When a weekend morning entails queuing at a cafe for an hour where no reservations are taken or stumbling out of an eatery after two solid hours of prosecco, bellinis or bloody marys, it’s pretty safe to say that you’ve reached the epitome of brunch in London.
That sweet spot in the morning that allows you to sleep in a little but not come home too late in the evening. Weekend brunch truly becomes an event in the social calendar. And when Australians (like us) leave their island to move abroad and set up a home away from home, they expect high-quality coffee and lip-smacking brunch (and not just the smashed avo kind).
We’ve tried and tested all the below locations (maybe with a little patriotic bias) and here’s hoping you enjoy their finger-licking dishes as much as we do!
THE BEST CAFES FOR BRUNCH IN LONDON
A “no reservations” policy means that the line snakes down Hildreth Street. If you haven’t bothered to get out of bed early, brunch is definitely worth the wait (in our opinion). Seasonal menu items will have you back in summer and winter. The freshness and quality of every morsel needs to be savoured, with the establishment supporting and sourcing produce from local and countrywide suppliers. We’d recommend adding a side of Lincolnshire Sausage or Homemade Hash to sort out your hunger. MILK is also now open for supper Thursday – Saturday evenings.
2. Farm Girl Cafe
Holistic food offerings means that Farm Girl Cafe is one for health-conscious fanatics. Located in Notting Hill, this bright, tiled wall cafe with a small courtyard is accessed by a small laneway off the main road. Organic matcha powders are served with coconut or almond milk. Further, you have the option to sprinkle superfoods such as chlorophyll and hemp protein on your açai bowl or millet porridge for that extra health kick. Reservations are not possible so do yourself a favour and get there early before wandering down Portobello Road to check out the market stalls. Farm Girl has also opened branches in Chelsea and Soho.
Keen to extend your coffee experience? Try Farm Girl’s charcoal latte.
3. The Modern Pantry
The morning you choose to visit The Modern Pantry, make sure you arrive on an empty stomach. If the sun is shining, grab one of the tables on the spacious outdoor terrace because then your most difficult decision will be choosing between savoury or sweet. The weekend brunch menu is peppered with exotic influences. You might need (like myself) to ask your waiter for some explanations. Camargue red rice and urfa chilli appear in the snacks and small plates while chilli sambal and hijiki go with the prawn omelette and vegetarian spring roll respectively. And don’t forget to leave room for dessert – ice cream for breakfast is totally acceptable.
Address | 47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JJ
Opening Hours | Monday – 8.00am – 9.00pm. Tuesday – Friday – 8.00am – 10.00pm. Saturday 9.00am – 10.00pm. Sunday 9.00am – 9.00pm.
Website | http://www.themodernpantry.co.uk/
4. Ben's Canteen
Are you at all surprised that an Australian-owned restaurant bar has alcoholic brunch drinks at the top of its weekend brunch menu? Probably not. The original Ben’s Canteen (a second venue is now in Earlsfield) is perched on a corner up on St John’s Hill not far from Clapham Junction. Large wooden tables with bench seats make this venue suitable for burgers, wine and brunch 7 days a week. We can vouch for the fried chicken with BC Hollandaise and the banana pancakes.
TIP: For homesick Aussies in London, milo comes served in the Aussie Iced Coffee. Delish!
5. Tanner and Co
Located close to the Bermondsey beer mile, this converted warehouse has a retro artsy feel to it. Thick ropes dangling amongst lightbulbs, the mismatched tiled bar with brass-coloured beer taps and pale pink booths make this eatery super Instagrammable. Just like its decor, Tanner & Co add their own spin to brunch with scotch eggs and fishcakes on the menu and a Sunday grill in the summertime. If you make it a bottomless one, make sure to book ahead!
6. No 11 Pimlico Road
This beautiful high-ceilinged gastropub offers extensive menus from breakfast, brunch and dinner – even the fussiest eater should find something to their liking! Breakfast consists of non-fuss reliable options, simple but cooked to the highest standard. Bear in mind that the breakfast menu is offered daily until 11.30am and then different menus are offered afterwards depending on whether you visit during a weekday or on the weekend. Seafood features quite generously throughout the menus and I look forward to returning to sample one of these meals. The larger tables are arranged perfectly for group meals and No 11 also has capacity for events. Reservations highly recommended.
Since its establishment in 2008, Lantana has brought the best of Aussie culture to London. Casual and comfortable with high-quality breakfast, brunch, lunch AND coffee seven days a week. The IN cafes allow you to sit to enjoy their Courgette bread or Corn fritters (add the chilli jam!) but if you’re short on time, head to the OUT cafe and make sure to pick up one of their homemade cakes. I’d recommend The Lantana Blowout, available on weekends with unlimited prosecco and coffee.
8. Granger & Co
If you’re looking for a healthy start to your day, then you need to reserve your table at one of four Granger & Co restaurants in London. Owned by established Australian restaurateur, Bill Granger, rest assured that your taste buds and belly will be well looked after. Find almond milk and coconut water in the juices, raw cacao in the smoothies and harissa, kimchi and kale among the big plates. Gold star for you if you knew what zhoug was without needing to google it.
9. Riding House Cafe
This modern-day brasserie is conveniently open all day for all meals and everything in between. Morning light streams into the windows to the booth seating on one side of the restaurant. If you find yourself seated at the long wooden table or high-top bar, you’ll see and hear the hustle and bustle of the kitchen hard at work. The buttermilk pancakes are fluffy and generously served with berries and cream and the shakshuka will leave you satisfied. Service is quick and before you know it, you will already have ordered your second coffee.