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Best breakfasts and brunches in south London

Discover the best restaurants and cafés for breakfast and brunch in south London

© Roast
Roast, 2011

South London folk know how to breakfast and brunch, either taking it nice and easy in a park-side café or powering through a colossal fry-up (or just mountains of toast) at one of the many great south London spots for a morning meal. Here’s our pick of the best of the bunch for brunch. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

RECOMMENDED: London's best breakfasts and brunches

Albion

Wrapped around the base of one of the Richard Rogers-designed Neo Bankside ‘pavilions’ (tower blocks) just behind Tate Modern, this glass-walled café boasts a secluded terrace overlooking a beautifully landscaped garden. Breakfast is the main meal of the day here, with dishes ranging in size from toast and Marmite to a full English. If you don't fancy eggs, there's a selection of 'healthy breakfasts' majoring on cereals and fruit (but also including a 'super greens' frittata). Prices are on the high side, as you might expect from anything in this location.

Breakfast for two with service: around £35

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Borough

Breads Etcetera

Every weekend there’s a queue of people out of the door of Breads Etc and into Clapham High Street, waiting for a table at this enormously popular bakery-cum-café. An enormous basket of freshly baked sourdough loaves graces the counter-top in the middle of the room: white or wholemeal, rye or seeds, all wonderful. The idea is to help yourself, cutting off as many slices as you like, and toasting them at your table. Vegan and vegetarian options are particularly strong, from the fruit-and-nut French toast to a vegan version of pyttipanna (Swedish bubble ’n’ squeak).

Breakfast for two with service: around £25

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Clapham

Brickwood

It’s a brave caff that opens up a few doors away from M1lk on Hildreth Street in Balham, a local destination that sees queues out the door every weekend. But Brickwood has a track record: the original Clapham branch also does a roaring trade. Brickwood in Balham has upped the ante, with its beautifully crafted shack-like interior, extensive menu, and service from cheerful Aussies. Brunch is served until 3pm, with imaginative dishes such as wild mushrooms on brioche topped with a poached egg, grated pecorino and truffle oil.

Brunch for two with service: around £30

 

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Balham

Fields

This park café on Clapham Common won't win any beauty pageants – it's a bleak-looking concrete box sited between a busy road and skateboard park, with sneakers dangling from the power lines overhead. But it’s been the Common’s best café since being taken over by the people behind trendy M1lk in Balham. At breakfast or brunch, expect the standard egg, toast and cereal dishes, often given a bit of a twist and always made from carefully sourced raw materials.

Breakfast for two with service: around £20

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Clapham

Lido Café

This Herne Hill hotspot makes for the perfect place to load up on calories after a brisk morning swim - though you can eat here even if you haven’t taken a dip. Large windows flood the airy dining room with light, and there are also a few poolside pews. Expect the likes of eggs benedict with sweet, juicy Gloucester Old Spot ham and tangy hollandaise sauce, or stacks of thick buttermilk and blueberry pancakes with maple syrup. If you don’t want to undo all the good work from your morning plunge, plump for one of the slimmer options such as organic porridge or granola with fruit compote and yoghurt. Locals love it.

Breakfast for two with service: around £20

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Brixton

M1lk

If your idea of a gentle awakening in the morning is a nice cup of tea listening to Radio 2, you’d best go elsewhere – you can hear the sound of deep house coming through M1lk's open french windows down the length of Hildreth Street. The service is laid-back, but that gives you time to admire the artful dodge of a distressed interior. The coffee provides a good caffeine kick – Workshop always seems to feature among its suppliers – and the menu lists some interesting hot dishes, such as Kurdish baked eggs with chorizo, spinach, labneh and Turkish dried chilli. The same people are also responsible for the more recently-arrived Fields café on Clapham Common. 

Breakfast for two with service: around £20

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Balham

Mud

If you fancy your brekkie sunny side up, this café staffed by proper Aussies makes for a bright start in Tooting. Breakfast or brunch is served until 3pm, and dishes from the short menu tend to be variations on a few key ingredients, such as avocado, bacon, pancakes, and good sourdough bread from the Blackbird Bakery. Smashed avocado was served the Australian way with feta crumbled on top. Decent coffee is roasted by Ozone, making for an Antipodean wake-up call louder than a didgeridoo.

Brunch for two with service: around £30.

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Tooting

No 67

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There are few nicer places to breakfast on a sunny day than No 67 – whether on a bench under the dappled shade of the huge Tree of Heaven out front, surrounded by the lush planting in the walled garden at the back, or in either of the two elegant rooms inside. All the usual British breakfast staples are on offer, from thick porridge with golden syrup and cream, through some highly indulgent waffles, to smoked salmon and scrambled egg. Fresh fruit juices and speciality teas are also available, along with excellent coffee. A relaxed clientèle includes freelance local professionals with laptops and art-loving visitors to the South London Gallery, housed in the same building.

Breakfast for two with service: around £25

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Peckham

Roast

If you visit Borough Market you’ll notice the fast-moving queue for Roast To Go, Roast’s ground-level takeaway, which sells pork belly sandwiches among other highlights. But the prime restaurant site overlooking Borough Market is a better bet, offering a bird’s-eye view – and a respite – from the bustle below. The dining room is terribly smart and proudly British, with producers of formidable quality name-checked in detail. On the menu you’ll find a Full Scottish comprising streaky bacon, Ramsay of Carluke’s black pudding and haggis, ‘Roast recipe’ sausages, Lorne sausage, tattie scone, grilled tomatoes, field mushroom, and your choice of egg. If that’s too much for your arteries to take on, try the grilled Orkney kippers with lemon and butter or just toasted cottage loaf with jam. Stop by to gather your strength before hitting the market – or the markets, if you’re a City worker.

Breakfast for two with service: around £35

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Southwark

The Table Café

This slick café not far from the Tate Modern serves an all-day breakfast menu which carries right on through until dinner. A chargrill dominates the open-plan kitchen, but those wanting something lighter than a cooked breakfast should look to the selection of fruit-yoghurt-muesli combos (served until 11am only). Featured brunch dishes include buttermilk pancakes, hot iron waffles, sweetcorn fritters and The Table’s signature ‘stack’, which mixes home-made baked beans, chorizo, poached eggs, hollandaise and red-pepper pesto. Breakfast for two with service: around £25

This slick café not far from the Tate Modern serves an all-day breakfast menu which carries right on through until dinner. A chargrill dominates the open-plan kitchen, but those wanting something lighter than a cooked breakfast should look to the selection of fruit-yoghurt-muesli combos (served until 11am only). Featured brunch dishes include buttermilk pancakes, hot iron waffles, sweetcorn fritters and The Table’s signature ‘stack’, which mixes home-made baked beans, chorizo, poached eggs, hollandaise and red-pepper pesto.

Breakfast for two with service: around £25

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Waterloo
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