Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, literally breaking the fast from the previous evening and setting you up for the day ahead.
Different days and occasions call for different breakfasts, so we’ve picked 10 of the best in London for all budgets, whether you’re looking for a cheap fry-up with friends, a working breakfast or business meeting, or a romantic treat to indulge someone special.
From the Full English to perfect pancakes, Orkney kippers to French toast, and a Bombay bacon naan to North African shakshuka, you’ll find something to tempt you with our guide, no matter how you like your eggs in the morning.
The Regency Café
Went to the Regency Cafe for breakfast this morning. So so tasty. pic.twitter.com/FaVCq6Xm4r
— Hannah Sierp (@stop_hannahtime) May 30, 2015
The Regency is a traditional caff which opened in 1947 and gives the feeling of stepping into another time – the art deco exterior gives way to formica tables, a lino floor, original ceramic tiles on the wall, and gingham curtains. It’s not retro chic, or even retro – this is the real deal. No wonder it’s been used as a film location. You have to collect your order from the counter – listen for your order being shouted out. It all adds to the charm. Expect to pay around £5.50 for a truly great full English with a builder’s brew. The perfect hangover cure.
17-19 Regency Street, Pimlico, SW1P 4BY
— Food Ren (@RenBehan) May 31, 2015
Dishoom pays loving homage to the Irani cafés that were once part of the fabric of life in Bombay, with branches in Covent Garden, Shoreditch and Kings Cross. The Dishoom bacon naan is rightly famous, and a must-try for a Bombay take on the bacon roll. The Ginger Pig’s smoked streaky bacon, dry-cured for five days with rock salt and Demerara sugar then cold- smoked over oak chips, is wrapped with a little cream cheese, chilli tomato jam and fresh herbs in a naan – freshly baked by hand and to order in the tandoor oven. One of the best breakfasts in London, and a mere £5.20.
12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, WC2H 9FB
7 Boundary Street, E2 7JE
5 Stable Street, N1C 4AB
— vonScharfenberg (@vonScharfenberg) March 2, 2015
For one of the best fry-ups in London, head to this family-run, Grade II-listed greasy spoon on Bethnal Green Road. Opened in 1900, with a lovely faded Art Deco interior and Formica tables, it’s an East End institution. The fry-ups are first- rate, including Cumberland sausage, bacon, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, fried egg and fried bread (£5.50), and you can customize your breakfast by adding additional items.
332 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AG
— Stephanie W (@wongeroos) April 23, 2015
Having relocated from a tiny site in Barbican to a large and bright space in Angel, authentic Austrian coffee house Kipferl recently opened its second location in Kensington. Try French Toast ‘Kipferl’ Style with homemade apple compote, fruit and cinnamon (£5.80), or ‘Holzhacker’ Style with Austrian bacon. Bauernfruehstueck is a tasty classic stir fry of potatoes, onions, bacon and egg (£7.80), or a popular option is the gorgeously nutty Organic Mountain Cheese Omelette (£8.20) with rocket, walnuts and rye bread.
20 Camden Passage, N1 8ED
95 Golborne Road, W10 5NL
Honey & Co
— Granger & Co. (@Grangerandco) June 4, 2015
For a Middle Eastern style breakfast, head to Honey & Co. Try the Shakshuka – two Legbar eggs baked in a tomato sauce served with milk bun, or the Merguese sausage roll with spicy tomato, harissa and fried egg – both £8.60. Other options include toasted fig, orange and walnut loaf with butter and marmalade, or a healthy tomato and za’atar salad with creamy feta and pomegranates. Groups should try the Big Breakfast at £14.50pp for the table to share – a selection of bread, tomato and feta salad, olives and pickles, dips, homemade jam, ashura cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit, with your choice of eggs.
25a Warren Street, W1T 5LZ – honeyandco.co.uk
— Healthbox (@healthboxldn) February 13, 2015
Tables are mostly communal at the biggest of the Ottolenghi delis and restaurants in Islington, but there are a few tables for two. Shakshuka – a mouth-watering North African dish with eggs, peppers and tomatoes, served with labneh and grilled focaccia (£9.50), is a wonderfully healthy start to the day, or try the potato, manouri and za’atar frittata served with yoghurt and cucumber, tomato and sumac salad. Cannellini bean stew with bacon and chorizo, served on toasted Italian white bread with a fried egg and black pudding (£9.50), is a great choice if you’re craving something meatier. You can toast sourdough bread yourself at the table.
287 Upper Street, N1 2TZ – ottolenghi.co.uk
— Will (@HawksmoorLondon) May 27, 2015
Fans of mountains of meat should head to Hawksmoor Guildhall for their huge sharing breakfast (£35 for two) – smoked bacon chop, sausages (made with pork, beef and mutton), black pudding, short-rib bubble & squeak, grilled bone marrow, trotter baked beans, fried eggs, grilled mushrooms, roast tomatoes, HP gravy, and unlimited toast. Or treat yourself to steak for breakfast – fillet or rib-eye served with fried eggs and hash browns. A cornflake milkshake (with an optional slug of bourbon) is an indulgent accompaniment, or try a Marmalade cocktail – gin, Campari, lemon juice, orange bitters and English marmalade, or an RAF English breakfast tea.
Hawksmoor Guildhall, 10 Basinghall Street, EC2V 5BQ – thehawksmoor.com
— The Wolseley (@TheWolseley) February 17, 2015
Breakfast is a decadent affair at The Wolseley, a café-restaurant in the grand European tradition. Viennoiserie – croissant, pain au chocolat, danish, amandine pain sucré au beurre normand, and cannelè bordelaise (a mixed basket to share is £8.50) – are freshly made on the premises, warm and delicious. Go for Birchermüesli, fruit salad or porridge if you’re feeling virtuous, or Haggis with Fried Duck Eggs, Grilled Kipper with Mustard Butter, and Devilled Lamb Kidneys and Crispy Bacon (all around £10) if you fancy something a little different. Pancakes are perfect, and the fluffy Omelette Arnold Bennett, with smoked haddock, is a real treat. Coffee is seriously good – try the Mozart (hazelnut liqueur, long espresso and hot chocolate with crème chantilly and almond flakes).
160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB – thewolseley.com
Try the Full Borough at classy British restaurant Roast (£15) – smoked streaky bacon, Roast recipe sausages, fried bread, Ramsay of Carluke’s black pudding, grilled tomato, field mushroom, bubble ‘n’ squeak in Britannia beef dripping, and your choice of egg: poached, fried or scrambled. A Full Scottish version includes Ramsay of Carluke’s haggis, Lorne sausage and tattie scone. Fish options include grilled Orkney kippers with lemon butter, or steamed fillet of Grimsby smoked haddock with poached egg, spinach and hollandaise sauce. Two boiled eggs with Marmite soldiers makes a lovely nostalgic start to the day – choose from hen eggs (£5.50), or duck eggs (£6.50).
The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, SE1 1TL – roast-restaurant.com
Dean Street Townhouse
— DeanStTownhouse (@DeanStTownhouse) June 19, 2015
As buzzy at breakfast as it is the rest of the day, Dean Street Townhouse is perfect for a breakfast meeting or just an indulgent treat. Eggs – Burford Browns – come all ways: boiled with buttered solders, scrambled with smoked salmon, Benedict, Florentine or Royale, or in an egg white omelette with your choice of filling. There’s porridge and granola, Greek yoghurt with banana and candied pecans, and avocado on toast with poached egg, or if you fancy something a little heartier, try ham hock hash with fried duck egg, grilled Manx kippers, kedgeree or the Full English (all between £9 – £12.50). Feel virtuous with a range of tasty smoothies.
69 – 71 Dean Street, W1D 3SE – deanstreettownhouse.com
Main image: Roast Restaurant / Facebook