Best breakfasts and brunches in central London

Time Out selects some of the best weekend breakfast and brunches available in central London

Our team of experts have sought out the best breakfasts and brunches across London. Whether you're looking for coffee and pastries in a café, a posh Sunday brunch, or a mouthwateringly meaty fry-up – don't miss the most important meal of the day. Also check out London's best breakfasts and brunches in central, south, north, west and east London, cheap breakfasts in London and our slideshow of the top ten breakfast dishes. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

Balthazar

One of the must-go restaurants of 2013, it’s notoriously hard to snag a table at Bathazar. Unless you go for breakfast that is, in which case you can walk in with no reservation.This glam and centrally located Covent Garden brasserie serves breakfasts from 7.30-11am on weekdays, and brunch from 10am at weekends. The breakfast menu covers the usual eggs-every-which way (boiled with soldiers, florentine, egg-white omelette), to American-style pancakes with banana and maple syrup (our pancakes were a little dry). The full English breakfast costs £15, but if you'd prefer something a little less artery-lining, porridge or granola are other options.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30

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Aldwych

Chiltern Firehouse

The most fashionable London restaurant du jour is virtually impossible to get a dinner reservation at, unless you're an A-list celeb. However, it does an excellent (if pricey) brunch menu at the weekends from 11am-3pm (and on a good day, you might be able to eat outside in the charming and leafy courtyard). Lobster and scrambled eggs costs £18, crab omelette £17, and a  pot of Earl Grey tea  £4, so it's no bargain – but the dishes are  all excellent. No bookings are taken, so arrive early, and smile.

Brunch for two with service: around £70

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Marylebone

Dean Street Townhouse

Even at an early hour, the dark-panelled dining rooms of this ever-popular Soho all-day restaurant buzz with the animated chatter of media types, and breakfast here makes you feel important, even if you don’t have the head of BBC3 on speed-dial. The smooth service eases things along nicely too. It’s largely classics on the menu: eggs all ways, porridge, kedgeree, full English. There are fruit smoothies for the pious, and Scots will be heartened to see tattie scones and lorne (flat) sausage.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30

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Soho

The Delaunay

As with its famous sibling The Wolseley over in Piccadilly, breakfast at The Delaunay is a truly special affair. Similarly, too, viennoiserie (patisserie) is done spectacularly well: the beautiful display of pains au chocolat and muffins by the door is a threat or a promise – depending on whether you intend to wear those skinny jeans again. Settle into the handsome grand brasserie-style dining room and choose from consistently excellent breakfast standards – eggs, kippers, waffles, pancakes, full English – or the specialist European options such as bircher muesli, pretzels, wiener kaffee (espresso with whipped cream), or the Viennese breakfast with salami, boiled eggs and figs.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30

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Aldwych

Gail's Kitchen

Venue says: Set lunch offer: bread and wine plus two small plates, £19; or bread and wine plus one small plate, £14

Upmarket bakery chain Gail’s is known for its pastries, cakes and dinky sandwiches, but its Bloomsbury branch also has a smarter, sit-down brasserie that serves brilliant breakfasts. The pastries are exemplary, which makes the Continental breakfast a star attraction – even at £15 per head. The pain au chocolat and croissant are flawless and fresh; the slices of crusty sourdough bread, served with flavoursome French butter and jam, need nothing else. A dense dollop of Greek yogurt is topped with granola and fruit compote; the orange juice is fresh, plus you have your choice of terrific coffees, all for £15. If you prefer something cooked, the menu ranges from North African egg-and-spiced -tomato-sauce dish shakshuka to a bacon sandwich with brown sauce.

Breakfast for two with service: around £35

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Bloomsbury

Hawksmoor Guildhall

Businessmen are clearly the target demographic for the mainly massive and meaty breakfasts at this esteemed steakhouse (the Guildhall branch is the only one serving up a breakfast menu). You could go for porridge or granola, but that misses the point – it’s all about steak, hash browns and eggs; short-rib bubble and squeak; Manx kipper with poached eggs; or a full English that would fill an elephant. All the incidentals – filter coffee, squeezed juice – are excellent.

Breakfast for two with service: around £35

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City

Jackson & Rye

Jackson & Rye is modelled on a smart US diner, and - mostly -  successfully so.  The weekday kitchen kicks off the day with a diner-style breakfast menu  (8-11.30am) that includes creamed grits (a maize porridge originally from the Southern states) topped with flaked almonds, berries and maple syrup, and enough brunch-style egg dishes to keep a Boston cabbie’s blood pressure up; our  baked eggs with ham and spinach were slightly overcooked, a common problem when using a cast-iron cocotte dish. At weekends the menu shifts towards a more brunch-oriented menu (9am-4.30pm Sat; 10am-4.30pm Sun).


Breakfast for two with service: around £25

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Soho

Kopapa

Venue says: Kopapa is perfect for your pre or post theatre visit. We have set menu options available with 2 courses for £18.95 or 3 courses for £21.95

Kopapa’s Antipodean heritage can be detected in dishes such as soft-boiled eggs with Vegemite soldiers, but the basement kitchen’s creativity goes well beyond nursery tucker. Particularly good is the signature dish of Turkish eggs – two perfectly poached eggs, bobbing in a bowl of whipped yogurt that’s topped with hot chilli butter and served with sourdough toast. Other surprising dishes include spiced banana French toast with grilled bacon, orange blossom labneh,and tamarind raisin relish. The coffee is exemplary. The original branch, Providores and Tapa Room, in Marylebone, is very good too.

Breakfast for two with service: around £25

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Leicester Square

Koya Bar

This second branch (next door) of the ever-popular udon noodle joint Koya opens for morning meals. As well as the classic Japanese combo of grilled fish, miso soup, pickles and rice, Koya Bar is turning breakfast on its head with morning udon dishes such as hot noodles with raw egg and soy sauce (kamatama udon), and English breakfast-inspired egg, bacon and shiitake mushroom udon. There’s also rice porridge with mixed mushrooms, egg and pickles, or kedgeree-style with smoked haddock. Expect Koya’s usual high-quality, handmade wheat noodles plus hot green tea or cold barley tea.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30

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Soho

Lantana

Venue says: Own-blend coffee and an interesting, seasonal, all day menu. Lantana has been called 'a little bit of Australia in London'. New April menu!

Dishes such as organic ham hock, chorizo, roasted pepper and baked beans with chilli cornbread and poached eggs is about as far from a full English as you can get, but traditionalists will be reassured by the organic bacon or sausage sandwich. Those of sweet tooth will be delighted by alternatives to the standard pancakes or muffins such as toasted banana bread with sticky date caramel and praline. Coffee is expertly made. Be warned though, Lantana can get busy, and noisy.

Breakfast for two with service: around £25

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Fitzrovia
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Comments

15 comments
Sandra
Sandra

Check out reviews for brunch places all around London on www.goforbrunchlondon.com and feel free to send through recommendations!

Myriam
Myriam

I would like to suggest "Drunch" to your listing. Great place for Breakfast and Brunch in central london Drunch.co.uk

Molly
Molly

@Dave - Terry's Cafe on Great Suffolk Street (SE1, Borough and Southwark nearest tube stations) is the best greasy spoon I've come across in London - it's like Roy's straight out of Coronation Street! The decor hasn't changed abit since opening in 1982, but that's what's so charming about it. The breakfast is very good and the service is fast and friendly, I highly recommend it. Check out their website for opening times etc.

Dave
Dave

Where's a good greasy spoon when you need one

Geoff
Geoff

You didn't mention My Place in south London. Best breakfast in town and a lot cheaper and less posy than many on here.

Claire
Claire

not bad if you don't mind paying over the odds. they don't seem to be "real" english breakfasts, just poncified versions of them for people who like to pretend they're working class. i shall keep the better priced and more authentic ones to myself.....

Sue Cooke
Sue Cooke

La Brasserie at Brompton Cross has the best breakfast in town. Eggs Benedict and fresh fruit salad are fabulous ! Also it's open at 8am every dat.

Thomas C
Thomas C

@Sue Cooke They must like having a lie in around there, breakfast should start at 7am at the latest.

Masumi
Masumi

Can't believe you missed Pizarro for Sunday Brunch, and not having Franklins restaurant on Lordship Lane for Saturday breakfast, wow....

Anna McQuaid
Anna McQuaid

Cafe Chula in Camden does a real NY Style brunch...amazing Huevos Rancheros and £4 cocktails. It is worth making a morning of it, just the way it should be!

Derek
Derek

This is a very cool website enjoy everyone ;)

CQcumber
CQcumber

I'm not sure the Caravan's in Shoreditch - think it's Exmouth Market, no? or the Kings Cross branch...

Dave Harbud
Dave Harbud

Attractive and (more important!) readable site