From pastries and Middle Eastern dishes to healthy options and contemporary twists on the classic full English breakfast, the first meal of the day comes in many forms in the capital. The traditional English breakfast, or fry-up, comprises bacon, sausages and eggs, which are typically served with fried bread or toast, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms and sometimes black pudding or hash browns.
According to the English Breakfast Society, the dish dates back to the early 19th century when the British gentry considered breakfast to be an important social event and an excellent way to show off their wealth and the abundant produce from their estates. While a traditional fry-up is still a national favourite, chefs in the capital are becoming increasingly creative over breakfast. The good news is that you don’t have to be an early riser to savour London’s tastiest trend as breakfast and brunch options are served in many places until midday.
Morning meals just got a lot more exotic thanks to cult brunch destination Dishoom in Shoreditch. This retro-stylish Indian restaurant gives well-known British dishes an eastern twist. Try its interpretation of the classic full English breakfast, which sees spiced scrambled eggs served on toast with bacon, sausages and vine tomatoes. Or start the day with a signature Dishoom naan roll, baked in a tandoor oven, stuffed with cream cheese, chilli jam and fresh herbs and served with additional fillings such as handmade Shropshire pork sausages, bacon and eggs. For a lighter option, order a breakfast lassi, a fortifying take on the refreshing Indian yoghurt drink, made with mango, banana and oats.
Dishoom, 7 Boundary Street, London E2 7JE, +44 (0)20 7420 9324
With its displays of homemade pastries and its pretty, vintage-inspired tea sets and jam jars, the Haberdashery in Crouch End is a homely and cosy choice for a laid-back morning bite. The cafe aims to use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, and the vegetarian brunch comes with a perfectly poached egg, potato rösti, halloumi, mushrooms and healthy handful of green vegetables. They have a passion for coffee here, which is sourced from Brick Lane’s Nude Espresso micro-roastery. Order a cup and you can guarantee that the Haberdashery will fuel you for a busy day ahead.
The Haberdashery, 22 Middle Lane, London N8 8PL, +44 (0)20 8342 8098
Granger & Co
Cook, restaurateur and food writer Bill Granger was a pioneer of communal tables in restaurants when he introduced the idea at his restaurant in Sydney about 20 years ago. He set up his first British eatery in Notting Hill in 2011 and several other branches have since been launched in the capital. The Notting Hill space reflects the spirit that characterises all of his restaurants; it feels warm and inviting whatever the weather, the menu is always distinctive and the dishes are full of flavour. Those feeling virtuous can start the day with freshly squeezed juices and muesli with almond milk, coconut yoghurt and fruit compote. Other highlights include the fantastic ricotta hotcakes served with banana and honeycomb butter and the Full Aussie – scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with bacon, cumin-roasted tomatoes, chestnut mushrooms and chipolatas.
Granger & Co, 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2SB, +44 (0)20 7229 9111,
Tucked behind Spitalfields Market, Ottolenghi Spitalfields is the latest addition to Yotam Ottolenghi’s collection of restaurants. It is the largest of the five London eateries from the chef, who is renowned for his cutting-edge cuisine that reflects the flavours of the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. Pick an individual or communal table and linger over breakfast. The North African shakshuka is a standout creation; a hearty combination of eggs, peppers and tomatoes served with labneh (thick, strained yoghurt) and grilled focaccia. The restaurant is fitted with thoughtful touches such as personal toasters.
Ottolenghi, 50 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LJ, +44 (0)20 7247 1999