In Review

13 of the best brunch restaurants in the UK and London

Start the day off with some of the tastiest food around

It’s the most maligned meal of the day - a symptom of “soulless suburban conformity”, says The Guardian. More baldly, “brunch is for jerks”, declared The New York Times in 2014.

And yet the brunch phenomenon rumbles on, fuelled by an apparently inexhaustible supply of poached eggs, avocados and millennials. 

To get your day off to the right start with the perfect portmanteau meal, here are some of the best brunches across the UK and in London.

Bob Bob Ricard, London

The waffle and bellini hour at Soho stalwart Bob Bob Ricard is a self-explanatory enterprise - a short, opulent menu of truffled or classic waffles topped with maple syrup and crispy bacon or berries. Bacon seems like the obvious way to go, and a generous infusion of truffle adds a layer of umami to the salty-sweet flavours. The strawberry and peach bellini (or a glass of champagne) offers refreshment with a kick. The dining room at Bob Bob Ricard, with its high-sided booths and wide tables, is perfect for socialising while keeping a precautionary distance. Waffles, from £12, are served from 11am to noon on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

1 Upper James Street, London W1F 9DF; bobbobricard.com

Donnelly’s at the Bermondsey Bar and Kitchen, London

The venue, once a car park, plays up its hipster-industrial aesthetic, with tarmac floors, bare light bulbs and whitewashed brick walls. The hard-edged decor is softened by the warmth of the service - and a hearty range of breakfasts to satisfy traditionalists (the sausages alone make the full English a winner) as well as the more adventurous (a truffle-creamed leek tart, perhaps). Add an invigorating Bloody Mary for the full restorative effect.

40 Bermondsey Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 3UD; bermondseybarandkitchen.co.uk

Loudons Cafe & Bakery, Edinburgh

Brunch is served until 4pm at this Edinburgh hotspot, famed for its “Bennys” (muffins). This kitchen knows its way around a poached egg - they come with Parma ham and pesto, or avocado and chorizo, or even with haggis and black pudding. Loudons also does a nice line in vegan, gluten- and lactose-free alternatives, including pancakes.

2 Sibbald Walk, Edinburgh, EH8 8FT; loudons.co.uk

PETER KOCIHA Photography

Park Chinois, London

It’s hard to say precisely what makes Brunch Chinois brunch - the first seating is at midday and it contains no obvious breakfast element - but it is nonetheless a very enjoyable way to while away a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. Served downstairs in the velvet-clad Club Chinois, it’s an opulent affair that begins with a cocktail and proceeds with a bottle of Charles Heidsieck champagne to share between two. Food takes the form of a three-course set menu featuring a range of favourites from the full restaurant menu. High-end Chinese delights include a selection of dim sum ar bang bang chicken to start, followed by Cantonese roast duck, poached sea bass with ginger and soya or braised tofu with enoki mushrooms.

No.17 Berkeley Street Mayfair, London W1J 8EA; parkchinois.com 

 
Tyddyn Llan, Corwen

“Laverbread in an Overcoat” is the famed dish from this North Wales gem. “They do not literally put an overcoat on the Welsh breakfast staple of boiled seaweed. That would be odd,” says Esquire. Instead, it is made from scrambled eggs, toast and streaky bacon: the most delicious of coatings, says the magazine. As an added bonus, North Wales’s only Michelin-starred restaurant also features an array of suitable lodgings so you can make a weekend of it - and enjoy second helpings of the copious breakfast menu.

Llandrillo, nr. Corwen, Denbighshire, North Wales LL21 0ST; tyddynllan.co.uk

Q Brunch, Quaglino’s, London

Brunch at Quaglino’s can be a disconcerting affair. The food, the wine, the dramatic lighting - and your fellow diners, dressed to impressed - lull you into a late-night frame of mind, and you may well find yourself blinking in surprise as you emerge into the afternoon sunshine. The illusion starts the moment you step into the dark, cavernous restaurant and descend the illuminated stairs. Art-deco glamour oozes from every surface, from the velvet curtains of the cabaret stage to the gilded marble bar. The menu is also suitably starry. Brunch classics - eggs benedict, royale or florentine, or scrambled with truffle or smoked salmon - are tucked away in one corner, leaving more space for conventional lunch and dinner options. The Q Brunch is served on Saturdays only, from 11.30am to 2.30pm.

16 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AJ; quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk

 
Dishoom, Edinburgh and London 

When the Bombay cafe chain Dishoom started offering brunch, little did the guests know what they were in for. Bacon and eggs may be brunch stalwarts; naans, less so. But this combination, in tandem with some killer chilli tomato jam and cream cheese, makes a meal to die for. Dishoom also does Bombay omelettes, chicken keema, and akuri, a traditional Iranian egg dish. The chain has acquired a cult following over the past few years, and for good reason.

Various locations; dishoom.com

DAVID LOFTUS

45 Jermyn St, London

It is no good adding salmon or caviar to eggs in a bid to improve them if you haven’t got the eggs right in the first place. Fortunately, that essential building block of the very best breakfasts is done perfectly at 45 Jermyn St. And that isn’t the only basic the swish St James’s establishment does well. Coffee, juice, avocados and toast may all sound simple enough, but in the hands of the chefs at 45 Jermyn St, they are all elevated into something superior. The eggs, scrambled and mixed with cream, are quite possibly the most indulgent in London. And with a dollop of caviar or a side of salmon they are pure brunching perfection. 

45 Jermyn Street, St James’s London, SW1Y 6DN; 45jermynst.com

Aster, London

This Nordic-French inspired restaurant features a two or three-course vegan brunch menu, complete with vegan Bloody Mary’s and a create-it-yourself station. Highlights on the diverse menu include gluten-free granola, coconut yogurt with a berry compote, teff pancakes with golden drizzle, mushrooms on toast and heritage tomatoes with baby basil. Omnivores needn’t worry, though. Aster even caters for the non-vegans with a list of dishes dubbed the “naughty corner”, which include avocado and poached egg on toast, Severn & Wye smoked salmon, and steak tartare.

150 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5LB; aster-restaurant.com

Duck and Waffle, City of London

No list of Britain’s best brunch sports would be complete without Duck and Waffle. Located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower right in the heart of the City of London, the restaurant is the highest in the capital and boasts some of the best dining views on the planet. Open 24 hours seven-days-a-week the restaurant attracts a variety of diners, from city-types to foodies and visiting tourists, with different menus for different times of the day though an All Day menu is also available. But “for a decadent start to the day it’s hard to beat”, says the London Evening Standard. The bunch menu includes the eponymous duck and waffle.

110 Bishopsgate London EC2N 4AY; duckandwaffle.com

Anchor Photography 2013

The Bristolian, Bristol

As no-nonsense as its name suggests, this Bristol stalwart is the place for classics with a mild twist. Its version of the full English comes with everything you’d expect, plus free-range black pudding, sesame-infused spinach and fried potatoes. There’s also a supersize version called the Bristolian Challenge, and in a place like this, they mean it. Kick back amid the airy wooden decor and enjoy.

2 Picton Street, Montpelier, Bristol BS6 5QA; thebristolian.co.uk

Cottonopolis, Manchester

Located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Cottonpolis has become something of institution for brunch-lovers. From pork, kimchi and sweet potato hash to chicken karaage and poached egg waffles “you can’t go wrong with any of the menu’s Asian-inspired twists on breakfast classics”, says the Manchester Evening News. A big pull, and reason why you might have to queue for a table, is the option to add bottomless prosecco, bellinis or bloody marys on to any brunch special or waffle dish for £12.50, giving you unlimited refills for an hour and fifteen minutes.

Newton Street, Manchester M1 2AE; cottonopolis-nq.com

COYA Angel Court, London

Now for something a little different. COYA Angel Court is not a brunch that leaves you hungry. Returning in September, the immersive socially-distanced brunch experience will see guests welcomed in style by spectacular performers before being seated to enjoy bottomless canapés paired with a choice of cocktails or champagne. DJs take care of the music and COYA signature dishes include Arroz Nikkei made with Chilean sea bass, rice, lime and chilli, and Lomo de Res with spicy beef, crispy shallots, aji limo and star anise. 

Unit 1C, 31-33 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2AT; coyarestaurant.com

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