Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I’m somewhat of a brunch connoisseur. I like to think I know a good brunch when I see (and taste) one. There’s even a highlights reel on my Instagram dedicated to my favourites which you can find here.
Now that I’ve sampled a fair few avocado on toasts around London, I thought I’d put together a little list of my favourites because, I don’t know about you, but when I go to Google in search of ‘the best brunches in London’ I’m met with the same list of chains and incredibly expensive restaurants that just aren’t my kind of thing. When it comes to finding the best brunch spots, I always tend to go on recommendations from friends and co-workers.
So I thought I’d put together this little list (in no particular order) to help point you in the right direction, if like myself, you’re on the search for the perfect poached eggs on avocado toast in this huge city.
I’ll keep coming back and adding to the list, the more places I visit.
1. Megan’s, Fulham
Hop off the tube at Fulham Broadway on a Saturday and you’ll usually find yourself in a sea of Chelsea fans, making a mental note to always check Chelsea fixtures in the future to avoid such situations.
On a good day, when Chelsea Football Club aren’t playing at home or playing at all, I would recommend a visit to Megan’s. Only a five minute walk from Fulham Broadway station (Stamford Bridge stadium is a few steps down the street from the station if you want to catch a glimpse), the bistro is located on King’s Road. There’s also a second Megan’s in Parsons Green but I’ve only ever been to the Fulham branch, three times. I’m a fan. But not a Chelsea fan.
On all occasions, I ordered the same dish. Surprise, surprise, I had two poached eggs, avocado on toast and smoked salmon, washed down with a mocha. Adventurous? Not quite. Predictable? Absolutely.
What makes Megan’s so nice is the decor inside. The best place to sit is down stairs and out back. I visited for the third time just last month and it’s the first time I’ve been that they’ve had the roof open as we had the mini heatwave over the Bank Holiday. One thing of note is that Megan’s is very dog-friendly and you’ll most likely see one or five on your visit. Oh, and it’s card payment only. Welcome to the 21st century folks, where cash is just a figment of our imagination.
2. The Bluebird, Chelsea
I’ve also been to The Bluebird on three occasions. Once with girls from work where we had a set brunch menu in the restaurant, another with my mother when I wanted her to experience Chelsea (also a set menu in the restaurant) and the third time was with my friend from home where we ate in the Bluebird Café.
I don’t know why I’ve started off with the Chelsea area, but stay with me, we’ll get to the better (affordable) ones further down the list.
Although the restaurant food is amazing, the portion sizes are small and expensive. Maybe in the future when I’m earning more than minimum wage, I’ll be accustomed to that kind of dining. But right now? I’m merely pretending to belong to that world.
However, I would definitely recommend the café part of The Bluebird for brunch. Although the avocado and eggs on toast wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, my friend ordered the full English that looked a lot better than my breakfast. If I go back, the eggs and avocado on toast wouldn’t be something I’d order. Shocker, I know.
The Bluebird is more of a place to be seen at rather than dine at. It’s usually a place the Made in Chelsea stars like to hang out, although you’ll usually find them in the smoking area outside. On my first visit to The Bluebird, Alex from the second series of Love Island was sat outside. On my second visit, YouTubers Casper Lee and Joe Suggs walked past into the café for lunch. If you want to spot some celebrity Chelsea residents, The Bluebird is the best place to go.
3. Drury 188-189, Drury Lane, Covent Garden
This place is more my kind of café. I won’t lie, I actually did find this one on TripAdvisor. My mum and I had tickets to the matinee showing of Dreamgirls at The Savoy theatre, so wanted to find somewhere close for brunch beforehand.
This café is really small, but cosy with books stacked up all around for customers to grab and read. The atmosphere was really laid back, a kind of small independent in the heart of central London. Much more my vibe than The Bluebird in Chelsea.
I (of course) ordered my usual poached eggs, avocado on toast and smoked salmon. It was the beginning of January when we visited and I think I had about three mochas to warm me up. It was an eerily quiet Saturday in central London that day and I keep meaning to go back to 188-189 Drury Lane but I tend to avoid central London most weekends as the number of tourists can get a bit much.
Definitely somewhere to sit all day with your laptop and get work done.
4. The Breakfast Club, Clapham Junction and Angel
I know, it’s a chain. And chains are somewhere I don’t usually like to spend my money, especially when it comes to breakfast or brunch places. Or eating out in general. But The Breakfast Club is a great spot for breakfast, obviously given its name, it would have to be.
The Clapham branch I visited in December and as the norm for every Breakfast Club restaurant, had a queue outside, leading down the street. Yes it was cold, but not the coldest. Was it worth the wait? Is The Breakfast Club worth the hype? In my opinion, not really. The breakfast was nice, don’t get me wrong, but firstly, there’s no eggs on avocado on the menu – outrageous, I know. Secondly, the decor isn’t particularly Instagram friendly which every brunch place should be, right?! I’m kidding. No I’m not. But there was nothing overly special about it.
I visited the Angel branch of The Breakfast Club a few weeks ago and it was only because my friend was over visiting, we wanted to visit Camden but not eat breakfast in Camden as it’s way too busy and we also wanted pancakes. So The Breakfast Club seemed as good a place as any.
It was during the mini heatwave in April so we didn’t mind queuing outside to wait. The Angel branch is based in Camden Passage, somewhere I’d never been before and will definitely be returning to. It’s a very tiny lane through the Angel district with market stalls, antique stores, and boutiques. My friend and I could’ve sworn we were on holiday and not in London at all.
We both ordered pancakes and they hit the spot perfectly. I definitely preferred this Breakfast Club compared to the Clapham one although it was much smaller, the atmosphere seemed a lot more relaxed and nicer.
5. Balan’s Soho Society, Clapham Common
As districts of London go, Clapham has to be one of my favourites. It’s pretty big with Clapham North, South and Clapham Common all on the Northern Line. One of the things I love most about Clapham is that every time I’ve been, I’ve heard an Irish accent or met someone Irish. If I’m to come back to live in London in the near future, I think Clapham would be the first area I’d start looking for renting. It’s where we spend most of our nights out too, so that’s always a bonus.
Anyway, I took my mum and dad to Balan’s Soho Society (recommended by a coworker) for brunch when they were over visiting for my birthday. Although we were barely awake, most of the tables around us seemed to be having Bloody Mary’s or Mimosas. We stuck to the coffees. I later found out that Balan’s is quite a large chain around London and although I do like to steer clear of chains, their breakfast is pretty good.
I ordered the classic avocado, poached eggs, toast and smoked salmon. It came out looking like the flag of Ireland and I don’t know whether to take that as another hint that I should join all the other Irish people of London and move to Clapham. It was all rather lovely, although I do prefer my avocado to be smashed. The setting of the restaurant itself is very cosy and it was extremely busy when we were there, which is always a good sign.
6. Brickwood, Balham
My first and only time in Balham. A few minutes walk from Balham tube station, I met one of the interns at Brickwood which was down a side street off the main Balham high street. It was a Sunday morning and there were queues outside three different cafés along the one street.
On this street you’ll find Brickwood, Milk and Brother Marcus, all very popular brunch spots. The latter two I hope to visit before I leave London. All very Instagram-able and the final decider for any brunch spot I visit is the geo-location on Instagram. I kid you not. If other people’s pictures of the food/café don’t look good, then you’ll not find me there.
Shock, horror, I had my usual poached eggs, avocado on toast – only this time it came with chorizo. A different twist to the classic, I was very happy to try. Although the chorizo was a little oily for my liking, the spiciness was rather tasty. All washed down with a mocha of course.
7. Burnt Toast, Brixton
A new favourite find, in one of my favourite districts of London. I found this through someone I follow on Instagram that lives in London who had posted a picture on their Insta-story, which led me to the geo-tagged page and it was added to my brunch list straight away.
I’ve been to Brixton a few times; when I was interning at the London Fashion Agency, and for three concerts. I really like the vibe of Brixton and I’ve been told it’s an up-and-coming area. Although apparently it’s been up-and-coming for the past six years.
Burnt Toast is located in Brixton Village Market which is a super cute little arcade-type place in Brixton with a few other busy cafés, bars and boutique shops. All of the tables are located outside the café and there was only two servers and one chef. We had to wait for a table (always a good sign) and had a look at what everyone else was eating.
I ordered (you should really know this by now) avocado on toast with boiled eggs. There were no poached eggs on the menu. Maybe the chef hasn’t been able to master the perfect soft yolk but I could definitely offer my services as I now have it down to a fine art. It was a scorcher of a day and my friend had ordered a fry with her toast coming out un-toasted. This is because there are toasters located around some of the tables so that you can toast your bread to your own liking. Hence the name of the place. This would suit me perfectly as one bit of darkness on my toast and I won’t eat it. I basically eat warm bread but that’s just how I like it.
Both breakfasts were beautiful and looked just as good on my Instagram as it did in real life. I’ll definitely be back.
8. Bill’s, Wimbledon
As much as I love Fleetwood Mac (which is heaps), I’m getting a little annoyed at myself at how many chains are appearing on this list. I hope you got that Fleetwood jibe. If you don’t get it, we can’t be friends.
But I had to include Bill’s. I’ve been about ten times. And ordered the same thing every time. Yes you guessed it. I’m becoming way too predictable these days. I really like how Bill’s do their avocado as they add pumpkin seeds and lime juice which I’ve learnt turns a good smashed avocado into a great smashed avocado.
Plus another perk of Bill’s is that I’m usually with my mum and dad before they fly back home and that means my debit card stays firmly in my purse. That and we always like to order pancakes for dessert.
The one thing that would make my staple breakfast choice even better at Bill’s is if they served it on Sourdough bread instead of wholemeal. But we all want what we can’t have and I guess this is the price I have to pay by going to a chain. It’s also the most convenient breakfast place to my house which is why I’ve been so many times.
9. 39 Steps Coffee Haus, Soho
I do my best to avoid central London, especially on weekends. But I wanted to prove myself wrong that there were small cafés and independents in Soho and it wasn’t just all fancy bars, offices and chains. Soho is one of my favourite places when it’s quiet and I’m walking down one of the side streets. Not Wardour Street or Carnaby.
So I was delighted to find this little café which had about eight tables inside and the most delicious looking pancakes (on Instagram).
On this very rare occasion I didn’t order poached eggs on smashed avocado. Fanfare please. I had a stack of pancakes with bananas and whipped cream. A small heart-attack on a plate, I couldn’t even finish it. The pancakes were delicious, the atmosphere was lovely and it definitely didn’t seem that just outside was the hustle and bustle of Soho.
A café I would gladly return to.
10. Café Boheme, Soho
It was back to normal over the Bank Holiday weekend and after seeing Café Boheme’s Instagram feed, I just had to have their eggs and avocado.
My friend and I dined on the streets of Soho for breakfast (a much quieter part, just how I like it) and we were able to sit and watch the world go by. People watching is an activity I rather enjoy.
One thing about Soho is that you’ll very likely bump into the odd celebrity or two. The only times I’ve seen celebrities out and about in London are in Soho and at The Bluebird in Chelsea.
While I was sat eating (photographing) my eggs and avocado, Noel Fielding walked right past my table with a baby in his arms alongside a friend and walked off into the distance as if it was a normal thing for him to walk the streets of Soho on a Monday morning with a baby in his arms. Maybe this is normal for Noel, who on earth would know?!
I would definitely return here and sit outside to see if I could spot any more celebrities strolling through Soho. And I’d also return for the avocado and eggs of course too.
11. Flour to the People, Clapham Junction
Last month when my cousin was over visiting from Ireland, we decided to head to Clapham for breakfast. This was the same day as the Royal Wedding so we couldn’t leave my house until I’d seen Meghan arrive at the Church, so we ended up having a very late brunch instead. The District line wasn’t running this weekend which meant we couldn’t head to The Bluebird or Megan’s so I had a look to find a small café somewhere in Clapham.
I came across Flour to the People on @breakfastlondon Instagram – one of my new favourite Instagram accounts – as the pictures looked amazing and the portions looked generous which is what we’re very used to in Northern Ireland so would suit my cousin and I very well.
It was another scorcher of a day and we walked fifteen minutes from Clapham Junction station to find the café. We were so surprised as to how small it was when we got there. With only six tables inside, we grabbed the last table which was a bench at the window. This suited perfectly as we were able to watch the world go by and catch some more rays. The place was already packed with people, which for a café that’s quite out of the way, is a good sign.
I ordered (drum roll please)… poached eggs with avocado on toast plus some smoked salmon on the side, washed down with a Diet Coke. Always the element of surprise with me, as you can tell. The portion was huge but I would have needed a bigger plate and it also came with feta cheese which I wasn’t a huge fan of (I’m not a lover of cheese). The poached eggs were a little overcooked as there was no runny yolk (that’s a term isn’t it? Not just an Irish thing?) which was a little disappointing but the food still tasted great all the same.
Small cafés like this are my favourite and they bake all of their own bread right behind the counter. We watched them kneading while we paid. I would definitely come back to this quaint café and hopefully sample some soft-poached eggs with my avocado on toast.