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by The Daily Telegraph, February 25, 2016
London may not yet specialise in the lavish, unlimited-champagne brunches so common in places like Hong Kong and Dubai, but an increasing number of restaurants are offering innovative and intriguing brunch menus - diners can now choose from much more than basic egg dishes and bottomless options with unlimited prosecco and Bloody Marys are becoming more popular too. From inventive champagne brunches to classic lazy Sunday brunches, Telegraph writers select their favourite brunches in the capital.
Berber & Q, Hackney
Can’t stomach another eggs Benedict? Brunch at Berber & Q – hidden beneath the railway arches at Haggerston – is an altogether more exotic experience. The full English is replaced by the full Israeli, a vast sharing platter of punchy dips and salads mopped up with pillow-soft flatbread; poached eggs come swimming in paprika-laced butter and with a side of spicy sucuk sausage. While the cuisine comes from the Middle East, the room matches the postcode: all the exposed brick a hipster might wish for, filament bulbs lit low, bearded waiters and quirky ornaments galore.
Berber & Q
Top treat: I could’ve eaten a small bucket of the sweet yoghurt, topped with peanuts and date syrup.
Times and cost: Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 3pm; Israeli Breakfast, with tea or coffee, costs £12.50 per person.
Address: RCH 338 Acton Mews, E8 4EA, London
Review by Oliver Smith
Duck & Waffle, the City
It's London's highest brunch, 40 floors up the Heron Tower, and you pay a hefty premium for those views - in another setting paying £11 for plain scrambled eggs on toast (and an extra £4.50 for a morsel of chorizo) would be hard to justify. Fortunately the food here doesn't disappoint. Duck, of course, is the thing here - served crispy and simply with waffles and syrup, or in a creamy Asian congee with spring onions and hot sauce. Must-have extras include refreshing strips of smoked mackerel with lime yoghurt and apple, and thick slices of mouth-watering yellowfin tuna; traditionalists will be kept happy with duck egg and soldiers, ox cheek benedict, freshly-baked pastries or the hefty full English.
Top treat: The Full Elvis, a sweet and sticky mountain of waffles, bananas, peanut butter, fruit and cream, would handily satisfy even The King's appetite.
Address: The Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Days and times: Saturday and Sunday; 9am-4pm
Prices: The House Breakfast and the Full Elvis both £15; mimosas £15.
Review by Oliver Smith
The Full English breakfast at Duck & Waffle
The Delaunay, Covent Garden
The grand wood-panelled dining room of The Delaunay is an inviting spot in which to while away a few hours. True, there’s nothing innovative about the middle European menu, but you’re sure to find something for even the fussiest diners: there are the usual brunch egg dishes along with everything from wursts to kedgeree to rib-eyes on offer. The food is of a satisfyingly high standard, the service is polite and efficient, and the atmosphere offers the sophistication, but not the occasional aura of pretension, found at The Delaunay’s sister restaurant The Wolseley. Add to that a reasonable wine list and some tempting puds (we love the sachertorte), and your brunch date is sorted.
Top treat: Eggs Arlington - toasted muffins topped with a poached egg, smoked salmon and a dash of rich hollandaise - or crispy schnitzel if you’re ready for lunch.
Address: 55 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BB
Days and times: Saturdays and Sundays 11 am - 5 pm
Cost: Eggs Arlington £18 for a large portion
Review by Sally Peck
Yauatcha City, Liverpool Street
One of the dainty desserts on offer during Supreme Saturdays at Yauatcha City
Yauatcha City ’s appropriately named Supreme Saturdays offer one of the most sophisticated brunches in London. After a potent welcome martini or punchy negroni, the feast commences: first platters of dainty, delicious dim sum; to follow, decadent mains – perhaps lobster vermicelli or truffled pork belly rib. Enticingly displayed on a counter and served with a farewell cocktail, some of London’s prettiest desserts are a fittingly delightful finale for a brunch that scores top marks for service, style and savoir faire.
Top treat: crumbly and rich venison puffs were the stars of the dim sum platter
Times and cost: Saturdays from 12pm to 5pm; £49pp for all of the above, sides, and a half bottle of wine
Address: Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2QS
Review by John O’Ceallaigh
Hakkasan, Oxford Street
Champagne and dim sum at Hakkasan
Though the dining concept is similar to sister restaurant Yauatcha, Hakkasan ’s Dim Sum Sundays offering doesn’t quite reach the same heights. The food is still impressive, however, and it does go one better by offering an uncommonly glamorous setting in which to spend a lazy Sunday. That’s in part due to the room itself, dimly lit and discreetly partitioned by lattice screens, and the indulgent vibe courtesy of the bottle of Louis Roederer Brut champagne provided to each couple and accompanying tunes from a resident DJ (who plays from 1pm to 5pm).
Top treat: Tasty dim sum was expected, but we were surprised by the playful Jivara bomb dessert, a crackling mix of hot chocolate sauce-coated hazelnut praline with rice krispies and popping candy.
Times and cost: Sundays from midday to 6.45pm; £58pp for six courses, two cocktails and a half bottle of champagne.
Address: 8 Hanway Pl, London W1T 1HD
Review by John O’Ceallaigh
Caravan, King’s Cross
Caravan King's Cross
Caravan, situated in a former grain store, is like a souped-up canteen – a look surely inspired by its proximity to Central Saint Martin’s – but is saved from being too school-like by its original metal beams, fashionable ferns and open kitchen. The so-called “well-travelled menu” serves interesting versions of expected brunch-time fare, such as black coconut rice with pineapple and coconut yoghurt; pumpkin waffles; or kimchi pancakes with pork belly and duck egg. The coffee, roasted on site and changed daily, is among the best served in London.
Top treat: The fluffy, peppery, Jalapeno corn bread, served with fried eggs, black beans and guindilla peppers is a plateful of love from America’s Deep South.
Times and cost: Saturdays and Sundays; 10am-4pm. Main dishes from £7.50.
Address: 1 Granary Building, Granary Square, London N1C 4AA
Review by Jade Conroy
As with so many fashionable brunch spots, Milk offers exposed brick, wooden benches, sourdough bread and speciality cakes, as well as milkshakes and juices served in old-school glass milk bottles. What sets it apart is the quality, and the setting too. Small, with quirky neon signage and an assortment of pictures cluttering the walls, it’s cute, buzzy and busy. No bookings are taken so be prepared to queue
Top treat: the baked eggs with sausage, spinach, labneh and wildflowers is unexpectedly distinctive
Times and cost: Monday- Saturday 8am-5pm, Sunday 9am-5pm; hot food £5.50-£9.50
Address: 20 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9RG
Review by Victoria Monk
Brickwood, Clapham Common
An Antipodean artisan café with chipper staff and an emphasis on good coffee, Brickwood offers a brunch menu with some refreshing tweaks to old classics - think corn fritters with beetroot crème fraîche and roasted vegetables. If time is of the essence, there are sourdough toasties, pastries and other devilishly tempting goodies available for takeaway, or if the weather allows you can eat in the small courtyard at the back - blankets are provided in wintertime.
Top treat: warm, homemade banana bread with whipped espresso butter
Times and cost: Monday-Friday 7am-6pm, Saturday& Sunday 9am-6pm; hot food £8-£10
Address: 16 Clapham Common South Side, London SW4 7AB
Review by Victoria Monk
Granger & Co, Notting Hill
Australian chef Bill Granger’s no-fuss approach to brunch works a treat. From the pared-down interiors (banquette seating, wooden chairs and hardwearing terrazzo surfaces) to the food, everything is a laidback affair. That doesn’t mean inspired combinations don’t permeate the menu . The offerings may be simple but they’re also creative. For instance, a bacon brioche roll slathered with spiced chutney and sprinkled with rocket is topped off with a chilli fried egg; a ricotta pancake with honeycomb butter is paired with slices of banana; and a deep-fried egg is given an exotic twist – it comes with parsley salad, courgette fritters, halloumi and tahini yoghurt. No wonder there are queues for brunch at weekends.
Top treat: An almond milk chia seed pot with mango and coconut yoghurt or, or something a little less healthy, toasted brioche with labneh, pistachio and raspberry and vanilla jam.
Times and cost: Monday to Saturday: 7am–5pm; Sunday: 8am–5pm.
Address: 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2SB
Review by Trisha Andres
Lima Floral, Covent Garden
This quietly colourful establishment offers brunch for those not that fussed about traditional brunch. Diners can choose between the Andean Breakfast – the likes of fresh egg frittatas with spring onion and an immensely aromatic Andean-style porridge – and the Long Lunch. The latter comes in the form of four starters – from steamed dumplings to huancaina beef - before a similarly diverse range of mains and sides. Both options finish with a rich chocolate mousse. But such is the delicate execution of this light Peruvian cuisine that, despite leaving a table littered with dishes, one doesn’t leave feeling the need for an immediate return to the sofa.
Top treat: The simple breakfast yoghurt, with eucalyptus, muña mint, bee pollen and fruits, was beautifully refreshing
Times and cost: Saturday and Sunday, breakfast 10.30am until 12.30pm; long lunch all day (until 3pm); former £18 per person, the latter £30, excluding drinks.
Address: 14 Garrick Street, London WC2E 9BJ
Review by Hugh Morris
Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden
Sundays at Flesh & Buns transpose the popular brunch component of bottomless prosecco to a Japanese setting. As well as the ever-flowing fizz, diners get a welcome cocktail; chips, dips and edamame beans; unlimited small plates (including sumptuous sushi and seafood); one “flesh” (perhaps steak or other meaty offerings such as crispy duck leg with sour plum soy and beetroot pickle) or veggie option, plus pillowy bao-style steamed buns, and dessert. It’s a full-on feast – with a two-hour time limit per reservation - in an underground setting F&B describes as a “rock and roll izakaya”.
Top treat: From the flesh section, miso-topped aubergine accompanied by pickled carrot and cucumber
Times and cost: Sunday 12-5pm; £39/46
Address: Flesh & Buns, 41 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LX
Review by Rachel Cranshaw
Grain Store, Kings Cross
A mainly vegetarian restaurant that filters its tap water, Grain Store is a bright, industrial space with plenty of healthy options and a pleasant conversational hum that works well with Tony Conigliaro’s zesty cocktails. Among the global cuisine and vegan options and named after chef Bruno Loubet, Bruno’s power breakfast – eggs Benedict with truffle, broccoli spears, a rustic ratatouille and a nuggest of avocado toast - is one of the most sinful options. And if it all sounds too healthy you can finish with dessert and cheese.
Top treat: A Welsh rarebit muffin (served with spinach salad, baked ham, fried egg and piccalilli ) was an adorable and moreish puff presented in a tiny flowerpot.
Times and cost: Saturday and Sunday 10am until 3pm. Bruno’s power breakfast is £15, Welsh rarebit muffin £9. House cocktails are £8.50.
Address: Granary Square, King's Cross, 1-3 Stable St, London N1C 4AB
Review by Natalie Paris
Darwin at Sky Garden, the City
Located in the Sky Garden on the 36th floor of the Walkie Talkie skyscraper, Darwin Brasserie offers one of the most spectacular brunch settings in all of London. You can get started on unlimited Bloody Marys or juices as you pinpoint London landmarks, before tucking in to the buffet (for starters and desserts) and ordering your mains, perhaps roast beef or pulled pork burgers in place of more typical brunch dishes, from the a la carte menu. Whether ordered fresh or taken from the buffet, dishes match the impressive setting – eating here feels very special.
Top treat: The puddings – the spread is devilishly vast and tempting.
Times and cost: Sunday 11.30am-3.30pm; £38pp
Address: Darwin Brasserie, Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 8AF
Review by Victoria Monk
Pancakes are a speciality at Christopher's in Covent Garden
If you’re looking for a thoroughly satisfying weekend feed in a classically stylish space, you can’t go far wrong with a brunch booking at American restaurant and bar Christopher’s . The wide à la carte menu caters for greedy (or hungover) patrons with a range of substantial classic dishes – including steak (£22/32) – as well as more contemporary additions (Huevos California, Eggs Maryland, Lobster Benedict). The inventive Superfood Menu also ensures that the health-conscious diner is richly catered for.
Top treat: The Design Your Own Stack pancake menu (£10 with three toppings), which allows you to pick your pancake variety and indulgent topping - a sweet tooth’s dream.
Times and cost: Saturday & Sunday From 11.30am – 3.30pm; main dishes approx. £10-18, breakfast dishes approx. £7-12
Address: 18 Wellington St, London WC2E 7DD
Review by Hannah Meltzer
Tried everything on offer? If you're ready for something a bit different then book a visit to one of London's most unusual brunches or you could try making brunch at home using our guide to London's best brunch recipes and sweet and savory brunch recipes . And for brunches elsewhere, see our round-up of boozy bottomless brunches available throughout Britain .
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