Ever since we were yea high (you know the height you make with your hand when you say yea high) we’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your mum, your doctor, that kid who wheeled a suitcase about at school who everyone called Terminal 2: they all said it from day one. Everyone knows brunch, lunch and dinner are tastier though.
But, sometimes, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It could be because you’ve got a work meeting first thing and need the right place to make the right impression (and you need to eat the right things), or it could be because this is the only meal you know you’re definitely going to be able to sit down to eat because you’re going somewhere or doing something very important. Whatever the reason, these are the places you should be going when early morning consumption is your number one priority.
On those cold rainy mornings when the heater’s on the blink, it takes quite a lot to drag us out of bed. The promise of breakfast at Rovi will do it though. Sitting in this bright, clean room makes you feel like you’re living the life you always wished you led. Like you’re the kind of person who has their morning paper ironed for them, or who eats a perfectly segmented grapefruit for breakfast. Only you won’t be eating grapefruit. You’ll be eating jalapeno cornbread with scrambled eggs, or the green shakshuka. This might just be the best breakfast in London.
Your boss is over from across the pond and he wants an ‘authentic London experience’. He’s already been overcharged for the cab he picked up at Heathrow, so that’s one crossed off, but before you take him to any old greasy spoon where Barbara Windsor’s estranged sister will slam a plate of beans on toast down in front of him, remember that what he really has in mind is Jeeves bringing a pot of tea and some kedgeree. The Wolseley is ideal for this sort of thing. It’s open from 7am - perfect for any survivors of the red eye - and the setting is marvellously decadent. It will make you and whoever you’re with feel like you’re starting your day in the best way possible.
There’s something quite industrial about this Hackney bakery and cafe. It’s sort of like starting your day in a lovely, whitewashed dough factory where the setting is just as photogenic as the passion fruit and mango custard pastries. As well as excellent coffee, this place has great options if you find choosing between sweet or savoury for your first meal of the day super taxing. A lot of the best things here include both - yes, we’re looking at you bacon and maple danish.
Sure, ‘covered in white truffle’ didn’t make it into How D’Ya Like Your Eggs In The Morning, but that doesn’t mean the truffled scrambled eggs at Hide aren’t delicious. This huge, three storey, and somewhat ridiculous, Mayfair restaurant doesn’t do breakfast by halves. Expect everything from smoked maple butter banana bread, to Porthilly oysters with caviar, to a seriously tarted up version of your classic full english.
Obviously you’re used to starting your day by shout-singing Dolly Parton’s discography into your shower head. Right? No? Okay. Well, point one: you’re missing out. And point two: the fried eggs, jamon, and potato dish at aptly-named Jolene is one of our favourite breakfasts in London. This cool, comfortable café and bakery on Newington Green serves homely but kind of healthy classics that you get to pick from their big blackboard.
If you ask someone about having breakfast at Rochelle Canteen they’ll probably do a knowing nod, look a bit like they’re remembering their first kiss, and then fondly say ‘it’s just really nice’. Located inside the canteen of an old primary school, this classic British restaurant is pretty much the definition of ‘pleasant’ - especially once you factor in their simple morning menu of granola with poached fruit, eggs on toast, and bacon sandwiches. Just be warned, all of that lovely simplicity makes this place popular, so book ahead.
Don’t be put off by the fact that The Regency is London’s most famous, best looking, and most photographed cafe. It’s also - alongside E. Pellicci - its best. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner here (if you like to dine before 7.30), but it’s really the breakfast you want. Portions are generous without being too much, which is why you should get your plate loaded up with as much as you can afford. The fact that your order will be yelled to the room when it’s ready shouldn’t deter you from being a glutton. There’s no shame here. And hearing Claudia holler ‘full English, beans, all the extras, twice’ is the reason you came.
If we’re gonna recommended a legendary west London caf, then we’ve got to recommended a legendary east London caf as well (our apologies to North and South). E. Pellicci’s is just that. If you’re looking for a slap on the back, a joke about your mum and a fry up so big you’ll need a half-time break, then this is the place to go.
If your idea of a Scandinavian breakfast involves getting to Ikea early enough that you don’t have to queue for your meatballs then it’s time to head to Soho’s Soderberg for a proper Swedish breakfast that’ll sort you right out. Open from 7.30am, you can either swing by for an excellent cinnamon roll to go and sit down in one of their retro armchairs with a frukostbricka (breakfast tray). This place is particularly perfect if you’re looking to get a little work done before the office opens. Or if you want to get a little work done and the coffee at your office is awful.
This upmarket restaurant inside the Sofitel hotel in St. James’s looks distinctly like a velvet showroom. Honestly, we’re very into being surrounded by this many soft surfaces before our first coffee of the day. Although there’ll usually be a few people around that look a little like they’ve just stumbled out of their rooms and that sleepy dust is still their primary concern - this is still a great spot for a business breakfast. The full breakfast spread situation here is £26, but your best bet is to go for the £14 vegetarian full english that comes with an excellent sweet potato and cauliflower hash.
This old school American-style grill room in the Beaumont Hotel is the kind of place you want to merrily grow old in, until one day you keel over into your perfect pile of mixed berry buttermilk pancakes. There are plenty of big red leather booths, crisp pink table cloths, and black and white portraits of Hollywood screen sirens to make you feel appropriately Mayfair fancy, but there’s also breakfasts that’ll shut your stomach up until dinner time. All the usual suspects are here, but there are also some wild cards that are worth a try, like the duck egg hash, or the cucumber savoury yoghurt pot.
Right you’ve said you’re working from home. Only you actually do need to work. But not from home because you can’t work there. You never finished the last season of Attenborough, and that episode with the baby seal has been giving you the eyes for weeks. You need to start the day right and then get to it somewhere else. We highly recommend heading to Esters in Stoke Newington. Their breakfasts are inventive and delicious, and once you’ve fuelled yourself, you can head to the library five minutes away to actually get some work done.
There’s a reason why everyone - from your neighbour to your boyfriend’s little sister’s best friend’s mum’s dog walker - has recommended the Dishoom bacon and egg naan. It is really, really, really good. So good you’ll probably want more than one. Oh. Is that just us? Okay. Fine.
It’s highly likely that you, or somebody you’re going to breakfast with, will have to have a coffee. Because nobody ever just wants a coffee in the morning. They NEED one. ‘Omfg I’m going to die if I don’t get a flat white in me’ said nobody in the 1970s ever. That’s okay though, we get it, and if you’re going to go to a good coffee place, you need to make sure they serve a proper breakfast as well. That’s where Ozone comes in. This is less a coffee shop and more of a breakfast, brunch, and all things munch emporium. It’s open early doors - from 7am - which is perfect given its Shoreditch location. After all, who isn’t craving kedgeree at that time?
Ozone Coffee Roasters on Emma Street in Bethnal Green is as useful as their original spot in Shoreditch, but whereas that’s all tastefully aged wood, this place feels light and bright and fresh. Basically, it’s perfect for an all-day breakfast, and that’s good because the eggs benedict on crunchy bubble ‘n’ squeak cakes that they serve until 4pm everyday is, hands down, one of the best breakfasts you can get in London.
There isn’t a better way to start things off than with a bacon sandwich. That’s a fact. And if you want one of the best bacon sandwiches in London, then head to St John Bread and Wine. There isn’t another restaurant in London that makes it their absolute business to serve proper old school British breakfasts. The bacon sandwich is legendary and it’s paired with their home-made ketchup or brown sauce. Getting one of these down you at around 8 or 9 in the morning is the best way to mentally prepare yourself for the Shoreditch crowds.
We have no idea who Muriel is, but let us tell you, that woman must love breakfast. This South Kensington spot has a casual eighteen breakfast offerings, which would be great if it was in any way easy to choose between their fresh pastries, the avocado on sourdough or their many options involving bacon. We don’t even hold it against them that there’s things like a nut butter ‘power porridge’, a ‘vitamin hug’ smoothie, and a quinoa buddah bowl on the menu.
If you’d proposed eating polenta and feta cakes for breakfast 20 years ago, a lot of people would have probably looked at you quizzically and asked if it comes with beans. Times have a-changed though people, and Ottolenghi has played a decent part in that. This is a reliable choice first thing in the morning, whether you’re craving polenta cakes or some bacon, eggs, and focaccia. And the four locations mean it’s a go-to around the city.
Fitzrovia isn’t short of coffee shops that’ll serve you something for breakfast, but when we’re in the BBC’s backyard and in need of something special to start the day, we head downstairs to Attendant’s converted public convenience. It’s a breakfast of the almond milk porridge, avocado smash, and house-made granola variety here. That’s to say, they like to keep it simple. But they also do an irresistible bacon roll, and their breakfast bowl is perfect if you need to feel filled without feeling weighed down for the rest of the day.