The best brunch spots in the UK… according to the delicious. team
By Phoebe Stone
The weekend is the perfect opportunity to indulge in the type of long, leisurely meals with friends and family that seem like a distant dream midweek. Drawn-out dinners and lunches that stretch dreamily into the afternoon are often the reserve of Christmas or summer holidays, and we’re not quite ready to embrace the alfresco barbecue feasts that the warmer months bring either. The answer? Brunch.
I grilled the delicious. team about their favourite breakfast spots to round up the best places to while away the hours with a frothy coffee, sizzling plate of eggs and a pile of newspapers this weekend.
For inventive vegetarian
Three-time winner of best breakfast in Bristol’s Good Food awards, this cosy Italian is known for its exceptional vegetarian breakfast, which comes complete with its own individual ricotta soufflé, alongside crispy cubes of rosemary polenta and wilted greens.
It shares a section on the menu titled “brunch legends” with the mouth-watering ‘Tommy’s 1-pan wonder’: ham hock, sausages, onions and potatoes sautéed together and topped with eggs and mountain of melted cheese.
For a classy breakfast
Le Caprice, Piccadilly
Le Caprice has classic glamour in spades, with its crisp white tablecloths, bistro chairs, and spectacular mirrored bar – but its food is anything but stale. It offers superlative versions of brunch classics, including eggs benedict and waffles, delivering perfectly poached eggs with deep orange yolks, taffeta-like ribbons of melt-in-the-mouth Argyll smoked salmon, and the best freshly squeezed orange juice.
There are some trendy curveballs too, including a beef hot dog with kimchi relish, and dishes such as quinoa, kale and squash salad, which add moreish light and shade to the traditional brunch spread. Don’t miss out on the fun cocktails too, which run the gamut from bellinis and Le Caprice’s twist on the Pimm’s cup, to a tiramisu martini made with clotted cream.
Tres chic, and very tasty too.
For hearty fare
Herb Street, Dublin
A sign of good things, Herb Street’s brunch menu is packed with ingredients of local provenance, including bacon from the McCarren family, Tournafulla black pudding, and wild mushrooms from Ballyhoura mountains.
It’s the details that make the dishes sing – French toast with rum-buttered bananas, pancakes with blueberries and orange honey butter, and Irish smoked salmon served with horseradish crème fraîche are highlights.
For quirky charm
Flotsam and Jetsam Cafe, Wandsworth
This achingly cool Antipodean café, with its green tiled counter, hanging plants, and exposed brick wall, serves a mean huevos rancheros. Smoky braised beans, chorizo, sweetcorn salsa, fried eggs, avo and sour cream come together for a brunch with a kick, and there’s the ‘chorizo scramble’, with balsamic and focaccia or ‘Kiwi way’ lamb with sweet potato and fried egg to tempt you too.
The list of coffees and teas, including turmeric and beetroot lattes, is extensive, and look out for their specials – including unicorn hot chocolate.
For brunch with a view
Beals Barn Gardens, Wadhurst, East Sussex
Surrounded by its own vegetable garden, you know the food served at Beals is going to be exceptionally fresh. Expect full English breakfasts on the menu, but there’s Monmouth coffee and homemade cakes too, including their stand-out carrot cake.
On a cold day you can find a cosy spot inside, but if the sun is shining take a stroll around beautiful Bewl Water down the road, before enjoying your brunch on the outside deck. With fresh produce and flowers often available to buy, you can even take a piece of the countryside home with you.
For a Sri Lankan twist on brunch
Sparrow, Lewisham, London
Sparrow – a restaurant from husband and wife team Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar. They opened the neighbourhood restaurant at the beginning of 2017 but only recently did they start serving a brunch menu.
Taking centre stage on the menu is appam, a Sri Lankan pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. There’s a sweet version or, web editor Becs’ favourite, the spicy egg and chilli aubergine savoury pancake. The mince on dripping toast is also a must and be sure to try the pie of the day – the homemade pastry is a to-die-for triumph – it doesn’t matter what the filling is, you need to order one… Each.
For the sweet toothed
If you prefer your breakfast on the sweeter side, but fancy a change from French pastries, you won’t get better than Fitzbillies’ outrageously sticky Chelsea buns.
Opened in 1921, the classic teashop is a stone’s throw from Cambridge’s Kings College, and has one prettiest shop fronts in the town, with scores of sweet treats on display. The old-school charm extends inside, with a bustling atmosphere and mis-matched furniture, and there are plenty of savoury dishes to tempt the palate too.
For fierce flavours
Dishoom, London and Edinburgh
Influenced by the old Irani cafes of Bombay, Dishoom serve up breakfast dishes that pack an almighty savoury punch – think Burford Brown fried eggs with chilli cheese toast and spicy chicken keema studded with chicken livers.
Go all out with the ‘Big Bombay’, featuring Akuri, smoked streaky bacon, peppery Shropshire pork sausages, masala baked beans, grilled field mushrooms and buttery pau buns. In Dishoom’s own words, it’s “too good”.
It’s the restaurants’ bacon naan rolls that are legendary though, and for good reason. Baked to order in the tandoor oven, each naan is filled with cream cheese, chilli tomato jam and fresh herbs, and bacon from acclaimed butcher The Ginger Pig, which has been dry-cured in rock salt and sugar, then cold smoked over oak chips.
For garden fresh food
Darsham Nurseries Café, Suffolk
Part of a working nursery, this light, airy café has its own kitchen garden, and makes use of an abundance of local produce including meats, fish and sourdough from Pump Street Bakery.
Expect brunch dishes with an inventive twist, including scrambled eggs with coffee-cured salmon, soft boiled eggs with anchovy toast, and buttermilk pancakes with homemade stewed spiced plums. Sharing is encouraged, and the small brunch plates menu is a celebration of fresh vegetables with Middle Eastern flair: expect anything from roast cauliflower with saffron butter to carrots with fermented chilli, buttermilk and pistachios.
For a British seaside breakfast
Porthgwidden Cafe, St Ives, Cornwall
Come for the classic English breakfast, stay for the breathtaking views across St Ives Bay and out towards Godrevy Lighthouse. Porthgwidden keep their fry up simple, with free range eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, beans and toms, with homemade hash browns too.
The interior is simple and cheerful, but all eyes are on the picture window view out on to the beach. If you can’t bear to tear yourself away from the sand for long, wolf down one of their bacon rolls instead.
The delicious. brunch
Struggle to make it out of your PJs and dressing gown on a bank holiday? Pick up a copy of our May issue and create your own brunch spread at home instead with Lottie Covell’s recipes for blueberry and banana muffins, spelt, sunflower and cherry loaf, and Emmental & onion rösti with fried eggs and crispy bacon.
Whether you make just one, or all, it’s a sure-fire satisfying way to spend a slow bank-holiday morning.
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