Brunch is without a doubt, hands-down my favourite meal. It makes me look forward to the weekend, so I can spend a luxurious morning (or afternoon) lounging over coffees, eggs in all forms, fluffy pancakes or flaky pastries and if it’s a brunch of the bottomless kind, (multiple) Bellini’s, or glasses of prosecco.
As an Aussie having spent the last two years living in London, I have passed many a weekend exploring every nook and cranny of the city, constantly on the lookout for a new brunching locale to while away a Sunday, as well as a decent cappuccino. This, as any Aussie living in London will tell you, is often as elusive as a free seat on the tube in rush hour. However, I persevered and here I have listed my top five places to brunch in London, that also serve the ever elusive decent cappuccino.
Ben’s Canteen, Battersea:
140 St John’s Hill, SW11 1SL
Ben’s Canteen was recommended to me by one of my closest friends who took me there after a rather large evening the night before when I was in definite need of some comforting breakfast type food and elixir of life (Read: coffee). Advertising that they serve ‘Aussie-inspired brunches, burgers and wines, this is another brunch place that you need to book in advance, but if you don’t, its well worth the wait to be seated.
This place offers amazing coffee and a great array of breakfast cocktails, including Bloody Mary’s, Bellini’s, as well as a range of healthy juices and a delectable banana and peanut butter smoothie. Ben’s Canteen offers a range of sweet and savoury breakfast options, including everyone’s favourite -smashed avo on toast, breakfast burritos and banana pancakes. I had the sweetcorn and courgette fritters with haloumi, balsamic roast tomato chutney and a poached egg, with a cheeky side of chorizo, which really ticked all of my ‘great brunch’ boxes. Really satisfying and delicious with generous serving, great food presentation and great friendly, service and a chilled-out vibe.
The Roundhouse, Camden:
Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8EH
More commonly known as a live music venue of note, bottlomless brunch at the MADE Bar and Kitchen at the Roundhouse was possibly one of the best recommendations I received in the two years that I spent in London. Served only on Sunday’s you get a ‘main course’ as well as unlimited fresh toast, pastries and waffles for only £14.95. If you want to enjoy bottomless Bellini’s and Bloody Mary’s (who doesn’t) its £27.50 – which is still a steal.
Recommendation: Make a booking, as it can get extremely busy and it is one of those ever increasingly rare venues that actually allow you to make a booking, rather than standing on line for hours.
The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields:
12-16 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS
The fact that this London institution now has numerous locations across the city is a testament to its popularity, as are the line-ups for a table on a Sunday. They don’t take bookings before 5pm on the weekend , however the wait is definitely worth it. They have an extensive menu of delicious breakfast options including your traditional fry up, American style pancakes, breakfast burritos, eggs-multiple ways and also plenty of options for all those vegetarians out there. They also offer £6 Bloody Mary’s and bucks fizz for those who want a more boozy brunch.
With the Spitalfields location open until late both during the week and on the weekend they also offer lunch and dinner menu, which includes all day breakfast items as well as an American diner-style menu including burgers, club sandwiches, fried chicken and mac and cheese from midday. This place is actually the perfect brunch place for a day after the big night before.
Ginger & White, Hampstead:
4a-5a Perrins Court, NW3 1QS
This little place is located on the cutest little pedestrian street just off the Hampstead High street, on Perrin’s Court. Cozy, welcoming and warm with a lot of natural light. Ginger & White serve a variety of delicious freshly baked treats including pastries, cakes and muffins as well as old-fashioned greasy spoon classics, like fish finger sandwiches and beans with a modern re-vamped twist.
Their menu uses seasonal ingredients and changes based on their availability however on one occasion that I visited I had the toasted banana bread with vanilla cream cheese, toasted almonds and poached seasonal fruit, which was absolutely to die for. The coffee game here is strong and all beans and milk are sourced from local UK small producers. They also have a delectable selection of large and small cakes that had my mouth watering just by looking at them, which is just one of the reasons why Ginger & White makes my top five. They also have a second location located in Belsize Park.
119 Lower Clapton, Hackney:
119 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP
As the name suggests this little gem is located on 119 Lower Clapton Road and I stumbled across it not long after I moved into the neighbourhood. The décor of this little café is rather minimalist, with a dash of retro and the natural light from the large glass shopfront gives it an elegant and spacious feel and makes you feel welcome to linger over breakfast and a coffee or two and is popular with the creative crowd who can be found tapping away on their laptops, working on launching their start-up or blogging to their hearts content (guilty). The coffee is fantastic – similar to what you would get in any decent café in Australia, yet not overpriced as you tend to find in a lot more ‘pretentious’ coffee shops in east London.
Their brunch menu is short, sweet and simple, and they also offer a range of fresh and grilled sandwiches for lunch. On my first visit here I had a generous serving of the bananas on sourdough toast with almonds, mint, crème fraiche and cinnamon, which was absolute heaven and so addictive that I ordered it on almost every subsequent visit. Along with a cappuccino, my meal cost me less than £10, which makes 119 Lower Clapton a real winner in my book.
So there you have it, my top five pick for great coffee and brunch in London. Give them a try, I promise you will not be disappointed.