It really doesn't matter how you like your eggs in the morning, because in London they're served every which way. Whether you love classic poached yolks perched proudly on muffins or bubbling pans of spicy scrambled scran, eggs are making their mark on the menu at some of the city’s best restaurants. Rise and shine for nine cracking egg dishes from all around the world, all served up on London's best breakfast tables.
RECOMMENDED: Read our full list of the best breakfasts and brunches in London
There are few dishes as British (or, let’s be honest, as basic) as soft-boiled eggs and toast soldiers. However, what this combo lacks in punch it makes up for in nostalgia; as I tuck into mine at Holborn Dining Room, I feel seven years old again. Because this dish is so simple, it’s crucial that every element is exactly perfect – and they are: the yolks are runny and therefore dippable; the butter handmade and lightly salted; the bread perfectly toasted and, of course, as it ought to be in such a civilised setting, crust-free. While the dish may seem childish, the surroundings are anything but. This is a seriously smart dining hall with reassuringly heavy cutlery. Definitely not just for kids. Miriam Bouteba
What do you get if you cross a pancake with a crumpet and a fried egg? A Sri Lankan breakfast megamix that will rock your world-food aisle, that’s what. A hopper is a spongy, savoury, basket-shaped pancake made from fermented rice and coconut milk batter with, in this case, a runny-yolked egg. Exciting enough on its own, frankly, but there’s more. At Hoppers, which must be Soho’s least opportunistic one-trick restaurant, you order a rich, meaty curry and a trio of chutneys, then pile it all on, trying your best not to drop any good bits down your sleeve as you scoop everything into your face and lick the sauce off your knuckles. Although the hopper is a popular breakfast dish in Sri Lanka, it can be eaten at any time (indeed, Hoppers only opens at noon – a late breakfast by anyone’s standards). And it’s difficult to imagine a time of day when you wouldn’t want another of these flavour-laden beauties. Ashleigh Arnott
Grime collective Boy Better Know once rapped about ‘Too Many Man’, but they obviously hadn’t tried Turkish breakfast classic menemen, because you quite simply can’t have too many menemen. See it as a sort of scrambled shakshuka, with sautéd onions, peppers and tomatoes combining perfectly with whisked eggs, all served in a sizzling-hot metal dish, the eggs firm around the edges and runny within. This dish has been a morning-after staple for east London hipsters for years, being served up at most of the Turkish restaurants and cafés up Kingsland Road and down Green Lanes, but it’s time the secret got out. Try the sucuklu menemen, filled with little chunks of fried Turkish beef sausage, served up in the actually rather red surroundings of Red Art Café. The perfect way to wave goodbye to your hangover. Eddy Frankel
Mexico’s version of breakfast eggs is not for the faint-hearted. Originally conceived as a mid-morning meal for hungry farm workers who’d been up since dawn, it packs some seriously punchy flavours. Slick Moorgate diner Bad Egg does an upmarket version: scrambled eggs are piled high with guacamole, salsa, chorizo, jalapeños and fresh coriander, served with a bowl of crunchy fried tacos. It’s an undeniably intense breakfast where fire from the meat and chillis is balanced with creamy eggs and avocado and offset by the soft tang of the tomatoes. It’s also an undeniably indulgent affair, which makes it a perfect brunch dish – and thankfully it’s available as part of Bad Egg’s all-day menu. So get stuck in, and just be grateful that you didn’t have to do several hours of manual toil to earn it. Gail Tolley
This pillowy mound of eggs from the popular all-day Indian eatery is as warming as a hug involving all of Vishnu’s arms. Served at Dishoom’s four branches, the vibrant yellow eggs are scrambled and laced with chopped onion, tomato and green chilli. The extra kick comes from turmeric and chilli powder – like a morning sun salutation on the palate. Traditionally, akuri eggs (a breakfast staple among the Irani community in India) come with pav bread, and Dishoom doesn’t disappoint: with two plump, toasted buns on the side, or you can have it as part of the Full Indian Breakfast with fire toast. Adding a further splash of colour, the dish comes with a grilled tomato and a sprig of fresh coriander. Wash it down with unlimited chai tea refills and a ceaselessly sunny disposition from staff. Rise and shine, London. Laura Richards
You can’t go out for breakfast in London these days without stumbling into a vat of hollandaise sauce. Eggs Benedict is on every breakfast menu and everyone’s Instagram feed. The origins of the New York brunch staple are disputed, with a number of Mr Benedicts claiming it as their namesake, but whoever thought it up deserves a high five because, when done well, the mix of poached egg, English muffin, ham and hollandaise sauce is a thing to behold. However, getting the balance right is a fine art and if you want the Mona Lisa of EB, you need to go to decadent 1920s Piccadilly icon The Wolseley. Forget your Royales and Florentines. Here, they only make the classic – and they make it well: runny yolks, lightly toasted buns, moreish ham (or optional streaky bacon), a buttery but not heavy sauce, all topped with freshly chopped chives and a dusting of paprika. Boom. Sonya Barber
Shakshuka is a Tunisian dish that made its way – along with Jewish Maghrebi settlers – to Israel in the middle of the twentieth century. The format of eggs baked in a tomato sauce might not be unique to North Africa: here, at Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern-influenced Soho brasserie, it also goes by its Italian name, ‘eggs in purgatory’. The dish is delivered with characteristic attention to detail: served in the pan alongside two slices of sourdough, two runny eggs sit in a sharp mix of tomatoes, peppers and spices. But it’s the addition of smoked labneh (strained, curd-like yoghurt) that gives the dish its class, sending a barbecue flavour through the sauce. This, along with a strong black coffee in the chic, white-tiled surroundings of Nopi, makes for a killer breakfast. Not that I’d be averse to having it for lunch or dinner, either. Matt Breen
Is it a breakfast? Is it a hearty après-ski supper? It’s a bit of both. Usually the richness in eggs en cocotte – a classic French dish that literally translates as ‘eggs in pots’ – comes from the cream that’s added before they’re baked. But at Duck & Waffle, the dish is turned into a veritable fondue. It’s smothered with melted gruyère, drizzled with truffle oil, packed with wild mushrooms and transformed into a dish so beautiful and rich it could be related to the Middletons. It’s possibly not one for runny-yolk lovers – the heat of the mini-skillet renders it almost cooked through. But then, that’s not the reason this dish comes with toast soldiers. Three words: bubbling, garlicky, cheese. Alexi Duggins
The Monocle Café is a chic little Marylebone bar and restaurant that features some authentic modern Japanese dishes – ie not a paper-walled theme restaurant vaguely based somewhere in the Edo period. Its Japanese breakfast is made up of several parts, with each one granted equal importance; this isn’t Beyoncé and her backing singers, it’s more of a barbershop quartet. Tamagoyaki, the mini-omelette that you get as the egg topping in sushi, is squidgy yet fluffy and really quite sweet – it’s cooked with mirin (sugary saké). Also in the breakfast are a cuboid of silky tofu topped with grated ginger, a warm onigiri stuffed with tuna and rolled in sesame seeds, and pickles. They’re accompanied by a crisp side salad and a miso soup that’s creamy and chock-a-block with wakame. This is a no-messin’ breakfast. It’s hearty, it’s healthy and it’ll keep the Snickers cravings at bay until, ooh, at least 11am (depending on what time you usually have breakfast). Miriam Bouteba
Find more delicious breakfast dishes
No longer the preserve of hungover Brooklynites, brunch has captured Londoners’ hearts. Whether you're looking for an egg-heavy feast, a complete break from the typical breakfast fare or even a boozy bottomless brunch session, you can find our favourite options here.
The distance north of Shaftesbury Avenue, though only 20 metres, is important. Barshu (the original of a Sichuan quartet along with Ba Shan, Baozi Inn and newcomer Baiwei) is distinct from Chinatown’s mostly Cantonese restaurants in looks and pricing, as well as cuisine. The dark wooden ground floor is brightened by red lanterns and partitioned by a beautifully carved screen; upstairs is similarly woody. Despite such rusticity, you could spend extravagantly here – though there are ways to lessen the bill. Order tea (£2 per person) rather than wine (the cheapest bottle is £21.90). You’ll need to slake your thirst to counteract the fiery, numbing and sour flavours that characterise western Chinese cookery. The menu holds much interest, listing the likes of pea jelly, prairie tripe, and stir-fried chicken gizzards with pickled chilli – each dish is depicted. To start, order from the ‘Chengdu street snacks’ section, rather than the pricey appetisers; sweet-potato noodles in hot and sour sauce was a filling bowlful of noodle soup, chilli oil and numbing peppercorns, for just £4. Main courses of fish-fragrant pork slivers (a pleasing textural mix including wood-ear fungus and crunchy bamboo shoot) and stir-fried long beans, chopped small and well-paired with minced pork, also hold delight. Drawbacks? Many dishes are hot and oily, so order steamed rice and (expensive) plain vegetables for balance. Service could be sharper too, but Barshu nevertheless remains London’s prime expone
Venue says: “Barshu is offering a £100 exclusive set menu (for four persons) to show our appreciation to our valued customers. T&Cs apply.”