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 is one of them. 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.
Going to a pub before 10am might not sound inviting. After all, everyone knows you only go to the pub for breakfast before boarding a Ryanair flight. Actually, no. The Coach in Clerkenwell is a pub where breakfast is a kind of grown-up affair. There’s no dodgy ‘free woo woo with your eggs’ malarky here, but there is a good choice of everything from coconut and pecan granola to the full English, which includes a French take on baked beans (don’t judge it, just eat it). What you really want to get involved in though is the mushrooms on toast, which come dripping in butter.
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.
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.
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 authentic experience 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.