Best weekend brunch in London

For those of you that take weekend brunching dead seriously

Updated on 19 June 2019

Best weekend brunch in London

Brunch is the epitome of what the weekend is all about: slow starts, lazy meals, indulgence. So embrace it to the fullest and browse our complete guide below on where to go for the best weekend brunches in London 


34 Mayfair

34 Mayfair

34 Mayfair
£50 - £79
International

34 Grosvenor Square (Entrance on South Audley St), London, W1K 2HD

Promising British hospitality at its finest, 34 is testament to the “slick”, “five-star” hospitality that marks out the Caprice Holdings stable. From the top-hatted doorman outside this former bank to the timeless art deco-style interiors – think table lamps, brown leather banquettes and a marble bar – every bit of the consummate experience is “perfectly executed”, cocktails included. The grill menu has steak at its heart, but also does a mean line in seafood – our sprightly lobster, shrimp and sea bass ceviche was a judiciously spiced appetiser for the oncoming meat fest. Yorkshire heritage breeds and top-end Wagyu both feature prominently, but it’s worth doffing your cap to the nearby American Embassy and opting for the USDA Prime chateaubriand – a glorious, “succulent”, hunk of beef for two served with truffle gravy and mushrooms. If you have space for dessert, a chocolatey peanut-butter crunch bar with blackcurrant sorbet is simple but satisfying. Dapper, ever-attentive staff earn due praise, and the sommelier is full of great recommendations (in our case, a gorgeous Los Vascos Grande Reserve 2012 Rothschild).  High prices reflect the postcode, but fans reckon 34 is “worth every penny”. 

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The Botanist Sloane Square

The Botanist Sloane Square

The Botanist Sloane Square
£50 - £79
Modern European

7 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8EE

Available between 9am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, the weekend brunch at The Botanist stays true to its versatile cuisine. Opt for classic breakfast dishes such as coconut and chia seed pot with mango, passion fruit and quinoa; or perhaps the indulgent ricotta pancakes with bacon, berries and maple syrup? Elsewhere, more standard lunch dishes such as salt-baked heritage beetroots, hazelnuts, pink grapefruit and crispy quinoa or mussels with shallots, garlic, white wine and French fries are on offer, too. The art deco touches create an instant luxurious atmosphere, so if you’re feeling fancy, you know where to go.

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The Providores

The Providores

The Providores
£50 - £79
International
Fusion

109 Marylebone High Street, London, London, W1U 4RX

Peter Gordon’s two-floor fusion palace of a restaurant is a double-decker of fun. The weekend brunch is available both in the downstairs Tapa Room as well as the upstairs Providores and as the rest of its menu, it’s hard to pin down the cuisine. Everything from Turkish eggs to miso and sesame-roasted aubergine to French toast with roasted pineapple, mango, Oxford honey mascarpone, blueberries, smoked streaky bacon and verjus syrup is up for grabs and it’s well worth a trip. Fry-ups and a selection on nut-melks, smoothies, juices and cocktails completes the line-up.

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Quaglino

Quaglino's

Quaglino's
£50 - £79
Modern European

16 Bury Street, London, SW1Y 6AJ

Evoking a distinct feeling of being on a lavish luxury cruise ship, this OTT nightclub doubles as a fab brunch spot at the weekend. The Q Brunch is served between 11.30am and 2.30pm on Saturdays and showcases crowd pleasers such as eggs all the ways, crushed avocado and omelettes, and more luxe items like oysters, lobster and slow-cooked pork belly. From the striking marble-topped central bar, you can order to go bottomless with bubbles for an additional £25 per person. Be aware though, this is a slippery slope that can quickly leave you hanging around all day and until 10pm when DJs, house bands and guests artists hit the stage at the back on the ‘ship’.                                                                          

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Foxlow Clerkenwell

Foxlow Clerkenwell

Foxlow Clerkenwell
£30 - £49
International

69-73 St John Street, London, London, EC1M 4AY

Foxlow is the kind of joint that every neighbourhood should have. Friendly service, a relaxed atmosphere and crowd-pleasing dishes are hallmarks of this mini-chain, which is a spin-off from the mighty Hawksmoor dynasty set up by Will Beckett and Huw Gott. The duo have a knack for creating venues with shared style, but without cookie-cutter sameness, giving each branch of Foxlow a unique character. Menus major on popular chicken and steak options - think finger-licking Tamworth spare ribs with green slaw, a juicy chicken burger with avocado, and perfectly cooked sirloin steak with fries and béarnaise - plus interesting veggie choices, such as spice-roasted cauliflower with chickpeas, wilted spinach and curried aubergine sauce. Separate kids’ menus, good value express deals (two courses for £12) and the popular brunch menu score further points with readers; with one fan declaring it “the best brunch ever!” Drinks meanwhile range from creative softs, like fresh grapefruit soda, to craft beers and well-priced wines. Meanwhile cocktails, including the Hawksmoor classic Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew, are impeccably made. 

High Road Brasserie

High Road Brasserie

High Road Brasserie
£30 - £49
Modern European

162 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 1PR

A row of west London townhouses makes a good home for this animated brasserie where everything from breakfast through to late dinner is provided, not to mention a Champagne cocktail or two. There’s an art-deco spin to the interior with its banquette seating and spectacularly colourful floor tiles, which all makes an energetic space for an English breakfast or a croque monsieur, before the all-day menu kicks in with sandwiches, salads and hot food such as pumpkin risotto or pork belly with crackling and apple slaw. Steak frites is a speciality, and there are “great” Saturday brunches and “superb” Sunday lunches, rounded off by the comfort of a plum crumble, perhaps. Drink draught Chiswick Bitter or European lager, or perhaps something from the short, well-rounded wine list. With “fab service”, terrace tables and a laid-back vibe, HRB is the complete neighbourhood package.

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Bistrotheque

Bistrotheque

Bistrotheque
£30 - £49
Modern European

23-27 Wadeson Street, London, E2 9DR

Once an insider’s secret on a seedy Bethnal Green backstreet, Bistrotheque has gone on to become a bona fide east London institution. Best known for its weekend brunch service, it’s always packed to the rafters and great raucous fun, thanks to the colourfully coiffed house pianist and decent nosh (plates of pancakes with poached rhubarb and pork chops with layered potatoes do it for us) and even better cocktails. The decor “just stays cool” and the clientele is a veritable Who’s Who of modern east London, with a host of designers, architects, artists and assorted locals using it for nibbles, drinks at the “magnificent” bar (“staff will make sure your glass is never empty”) and lively suppers – perhaps pressed lamb with spring vegetables, cod with romesco sauce, caramelised tomato tart with burrata or “the best steak tartare in the east End”. The food’s good, but the ambience is “amazing”.

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Tom

Tom's Kitchen Chelsea

Tom's Kitchen Chelsea
£50 - £79
British

27 Cale Street, London, London, SW3 3QP

The weekend brunch at Tom’s is a lavish, all-day affair. From sharing roasts and brunch specials (such as pancakes and acai super-fruit bowls) and an extensive drinks section, you can spend hours working your way through the robust British menu. Headed up by Michelin-starred Tom Aikens, you can expect classic brunch staples (crab and prawn Benedict, say), but also more lunch-leaning dishes such as beef tartare starters and tandoori chicken schnitzel for mains. Prices are on the higher end of the scale, but a pretty dining room and delicious food do come with a price tag.

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Smith & Wollensky

Smith & Wollensky

Smith & Wollensky
£50 - £79
North American
Steak

1-11 John Adam Street, London, London, WC2N 6HT

This smart US import follows its transatlantic forebears by focusing on USDA, British and Irish beef butchered on the premises and hung in an impressive dry-ageing room. Located in the art-deco Adelphi Building, S&W's interior will knock your socks off with its parquet floors, leather banquettes and striking murals creating a gloriously decadent 1920s feel. Prices are hefty and so are the portions – a side of truffled mac 'n' cheese could feed four happily. Taking on the challenge, we devoured this with bone-in rib-eye and sirloin steaks, both obviously well sourced and served with 'steakhouse fries' (that?were actually closer to British chips). The weekend brunch menu stays true to the restaurant’s carnivorous reputation with dishes such as eggs with braised short rib, smoked bacon hash and the protein-packed sirloin steak and fried eggs, alongside a selection of nine bespoke Bloody Marys. A few elements of this fiercely American menu seem to get lost in translation, although there are some great US wines on show, plus there are set menus offering smaller portions and better value. Share or go with homesick Americans.

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Granger & Co Clerkenwell

Granger & Co Clerkenwell

Granger & Co Clerkenwell
£30 - £49
International

The Buckley Building, 49 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0EP

It may have been somewhat overshadowed by the new King’s Cross branch, but this sleek-looking, light-filled eatery from laid-back Aussie chef and adopted Londoner Bill Granger is still everything you might expect. Huge “dramatic” windows, chirpy staff and a quiet location away from Clerkenwell Green ensure this place brings a taste of the glamorous Antipodean lifestyle to EC1 – no wonder it’s hugely popular for catch-ups and all-day meetings. The kitchen deals in big sunny flavours with a heavy splash of South-East Asian colour and lots of “fresh, healthy” notes – perhaps beetroot with labneh, sumac and pomegranate, a sambal chicken salad with green papaya or steamed sea bass with green-tea noodles, samphire and soy mirin broth. Desserts such as white chocolate and pistachio pavlova are to die for, while Granger’s reputation as the ‘egg master of Sydney’ ensures that breakfast doesn’t disappoint.

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Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room
£50 - £79
British

252 High Holborn, London, London, WC1V 7EN

Boasting an all-day menu that stretches from filling hot breakfasts to late-night suppers, this versatile brasserie within the smart Rosewood London receives generous praise for "amazing ambience, very good food and great service". The grand, marble-pillared room previously housed the underwriters at Pearl Assurance, and Martin Brudnizki's makeover captures that sense of heritage with a clubby look whose russet leather, reclaimed oak and antique mirrors are both traditional and on-trend; outside, meanwhile, the courtyard houses a tastefully elegant summer-only terrace.

Recent highlights from a crowd-pleasing menu included a juicy shrimp burger lifted with lobster thermidor tart, cornish crab toast and indulgent sticky toffee pudding, all preceded by exemplary White Negronis. Elsewhere, you'll find classic seafood dishes and a decent wine list to boot.

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Village East

Village East

Village East
£50 - £79
Modern European

171-173 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UW

"There's a nice friendly vibe in here", says a fan of Village East – an effortlessly cool factory conversion with echoes of New York's Meatpacking district. Despite cosy booths and urban mesh-style partitions, quiet tête-à-têtes are out of the question – so set yourself up with a cocktail from the regularly updated list (our favourite is the Tanqueray gin-based Earl of Bermondsey). The menu is a "real winner", packed with a savvy mix of comforting classics, cheffy ideas and healthy options: dishes range from Longhorn beef and bone marrow burgers to stuffed chicory leaves with braised lentils, pipérade and walnuts via pistachio-crusted hake with buckwheat groats, confit cherry tomatoes and lemon butter – all served with admirable bonhomie by "great staff". Getting a weekend table for brunch isn't easy, but it's worth the effort – if only for the buttermilk pancakes.

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Bistro Union

Bistro Union

Bistro Union
£30 - £49
British

40 Abbeville Road, London, SW4 9NG

With its daily specials written on rolls of brown paper, a bar adorned with homemade preserves, and pegs on the walls for hanging your coat – Bistro Union evokes the make-do-and-mend Britain of yore. Much of the menu produced by Adam Byatt’s team harks back to a time when food was primarily for comfort, reassurance and high-calorie fuel: there’s a breakfast fry-up, fish pie and toad in the hole for lunch, and rhubarb fool for pudding. Nevertheless, you’ll also find more interesting dishes that have left the nursery (and school dinners) behind. Try the grilled squid with parsley salad, served with a punch-packing aïoli; and finish off with a blackcurrant and almond tart (in essence, a very fine version of a Bakewell). Drinks include a couple of British sparklers, craft beers and ciders, but fear not: the wine list makes it easy to escape Blighty should you wish.

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Christopher

Christopher's

Christopher's
£50 - £79
North American
Steak
£30 - £49

18 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7DD

Christopher's may have celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016, but the handsome Grade II-listed Victorian building has a longer history than that and was once home to London's first licensed casino. There's no need to take a gamble on the menu, which is a selection of reliably good stateside staples: juicy Maine lobsters and prime steaks hailing from the US, Scotland and Australia are the winning bets, but you'll also strike lucky with moist Maryland crab cakes or slow-cooked pork belly and Ibérico chop served with Boston baked beans and creamed corn. Lighter choices include fresh salmon carpaccio with a zingy tequila and key lime dressing, but you're likely to lose all will-power when you see the line-up of decadent desserts such as New York cheesecake or chocolate, peanut butter and caramel tart with espresso ice cream. Brunch is always a big deal here too, with readers rating the 'build-your-own pancake' menu, "delicious options" and "really lovely atmosphere".

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Hixter Bankside

Hixter Bankside

Hixter Bankside
£30 - £49
British

16 Great Guildford Street, London, London, SE1 0HS

Mark Hix’s original Hixter in the City didn't last long, but this second branch seems to have hit its stride in time to survive the difficult first two years. Occupying a former metal box factory near the Tate Modern, it’s an unashamedly cool urban destination complete with Tracey Emin neon sculptures, girders, pendant lights and bare brick walls. Like its stablemate Tramshed in Shoreditch, the menu is all about chicken and beef, though they do serve fish and seafood too. Roast barn-reared chooks arrive at the table perched upright with stuffing and chips on the side, while the Glenarm carcasses (aged in Himalayan salt) yield all manner of ‘mighty-marbled’ steaks. To start, try ceviche with crispy lotus root or Wiltshire burrata with chilli and grilled sourdough, and save room for a helping of ‘credit crunch ice cream’. The “great bar” is as much of a draw as the dining room, though it's not as hip and frenetic as the Soho original – some might see that as an advantage, of course.

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The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy Chelsea Garden
£30 - £49
Modern European

197 King's Road, London, SW3 5ED

Richard Caring doesn’t do things by half. Not content with moving his burgeoning Ivy brand to the King’s Road, he has duly bagged one of the best sites around, taking over a vast Edwardian building near the fire station. Caring’s eye for opulence has given the cavernous space real character, from the stately, panelled front room to the verdant Orangery and an “amazing”’ manicured garden that’s perfect for “lazing on a sunny afternoon”. The kitchen delivers “great” renditions of the Ivy’s trademark “cosy but sophisticated classics”: a Brit take on carpaccio charged with horseradish and mustard cream; crispy duck salad with five-spice dressing; the iconic shepherd’s pie loaded with slow-cooked lamb shoulder, plus desserts such as blackberry sundae. Juices and healthier salads please Chelsea’s fashionistas, breakfast brings in the early birds, and the set menu is “surprisingly economical”. We’re pleased that service seems to have smoothed out after a few early blips.

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Red Rooster at The Curtain

Red Rooster at The Curtain

Red Rooster at The Curtain
£30 - £49
North American

45 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3PT

The polishing up of Shoreditch continues with the arrival of The Curtain hotel (just round the corner from the equally new Nobu Shoreditch). Although this luxe offering comes with a rooftop swimming pool, its in-house restaurant retains its Shoreditch cool with quirky decor and painfully cool staff. Red Rooster has a twin in New York’s Harlem and, like its NYC sibling, the Shoreditch menu is a celebration of America’s southern soul food, carried off with panache. We kick-started our evening with a trio of snacks including fish tacos, bacon-loaded popcorn and crumbly cornbread slathered with sweet honey butter and spicy tomato jam. We then moved on to a starter proper of meatballs served swimming in zingy pickled gravy and dotted with perfectly crisp bites of gnocchi. As Red Rooster’s name suggests, poultry is the star turn, but we mixed things up, skipping the fried yard bird and herb-roasted chicken for a helping of tender, spicy jerk pork and prawns, served with sweet coconut rice and chunks of juicy pineapple. Desserts are just as indulgent (rum-soaked doughnuts anyone?) and our slice of red velvet sponge, served with cream cheese sorbet and chocolate cremeux, was as sweet as can be. With brunch on Sunday and live music most evenings, Red Rooster is an impressive addition to the Shoreditch scene. With all that US soul food though, it’s just as well that The Curtain has a gym.  

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Riding House Café

Riding House Café

Riding House Café
£30 - £49
International

43-51 Great Titchfield Street, London, London, W1W 7PQ

Crammed with Fitzrovia’s media movers and shakers from morn till night, Riding House Café is still a trendy favourite hereabouts. Red-leather seating, parquet floors and frilly lamps are redolent of a gussied-up New York diner, though stuffed squirrels and panelled walls add some English eccentricity to the bustling room’s roaring atmosphere. Service is smart and speedy, but the cooking can be up and down: our buffalo wings were parsimonious, and sea trout (overcooked) was lost among fat slabs of tomato drenched in potent pistou, but – on the plus side – crisp salt beef croquettes, roast guinea fowl on ratatouille and a decadent hot chocolate fudge sundae hit the spot. Classy brunches spanning buttermilk pancakes, chorizo hash and lobster Benedict pull the crowds, while a pristinely tiled bar awash with laptops seems more about work than pleasure. Perhaps lone diners aspire to the compact wine list’s ‘reserve’ section.

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Bistro Vadouvan

Bistro Vadouvan

Bistro Vadouvan
£30 - £49
French

30 Brewhouse Lane, London, SW15 2JX

It may boast Indian owners (including the guy behind Hammersmith’s Potli), but don’t be fooled: Bistro Vadouvan deals in classic French dishes masterfully elevated with Middle Eastern and Asian spice. The room gives nothing away – electric-blue banquettes, a big open kitchen and quarry-tile flooring are welcoming yet unspectacular. However, from the first dish, we sat up and paid attention. Our steak tartare ranked among the most original we’ve had – adroitly seasoned chopped steak with diced spring onion and pickled chilli, layered on soft slivers of aubergine and topped with crunchy sliced almonds. Chef Durga Misra worked at Brasserie Chavot (RIP) and it shows in dishes such as soft brill with prawn ravioli in an umami-packed coconut broth, a creation that wouldn’t look out of place in a swanky West End destination. For dessert, we recommend Bistro Vadouvan’s pitch-perfect île flottante with candied nuts and caramel sauce. Excellent brunch and alfresco tables astride the river complete a tremendous package – “finally Putney Wharf has somewhere worth visiting”, cheers a fan.

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Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern Firehouse
£50 - £79
International

1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA

The fervour that surrounded André Balazs’ Marylebone hotspot has died down and you no longer need to be famous to secure a table, but Chiltern Firehouse still delivers in spades. Readers praise the outdoor-themed interiors as well as the high-decibel “party vibe”, and we’ve also been impressed by the all-inclusive attitude of the staff, who happily laugh and chat with diners. Meanwhile, in the open kitchen, chef Nuno Mendes and his team send out plenty of likeable big-time successes. Snacks such as bacon cornbread and the famous coral-dusted crab doughnut kick things off nicely, but there are other highlights too: char-grilled Ibérico pork comes with the unexpected additions of grilled peaches and red pepper kimchi, while a side of mac ‘n’ cheese is given a fiery kick with jalapeño peppers. Early risers pack in for breakfast (potted eggs with caramelised onions and curried potatoes), freelancers take advantage of the indulgent lunchtime offers (crab and lobster omelette, say), and we’d also recommend Chiltern Firehouse for a pre/post-meal trip to the botanically themed bar for cheekily named cocktails. Be warned – the bill (with impressive wines included) may have you reaching for the fire alarm.

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Pique-Nique

Pique-Nique

Pique-Nique
£30 - £49
French

32 Tanner Street, London, SE1 3LD

You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled to find this second restaurant from Hervé Durochat, which occupies what looks like a café-cum-shelter in the corner of Tanner Street Park. But get up close and Pique-Nique is a bobby dazzler, a real-deal French bistro of tiled floors and close-set tables, with outside seating to soak up the summertime buzz and wraparound windows that will make it a pleasure even in the middle of winter. Durochat has become a local hero for Casse-Croûte and he’s done Bermondsey another huge favour with this casual follow-up. Start with an aperitif (vermouth, pastis or pale Provençal rosé) from a short, mainly French wine list ahead of house speciality spit-roast poulet de Bresse, either from a chicken-lickin’ tasting menu or an à la carte plate of skin-on breast and thigh, spooned with alluringly dark meat jus. Elsewhere, there is entrecôte with garlic butter, a loosely assembled terrine of sea bass, cucumber and tomato, a supersized vol-au-vent filled with crayfish tails and glossy Nantua sauce, and a chocolate moelleux that was well worth the wait. All of this was good rather than outstanding but what really made our meal memorable was the easy charm of the young staff and the absolute delight of the setting: is there any sound more summery than the thwack of a tennis ball bouncing off a racket?

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Caravan King

Caravan King's Cross

Caravan King's Cross
£30 - £49
Fusion

Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, King's Cross, London, London, N1C 4AA

The whizz-kids behind Caravan Coffee Roasters have come a long way since opening their first gaff on Exmouth Market. Now spread across the capital, each site follows the formula with urban-industrial interiors and a seasonally changing all-day menu bristling with ideas from around the world – including the jamon and smoked san simon croquettes with saffron mayonnaise. A sure-fire winner with vegetarians (try the green quinoa grain bowl with burnt grelots, grilled broccoli, miso verde, sprouts and cashews), this mini-chain also offers delicious pizzas at its larger sites, alongside the small-batch coffees that helped to kick-start London’s latest love affair with caffeine. Caravan set the bar high with its trendy brunch options too (we like the paprika and spring onion waffle with thick cut bacon and maple-date butter). A packed, convivial dining room is pretty much guaranteed, ably buoyed by reasonable prices and inexpensive Old World wines.

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Pedler

Pedler

Pedler
£30 - £49
International

58 Peckham Rye, London, SE15 4JR

This polished newcomer sits incongruously on Peckham Rye, a scruffy thoroughfare where dining options have hitherto run to branches of Chicken Cottage. Vintage mismatched crockery and cut-glass tumblers define Pedler’s look, along with bare brickwork, wooden flooring and flights of fancy such as pineapple-patterned fabrics covering the bar stools. The seasonal, modern British menu changes almost completely every day, save for a signature dish of ‘frizzle chicken’ – the crunchiest of chicken nuggets served with an assertively spiced ‘attitude’ sauce. Other hits include juicy, charred lamb chops (from local butcher Flock & Herd) with saffron-flecked potatoes, and rich desserts such as sticky ginger cake with local vanilla ice cream: south London on a plate. Most seating is cramped, but the welcome is warm, the staff enthusiastic, and the atmosphere buzzing from breakfast until the witching hour. To drink, well-balanced cocktails made with Little Bird gin are the way to go.

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Balthazar

Balthazar

Balthazar
£50 - £79
French

4-6 Russell Street, London, London, WC2B 5HZ

According to one reader, Balthazar could be “the best brasserie in London for atmosphere and service". Elsewhere, abundant praise for the lively buzz and "happy, friendly staff" is proof that this London outpost of Keith McNally's upscale bistro lives up to the reputation of his NYC original. By and large, the food wins approval too, with particular mentions for the "delicious afternoon tea" and "just the best dauphinoise potatoes". Order them alongside wickedly rich duck confit or coq au vin, preceded by chicken liver parfait, steak tartare or garlicky escargots. The all-day offer also includes delectable pastries from Balthazar’s boulangerie next door, omelette Arnold Bennett for brunch, plateaux de fruits de mer from the seafood bar or eggs mimosa followed by roast hake with bouillabaisse soup on the prix fixe. "It's a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner and business meetings" concludes one ardent admirer; another simply says “sit back, enjoy the buzz and don’t worry about your wallet”.

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Dean Street Townhouse

Dean Street Townhouse

Dean Street Townhouse
£50 - £79
British

69-71 Dean Street, London, London, W1D 3SE

The weekend brunch at Dean Street Townhouse features all-day breakfast and Sunday Roast alongside a selection of starters, salads and meat and fish dishes. Devour it all in enticingly soft armchairs, heavy fabrics and low ceilings. The breakfast is hugely popular and features all the brunch staples you’d expect, such as a Full English and Eggs Florentine, Benedict and Royal, but we dare you to be a little more adventurous. How about a twice-baked smoked haddock soufflé with butter sauce or a crab tart with chili to start? And why not celebrate the weekend with the Townhouse cheeseburger with tomatoes, gherkins and chips?

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Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard
£50 - £79
British

Level 31 The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, , London, London, SE1 9RY

Swankily appointed Aqua Shard has one astonishing USP – 31 floors up on the Shard, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular views, mainly across the urban sprawl leading to the North Downs. The views and the location alone should just about guarantee a full house every night, but it would be remiss to minimise the sterling contribution made by current head chef Dale Osborne (ex-Terroirs). With some mains breaking the £40 barrier, eating here isn’t cheap, but in return you’ll be offered some skilfully rendered and reassuringly seasonal modern British food: jellied ham hock with pickled heritage carrots and parsley oil; fillet of John Dory with Scottish girolles, sea beet, pickled samphire and lentils; Merrifield Farm duck breast with seared duck hearts and slow-roasted Evesham beets; cherry Bakewell tart with cherry sauce. Useful tip: they’re also open for breakfast, weekend brunch and afternoon tea, though prices are as sky-high as the views. Readers also reckon that drinks are “somewhat expensive”.

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The Delaunay

The Delaunay

The Delaunay
£50 - £79
Modern European
Afternoon tea

55 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BB

Like its sibling The Wolseley, this "lovely buzzy restaurant" bears all the hallmarks of a Corbin & King success story, from "spot-on" service to please-all cooking for a big-city crowd. No wonder The Delaunay has become a perennial favourite on all counts: the welcome is "always friendly" and the David Collins interior "impresses straightaway" with its glossy dark wood, gleaming brass and polished stone floors. There's an "old-school Viennese" vibe here, so expect to find wiener schnitzel, choucroute and rich borscht, as well as traditional dishes from elsewhere in Europe such as chicken Kiev and the ever-popular kedgeree. Tempting patisserie and viennoiserie – including an exemplary sachertorte – are worth a visit alone: luckily the adjoining Counter at The Delaunay sells many of these goodies to go. We urge you to book ahead for the phenomenally popular pre-theatre slot, or start your day in splendid fashion with a gut-busting breakfast. In short, "a great London institution".

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The Modern Pantry Clerkenwell

The Modern Pantry Clerkenwell

The Modern Pantry Clerkenwell
£30 - £49
International
Fusion

47-48 St John's Square, London, London, EC1V 4JJ

Given that she was born in Canada, raised in New Zealand and has parents with Belgian/Danish roots, it’s no surprise that fusion queen Anna Hansen takes her foodie inspiration from far and wide. Like her former gaff, The Providores, this Clerkenwell townhouse eatery is a place of two halves, with a buzzy ground-floor café/traiteur and a serene upstairs dining room with clean-lined contemporary decor. Breakfast and brunch are popular shouts, although the kitchen delivers “tremendously flavoursome food from start to finish”. Aubergine dengaku is a Japanese favourite, served with pickled mushrooms, while other dishes take a more European approach – a salad of buffalo mozzarella, roasted fennel and roasted peach, perhaps. After that, expect a riot of flavours: chermoula-infused sea trout comes with pea and yuzu purée, onglet steak gets its oomph from miso and tamarind, and pavlova comes fired up with Asian flavours. As expected, the wine list is a fascinating globetrotting compendium.

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Aqua Kyoto

Aqua Kyoto

Aqua Kyoto
£50 - £79
Japanese

240 Regent Street (entrance 30 Argyll Street), London, London, W1B 3BR

As far removed from the Zen minimalist school as it gets, Aqua Kyoto does high-end Japanese with a bit of razzmatazz. Feel the vibe as you circumnavigate the central bar, past gorgeous kimono silk-padded booths, to reach the dramatic dining room with its showpiece sunken sushi bar crowned by an oversize red lantern. The clubby mood conjures up shades of Tokyo’s swanky Ginza district, likewise the menu’s luxurious bent. Go for broke by ordering king crab tempura with crab miso, Wagyu maki rolls and agedashi aubergine with roasted foie gras, or discover original creations ranging from chilli yuzu lamb teriyaki with Japanese artichokes to rabbit with green peach, pumpkin tofu and mustard ankake sauce. By contrast, lunchtime bento boxes and sashimi selections are gentler on the wallet. The terrace is perfect for a sundowner.

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Bombay Bustle

Bombay Bustle

Bombay Bustle
£30 - £49
Indian

29 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PA

The Sunday brunch at Bombay Bustle doesn’t just have a fantastic ring to it – Samosas, Dosas & Mimosas – but offers a refreshing take on your usual brunch items. Slow Sunday mornings are completed with Baida roti stuffed with Lincolnshire sausage; Tameta Per Edu, a popular breakfast favourite in Parsi households; and a hearty selection of griddle and grills such as dosas stuffed with Bombay’s signature aloo masala, duck chettinad or bheja pepper masala. The Amritsari Kulcha, a soft leavened bread served with rassa aloo, is another winner and there is a lovely selection of comfort foods including bohri lamb samosas, papdi chaat samosas, kanda poha with spiced goan chorizo or tadka asparagus, and lobster tail and scallop khichdi (for a touch of luxury).

But what about the mimosas, we hear you ask? They are equally impressive – from 11am, you can decide on your mimosa of choice, having the option between royal cardamom-infused peach, blue butterfly pea flower and lemongrass or Andhra chilli-spiced mango.

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Roka Aldwych

Roka Aldwych

Roka Aldwych
Over £80
Sushi
Japanese

71 Aldwych, London, London, WC2B 4HN

This is the largest Roka branch in London and showcases a stylish mix of natural stone, grey timbers and dried green oak. The weekend brunch comes in the form of a set three-course Han Setto Brunch. Feast on delights such as sashimi, sushi and tempuras to start and robata dishes such as sea bream with ryotei miso to follow. For your main, you can choose between the likes of black cod marinated in yuzu miso; lamb cutlets; or rice hots pots with crispy chicken, shiitake mushrooms and seasonal truffle. The damage? This feast is yours for a mere £43 per person and you can go bottomless with Prosecco or wine for £59 per person.

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Roka Canary Wharf

Roka Canary Wharf

Roka Canary Wharf
£50 - £79
Japanese

4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, London, E14 5FW

Served on Saturdays from 11.30am to 3.30pm and on Sundays between 11.30 and 9pm, the weekend brunch at Roka’s Canary Wharf outpost offers an Asian feast of delights. Kick off the experience with either a Bellini, Bloody Mary or green tea and passion fruit iced tea on arrive, before tucking into the likes of sake teriyaki (salmon fillet terityaki); hinadori no lemon miso yaki (cedar-roast baby chicken with chili, lemon and garlic soy); or kobuta no ribs yawarake nikomi (baby back ribs glazed with spiced master stock and cashew nuts). Finish it all with Roka’s dessert platter to share for the table. All bamboo and polished wood, the restaurant serves up high glamour and is the antithesis to a modest Japanese restaurant, and we love it.

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Jolene

Jolene

Jolene
Under £30
French

21 Newington Green, London, N16 9PU

From the outside, this new venture from the guys behind Primeur and Westerns Laundry looks like a candlelit private party – although appearances can be deceptive. Jolene is first and foremost a bakery but, come nightfall, it morphs into a restaurant with an ever-changing chalkboard of sharing dishes.

The simplicity of the Italian-leaning menu will be familiar to fans of the owners’ earlier ventures. Don't come here if you’re on a carbs-free regime, because their bread is as good as it gets; the sourdough almost chewy, slightly tangy and perfect with plates of jamón de Teruel or Tuscan salami so pretty it could pattern a dress.

Occasionally, simple veers into plain, as in a plate of romanesco with only a few almonds and raisins to add some interest, but almost everything else is stunning. Warm, rosemary flatbread slathered with herby oil is perfect with bowls of pasta made from home-milled flour – our buttercup-yellow ravioli filled with soft pumpkin and sage was unforgettable. Hefty mains such as an entire beef's cheek, bourguignon-style are designed for sharing, or you could go solo with a huge fillet of expertly cooked stone bass in a rich, satisfying retro butter sauce.   

As for the vibe, think Notting Hill minimalism meets Shoreditch warehouse with a Parisian jazz soundtrack and some cool customers (Nick Grimshaw was having a low-key dinner when we visited). Our advice: book ahead, arrive early and have fun watching the place fill up.

Photo Credit: Patricia Niven

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The Ivy Soho Brasserie

The Ivy Soho Brasserie

The Ivy Soho Brasserie
£30 - £49
Brasserie
Afternoon tea

26-28 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 8JB

The Ivy Collection has spread once again, with this large Soho site which is most closely related to The Ivy Kensington Brasserie. Unlike that site, Soho is a far clubbier proposition, perfect for this part of town and packed with flashy artworks and even flashier customers. It’s a testament to the formula that it feels different here, yet still unmistakeably The Ivy. That’s down to the menu which, just like every other outpost, offers the same please-all, international menu of prawn cocktails, chicken liver parfaits, steaks, grilled lobsters and that trademark shepherd’s pie. We can’t fault the food here, from a warm duck and watermelon salad crunching with toasted cashews, to jet-black, Dukkah-spiced aubergine atop sumptuous labneh. Prices are surprisingly accessible too (another Ivy trademark), while the cocktail list has been given particular attention, majoring in fizzing and fruity vodka-and-gin based mixes. With so much space, the restaurant is divided up into more and less informal sections and cubbies, while a large terrace is going to make this a hot summer ticket. Yes, it’s predictable stuff and yes, its gleaming demeanour won’t please Soho traditionalists, but it’s already popular and injecting a party buzz into this newly overhauled W1 street.

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Floral by Lima

Floral by Lima

Floral by Lima
£50 - £79
Peruvian

14 Garrick Street, London, London, WC2E 9BJ

The Peruvian brunch available on Saturdays and Sundays at Floral by Lima is a set chef selection of six dishes to share for an attractive £29 per person. Marrying the classic UK brunch staples with Latin American influences, you can expect corn toast with avocado, cheese and banana; sea bream ceviche with ginger tiger’s milk and cassava; yellow chili quinoto with poached eggs and crispy roots; and beautiful churros with dulce de leche for dessert. Complete the experience with bottomless Prosecco, beer or Pisco Marys for £44pp.

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Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe

Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe

Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe
£50 - £79
British
Bars
Afternoon tea

21 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT

This all-day British restaurant and bar seems to hold all the trump cards since its 2017 refurbishment, with an enviable Thames-side location, views of St Paul’s, guaranteed buzz from the neighbouring Globe and now, a star chef in Allan Pickett. Best known for his short-lived 2015 restaurant Piquet, Fitzrovia’s loss has been Swan’s gain because Pickett’s beautifully presented, best-of-British cooking feels right at home here. Sitting above a more casual bar and diner, the second-floor restaurant has been smartened up, with a few flashes of peacock-blue and plenty of bare wood, leaving the wall of windows to do the talking. The menus run the gamut from bacon brioche buns at breakfast to roast UK cuts on Sundays, with lunch and dinner offering the same array of classic British standards, all supported by a well-organised lineup of global wines. A disarmingly pretty dish of marinated scallops arrives dotted with jet-black squid ink mayonnaise, bursting with Granny Smith juice, while a potentially stodgy combination of faggot and venison haunch in gravy buzzes with the tang of pickled red cabbage and damson preserve. Of course, the seasonal menu changes often but Pickett’s delicate knack for maximising flavours should elevate Swan’s kitchen all year round. On the downside, vegetarians have little choice, while pricier, heartier mains are unfathomably served without adequate trimmings. These points aside, the Swan’s second act deserves to break a leg.

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Lantana

Lantana

Lantana
Under £30
Cafes

13 Charlotte Place, London, W1T 1SN

Australian-run Lantana built a bonzer reputation for its brunches, quickly expanding into adjacent premises. More recently the expansion has been in time, rather than space, with the advent of evening dining at ‘Shindig’. Here the “cosy and rustic” café – wooden tables, a coffee counter – is given night-time appeal by tea lights and a short, serious drinks list. Customers familiar with the daytime offering of high-quality breakfasts (from muesli to slow-braised beans with egg, chorizo and spinach) and Pacific Rim lunches (duck burger with kimchi mayo, say) can now tuck into a concise surf and turf dinner menu. Our baby back ribs were succulent and sticky, and a side of ‘hush puppies’ (corncakes with chilli mayo) made an indulgent feast – though a dish of octopus, squid and chorizo with smoked corn was variable. For pud, a large slab of chocolate brownie brought us back to café culture: underlined by excellent coffee.

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Berners Tavern at The London Edition

Berners Tavern at The London Edition

Berners Tavern at The London Edition
£50 - £79
Modern European
Afternoon tea

10 Berners Street, London, London, W1T 3NP

“I love this place!” chimes one reader – and rightly so. Jason Atherton’s 21st-century reinvention of hotel dining has made Berners Tavern one of the hottest tickets in town. Sporting “the most beautiful dining room in London” (think towering ceilings, mosaics, gilt-framed oil paintings and a soaring, yellow-lit bar), this place oozes glamour, pizzazz and grandeur, without feeling remotely “stuffy”. There are many foodie triumphs here, although the reimagining of the hotel dining-room trolley is one to really savour – watch as a giant, perfectly cooked pork pie is sliced tableside and artfully arranged with pickled carrots, fennel, piccalilli and mustards. Other classic British options include the “best prawn cocktail ever” (loaded with sweet lobster jelly, avocado and crispy shallots), but the menu’s versatility ranges from gloriously indulgent five-cheese macaroni topped with slow-cooked beef blade (“to die for”) to roast Cornish cod with crispy squid, basil fregola and soothing tomato consommé. For a final touch of theatre, go for the buttermilk Alaska, finished with flaming liquor, soft hunks of rhubarb and pistachio. Service at Berners Tavern is “second to none” – as we’ve come to expect from Mr Atherton. 

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No.11 Pimlico Road

No.11 Pimlico Road

No.11 Pimlico Road
£30 - £49
Modern European

11 Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8NA

As pretty as a picture, with white walls, pots of herbs and zinc-topped tables, this big corner venue beguiles the eye even before punters have sat down, and with a broad line-up of all-day favourites, a tempting selection of sharing plates and a dedicated ‘little people’ menu, it seems to have everything going for it. Grown-ups can pick from an assortment that runs from burgers and steaks to moules marinière, or rump of lamb with crushed celeriac and apple, ahead of desserts such as baked vanilla custard with warm roast plums. Service is slow but sweet, but punters amuse themselves by making plentiful use of the wine list and the well-made cocktails. Whether it’s date night, a post-work catch-up or Sunday lunch with the kids, everyone seems to have a good time – even if some think the food is “fairly average at best”.   

 

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Caravan Bankside

Caravan Bankside

Caravan Bankside
£30 - £49
Fusion

The Metal Box Factory, 30 Great Guildford Street, London, SE1 0HS

The whizz-kids behind Caravan Coffee Roasters have come a long way since opening their first gaff on Exmouth Market. Now spread across the capital, each site follows the formula with urban-industrial interiors and a seasonally changing all-day menu bristling with ideas from around the world – including the jamon and smoked san simon croquettes with saffron mayonnaise. A sure-fire winner with vegetarians (try the green quinoa grain bowl with burnt grelots, grilled broccoli, miso verde, sprouts and cashews), this mini-chain also offers delicious pizzas at its larger sites, alongside the small-batch coffees that helped to kick-start London’s latest love affair with caffeine. Caravan set the bar high with its trendy brunch options too (we like the paprika and spring onion waffle with thick cut bacon and maple-date butter). A packed, convivial dining room is pretty much guaranteed, ably buoyed by reasonable prices and inexpensive Old World wines.

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Caravan Fitzrovia

Caravan Fitzrovia

Caravan Fitzrovia
Under £30
Fusion

152–156 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 6AJ

The whizz-kids behind Caravan Coffee Roasters have come a long way since opening their first gaff on Exmouth Market. Now spread across the capital, each site follows the formula with urban-industrial interiors and a seasonally changing all-day menu bristling with ideas from around the world – including the jamon and smoked san simon croquettes with saffron mayonnaise. A sure-fire winner with vegetarians (try the green quinoa grain bowl with burnt grelots, grilled broccoli, miso verde, sprouts and cashews), this mini-chain also offers delicious pizzas at its larger sites, alongside the small-batch coffees that helped to kick-start London’s latest love affair with caffeine. Caravan set the bar high with its trendy brunch options too (we like the paprika and spring onion waffle with thick cut bacon and maple-date butter). A packed, convivial dining room is pretty much guaranteed, ably buoyed by reasonable prices and inexpensive Old World wines.

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Caravan City

Caravan City

Caravan City
£30 - £49
Modern European

22 Bloomberg Arcade, London, London, EC4N 8AR

The whizz-kids behind Caravan Coffee Roasters have come a long way since opening their first gaff on Exmouth Market. Now spread across the capital, each site follows the formula with urban-industrial interiors and a seasonally changing all-day menu bristling with ideas from around the world – including the jamon and smoked san simon croquettes with saffron mayonnaise. A sure-fire winner with vegetarians (try the green quinoa grain bowl with burnt grelots, grilled broccoli, miso verde, sprouts and cashews), this mini-chain also offers delicious pizzas at its larger sites, alongside the small-batch coffees that helped to kick-start London’s latest love affair with caffeine. Caravan set the bar high with its trendy brunch options too (we like the paprika and spring onion waffle with thick cut bacon and maple-date butter). A packed, convivial dining room is pretty much guaranteed, ably buoyed by reasonable prices and inexpensive Old World wines.

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Céleste at The Lanesborough

Céleste at The Lanesborough

Céleste at The Lanesborough
Over £80
Modern European
Afternoon tea
French
One michelin star

The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, London, London, SW1X 7TA

With its Wedgwood-esque bas relief, enormous chandeliers and the odd bust here and there, as well as a chap tinkling the ivories in one corner, this huge conservatory is almost a caricature of the best and grandest of British. Coupled with charming, gliding service and acres of white linen, it creates a style to which many of us would like to become accustomed. The menu is predictably littered with big-money ingredients (native lobster with smoked broccoli purée, saddle of wild roe deer with quince confit), but the chefs seem just as happy working with less highfalutin raw materials: cauliflower is roasted and dressed with lemon curry-infused oil and aged Parmesan, while boned quail is accompanied by petits pois à la française and a ring of girolles. “Slick and smart” describes the service, and the wine list impresses without breaking the bank. Despite Céleste’s Michelin-starred status and the unrelenting grandeur all around, prices aren’t too scary and some of the set menus are a positive bargain.

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Joe Allen

Joe Allen

Joe Allen
£30 - £49
North American
Burgers

2 Burleigh Street, London, London, WC2E 7PX

It was a dark day in Theatreland when it was announced that the unofficial actors’ canteen, Joe Allen, was going to close – not least because it was to make way for a boutique hotel owned by one of their own, Robert de Niro. But the move around the corner has re-energised this luvvies’ classic that first opened its doors on Exeter Street in 1977. 

A tighter, less labyrinthine layout concentrates the hubbub of the room, while fittings that have been moved lock, stock and piano from Exeter Street look as if they have been here for years. And the American comfort food is the same as ever – adequate rather than amazing, but more than cutting the mustard if you’ve come to soak up the pre- and post-theatre atmosphere or for a boozy weekend brunch with friends; it’s also as well suited to feeding an eight- or eighty-year-old. 

‘Eggs Joe Allen’ is a nicely poached Burford atop a thick slice of potato cake, spooned with hollandaise sauce; well-timed calf’s liver comes with mash that is stodgy not smooth; apple strudel is a as sweet as something you’d want to end Sunday lunch. To drink, a well-priced wine list has bags of choice for under £40, while an evening spent at the bar with classic American cocktails would be a hoot. Remember your waiter’s face: like former staffer Graham Norton, he may well be a star of tomorrow.

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The Garrison

The Garrison

The Garrison
£30 - £49
Gastropub

99-101 Bermondsey Street, London, London, SE1 3XB

The bottomless brunch at The Garrison is served between 12.30pm and 4pm every Saturday and showcases refined pub grub in the form of three courses. A reasonable £38 per person will give you three courses and bottomless Prosecco, Bellinis or Mimosas, or you can opt for the two-courser for £33 per person. The Bermondsey favourite serves up the likes of celeriac and pear soup for starters as well as truffle macaroni and cheese for mains – cue drool. We love the casual feel of this boozer, with its mismatching furniture, charmingly wobbly tables and funky lampshades.                                                                                      

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Mews of Mayfair

Mews of Mayfair

Mews of Mayfair
£50 - £79
British

10 Lancashire Court, New Bond Street, London, W1S 1EY

Offering four floors of fun in two 18th-century townhouses (head downstairs for dancing), Mews is not the place to nurture your inner wallflower. Readers love the atmosphere created by lavish, offbeat design quirks, not to mention the sheer thrill of finding a ‘hidden’ courtyard bar off New Bond Street. No trend is left unturned here (or in the upstairs brasserie), making it an effortless choice for groups who are happy to see superfood salads and self-proclaimed dirty burgers rubbing shoulders with Brit bistro fare such as Jerusalem artichoke soup with mushroom toast and black truffle, venison suet pudding with braised red cabbage or apple and blackberry crumble. From parties to themed afternoon teas, seasonal events also keep things interesting for the frequent Mews-goer, while the top-floor chef’s dining room, lined with antique maps, is one of several cachet-heavy private spaces.

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Bunga Bunga Battersea

Bunga Bunga Battersea

Bunga Bunga Battersea
£30 - £49
Pizza
Italian

37 Battersea Bridge Road, London, SW11 3BA

Fun, flamboyant and fabulous, Bunga Bunga gets the party started – and knows how to keep it going. Named after the notorious romps organised by Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, it mixes all the clichés of Italian holidays with a sprinkling of euro trash to create a glorious tongue-in-cheek homage to the land that invented pizza. And seriously good pizza it is too: proper crispy bases loaded with quality toppings, such as the Julius Cheeser (gorgonzola, taleggio, mozzarella and goat’s cheese) or Po-pa-polla with sticky chicken, pancetta and barbecue sauce. Elsewhere, the menu runs to loaded antipasti boards, crisp zucchini fritti and creamy arancini balls, followed by gelato and classic tiramisu. To drink there’s Prosecco, Peroni and Aperol Spritzes, plus crowd-pleasing cocktails such as fruity, vodka-laced sharer The Vespa. Bunga Bunga is perfect for big groups, who can carry on the celebrations in Il Club upstairs at weekends, when there’s also a Saturday party brunch with karaoke. Private parties meanwhile can book L’Osservatorio or the top-floor Martini Prosecco Beach Bar, complete with parasols and its own photo-booth.

 

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Caravan Exmouth Market

Caravan Exmouth Market

Caravan Exmouth Market
£30 - £49
Fusion

11-13 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QD

The whizz-kids behind Caravan Coffee Roasters have come a long way since opening their first gaff on Exmouth Market. Now spread across the capital, each site follows the formula with urban-industrial interiors and a seasonally changing all-day menu bristling with ideas from around the world – including the jamon and smoked san simon croquettes with saffron mayonnaise. A sure-fire winner with vegetarians (try the green quinoa grain bowl with burnt grelots, grilled broccoli, miso verde, sprouts and cashews), this mini-chain also offers delicious pizzas at its larger sites, alongside the small-batch coffees that helped to kick-start London’s latest love affair with caffeine. Caravan set the bar high with its trendy brunch options too (we like the paprika and spring onion waffle with thick cut bacon and maple-date butter). A packed, convivial dining room is pretty much guaranteed, ably buoyed by reasonable prices and inexpensive Old World wines.

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Jackson + Rye Soho

Jackson + Rye Soho

Jackson + Rye Soho
£30 - £49
North American

56 Wardour Street, London, W1D 4JG

The New York flair for upscale brasseries is the inspiration behind this chain of inviting all-dayers. Their look perfectly captures their subject: a warm glow emanates from within, where a casual feel is achieved via cheerfully scribbled blackboards, close-set tables and uplit bar. The setting works whatever time of day you pop in: breakfasts and (blowout) brunches mix North American classics such as buttermilk pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, or pulled-pork hash, with Brit favourites such as a avocado Benedict and ham and cheese omlette. The rest of the day passes in a haze of caution-to-the-wind calories: king prawn linguini, lamb rump, mushroom risotto, plus a selection of chargrilled steak brushed with herb butter  – with pecan pie or vanilla cheesecake for anyone with an inch of room left. ‘Good food, atmosphere and service’ complete the pleasing picture.

Cut at 45 Park Lane

Cut at 45 Park Lane

Cut at 45 Park Lane
Over £80
North American

45 Park Lane, London, London, W1K 1PN

Cut stands out from the steakhouse crowd thanks to its Park Lane pricing, glammed-up globe-trotting clientele and the clout of A-list chef Wolfgang Puck. Provided you’re financially prepared, you’ll find a surprisingly unpretentious vibe in the very attractive (if hotel-ish) dining room, where soaring drapes and wood panelling head northwards to a ceiling hung with starburst lights. Service could be slicker, but the kitchen pulls out all the stops to justify the prices. Cuts of USDA Prime, South Devon Angus, New York sirloin and dizzyingly expensive Wagyu are presented in all their raw marbled glory before being returned to the table charred and crusted from the grill. Sides include wickedly buttery potato purée and glistening nuggets of bone marrow, while top-notch starters range from maple-glazed pork belly to a very pretty crab and lobster cocktail with spicy tomato horseradish. Desserts, should you get that far, are all-American sweet treats. Upstairs, Bar 45 dispenses classy concoctions in large glasses.

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Nobu Shoreditch

Nobu Shoreditch

Nobu Shoreditch
£50 - £79
South American
Japanese

10-50 Willow Street, London, London, EC2A 4BH

It’s 20 years since London’s first Nobu launched on Park Lane and almost as long since Shoreditch became a destination with a ragtag of cooler-than-thou bars clustered around Old Street. Now the two worlds collide with the launch of the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. Come for quieter lunches and weekend brunches to appreciate the calm beauty of the design. A long staircase leads down to a dramatically high-ceilinged, concrete-lined space of glass walls and gauzy curtains, tricked out in 90s neutrals and with a four-stepped terrace leading off the large bar area for when it’s not raining. Inside, it’s raining men: we spotted a total of four female diners hidden among the big tables of City boys of every age group. A menu that’s about half the size of Nobu London’s nods towards time-pressed City diners and touts the brand’s greatest hits, from black cod with miso to yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño.  Springy rock shrimp tempura encased in light batter and slicked in addictive creamy jalapeño sauce, and crisp tacos stuffed with lobster smeared in wasabi mayo, do the classics proud, while ‘Shoreditch specials’ include excellent pork belly with a beautifully balanced spicy miso caramel sauce. For pud, squidgy mochi cakes are perhaps more of an acquired taste, while a chocolate orb twice failed to melt on cue under its torrent of hot sauce. Cynics may carp that the arrival of one of the world’s foremost luxury lifestyle brands in EC2 shows how corporate the Shoreditch scene has become, but Square Mile diners will be thrilled to have somewhere on their doorstep with such a palpable frisson of global glamour.

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Berber & Q

Berber & Q

Berber & Q
£30 - £49
North African
Middle Eastern

Arch 338, Acton Mews, London, E8 4EA

Nailing two huge food trends in one fell swoop, ex-Ottolenghi chef Josh Katz’s Haggerston railway arch hangout Berber & Q brings together smoky BBQ and culinary influences from North Africa and the Middle East. It hasn’t missed a beat since its 2015 opening, and we’ve been floored by its barrage of explosive flavours: blackened aubergine and egg ‘sabich’ are given a thrilling extra dimension with homemade mango pickle; cauliflower shawarma from the charcoal-fired mangal is dressed with tahini and rose petals, while a tray of sticky harissa chicken wings calls for several sides of serviettes (don’t even think about ordering this on a date). The atmosphere is energetic, the lighting low, the volume high; reservations aren’t taken (naturally), but there’s space at the bar, where you can sup their own Crate beer or amuse yourself with funky cocktails with names like Haggerstoned or Scammed in Marrakech.

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Le Caprice

Le Caprice

Le Caprice
£50 - £79
Modern European
£30 - £49

20 Arlington Street, London, London, SW1A 1RJ

“A classic, but still one the best” says a fan of Le Caprice, the vintage St James’s hangout that gave Caprice Holdings its name. Star-seekers, celebs and grown-up hedonists are easily seduced by its David Bailey photographs, riffing piano player and “fantastic customer service” (directed by legendary maître d' Jesus Adorno), while the food is “easy on the palate” – but irresistible in its own way. Whether you’re in the market for rigatoni with rabbit ragù, crispy duck salad, miso-marinated salmon with stir-fried shiitake mushrooms or a classic brasserie plateful such as slow-roast pork belly with black pudding mash, caramelised apples and Calvados sauce, this kitchen is a failsafe option – and decent value to boot. There’s also fun to be had when it comes to desserts such as rhubarb and custard pavlova or the Cru Virunga chocolate crunch bar with cherries. Flutes and bottles of premium fizz match the mood, or you can get your boozy kicks from the zingy cocktails and classy international wines. With weekend brunch and Sunday night jazz added to the mix, Le Caprice is “always perfect” – even after all these years.

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Want to booze it up as well? Check out our list of the best bottomless brunches in London