It is well-document that Kiwis are a little obsessed with a crazy little thing called Brunch. Some might almost accuse us of an almost cultish obsession with the luxury, inbetween meal worshipped mainly on the weekends. I get teased at work for a seemingly never-ending string of weekend blates, almost somehow managed to triple book myself in recently and simply revel in the meal where eggs, cocktails, burgers, dessert and well poured Flat Whites share the same altar table.
When I say £15, I’m usually thinking my classic favourite combination of a plate of eggs benedict and a good coffee – more than just a pastry and a caffeine hit. Occasionally I stray from the path of weekday salvation but attempt to wrangle at least one a week, even if it’s a carefully curated plate of bacon sandwiches (I’ll have mine on untoasted bread with ketchup. Heaven.)
Disclaimer: These are simply the ones I have visited lately and my definitions of London areas are a little free and loose – blame it on being a foreigner armed with an oyster card but without patience for long journeys first thing in the morning…
Darwin Brasserie, Sky Garden – Monument
With one of the best brunch views in London, My Eggs Royale was on excellent form with beautiful salmon (and muslin clothed fresh lemon) and Mr Kiwi really rather enjoyed his English Breakfast (even better than Duck & Waffle). We laughed at our stereotypical choices but I claimed quality testing. #anyexcuse
Dirty Bones, Carnaby Street – Oxford Circus
Just off Carnaby Street on the second floor of Kingly Court, a small but delicious restaurant produced one of the best toasted sandwiches I think I’ve ever eaten. Their Slow ‘n Low Toastie was amazing – Beef rib, charred gherkin, cheese and english mustard topped with a fried egg and chives.
The Attendant – Fitzrovia/Oxford Circus
A Victorian gents loo that has been repurposed into The Attendant, a stonking coffee shop to match the high standard of local coffee shops. The converted scrubbed-to-within-an-inch-of-their-porcelain-life urinals line the walls, and have had benches sunk into them all the better to enjoy a caffeine pick me up (their coffee hit supplied by delicious Caravan). I’ve tried their brunch menu a few times now and it is both simple and brilliant.
Beany Green – Liverpool Street, Paddington and Marylebone
Tucked unassumingly in a selection of eateries an entire 50 seconds walk from Liverpool Street Station – yes, I timed it – Beany Green is another of those secret discoveries that I never want to share with anyone else (it happened to my Shepherds Bush favourite, and now they have queues out the door sigh). But if I must, this Melbourne-style cafe hidden in a modern edifice is a rather lovely combination of convenient tube line convergence, smiley staff, quirky
decor and locality to the creative blogging hipsters of Shoreditch.
North London Bruncheries
Modern Pantry – Clerkenwell
Ricotta filled pancakes with berry compote and cream fraiche. As per our very friendly waiters advice, we kinda had them as Breakfast Dessert, sharing between the table. Oh boy, were these delicious. Crisp batter filled with soft creamy Ricotta cut with the sweetly sharp berries. This was… well it’s making my mouth water. You load your fork with a bit of everything and just enjoy.
German Gymnasium – Kings Cross
If you can’t get into Caravan with less than an hour wait time, do what we did and pop to the newly opened German Gymnasium. No real queues, incredibly swift service, delicious eggs benedict on a potato rosti and access to the entire lunch menu including Mr Kiwi’s delicious Smoked Schinkenknacker which he raved about for the rest of the entire day (though it’ll peek over the £15 threshold).
Ozone Coffee Roasters – Old Street
Just over from the Old Street Bermuda Triangle Roundabout Ozone is a place that has become part of a routine I never want to change. Helping to soothe that little tic in my expat heart, it’s somewhere that we keep diverting back to, time and time again. There is something about the Kiwiana carefully placed all over the beautifully industrial walls, the lovely Eggs Benedict, piping hot Flat Whites and ready supply of Lamingtons that sets up a siren call each time brunch is mentioned within a certain group of Kiwi friends.
East London Bruncheries
Duck and Waffle – Liverpool Street
With a couple of visits under my belt, one pre-sunrise and one mid-morning Duck and Waffle has to be the second worst-kept, best secret in London. (The first is obviously MI6 – even I knew the game was up as soon as the head office of British intelligence was announced over automated bus tannoys…). Glorious views, never-ending flat whites and oozy brunch eggs whilst hanging out in the clouds.
Blixen – Spitalfields Market/Liverpool Street
I can’t put my finger on why we love this place so much. This beautifully designed restaurant just seems to have something for everyone. We’ve popped in for lengthy coffees, watched couples sneak in quicky for jam & toast, spent several Saturday mornings lingering languidly with the ladies, giggled with the staff, counted the beards, witnessed worried office workers hog the wifi and admired the gorgeous interior on every occasion.
Lantana – Old Street
It takes a lot of work to deter my Kiwi lot from the siren call of Eggs Benedict, especially on a Saturday morning (recovering from hearty Friday evenings) but we were glad of straying from our standby. My towering stack of toasted courgette bread, grilled halloumi slow, roasted tomatoes and a poached egg was simply sublime. Cut through with a piquant chilli jam, my tastebuds danced with joy at the unusual combination and marriage of textures. Soft bread, sweet tomatoes, smoky halloumi, the crisp bite of salad leaves and the sexy slow yield of a perfectly poached egg (fully worthy of a Marks and Spencer advert). Across the table, perfectly crisp edge corn fritters – an antipodean classic that has to be done well to get lip-smacking approval from our band of brunch addicts – with moreish pillowed interiors balanced cracking strips streaky bacon providing the perfect pick-me-up.
The Big Easy – Canary Wharf, Kensington & Covent Garden
A very new discovery nestled in amongst the steel and glass towers of Canary Wharf (amongst other locations) The Big Easy is a delicious taste of proper American fare. Served with a delicious selection of cocktails and a good dose of rock, I’ll be revisiting for another Louisiana-style Po’Boy and Jack Daniels laced apple juice very shortly.
South and West London Bruncheries
Fields Cafe – Clapham Common
This cafe is probably the most contentious on the list, but I really enjoyed their perfectly poached eggs + bacon + cornbread (GF) + hollandaise. Sounds good already right? but how about with a ‘cult of done Hollandaise’ infused with coffee providing a tastily fascinating counterpoint featuring quirky smoky umami notes. Yum.
Grind Coffee – Putney Bridge
BACON AND EGG PIE. Found just south of Putney Bridge, Grind is a cheeky brunch hot spot full of locals and a delicious selection of baked brunch goods. We still really enjoyed our brunch though, a great varied menu, funky décor, beautiful skylight/courtyard and nice service. A word of warning though if you’re thinking of popping down to Grind in Putney – such is the popularity it gets BUSY so go early. You’ll thank me for it.
Hummingbird Cafe (now known as Proud Mary’s) – Shepherds Bush/Acton
Run by a Kiwi, Lorraine and her Morroccan partner, is a self-styled antipodean eatery (yes, I just said ‘eatery’) and I really recommend it. It’s nice to have somewhere that’s not in trendy Shoreditch or on the Old Street Bermuda triangle roundabout that’s quietly tucked away. I also thought the décor was very very cute – very soft, feminine and pretty. The pricing was fair as well (and I wasn’t comped in any way for this, just sharing the love and good brunch spots).
Brompton Food Market – South Kensington
Away from the squall in kids marching relentlessly towards the big museums, with their frazzled parents in tow, Brompton Food Market is an oasis of well made coffee, intriguingly flavoured cakes (carrot maple pecan) and 3 cheese toasted sandwiches that will turn lure you away from the chaos into their sweet terraced garden.
Where is your favourite brunch place? (Seriously, I would love some new haunts. International answers welcome!)