upper Street, N1 1RG and 101 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0UD,


What began life as a coffee roastery in the Kiwi surfer’s paradise of New Plymouth a quarter of a century ago is now a B Corp-certified international coffee business which also does a nice line in brunches whether one is in Auckland or east London. The usual antipodean café, this is not. Most dishes use by-products to reduce waste, olive oil comes from a social regenerative project, leftover sourdough is turned back into flour and surplus oat and cow’s milk made into ricotta. Thankfully the results taste as good as the intentions behind them, whether ethically farmed meat or line-caught fish: braised Essex beef mince on wholemeal brioche with lemon cress and Ethical Dairy laganory cheese, say, or chalk-stream trout with an omelette of violetta pumpkin, stem pesto and ricotta. Ozone is dog-friendly as well as planet-friendly, too, and there are bags of single-estate coffee to take home.

When? Sat-Sun 8.30am-4pm

11 Leonard Street, EC2A 4AQ and Emma Street, E2 9AP,


Come on a weekday and this cosy Islington café is a fantasy of north London freelance life, with footloose workers on laptops fuelling their creativity with flat whites and breaking off for a roast chicken sandwich with chips. Sunday serves brunch on Saturday, too, though weekends are slightly more family-orientated, at least for those parents who can get their kids to wait patiently in a queue that might last an hour. All the brunch staples are present and correct — perfectly poached eggs, French toast with caramel sauce — though it’s with the more global options such as huevos rancheros that the place really excels, while specials such as pulled beef and mozzarella poutine are worth a punt for regulars. First-timers, however, ought to order a stack of perfectly fluffy pancakes lightly bronzed from the pan and topped with maple syrup pooling around the curled-up crispy bits of top-quality bacon. Lovely garden, too.

When? Tues-Sun 8.30am-5pm

169 Hemingford Road, N1 1DA, @sundaybarnsbury

Where The Pancakes Are

If brunch is merely an excuse to eat an entire meal of sugary things for lunch, then the three branches of Where The Pancakes Are — Fitzrovia, Battersea and London Bridge — will hit the sweet spot. The house special involves a pair of buttermilk pancakes with banana, honeycomb, marshmallow cream and chocolate; elsewhere are Black Forest, strawberries and cream and cinnamon-poached pineapple versions. It’s not all so sweet: savoury toppings include slow-cooked brisket with Cheddar and kale, plus “Dutch baby” style pancakes like deep-filled Yorkshire puddings. Everything can be made with buttermilk or vegan batter, there’s a kids’ menu of build-your-own pancakes too, plus cocktails for grown-ups.

When? Mon-Sun 8am-9pm (Sun-Tues -5pm)

SE1, SW8 and W1,

The Good Egg

The Soho outpost of The Good Egg means that brunchers no longer have to travel to Stokey for what many reckon is the best babka in the capital. Here the brioche-like Jewish bread is served as French toast and steeped in custard, though the chocolate marbling and doughy texture contained within a crisp crust would be just as delicious by itself. Other classics at the Tel Aviv-style caff include potato hash with lamb shawarma, fish or feta, grilled cornbread with zhoug-spiced fried egg and the Iraqi Jewish dish of sabih, pitta stuffed with aubergine, egg and tahini. Not feeling so salady? There are salt-beef and pastrami bagels, za’atar fried chicken and pretzel pecan pie, and a decent cocktail list: anyone for a flat white martini? And for those who hate to queue for brunch, The Good Egg takes bookings.

When? Mon-Sun 9am-4pm

93 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0AS and Unit G9 Kingly Court, W1B 5PW,

Mount St Restaurant

Jamie Shears used to head up the kitchens at the similarly abbreviated 45 Jermyn St within Fortum & Mason before getting the executive chef gig at this new glamourfest from art-world power couple Manuela Hauser and Iwan Wirth, so knows a thing or two about what the leisured classes of London like to eat to pass a civilised few hours until it’s time for high tea. There’s Bircher muesli with figs, roast tomato and goats’ curd on toast and a green juice for the abstemious — but also an oscietra caviar omelette, a bacon chop with bubble and squeak and a breakfast martini to enter the indulgent spirit of the location. Best of all: with £50m of art on the walls and the likelihood of a celebrity on the next table, one needn’t feel under pressure to do anything cultural for the rest of the weekend; toddle instead downstairs to The Audley pub for half a pint of prawns and a pint of London Pride.

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When? Mon-Fri 7.30-10.30am Sat-Sun 9am-11.45am

41-43 Mount Street, W1K 2RX,



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