Ah, brunch, where would we be without it? Finally, a meal that caters to the hungover, the lazy and the perennially late. Brunch is a sociable event. A time to piece together the events of the night before, catch up with pals and carefully balance the ratio of faux healthy food to espresso martinis. Thank goodness Carrie Bradshaw and the rest of the Sex and the City crew made pre-afternoon cocktail drinking a thing.
New York may be the unofficial birthplace of this delicious respite between breakfast and lunch, but London has given us serious food for thought (sorry) in recent years.
With more and more millennials choosing to Instagram their food and pay exorbitant prices for avocado, the climate has been ripe for a brunch revolution. But with such a paradigm of choice, how do you possibly decide where to go?
It seems every place in London is rustling up brunch, but only a select few are doing it right. Here we pick our favourites from our stomping ground out East. Cheers!
1. Best for people-watching: Bistrotheque
23-27 Wadeson Street, London E2
Converted warehouse? Check. Effortlessly cool clientele? Check. Sexy bar serving up every hair-of-the-dog under the sun? Checkity check check. Bistrotheque has the vaulted ceilings, white-washed walls and bare-bulbs that have come to epitomise the traditional hipster hangout. But this place is fancy, too. Note the white tablecloths and florid menu (foie gras terrine anyone?) This is not a drag-yourself-out-of-bed-and-turn-up kinda place. This is a red-lippy-and-A.P.C-kinda place.
2. Best as a pre-shopping pit-stop: The Albion
2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London E2
Is it a grocery shop? A hotel? A deli? A café? The Albion is all of that and more. Piggy-backing on the premises of the Boundary hotel in Shoreditch, this light and airy eatery serves up resolutely British fare. Think of it as a very, very nice caf. Yes, there are tomato ketchup bottles on the table but there are also artfully arranged farm produce at the entrance. This place is traditional, artisanal and undeniably hip. Plus, it’s a stone’s throw from Box Park and some of the best shopping in East London. Win, win.
3. Best for whiling away the morning: Well Street Kitchen
No. 203 Well Street London E9
First, pause to Instagram the hell out of the cute blue and white exterior. Then, order an iced coffee. Finally, work your way through every drool-inducing thing on the menu. Get in my belly baked eggs and asparagus. Yes, please pork and corn tortillas. Well Street Kitchen gets a thumbs up for amazing food and a thumbs up for inventiveness. No tired brunch choices here. Oh no. This place really knows where it’s at. Honestly, we urge you to try everything at some stage. You won’t regret it.
4. Best for hangovers: Clapton Hart
231 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5
Ok – let’s all be honest with ourselves here. Sometimes even brunch can seem like a daunting prospect. If you awake at 1pm with a pounding head and a mouth like cotton wool, there’s no way you’re going to make it to brunch. The smell of alcohol seeping from your pores would probably deter your fellow customers anyway. No, you need somewhere a little darker, a little more forgiving. You need to sink into an armchair in a pub and inhale a large Sunday roast and a pint. Clapton Hart is that very pub. Phew.