Brunch is like Marmite. Except that nobody seems to offer Marmite for brunch, which is weird. The point is: if you love brunch, then this guide is an easy sell. But if you don’t, then it may be a little harder. That’s where the sun comes in. It’s hot, it’s beautiful, and it’s making you look at soft-boiled eggs in a whole new way. How could you not want to eat brunch outside? Especially at the 14 spots below.
If you’re an N16 resident and you haven’t been to Esters then we’re about to change your life. If you’re from anywhere else and you haven’t been, the same applies. Esters is a little café off Church Street serving maybe the best brunches in London. The menu changes daily, but it’s always very creative and very good. Think French toast with whipped ricotta and cranberries, or poached eggs with charred cabbage, chorizo, and pistachios on toast. This is not your average brunch. It’s walk-ins only, and while the cute garden isn’t enormous, the tables turn pretty quick.
For a spacious (and always bustling) front terrace, and a menu that ranges from pancakes to pizza, Caravan’s King’s Cross branch is a solid choice. The outside space is big, with some great tables for groups, but it is very competitive thanks to the sun trap views of Granary Square and scowling Central St Martin’s students, not to mention the enormous something-for-everyone menu.
Does a fancy McMuffin-inspired breakfast muffin sound like exactly the kind of brunch you want to get back in the groove with? It should do and history suggests - if Staff Writer Heidi Lauth Beasley’s July 2020 Reopening Report is anything to go by - that it will absolutely have you grooving towards a slice of pistachio cake as well. Excellent brunch and ingeniously named ‘hungover sauce’ aside, this Tooting café has also opened a big outdoor terrace.
Temporarily closed. Reopening in May.
From the outside, Snackbar is a lowkey looking trendy little Dalston cafe that may or may not have a life-size cut-out of Jeff Goldblum staring at you from the entrance. But on the inside, you’ll find their SnackMuffin. It consists of a pork sausage patty, American cheese, a fried egg, and brown sauce. Sounds familiar, right? Add this McJoy to the Dalston café’s very cute patio space, alongside some kaya toast soliders, and you’ve got the makings of an excellent outdoor brunch.
Granger & Co.
Avo toast! A picturesque west London road! Handfuls of coriander, everywhere! You can find it all at the Chelsea location of Granger & Co, the Australian all-day café, and there’s a solid amount of tables and chairs out front.
On our mental list of ‘very nice and tasty Australian all-day cafés’, Brunswick East is very close to the top. The semi-hidden courtyard in Dalston has a buzzy atmosphere on most weekends, especially a sunny day, and their menu ranges from eggs etc, to okonomiyaki. Call ahead to book, especially if there are a few of you.
The Good Egg is an all-day cafe that you can quite easily spend all day in. The food is Middle Eastern inspired, and is best when sharing. Really you want to come here when you’re not in any great rush. When a griddle pan of feta hash topped with a crispy Aleppo pepper fried egg can be followed by some babka French toast, and you can peruse the cocktail menu in the name of ‘research’. There’s a decent outdoor/indoor space in Kingly Court for you to get comfortable in.
Vardo is a Grand Designs-looking all-day restaurant from the same people as Caravan. The enormous open windows look out onto the King’s Road and there are tables outside too. Menu-wise it’s very tempting: sourdough pizzas, pork schnitzel, burnt-broccoli grain bowls, and more.
The Riding House should be one of your go-tos in central London for solid versions of things like pancakes, french toast, and eggs. You’ll sit in a spacious, smart-looking brasserie with loads of bright leather sofas and a pretty bar, and it’s the kind of place you’d be chuffed to sit at on a sunny day. Their lineup of healthy-ish and vegetarian dishes is good and their outside terrace is on the plush side, all covered and cushioned.
Another roomy spot on Granary Square, the King’s Cross location of Dishoom has a handful of seats out front on their ‘terrace’. You’ll have to be organised to guarantee an outside table, but those logistics are all worthwhile when you’ve got a bacon and egg naan in front of you.
Jolene’s anzac cookies - an oat, golden syrup, and coconut shavings mix of sweet wonder - are the most recent thing we’ve enjoyed sitting on the benches outside this Newington Green bakery, wine bar, and the Modern House-worthy restaurant. There are toasties, pastries, and plates too, but it is a bench, not table, situation.
For a while it felt like being in the queue for Circolo was just as worthy of look-at-me content as being in the glitzy OTT trattoria itself. We’re not sure that’s the case now, but if you really want to make someone or other jealous, then you want to bag a table in their garden area for brunch. Throw some baked eggs, a pizza, and something boozy into shot, and you’ve got a winner.
No, eating Hand’s feta-topped shakshuka on one of their many picnic benches will not suddenly transfer you to the Med. But considering you’re in Stratford, not Santorini, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how lively and neighbourhood-y this new-build bit of east London feels.
In the all-important balance of aesthetics and quality that every brunch-goer is concerned about, Campania firmly ticks both boxes. The cosy Italian spot on Columbia Road has a dozen or so artfully rickety tables out front, perfect for enjoying poached eggs and sweet tomato salads on toast. Be warned, it’s a competitive scene.
If you’re looking for a low-key, two-to-four person brunch catch up, then Farm Girl’s Notting Hill back garden is a fine choice. The menu is full of lighter options, like salads, acai bowls or sandwiches too, so if you’re not looking for anything too heavy, it’s good for that too.
Barbie Green is an excellent hush-hush option for when you’re around Old Street or the Barbican. They’ve got an excellent terrace area, perfect for enjoying their all-day or bottomless brunch options. The latter includes a hundred minutes of unlimited prosecco, so set your timer and start training.