I love brunch. I love its humble beginnings. Its lazy Sunday mornings filled with buttery scrambled eggs on toast and smeared avocado on rye bread. It is the start of a relaxing day. At home, you’ll find me pouring over the Sunday supplements while sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
But when I’m out and about, Brunch takes on a slightly more grand affair. If I’m at a cafe ordering the mid-morning meal it’s because I’m about to have a sumptuous catch up with a good group of friends. It then because a meal that I’m willing to spent a bit more on because, for me, it’s no longer food, it’s time spent with good friends.
Each time we agree to meet for brunch, hours are spent pouring over the internet and Whatsapping suggestions. I scrutinise the menu in a vain attempt to predict what food I may want to eat in a few weeks time. And, thanks to my military precision I’ve never felt dissatisfied.
So, to save you, my lucky reader, from the same internet deep dive, I’ve popped my thoughts of my five favourite brunch spots below.
Duck & Waffle
The first restaurant to feature on my brunch list is Duck & Waffle. This skyline restaurant first opened its 24/7 doors in 2011. Diners enter through a private entrance on 110 Bishopsgate, one of London’s tallest buildings. After speaking to a doorman, you’re directed to a lift which takes you 230 metres into London’s skyline.
Before you pop down to Bishopsgate, I would highly recommend booking a table (especially if you’re trying to seat a large number). Table reservations open around one month in advance, so if you have a date in mind, try to think 4 weeks ahead. However, your painstaking plan will pay off once you’ve taken your seat near one of floor to ceiling windows.
I went here for a very early breakfast on my 26th birthday. I’d perused the menu before and knew exactly what I wanted to order: the caramelised banana waffle (£13). The bananas were soft and the waffles were the perfect blend of tough and doughy. I loved opting for a sweet breakfast when I’m out, for me ice-cream before noon is the ultimate treat. To accompany our breakfasts, we each had a coffee and a freshly squeezed glass of orange. While I was tempted by a breakfast cocktail, I was slightly put off by the price – maybe next time I’ll save enough coppers for a morning mimosa.
Just around the corner from London Kings Cross is Spiritland. What first attracted me to this brunch destination was its low prices and close proximity to the station I commute through five days a week.
The Kings Cross branch is home to an enormous sound system, which has a unique musical programme. If your a music lover, this sound system will make you drool.
We went on a rainy Saturday morning back in January after an early morning tour around the British Museum. As we entered, the low level lighting made both me and the table feel instantly chic.
I ordered a glass of OJ, while I pondered over the breakfast selection. Dining out as a vegetarian can get a little repetitive, but I wolfed down my avocado, lemon and chillis on toast (£7.50). This is on the cheaper end of my brunch choices and is situated in near the Coal Drops Yard, which is home to lots of interesting independent shops. You can certainly work up an appetite wandering around the vintage rails, and for me Spiritland is the perfect place to head!
For my third pick, I’ve chosen Redemption Bar. Located in three of London’s trendiest suburbs, Redemption Bar serves up vegan, sugar-free and wheat-free food. This micro-chain was founded in 2014 and aims to make socialising healthy. Before we went round the Christian Dior exhibition at the V&A last year, myself and two friends headed to the Notting Hill Branch for a much-needed catch up.
Once again, it was the sweet treats that caught my eye when I ordered the: very berry pancakes (£11.95). These buckwheat American pancakes are topped with coconut yoghurt, berries, walnuts and apple slices. While this isn’t as obviously indulgent as my other brunch choices, it still felt treelike – to me, American pancakes always do!
It’s really worth pouring over this menu, there are lots of sumptuous choices to choose from, each with an ingredient or two that will surely peak anyone’s interest. In total, I spent around £20 on this brunch (including a tip). And, it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go back to, the menu alone is inspiration enough on how to revamp your home cooked Sunday brunch choices. While we had booked a table for three, on the day the restaurant was fairly quiet so I can imagine that small groups are seated fairly quickly.
When I first moved to London a few years ago, Farm Girl was high on my list of brunch spots to visit. Farm Girl’s roots lie in Melbourne. It’s founders, Rose Mann and Anthony Hood, wanted to bring vibrant brunches to England’s capital. Arguably, Farm Girl pioneered the idea of an Instagrammable lunch with their hearty plates and nutritious ingredients. This Instagram presence is most certainly what caught my eye.
My friend and I headed over to Farm Girl’s Notting Hill branch. En route to Farm Girl, we snapped pic after pic of ourselves outside the areas most photographic of homes. I’m grateful to say that the majority of these pictures never saw the light of day!
Once we were at Farm Girl, we found ourselves at the back of a rather long queue. It seemed as though we’d underestimate it’s social media standing and other people’s weekend plans! I’d definitely try to book a table in the future. We were eventually seated in the outside courtyard, it was a little nippy but we were given blankets to keep ourselves warm.
It’s the details that were my favourite touches. The cucumber water on the table, the slightly chipped tables and the very attentive waiters. I settled on Shakshuka and a Rose Latte. While I can’t find the prices online, I know I wouldn’t have paid more than £20 for both. I’ve got my eye on the Soho branch for a takeaway coffee for my next visit.
I’ve been to Venice and I grew up in Birmingham – another city dominated by canals, and now I’ve finally been to Little Venice. Located just a few minutes away from Paddington Station on foot, Beany Green is another top-notch Brunch spot. In fact, it’s even been hailed as the best brunch in Little Venice.
Once again we’d booked a table ahead of our trip around the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A. As I entered, I fell head over heels for the decor. I popped myself down on a pink velvet chair and waited for my friends to arrive. And once they did, I knew exactly what I wanted to order: the healthy start (£12.70). And indeed it was, packed full of greens, including broccoli and avocado this brunch left me feeling both full and virtuous. I also treated myself to a chai latte and drank plenty of water – it was a scorcher of a day.
Once again, we’d booked a table and I’d recommend booking ahead of your arrival. The restaurant was busy and bustling with customers comfortably packed into every nook and cranny. Personally, I loved the lively atmosphere and will definitely be returning at some point.
So, there you have it – my five favourite brunch locations in London. I definitely have my eye on one or two that I’ll be making a beeline for straight after this lockdown has been lifted! Let me know if you have any fave brunch spots that you think I should check out on my next trip to the old smoke!
Thanks for reading!
Ciao for now,