Editor’s Picks: 5 Brunch Spots You Need to Visit in London This WeekendBy Alicia Grimshaw
Our inbox is full of detox menus, healthy spins on dishes and swapping food for healthier alternatives. Quite frankly, we’re bored of it. Bored that people assume that we have to detox in January. Everything in moderation, that’s our mantra. So in the spirit of all that is tasty and delicious; we’re bringing you a special brunch column this week. We’ve handpicked our favourite brunch places that we visited most in 2016. Think of it as our love letter to the best poached eggs and granola in the capital. Because let’s face it: brunch is the most important meal of the day.
Our Pick: Vegetarian breakfast – two eggs, pan-fried halloumi, Haas avocado, Portobello mushroom and slow roast tomato, sourdough toast (£10.50)
What: This Primrose Hill cafe is always full to the rafters with yummy mummies and brunch dates on weekends, so come early. If you’re lucky enough to get one of the tables outside, then you can enjoy brunch in the sunshine, with great iced coffees and fantastic pancakes. Think: berries, ricotta and fluffy pancake mix. The dream.
Eat and Drink: The veggie fry-up is mega. Your normal bacon and sausage is replaced with chargrilled halloumi, and you can get eggs any way with it. Basically, it’s filling and it’s damn good. The homemade granola, with a generous dollop of coconut yoghurt, mixed berries and honey is a team favourite, as is the avocado on toast with tomato, spring onion and coriander. For something different, we recommend the waffle, topped with maple glazed bacon, poached eggs and avocado; it’s an odd combination, but really works. Their Bloody Mary has plenty of spicy gusto, and their coffee numbers never fail.
Where: 101 Regent’s Park Rd, London NW1 8UR
Order: Sweetcorn and beetroot fritters with roasted golden beetroot, kasundi, feta, baby mint, poached egg, smashed avocado and coriander (£9.50)
What: Friends of Ours is a little independent cafe that lives up to the hype. This laid-back, antipodean-style café located a stones throw from Old Street Station is worth the queue at the weekend. They pride themselves on providing great tasting coffee, awesome brunches and freshly-prepared cakes and other sweet bites. Come and see brunch beauty in all its glory.
Eat and Drink: These fritters are something else, and the aubergine kasundi adds a big hit of Indian spice to the dish. By far, this dish is the star of the menu. But hold up, because there’s so much more to get your knife and fork stuck into. If you enjoy the sweeter things in life, order the brioche French toast with caramelised banana, honeycomb pieces, creme fraiche, butterscotch sauce and pecans, or for something on the lighter side, try the coconut sago pudding topped with roasted cinnamon plum, toasted coconut chips, pomegranate seed and baby mint plum syrup. It’s sort of a rice pudding hybrid and we approve. If you’re a dairy-free queen, opt for an oat milk latte. It’s sublime. And grab a Tim Tam brownie for the journey home.
Where: 61 Pitfield St, Hoxton, London N1 6BU
Order: Pancakes with banana and blueberries (£6)
What: Barber and Parlour has everything under one roof; a cinema, a barbers, a cafe, and a brow bar. As much as we love the feeling of a new trim, we come here for their fantastic brunch offering. This all-day hangout serves classic brunch grub alongside speciality coffees, cold press juices, and cocktails. We like nothing more than kicking back on one of the comfy sofas, and spending a few hours here.
Eat and Drink: These pancakes are some of the best in East London. Light, fluffy and super moreish – it’s everything you want from a brunch dish. There’s plenty of eggs numbers to choose from including the vegan-friendly tofu scrambled served with spicy tomato sauce, eggs with beefsteak tomatoes and bacon, and scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. We also have a soft spot for their house granola with blackberry, plum and greek yoghurt. The berry smoothie is full of plant goodness, and contains cranberry juice, strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds. And if you wan’t to keep the party going, try the Dirty Barber Bloody Mary, a stomach busting medley of Grey Goose Citron, tomato shrub, spice mix and pickle brine.
Where: 64-66 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DP
Order: Banana Cacao – almond milk oats, coconut yogurt, cacao nibs, banana and date syrup (£5.60)
What: 26 Grains is the breakfast-loving creation of Alex Hely-Hutchinson. She combines her trusty secret porridge recipes and a big spoonful of love to create beautiful, fresh bowls of porridge goodness at her Covent Garden cafe.
Eat and Drink: Since moving next door to a bigger site, the menu has expanded, with non-oat eats now available. We’re talking about butternut squash, goat’s curd, almonds and crispy sage on rye bread, and orange and cardamon loaf. Let’s be real here – the reason why we love 26 grains so much is because of their oaty creations, and if you don’t order the banana cacao porridge, you’re doing it all wrong. For a proper winter warmer, the Nordic pear with coconut milk oats, spices, seeds, cacao crumble, coconut yogurt, pear and maple is totally dreamy.
Where: 1 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP
Order: Miso, green chilli and spring onion waffles with bacon, sour cream, tomato salsa and miso glaze (£9.80)
What: The Modern Pantry knows what it’s doing. The restaurant aims to please and excite the palate by fusing everyday cooking with modern ingredients. Its founder, Anna Hansen, a New Zealand-born chef who is behind gems such as The Providores and PUBLIC in New York, certainly knows how to create a buzz. Since opening in 2008, the restaurant’s globally-inspired modern cuisine has earned Hansen a cookbook, an MBE and an epic reputation.
Eat and Drink: Man, the weekend brunch menu at The Modern Pantry is bang on. The blackberry and ricotta pancakes topped with spiced apple and pear compote, yoghurt and candid pecans is absolutely divine, and the Turkish menemen with poached or fried eggs, feta and nigella seed yoghurt is too good to miss also. If you like Eggs Benedict, you’ll love their twist on the classic – it comes with tea smoked salmon, smoked streaky bacon or wilted spinach and yuzu hollandaise, hazelnut and macadamia dukkah. Come here for all the eggy treats, including their iconic sugar cured prawn omelette, and scrambled eggs with grilled chorizo, slow-roast tomatoes and plantain fritters. And not forgetting the best matcha latte in town.
Where: 47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4JJ