Top breakfasts in the City of London
“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”
I love a good breakfast, and what better way to start a working day by treating one self to one of the City’s varied breakfast tables? It is now become a habit for me, and an excuse to see friends and colleagues. Here is my pick of the best in the Square Mile or thereabout. Special thanks to my breakfast partners in crime, especially regulars such as @orientespresso and Mondo Mulia.
Duck and Waffle
I have been to Duck and Waffle countless times. While only a few times for lunch, and only once ever for dinner, breakfast is something I enjoy here about once a month, sometimes even more often. It is a great place to meet colleagues, friends, visitors because the venue never fails to impress, with great views across London, quirky bar decor and a bright and spacious dining room where the kitchen is in full view and glass windows are on three sides. The service is fantastic and of course, now everyone knows me and they always, without failing, make me feel so welcome and a little bit special. The breakfast menu is brilliant, often with additional new dishes as well as classics such as their now legendary Colombian eggs (the best scrambled eggs ever, with tomatoes, spring onions and avocado on sourdough toast). The seemingly simple Fruit salad is a fresh and beautifully aromatic plate of seasonal fruit, which becomes the best when there is poached rhubarb on it. Other great dishes are the waffles (any way) and the shakshuka baked eggs. Hard to get a table less than two weeks in advance.
This is such an institution. While technically is not the City itself, I can easily get here before work on my scooter to meet my friend Anna who is local to Bethnal Green and a regular here. Nevio and his family have run this place for nearly 100 years, and continue with the family tradition. You don’t come here for the food, which is fine but surely not gourmet; you come here for the incredibly lively and fun atmosphere. Pellicci’s is like being in a movie (and many famous ones or tv series have been filmed here too). Old east enders with gold rings and pinstripe suits side by side with policemen and air ambulance staff, while often tourists eat their scrambled eggs and over flowing cappuccinos and marvel at the original wooden paneled interior and formica tables. While their yogurt and banana bowl is a good healthy option, their scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes and olive oil is a little Italian twist on an English breakfast. Come and enjoy the experience!
Good & Proper Tea
A very recent discovery, this two branches’ chain offers an expert tea menu, which includes plenty of black and green teas. I visited the Leather Lane site, while their other one is near Old St, so closer to the City. They offer loads of cakes but their breakfast sourdough crumpets with various fillings are the winning item. I loved mine with home made lime curd while MondoMulia had a beautiful looking cream cheese and smashed avocado and chili. Good & Proper Tea serve their breakfast on a cute wooden tray, with glass teapot for one, little milk jug and the food, plus a brewing card for the blend chosen.
The Modern Pantry
Opened just over a year ago, the City branch of the Modern Pantry (by Hannah Hansen) has also become a fixed feature of my city breakfasts due to its proximity to my office (about two minutes’ walk) and the pleasant ambience, as well as the creative menu. While the lunchtime offer is not particularly to my liking (too many ingredients, too many combinations) the breakfast is very good, with some quirky additions (lemon grass infused tomatoes, amaranth muesli) and good coffee. The service can be a little hit and miss, but overall offers also good value for money and it’s easy to find a table.
Beany Green does the best coffee on the Broadgate ‘campus’ and so, since moving jobs last year, it has become my almost daily caffeine fix. It’s antipodean so I can only drink it milky, and it can get really busy (try friday morning at 8.30am!) but Beany Green, like its siblings (Daisy Green in Marble Arch for example), is a friendly, well branded proposition in a sea of chains. Their brunches are legendary but since we are talking mid-week breakfasts, I can recommend their house made granola with yogurt and berries and their toasted, chunky and beautiful coconut bread.
I come to Comptoir for lunch quite often, as, despite being halal (I do not eat halal meat if I can) it does have a great menu, and has some lovely feta salads. Their start of the day is just as good, with healthy options such as yogurt with nuts, pomegranate and honey and middle eastern omelettes. Good coffee too and, interestingly, a lot of Italian staff as well. When sunny, the tables outside in the circle are very pleasant.
Incredible views from here, the Sky Garden offers a couple of valid options for breakfast which I have, of course, tried. Either in the Darwin Brasserie, where there is a cooked menu as well as pastries and a beautiful view right over South London, or, without booking necessary, a take away cheaper option from the cafe’ on the lower level, where pastries, granola and cakes are available. While the food at the Darwin Brasserie is not on a par with the Duck & Waffle, it is a good alternative with a different view point. The gardens are a worth visiting feature.
Bird of Smithfield
At the edge of the City, Smithfield’s meat market is on my way to work so often I stop here for breakfast too. Bird of Smithfield is a restaurant and bar which I imagine, would be quite busy with revellers in the evening, but in the morning is fairly quiet and does a really good breakfast. I absolutely loved my avocado on toast with a poached egg (simple but flavoursome) and other valid dishes are baked eggs with spicy tomato. Coffee is good as well and prices are fair.
Occasionally I feel like a bit of an Italian breakfast, meaning pastries and carb overload, sweet tooth stuff. Around the corner from the office is L’Anima, a restaurant (with Lello Favuzzi at the helm), a deli and a caffe’. I have been here a few times, not only enjoying their cooked breakfast (decent baked eggs), but also taking away good italian coffee and croissants as well and buying and stocking up on home products. Fairly priced, good quality.
Opening quote by Robert A. Heinlein