Substitute heavy ingredients for Middle Eastern flavours at the Hackney branch of Morito, where on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays you can start your day with a bowl of fresh fruit, chia seed porridge, orange blossom water and hydrated seeds, or poached eggs with spinach, chilli butter, seasoned yoghurt and crispy sage.
About halfway between tapas and toast lies Ember Yard’s brunch menu. Tuck into Spanish classics – churros with chocolate sauce, baked eggs, grilled octopus – or try the Mediterranean take on the Full English, where smoked pork belly replaces bacon and the ketchup has chorizo in it.
The extensive menu at Modern Pantry is intriguing all the way from its pecan and pumpkin seed pain au chocolat to the sugar-cured prawn omelette with green chilli, spring onion, coriander and smoked chilli sambal. Here you’ll find many dishes you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world, never mind London. But you could just plump for Vegemite on toast.
As well as being a chance to try some of their classic dishes (including their Korean fried wings) the Sunday brunch menu at Shackfuyu offers breakfast hot stone bowls, green tea waffles with bacon and black sesame butter and ‘omu rice’, a rice, prawn and pineapple-filled omelette. The £29 price tag includes bottomless pineapple-infused sake and a round of their oft-Instagrammed Kinaku French toast with matcha soft serve.
The owners here have brought the dishes of their childhoods to Upper Street, and it makes for an unusual but very enticing brunch. There are fluffy baozi steamed buns, crisp scallion pancakes and a take on eggs benedict that involves shrimp cake, sundried tomato hollandaise and peanut brittle. A fair bit more exciting than greasy prawn toast.
A taste of Louisiana on decidedly not-soulful Kingsland Road, Decatur made their name selling the best grilled oysters in town. On Sunday daytimes you can stuff yourself with Southern American classics such as biscuits and gravy, bananas foster French toast and fresh buttermilk beignets (square New Orleans doughnuts) under a drift of icing sugar. Add bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys for £18 if you’re feeling boozy.
Brunch comes over all haute cuisine at Jar Kitchen, where the porridge comes with chia seeds and cocoa nibs, the pancakes are made from whey and buckwheat and the baked beans are baharat spiced. Bottomless booze is on offer, though you might find it more difficult to enjoy the subtlety of pancake toppings such as bee pollen after necking a load of Prosecco.
Could PB and J get any more fancy than ‘peanut and miso butter, blackberry preserve’? Still sounds great though, obviously. At weekend brunch Caravan’s three venues also serve some enticing baked treats (jalapeno cornbread would certainly get us out of bed in the morning), plus feisty plates such as slow roast pork belly with kimchi pancake, gochujang ketchup and sunny duck egg.
Suckling lamb leg, crab and yucca churros, peanut butter and plantain waffles: the Peruvian-inspired menu at Marylebone’s ever-unique Pachamama really comes into its own of a weekend lunchtime. The waffles are the show-stealers here. Choose from either quinoa or sweet potato base and then persuade someone to share with you so you can have a sweet and a savoury version.
There’s a wonderful sense of calm at Borough Market’s Arabica when it’s breakfast time, which means you have time to work your way through more of the crisp falafel with medamas, shakshuka, labneh and fragrant house jams that make the Lebanese menu so irresistible.
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