There is no meal quite as excellent as breakfast. It’s the meal that sets you up for the day and be it toast, cereal or something a whole lot heartier, there is nothing quite like that first bite of something in the morning. Over the last few weeks, I’ve stayed in London a few times and so have had the good fortune to be rolling out of whatever sofa or hotel bed I’ve been sleeping on and heading out into the city to find something to eat and get me ready for a day exploring the city. Here are some of my favourite spots.
First up, there’s Bill’s. Originally a single branch in Lewes, a quaint and charming town sixty miles south of London, there are now twenty branches in London alone, and more scattered around the country. You can be in London locations as disparate as Hammersmith, Soho, Greenwich and Covent Garden and find yourself one of their restaurants. Although they serve food all day, it is the breakfast menu to which we turn our attention today.
There are some variations in the menus depending on where you are, but they are mostly the same. Bill’s serves breakfast until noon (1pm on the weekends) and has a great selection, particularly on the many and varied ways they serve up their eggs. If you want them on scrambled with salmon, on toast with avocado or even on a steak, they can provide that for you. Pancakes, porridge and toasted bacon or sausage buns are also on offer. But, of course, this is England, and there is little more fitting than a full English breakfast. The “Bill’s breakfast” provides all you’d expect from such a meal, with a vegetarian option available too at the same price. You can pay for extras as you wish.
Aside from the steak, the full breakfast is the most expensive but at £7.95, doesn’t seem unreasonable for what you get. A bacon roll will set you back £4.25, but is one of the most densely packed I’ve ever seen – the most densely packed is below – but if you’re on more of a budget, there’s toast and Bill’s own jams and marmalades for £2.55. And if you’re really taken with any of the preserves, you can buy them in store too.
Should you find yourself out in Ealing in the morning, there’s one place I wholly recommend over here – Limeyard. Billing itself as an “All Day American Kitchen”, the place is remarkably welcoming and filled with hipster trappings that make you feel that maybe you’re a bit too uncool to be eating here – but you aren’t, I promise.
Their full English is called the “Full Yard” and contains a couple of finer details. The eggs are poached rather than fried (though you can request an inversion), and other ingredients include spiced beans, chili tomatoes, and maple cured bacon. Their vegetarian option, the “Green Yard”, substitutes the meat for grilled halloumi and kale. Like Bill’s, pancakes and toasted bloomers are also on offer here, or an omelette if you so choose. While the toast and pancake options are only served until midday, you can get a Full Yard up until 4.30pm, priced the same as Bill’s, £7.95, although the vegetarian option is £1 cheaper.
Limeyard is actually very probably home to the best breakfast I’ve ever had in London, but if you want something really fancy, then I would suggest Tredwell’s, a Marcus Wareing restaurant.
Situated off Seven Dials somewhere between the theatre showing The Mousetrap and the statue dedicated to its author, Agatha Christie, this restaurant shares a name with a butler from one of her novels, although whether intentional or not, I couldn’t discern. Their full English was heartily stocked with sausage, bacon, fried eggs, toast, potato croquettes and chorizo jam. It’s the most expensive one in this list, coming in at around £12, but it is worth it and definitely feels very fancy.
Unfortunately, however, in researching for this blog post, the menu for Tredwell’s seems to have changed and, on the website at least, there appears to be no option for breakfast. I emailed them to check and, at present, they are not offering brunch. Perhaps they will do again after Easter – they appear to be focusing on Sunday roasts for this time to year at the moment, but all I know for certain is that right now, you’ll have to take my word for it that this was a magnificent breakfast.
But if you’re not in the mood for a sit-down breakfast and you need to hurry along, then Borough Market is your friend. Opposite Southwark Cathedral are a number of food stalls selling sandwiches and rolls with freshly cooked ingredients and more filling than you could imagine. I’ve on a couple of occasions bought myself a bacon roll from here, so stuffed with delicious rashers, that I’ve then walked around London for the rest of the day and not had to eat again until evening was well and truly settled.
So, once you’ve got hold of your breakfast, mop up the egg and ketchup spilt down your shirt, pay the bill, and head off into the city to see what new treats you can discover.