Best breakfasts and brunches in central London

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

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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

  1. 4-6 Russell Street, WC2E 7BN. (020 3301 1155). Covent Garden tube
Book online

Chiltern Firehouse

  • Price band: 4/4

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

  1. 1 Chiltern St, W1U 7PA
More info

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

  1. 69-71 Dean St, W1D 4QJ. (020 7434 1775). Tottenham Court Rd tube.
  2. Breakfast served 7-11.30am Mon-Fri; brunch served 8-11.30am Sat, Sun.
Book online

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

  1. 55 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BB. (020 7499 8558). Covent Garden tube.
  2. Breakfast served Mon-Fri 7-11.30am; Sat 8-11.30am; Sun 9-11am
Book online

Gail's Kitchen

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

Set lunch offer: Bread & wine & 2 small plates, £19 or Bread & wine & 1 small plate, £14
  1. 11-13 Bayley Street, WC1B 3HD. (020 7323 9694). Tottenham Court Rd tube.
Book online

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

  1. 10-12 Basinghall Street, EC2V 5BQ (020 7397 8120). Bank tube.
  2. Breakfast served Mon-Fri 7-10am
Book online

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

  1. 56 Wardour Street, W1D 4JG (020 7437 8338). Leicester Square tube.
More info

Kopapa

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

  1. 32 – 34 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9HA. (020 7240 6076). Covent Garden tube.
  2. Breakfast served 8.30-11.30am Mon-Fri; brunch served 10am-3pm Sat, Sun.
More info

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

  1. 50 Frith Street, W1D 4SQ. (020 7637 3347). Tottenham Court Rd tube.
More info

Lantana

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

  1. 13 Charlotte Place, W1T 1SN. (020 637 3347). Goodge St tube.
  2. Breakfast served Mon-Fri 8am-11.30am. Brunch served Sat, Sun 9am-3pm.
More info

The Modern Pantry

When ex-Providores chef Anna Hansen opened this solo venture in 2008, it was, for a time, the fusion brunch spot. On sunny days, the alfresco tables on St John’s Square are as in-demand as ever, and the East-meets-West cooking – while no longer such a surprise – remains a delight. Everyday dishes are gently tweaked (eggs Benedict with Japanese yuzu citrus hollandaise for instance), but we like the original Pantry creations, such as the signature omelette of sugar-cured prawns, with its runny middle and tangy chilli sambal (ask for extra sambal upfront, there’s never enough). Staff are ultra-relaxed.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30

  1. 47-48 St John's Square, EC1V 4JJ. (020 7553 9210). Farringdon tube.
  2. Breakfast served Mon-Fri 8-11am. Brunch served Sat 9am-4pm; Sun 10am-4pm.
Book online

Plum & Spilt Milk

  • Offer

This sedate dining room on the first floor of the Great Northern Hotel at King’s Cross station is a sanctuary from the bustle below. The cool calm of the room and smooth, gracious service allows you to gather your thoughts before that onward journey or business meeting. The menu might not rock the boardroom, but the simple selection of dishes are done well. Scrambled eggs have that perfect just-set texture, served with warm granary toast, smoked salmon, and a side order of full-flavoured bacon. There are lighter options too such as granola, porridge or croissants. If you’re in a hurry, the hotel’s food kiosk on the ground floor (prosaically called Kiosk) sells bacon rolls, muffins, and more besides right on the station’s concourse.

Breakfast for two with service: around £40

  1. Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross, N1C 4TB. (020 3388 0800). King’s Cross tube.
Book online

The Riding House Cafe

This brasserie does a busy breakfast trade, mainly with professionals having meetings before going to work.The chirpy staff direct groups towards the comfier of the many dining areas, while solo diners – many waving laptops or BlackBerrys – are seated towards the bar. The menu covers lighter options such as Bircher-Benner muesli. The rolled oats in this cold dish are thoroughly soaked to become creamy-textured, then topped with pumpkin seeds and fresh seasonal fruit. Poached pear and strawberry with greek yogurt and granola, or buttermilk pancakes are other light options, though there’s also a full complement of fry-ups and egg dishes. The coffee – currently from Allpress roastery – is good too. A brunch menu is now served at weekends.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30.

  1. 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, W1W7PQ. (020 7927 0840). Oxford Circus tube.
  2. Breakfast served Mon-Fri 7.30am-noon; Sat, Sun 9-11.30am. Brunch served Sat, Sun 11.30am-4pm.
More info

Tapa Room

When the Providores (and the Tapa Room, its laidback all-day space) first burst on to the capital’s dining scene, its eclectic fusion cooking shook up Marylebone. The style may since have become a part of our culinary repertoire, but the Tapa Room’s quality ingredients and bold flavours are no less appealing for that. A signature dish of Turkish eggs sees runny-middled poached eggs on a cloud of light, tangy whipped yoghurt, then submerged under a pool of chilli-spiked melted butter. Equally more-ish are plates of black pudding and eggs, featuring two moist, crumbly slabs of mellow blood sausage cleverly offset by the tart-and-sweet notes of a baked Bramley apple. Groovy chilled beats set a laidback tone, matched by the service.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30.

  1. 109 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4RX. (020 7935 6175). Bond Street tube.
More info

The Wolseley

To start your day with a sense of occasion, it doesn’t get much better than The Wolseley. Arguably the best of the capital’s ‘grand’ cafés, the opulent, high-ceilinged space welcomes businessmen, tourists, celebrities and a basketful of dyed-in-the-wool regulars (whom the staff refer to as PWKs: People We Know), turning out breakfasts fit for the ladies and gentlemen of days gone by. From a just-baked pastry or an omelette Arnold Bennett, to a plate of haggis with duck eggs, or one of buttery kedgeree, it’s all done to perfection. The clatter, chatter and people-watching are, of course, an added bonus.

Breakfast for two with service: around £35

  1. 160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB. (020 7499 6996). Green Park tube.
Book online

Workshop Coffee Co

Workshop’s menu is a global pick ’n’ mix of ingredients. French toast of brioche is topped with poached rhubarb, orange mascarpone and hazelnuts, a well-thought-out teaming of flavours – and comes in a sizeable portion, despite being listed under the ‘smaller’ dishes. Eggs arrive on sourdough toast with tomato kasundi (mustardy chutney); bircher muesli is perked up with fresh strawberries, labneh and pumpkin seeds. The smoked fish kedgeree, topped with a perfectly cooked poached egg, has plenty of meaty smoked haddock and notes of heat and curry spice. Workshop Coffee Co are serious coffee connoisseurs, with beans roasted in-house in the large oven. A hearty brunch menu is served at weekends.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30

  1. 27 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RN. (020 7253 5754). Farringdon tube.
Book online

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Users say

23 comments
Calvin
Calvin

Have just had an amazing breakfast at The Full English @ Zebranos on Greek street. I ordered the full English and had extra toast, beans & bubble + squeak and only cost me £10 with a pot of tea! Also the sausages they serve are amazing, 85% pork and apparently specially made for The Full English. I highly recommend this as the best breakfast in London and will definitely going back when I'm next in London :)

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.

George - Let's Pop Out
George - Let's Pop Out

I can vouch for Bill's. I went there on Bank Holiday Monday after seeing it on Timeout. You can see what I thought about it along with pictures here: http://www.letspopout.com/2013/05/bills-covent-garden/ I've also been to Workshop (formally St. Ali) for lunch in the past and really rate it. Will have to try their breakfast to add to my review http://www.letspopout.com/2012/04/st-ali/ A little obvious maybe but I really think the Breakfast Club needs a mention - really really yummy. Left field but Wahaca also do great Mexican eggs!

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.

smeeelz
smeeelz

Caravan address is WRONG

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...

Pao323
Pao323

Cant believe "Bread Etcetera Clapham" is not here.

Dave Harbud
Dave Harbud

Attractive and (more important!) readable site

Thomas C
Thomas C

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