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Nine places to eat after hours in London

Miriam Bouteba

The finest midnight feasts in the city.

Night fishing: Billingsgate market (open from 4am)


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Unless you’re in the restaurant biz – or about to host one humungous dinner party – you probably won’t be doing your food shopping at Billingsgate. London’s famous fish market, which covers 13 acres, is squarely aimed at industry folk, who come here at an ungodly hour to peruse more than 90 stalls, overflowing with all manner of very recently deceased sea creatures. As a mere punter, though, you can still experience the freshest of fish at one of the market’s two cafés. We recommend Shimmy's, which is known for its bacon and scallop butties – described by one salivating Time Out writer as ‘the best breakfast I’ve ever had’. Trafalgar Way, E14 5ST. Open 4am-9.30am, Tue-Sat.

All-night breakfasts: VQ (open 24 hours)

With two locations, VQ in Chelsea and Bloomsbury is London’s original 24-hour diner and has been going for nearly 20 years. All-day (and -night) breakfasts and brunches do brisk business, with eggs benedict, full Englishes and omelettes alongside free tea and coffee refills. 325 Fulham Rd, SW10 9QL and 111A Great Russell St WC1B 3NQ.

2am tapas: La Cabina (open until 5am)


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A tiny underground space serving tapas and cocktails, La Cabina's menu is a mash-up of staple Spanish small plates and big British flavours. They also have a roster of resident DJs who will keep you entertained while you dine. 232 Kingsland Rd, E2 8AX.

Stay up late: Duck & Waffle (open 24 hours)


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Perched up on the fortieth floor of Heron Tower, Duck & Waffle is the highest restaurant in London and its views over the city are dizzying. Open round the clock, you can stuff your face and be plied with plonk in this super-smart restaurant until the sun comes up, or goes down. 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY.

Soho's stalwart: Balans Soho Society (open until 6am)


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Balans Soho Society might have had a bit of a facelift recently but it remains a reliable friend to late-night snackers. Serving booze and food until 6am at the weekend, its night menu includes burgers, curries, steak and brunch fare. 60-62 Old Compton St, W1D 4UG.

Round-the-clock bagels: Beigel Bake (open 24 hours)


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Beigel Bake is an East End institution serving freshly baked bagels filled with salt beef, classic smoked salmon and cream cheese, or (if you’re feeling adventurous) chopped herring. It’s the democratic snack-stop of choice for clubbers, drinkers and taxi drivers alike. 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB.

Nighttime noodles: HK Diner (open until 4am)


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The menu at HK Diner covers all the usual Chinese dishes: roast duck, stir-fried greens and an impressive list of bubble teas. If you’re looking for something a little stodgy for some post-pub grazing, get in line here. 22 Wardour St, W1D 6QQ.

The non-stop caff: Polo Bar (open 24 hours)


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Across the road from Liverpool Street station is fast turnaround café Polo Bar. Serving classic breakfast and brunches throughout the night, it has a drinks list with Italian coffees, local craft beers and even champagne – so you can pick your drink depending on how sensible you’re feeling. 76 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NQ.

Lebanese late: Maroush (open until 2am)


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Middle Eastern restaurant Maroush offers night owls belly-dancing, live music and, more to the point, top-notch flatbreads and kebabs. 21 Edgware Road, W2 2JE.

Fancy a drink? Check out London's best late night bars and pubs.

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