Much as we enjoy indulging in a full English on weekends, we confess to being thrilled at London’s expanding midday meal offerings. A number of restaurants across the capital, from Thai cafés to all-day New Zealand-inspired eateries, have launched all new brunch menus filled with exciting eats over the course of the past few months. For those looking to indulge in a languorous, multi-hour long meal with rib-sticking fare, endless cups of coffee and an exceptional Bloody Mary, or several, our favourite London brunches are sure to do the trick. Don’t worry about shuffling up bleary-eyed, uncombed and hungover, though: that’s all a part of the experience.
The newly opened Koya Bar has set up shop next door to Koya, its older sibling, in part to deal with the original’s space constraints: the small boite seemingly has a perpetual queue of hungry eaters snaking out front. It’s not merely an extension of the first, however. Koya Bar does a brilliant brunch à la japonaise, serving up steaming bowls of restorative udon that clear away a boozy fog better than anything. This eatery is also tiny, so be prepared to share some counter space. You’ll forget about the close confines once your face is in a bowl of English Breakfast udon, which pairs the warming noodles with fried egg, bacon, and shiitake mushroom.
Koya Bar, 50 Frith Street, London W1D 4SQ, http://www.koyabar.co.uk
Another new entry on the dining scene, Andina, just opened by Martin Morales (of Ceviche fame), is bringing a distinctly Andean perspective to London brunching. The restaurant is modelled on the remote picanterias of the Peruvian Andes: small, communal restaurants that serve regional soul food. Dishes like Kiwicha Porridge with amaranth, golden berries, figs, and purple corn syrup and Chicharron roll, which marries confit pork, Amarillo chilli sauce, sweet potato ketchup and salsa, provide just the right start to the morning . . . err, afternoon.
Andina, 1 Redchurch Street, London E1 6JL, +44 (0)20 7920 6499, https://www.facebook.com/AndinaLondon
One of the outposts in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s fine dining empire, Spice Market is an export straight from New York, so it’s no wonder that it does brunch with considerable skill. Expect classic brekkie dishes with a twist: egg scramble, for instance, is done up with Cornish crab and smoked paprika, while pandan waffles are topped with coconut cream and salted caramel and bacon comes glazed with palm sugar. And did we mention the cocktails? It’s hard to say no to a Spicy Thai Mary, which adds Thai basil horseradish and red bird chilli to the hangover cure.
Spice Market, W London Leicester Square, 10 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QF, +44 (0)20 7758 1088, http://www.spicemarketlondon.co.uk
Those in search of sustenance in South London have long flocked to Brixton Village. Much as we love the warren of stalls therein, there’s a new entry to the neighbourhood that’s well worth a detour. The Prince of Wales, previously The Lambeth, rocks a neighbourhood vibe and a menu of gourmet brunch classics, mixed in with a few unusual options (like the full English breakfast pizza). Round out your meat and two veg with a flat white and a kir royal.
The Prince of Wales, 467-469 Brixton Road, London SW9 8HH, +44 (0)20 7095 1978, http://www.pow-london.com
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that New Zealanders know how to do a damn good brunch. Lovers of all things Antipodean will note the plethora of Down Under-inspired cafes and restaurants in London, and certainly one of the best of the bunch is Caravan, with locations on Exmouth Market and in the redeveloped Granary Square in Kings Cross. The original is a cosy (if constantly rammed) place to while away a few hours, while the newer outpost occupies a cavernous, devilishly stylish space. Pick from creative dishes like aubergine puree with poached eggs, yogurt, toast, and soutzouki sausage, and don’t forget to order a cup of joe: Caravan roasts its own coffee beans out back.
Caravan Exmouth: 11-13 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QD, +44 (0)20 7833 8115, http://www.caravanonexmouth.co.uk
Caravan Kings Cross: Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA, +44 (0)20 7101 7661, http://www.caravankingscross.co.uk
The next door neighbours of Caravan Kings Cross, Grain Store serves dishes that are perfect for the health-conscious gourmand. Consider the restaurant chef Bruno Loubet’s love affair with the vegetable, and offerings are bright, verdant, and fresh. The brunch menu is full of such plates, like white bean hummus with drained yogurt, dukkah, flatbread, and a poached egg, as well as a broad bean, courgette, and mint frittata. Still, for those looking for quick hangover recovery there are a few concessions to the stodgy: American pancakes with maple syrup and corn bread with scrambled eggs and tomato relish should do the job.
Grain Store, Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, London N1C 4AB, +44 (0)20 7324 4422, http://www.grainstore.com
Occupying several railway arches in Hoxton, Beagle serves well-dressed denizens plates of unpretentious, artful British fare that makes good use of locally sourced ingredients. The recently unveiled brunch menu includes options like blood cake served alongside potato rosti and a fried duck egg, and house-smoked streaky bacon with hash and fried eggs. Healthy eaters can nibble on avocado with tomatoes, spinach, and perroche, and everyone can dive into one of five bloody marys, beefed up alternatively with Kamm and Sons ginseng liqueur, smoked garlic tequila, and harissa.
Beagle, 397-400 Geffrye Street, London E2 8HZ, +44 (0)20 7613 2967, http://www.beaglelondon.co.uk
Feature image © Paul Winch-Furness
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