During the week, the first meal of the day is usually a crust and a cup before you hit the street for work. But at the weekend, when you come to the surface incrementally and life is chilled, breakfast changes takes on a new name and character and becomes ‘brunch’. Whether you require full English or something more creative, we have some superior ideas for you.
We could write an entire blogpost about Kopapa’s weekend brunch, so completely able are they to fulfil every culinary yearning. Kopapa Café and Restaurant in Covent Garden is an all-day eaterie serving Peter Gordon’s fusion cuisine. But take brunch, itself a meal fusing breakfast and lunch, then add in Gordon’s international fusion aesthetic and you get everything your heart desires. Brilliant coffee, bellinis, Bloody Marys, smoothies, newspapers, simple breakfasty dishes, free-range fry-ups, light lunchlike fare and fabulous temptations like Turkish eggs with whipped yoghurt and hot chilli butter or spiced banana French toast. We could go on. Just go.
From the same bloodline comes The Modern Pantryin Clerkenwell where Anna Hansen — formerly of The Providores with Peter Gordon — takes bold flavours to new heights. Her weekend brunch menus feature ‘restorative’ Bloody Marys by the pitcher, beautifully sourced teas and coffees, a selection of fruits, grains and seeds — fruit salads, muesli, porridge and toast to you and me — and glorious cooked brunch dishes like coconut and cassava waffles with maple syrup and smoked streaky bacon. We’ve left out so much. Just know that every bite is brilliant.
The top diner rated Riding House Café north of Oxford Street is an all-day brasserie with a terrific ambience, partly down to its cool vintage decor and partly down to the equally cool young crowd who fill the seats. The breakfast menu is served right through the morning until 12.30 at the weekend. We hear a chorus of praise for the chorizo hash browns with mushrooms and a poached egg, though we’d be tempted by the buttermilk pancakes with berries, vanilla clotted cream and maple syrup. The relaxed service allows you to linger and linger.
Roast restaurant in Borough Market is the best spot in town to start your Saturday off with brilliant, brilliant cooking. Everything comes from the finest providers available and their names are right there on the menu — in fact, lots of them are downstairs in the market so you can go shake their hands after you’ve eaten. Choose among The Full Borough, The Veggie Borough, The Bubbly Breakfast, or build your own meal from the glorious offerings on the a la carte list. Then chill and watch the market happenings or contemplate the not-too-distant view of St Paul’s dome over the river.
If you require a more cave-like atmosphere to nurse your morning self to full consciousness, then Joe Allen in Covent Garden is the place to go. A special offer includes as two course brunch and a drink (Buck’s Fizz, Bloody Mary or prosecco) for just £19.50 every weekend.
Indigo restaurant at the One Aldwych Hotel near Covent Garden has an excellent innovation for their weekend brunches: unlimited prosecco for £12. Brunch here is a late affair, starting at half past noon, and the menu is as lunchy as it is brunchy, with burgers and steaks alongside Omelette Arnold Bennett, so it will suit every appetite. The children’s menu is a wonder to behold.
For something delightfully different, come visit the Blue Elephant in its new location at Imperial Wharf in Fulham. The riverside dining room has lovely views of the Thames and the almost endless Sunday brunch buffet will take your breath away. With platters of exotic fruits, curries, fish dishes, authentic Thai creations and flavourful vegetarian offerings, this is one buffet you will return to again and again.