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Best breakfasts and brunches in north London

Whether it's a humble croissant or the full English you're after, find the best breakfasts and brunches in north London

North London locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to breakfast and brunch. Not only can they find the traditional fried fare in the best cafes and coffee shops, but they can also go mad for vegetarian food from the likes of Grain Store and Ottolenghi. How’s that for a wholesome start to the day? Do you agree with our choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

RECOMMENDED: London's best breakfasts and brunches

Bull & Last

Critics' choice

The breakfast menu at this rustic-style gastropub by Parliament Hill Fields is short but enticing. You can go the light and virtuous route by ordering, say, yoghurt with fruit, but the heartier options look pretty irresistible: sweetcorn fritters with smashed avocado, bacon and tomatoes; fried duck egg with ham hock, taleggio and potato rosti; and so on. The tip from locals is to breakfast here before or (possibly more sensible) after a long, vigorous walk through the nearby greenery. Coffee is from Climpson & Sons. Dogs are welcome in the bar area, so bring Rover along if you feel like it. 

Breakfast for two with service: around £25

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Dartmouth Park

Caravan King's Cross

On fine days, children splash around in the fountains of the piazza-like Granary Square, and al fresco diners can wallow in the sunshine on the terrace. As at the Clerkenwell original, the menu here takes influences from many parts of the world. One of the myriad attractions of the breakfast menu is its happy accommodation of vegetarians: it's easy to avoid meat here if you are so inclined, and even carnivores might be tempted by jalapeño cornbread with fried eggs, black beans and guindilla pepper. There are also cereals and various low-priced items served on toast. At weekend brunches (10am-4pm) the menu grows a little and there is some lively experimentation: a kimchi pancake served with pork belly, fried duck egg and ‘bbq crème fraîche' gives you the general idea. At the back, metal shelves are stacked with sacks of coffee beans waiting to go into the giant on-site roaster. The coffee is some of the best in London.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30
Brunch for two with service: around £35

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King's Cross

Franks Canteen

On the days when you wake up with only a headache for company and only a ‘latte’ in a sachet in your kitchen cupboard, what you need is a sanctuary. With its serene but welcoming atmosphere and short but tempting food menu – black pudding, potato and mascarpone frittata with ham hock was a genius reimagining of the breakfast staples – Franks will fix your day before it’s even had a chance to go wrong. Good coffee, efficient staff, a playlist full of songs you remember fondly and generous portions gently transform you from duvet zombie to chipper day-seizer with minimum fuss.

Breakfast for two with service: around £30

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Highbury

Grain Store

Weekend brunch at the Grain Store has many winning traits - not least a lovely location on Granary Square, plus some of the best American pancakes we’ve eaten: fluffy and vanilla-scented, with a big slab of butter on top and maple syrup. Those pancakes are at the conventional end of the menu, which has a number of dishes that are both innovative and distinctly un-brunch-like: potato pancake with sour cream, leeks, poached duck egg and Tobiko wasabi caviar, for instance, or caesar salad with crispy seaweed and fishcake. There's hardly an egg in sight. If you have room, the dessert menu is eye-catching. The other main reason to come here is the surroundings: it's a pleasant walk up to the restaurant from the station along tree-lined King’s Boulevard, you can digest your meal with a stroll along the Regent’s Canal, and there's even a specially built look-out tower giving a bird’s-eye view of the current lay of the land.

Brunch for two with service: around £35

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King's Cross

Haberdashery

Popular with pram-wielders and laptop-crackers alike, Haberdashery has a painstakingly assembled make-do-and-mend aesthetic, friendly service and knock-’em-dead breakfasts. The food is solid and traditional: wholesome cereals, English or veggie breakfast, eggs benedict at weekends, French toast with maple syrup and cinnamon bananas, a breakfast bap of scrambled egg, bacon, sausage and tomato jam – all well-cooked, flavour-packed and interesting combinations. Coffee comes from Nude Espresso in Brick Lane. And the loveliest thing of all is their all-inclusive definition of breakfast and brunch: it's a single menu, and it's served all day. 

Breakfast for two with service: around £20
Brunch for two with service: around £20

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Crouch End

Kipferl

Open from early until late, this Austrian café serves breakfast dishes all day. It can be a virtuous meal, as in the ‘Viennese’ breakfast of semmel (bread rolls) with jam, honey, and hot or cold drinks. But there is also the celebrated Bergkäse (mountain cheese) omelette, which die-hard fans think is the only thing you should order here; the nutty flavour of the cheese makes this a really memorable dish. The coffee selection is explained well. Add a lovely interior and incredibly friendly service, and you’ve got a real star. And if you're budget-minded, check out the Ei im Glass, two soft-boiled peeled eggs served with rye bread and butter (£1.70).
 
Breakfast for two with service: around £22

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Angel

Ottolenghi

The Dualit toasters on each table have been a feature ever since this enduringly popular hotspot opened. But really, with a breakfast menu this intriguing, why would you have toast that you can make just as easily at home? Ottolenghi has put shakshuka, the North African dish of eggs, peppers and tomatoes, on London’s culinary map; and it's raised baked beans to glorious heights in dishes with bacon, chorizo, fried egg and black pudding. Luxurious doorstops of eggy brioche bread are dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar and accompanied by berry compote and crème fraîche. Even the day’s fruit muffin can prove to be a rich, heady experience. This is probably what breakfast tastes like in heaven. 

Breakfast for two with service: around £25

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Canonbury

Shoe Shop

The focus is on all things français at this Euro-influenced café-restaurant. There is a wide variety of croques (monsieur, madame, Alsace and Florentine) and benedicts (Florentine, Royale, Portobello and straight-up), all served with rich hollandaise. However, a Basque accent is detectable in a delicious piperade – scrambled eggs with spicy peppers, tomatoes, Serrano ham and toast – while the fried egg Holstein comes with sauerkraut. The atmosphere is a little flat but the generous and hearty brunch plates more than compensate.

Brunch for two with service: around £30.

 

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Kentish Town

Towpath

Nestled on the Regent’s Canal bank, Towpath is a narrow open-fronted café with outdoor tables just metres from the water’s edge. The canal-view setting’s appealing, though the constant stream of passing cyclists jingling their bells reminds you that you’re still in the capital. Everything on the brief menu is done well using excellent ingredients including free-range eggs, fine sourdough, porridge, yoghurt and fruit in season. Towpath is ultra-simple, but that doesn't mean it's anything less than great. 

Breakfast for two with service: around £20

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De Beauvoir Town
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Comments

1 comments
Shirley L
Shirley L

Been to Grain Store. It was great. Recommend it. Nice interior, lovely staff and the food was great.