Who doesn’t love meeting for brunch – ready to fight a slight hangover with mates on the weekend in the form of good food and company?
It doesn’t just have to be be eggs benedict or avocado toast though, here are a few other London options for when a classic English fry up won’t cut it.
1. Black Penny: Crispy confit duck
The Black Penny in Soho recently underwent a menu makeover and now offers a diverse brunch menu including a few options you won’t find at every breakfast joint, like the Turkish inspired ozdemir pasha – fried eggs with halloumi, butter bean hummus, sumac, tomatoes and parsley salad with grilled Turkish bread, or the delicious crispy confit duck served on top of sweet potato hash, spinach, spring onion, coriander and a perfectly poached egg and crackling.
A husband and wife team runs the cafe – which is built around the idea of nostalgia for English coffee shops of the 17th century, with it’s open brick walls, shelves full of vintage books and industrial touches. The whole place just has a lovely attention to detail.
The Black Penny Coffee House, 34 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden WC2B 5AA.
2. Dishoom: Bacon and egg naan
The idea behind Dishoom is Iran meets Bombay. There’s a few across the city now, but the Shoreditch restaurant is a fave – there’s a veranda with heaters and cosy seats. And don’t miss out on the brunch speciality that’s got everyone talking- the bacon and egg naan. That’s right, a naan bread with bacon and egg inside. The bacon is crispy and streaky, the fried egg perfectly lovely and runny; oh and they smother the naan in cream cheese and add a slightly spicy tomato jam. It may sound a bit of an odd combination at first, but don’t let that put you off.
Also, go crazy and order the most amazing grilled mushrooms on the side, covered in herbs and butter, and have the chai hot chocolate to drink. BTW, you’ll never think of naan breads in the same way again.
Dishoom has restaurants in Shoreditch, Kings Cross, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden.
3. Hash E8: Hash benedict with pork belly
The ultimate in hipster brunch, Hash E8, can be found tucked between Hackney Downs and Dalston, and full of happy diners tucking into indulgent British and American breakfasts with a twist. At this casual, no frills cafe, it’s ALL about the food.
One favourite, the Hash Benedict is like a pimped up eggs benedict. Homemade hashbrowns replace the English muffin, while kale and a generous helping of confit pork belly (which is totally a breakfast food) sit under the poached eggs topped in hollandaise. The Pig Muffin is another epic choice – a hashbrown, pork belly, sausage patty, bacon, cheese, egg cake and bacon jam (yes you read correctly) in a muffin.
But if you like your coffee in latte, flat white or cappuccino form you might want to look elsewhere – it’s filter all the way here. Or treat your hangover with a hair of the dog gin cocktail instead.
Hash E8, 170c Dalston Lane, London, E8 1NG.
4. 100 Hoxton: Koroke
100 Hoxton, with its on-trend exposed brick walls, concrete floors, low hanging industrial lights and retro-style booths, was the first sign of gentrification on Hoxton Street when it opened a couple of years ago – in place of a kebab shop. It specialises in an inventive cocktail menu (also available at brunch) and Asian inspired cuisine.
Among the more unusual dishes on offer for brunch is koroke -a Korean croquet made of potato and vegetates, served with poached eggs, chilli dressing, crispy bacon and cheese sauce. It’s the perfect mix of hangover-friendly eggs and bacon, comforting carbs and spice. The buttermilk and maple French toast with maple bacon and fried eggs is worth a try too.
100 Hoxton, Hoxton Street, Shoreditch, London N1 6SG.
5. Cafe Route: Shakshuka
This little bistro in Dalston Square is popular and packed no matter what time of day. There’s a vibrant European feel with dried chillis and garlic bulbs hanging over a counter full of fresh pastries at breakfast and colourful salads at lunch. It’s run by a husband and wife team and the service is consistently good.
The excellent brunch menu is a mixture of posh breakfast classics, Mediterranean dishes and Middle Eastern influences. The Shakshuka, a skillet of eggs, tomatoes, peppers and onions served in your very own miniature frying pan and chunks of sourdough, is a warming winter breakfast when you need a break from variations of avocado on toast. The Ana Capri – scrambled eggs, parma ham, mozzarella and fresh tomatoes – is another tasty option.
Cafe Route, Gaumont Tower, Dalston Square, London E8 3BQ.