You may still be in the middle of a chocolate ban for Lent, but the Easter bunny is coming to visit sooner than you think. Get ahead with our guide to Easter in London, featuring everything from chocolate cocktails and eggy treats to spring lamb and bottomless brunches – you’d be hopping mad to miss it.
Where to eat eggs
What: Boisdale’s new Eggscentric menu claims to offer the largest selection of bird eggs that London has ever seen, from titchy quail eggs to seasonal gull’s eggs and huge ostrich eggs. Eight types of sustainably sourced eggs will be available from 12 April and served four ways with freshly baked sourdough toast, with accompaniments including maple-cured Ayrshire bacon, sautéed wild garlic and oscietra caviar.
Where: North Row, W1K 6DJ
How much: Scrambled goose egg with English asparagus, £19
What: Rather more expensive than Thorntons but definitely cheaper than an original Van Gogh, Rosewood London’s Sunflowers-inspired egg celebrates the art of chocolate with a Valrhona Ivoire chocolate egg decorated with chocolate sunflowers, dipped in white chocolate and filled with Valrhona salted caramel bonbons and mini eggs.
Where: 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN
How much: £120
What: Combining two of the finest food stuffs known to humankind, the new restaurant within Centre Point has created the Crème Egg doughnut. Two warm doughnuts each contain a mini Crème Egg, with a side order of lemon curd and chocolate soil. How will you eat yours?
Where: Centre Point, 101 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DB
How much: £8.50, available 19-22 April
Where to eat hot cross buns
What: Proving that you can never have too much of a good thing, Mac & Wild's Easter special is a hot cross bun ice-cream sandwich, featuring a toasted hot cross bun filled with Mackies honeycomb ice-cream, hazelnut, chocolate sauce and sprinkles. Who needs butter?
Where: 9A Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YN and 65 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PS
How much: £10
What: Riding House Café – and its siblings Rail House Café and Village East – have come up with this brunch special of a Hot Cross Bunidict: a toasted hot cross bun topped with a poached egg, Swiss chard and hollandaise sauce. Wash it down with a What’s Up Doc cocktail, made with carrot and rum and with a physalis garnish shaped into a pair of bunny ears.
Where: 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PQ
How much: £7.50
What: Unlike the supermarkets, chef Tom Aikens believes hot cross buns should only be served at Easter, so grab them while you can. Soft, spiced, filled with fruit and finished with a shiny glaze, they’re a deliciously savoury alternative to chocolate eggs.
Where: 11 Westferry Circus, E14 4HD and 27 Cale Street, SW3 3QP
How much: £1.50, 17-24 April
Where to take the kids
What: Kids under 12 eat free at Berners Tavern from a Little People Menu featuring dishes such as ham and cheese toasties with cucumber and tomato wedges and homemade fish fingers with peas and chips. For the grown-ups, Berners’ new three-course weekend roast menu is almost as much of a bargain, with £39.50 buying you the likes of slow-roasted sirloin of Buccleuch estate beef with horseradish sauce.
Where: The London Edition, 10 Berners Street, W1T 3NP
How much: Little People Menu, free for kids until 22 April; weekend roast menu, £39.50
What: The Queen’s grocer is putting on a special children’s afternoon tea in its Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. In addition to the usual array of finger sandwiches and scones, there is a specially created patisserie plate of mini chocolate Easter eggs, chocolate and passionfruit marshmallow, raspberry and white chocolate jelly and a Jammy Dodger biscuit. If your kids haven’t developed a taste for tea yet, they can wash it all down instead with hot chocolate, a glass of milk or fruit juice. Easter activities for kids include Easter bonnet-making and ceramic egg decorating.
Where: 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER
How much: £26
What: Pip Lacey’s Coal Drops Yard restaurant is kicking off the second of its Junior Chefs workshops with a giant Easter egg hunt followed by a Willy Wonka-inspired egg painting session and finishing up with a nutritious lunch washed down by homemade sugar-free soft drinks. The workshops start at 10.30am Monday-Friday and parents are required to accompany children throughout. Lunch booking for adults also required.
Where: 102 Stable Street, Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ
How much: Tickets are priced at £15 per child; lunch bookings for adults also required
Where to eat spring lamb
What: Like any proud Welshman, Bryn Williams will be serving lamb this Easter, and the chef has created a special dish of lamb neck braised in red wine and served with pea purée, fresh peas, baby carrots and mashed potato.
Where: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA
How much: £20, available from 15 to 20 April.
What: One of Emily Roux’s favourite Easter dishes is this roast rack of Herdwick lamb with multicoloured chard, glazed ratte potatoes and jus, cooked by her husband (and Caractère’s chef) Diego Ferrari. Follow it with Roux’s other favourite Easter dish: chocolate cake with pecan praline, salted caramel sauce and mascarpone ice cream
Where: 209 Westbourne Park Road, W11 1EA
How much: Herdwick lamb, £31.50; chocolate cake, £11
What: One of the poshest places you could spend Easter Sunday, the venue for the Buckingham Palace Christmas party is putting on a three-course Sunday lunch including the signature dish of salt-marsh lamb served with a braised lamb and haggis bun, shallot purée and seaweed tapenade.
Where: 15 Beeston Place, SW1W 0JW
How much: Three-course lunch £85, including a glass of Champagne
Where to have an alternative Easter
What: Taking chicken nuggets to a whole new gastro level, cult Taiwanese bun emporium Bao is serving these special-edition Easter chick bao with a fried chicken filling on Easter Sunday and Monday. Don’t even think of asking for sweet and sour dip.
Where: 31 Windmill Street, W1T 2JN and 53 Lexington Street, W1F 9AS
How much: Easter Chick Bao, £6
What: The second London outpost of Bun House is marking its opening with a special Easter bunny bun. The fluffy steamed bun is injected with orange-spiked dark chocolate and served complete with bunny ears and fluffy tail.
Where: 26-27 Lisle Street, WC2H 7BA
How much: £2.80, available 16-28 April
What: Hong Kong import Duddell’s is celebrating Easter weekend with a limited-edition basket of dim sum made up of six steamed dumplings handcrafted into Easter-themed shapes. The dumplings include two chicks filled with chicken, mushroom and asparagus, two prawn dumplings moulded into the shape of goldfish and another two prawn dumplings shaped like an Easter bunny.
Where: 6 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY
How much: £19, available 19-21 April
Where to have brunch
What: Francesco Mazzei’s riverside Italian is celebrating the four-day holiday with an Italian-style bottomless brunch. Make sure you try Mazzei’s Easter egg, served atop a nest of fried pasta and edible flowers. Each egg is filled with a prize rather than an edible filling, which could include anything from brunch for two to a bottle of fizz.
Where: Circus West Village, Sopwith Way, SW8 5BN
How much: £35, available Good Friday to Easter Monday
What: London’s pair of Limas are both offering bottomless celebrations on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday. Lima London is offering bottomless Prosecco (five glasses per diner) with its Peru Experience menu at lunch and dinner (don’t leave without trying its avocado and chocolate mousse, pictured above). The more casual Floral by Lima, meanwhile, is offering a bottomless brunch from 12-3pm.
Where: Lima London, 31 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JH; Floral by Lima, 14 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BJ
How much: Peru Experience menu, £65; bottomless brunch, £44
What: On Easter Sunday, London’s pair of Piano Works are launching their two-course, two-hour bottomless Aperol Spritz brunch, which also involves Bloody Marys, Italian pink sparkling wine and Prosecco. The entertainment goes on for rather longer: in-house musicians play nothing but audience requests from 1pm until 1am, with a DJ taking over until 4am.
Where: 113-117 Farringdon Road, ECR1 3BX and 47 Whitcomb Street, WC2H 7DH
How much: Two courses and bottomless drinks for £50 (two hours)
Where to drink
Camino, various locations
What: The Eggspresso con Leche, a sugary concoction involving condensed milk, espresso, Mozart chocolate liqueur and Sister Isles rum and topped with crushed mini eggs. Chase it down with an Easter torrija: egg-fried brioche served warm with black coconut ice cream, Valrhona white chocolate, popping candy and marshmallows.
Where: Bankside, King’s Cross, Monument and Shoreditch.
How much: Eggspresso con Leche, £9, available from 15 to 22 April.
Gaucho, various locations
What: On Easter Sunday, Gaucho is holding the UK’s first-ever wine Easter egg hunt in partnership with its online wine shop. All Gaucho restaurants have one giant Easter egg filled with one of Argentina’s best wines (valued at £300). Guests can enter by simply booking a table at any Gaucho; hidden under their napkin could be the ticket they’ve been hunting for.
Where: Six branches throughout London including Hampstead, Piccadilly and Richmond
How much: Free to enter when booking a table
What: The bar team at Atul Kochhar’s new Mayfair Indian has created an Easter cocktail called the Kaneaster Egg. Ingredients include vodka, double cream, burnt toffee liqueur, dark cacao liqueur, masala spice and a shot of espresso. Go easy on the naans beforehand.
Where: 17-19 Maddox Street, W1S 2QH
How much: £15
Looking for more seasonal inspiration? See our pick of London's best new spring menus here.