A traditional English breakfast is a staple in the hearts of many Brits, being the very thing to start the day or the thing to help you heal from a heavy night out. It is as famous as fish and chips at the seaside.
If you’re visiting London, you may be wondering where you can find the best; if it’s your first time visiting England, you may be wondering what an English Breakfast is.
In England, a traditional English breakfast, also commonly called a fry-up, consists of fried eggs, sausages, back bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread and often a slice of white or black pudding. While the ‘fry-up’ is traditionally a breakfast meal going back as far as the early 1300s, it can also be found on many brunch menus.
If you’re hoping to step back in time, go for breakfast at the infamous The Breakfast Club, started by two friends who loved the 80s. If you’re after a traditional English breakfast, The Full Monty or The Greasy Spoon won’t disappoint, even coming with vegetarian options also available. If you’re after something different to start the day, they do have a wide range of breakfast choices.
Now run by Terry’s son, this cosy cafe is quintessentially British. With plastic covering the tables and old photos covering the walls, it’s like stepping back through the ages. It offers the ‘Full English’, as well as the choice to customise and add additional extras.
While the extensive menu at Hawksmoor Guildhall is dream-inducing, the breakfast there is famous. With the option of their ‘2 To Share’ option, where two can share a large plated breakfast, or if you’re not one for sharing, then you can tuck into your own plate of plum pudding bacon, sausage, black pudding, fried eggs, hash brown, and much more. You can even add a glass of buck fizz for an even special start to the day.
Take a step back in time in this cafe that has been serving up food since 1900. With wood-panelled walls, Formica-topped tables, this Grade II listed Italian cafe is a landmark amongst the community. A bonus of visiting here, you can enjoy one of their breakfasts all-day, which includes Cumberland sausage, egg, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and fried bread.
Another family-owned business that opened in 1989 and has since become an integral part of the community; the way people talk about Mario from Mario’s Cafe is more of a friend than someone serving you breakfast. With the option of a more customisable breakfast, switching out the sausage for bacon, for example, to create your perfect traditional start to the day.
If you’re someone who loves spice, Dishoom is well worth a visit. While notably more known for serving up Indian food for years, their breakfast is well worth a visit with the option of The Big Bombay, which includes all of the usual with masala baked beans, mushroom and even their own buttery home-made buns. Or, you can opt for the vegetarian equivalent, The Veggie Bombay.
This cafe is close by to Putney Bridge and shouldn’t be confused with the Italian restaurant of the same name! What makes this breakfast so great is the hash browns being in the triangular shape, the thickly-cut bacon, and generously sized portions. The River Cafe also sports vintage decor with a British heart.
Tucked away in Brockley, The Orchard opened in 2009 to bring a relaxed lounge and dining area to locals. They serve and source local and independent ingredients, meat and even their ice-cream, where possible. They have a wide range of breakfast options, including their Full English Breakfast and vegetarian Full English Breakfast. It’s popular, so it’s advisable to book early to avoid any disappointment.
This restaurant originally opened in 1921, incorporating a grand appearance with marble pillars and archways. If you get a table for breakfast, you’ll be stepping into glamour and grandeur. With their traditional breakfast named ‘The English’, it comes with a choice of eggs, bacon, sausage, and all the rest of the trimmings.
A light and airy choice for brunch, The Modern Pantry has bronze accents and white tables. For your traditional breakfast, you can opt from a choice of eggs of either fried, scrambled or poached eggs with the choices of it coming with smoked-streaky bacon, fried halloumi, or even the choice of grilled chorizo.
Right outside Liverpool Street Station, the Polo Bar cafe has been serving up breakfast since 1953. There are two options for a traditional breakfast, the English Breakfast and The Mighty English Breakfast; they also offer a vegetarian and gluten-free option. With the added benefit of being able to pre-order, you can disembark from your train and pick up your order without having a long wait.
Having opened in 2013, Blighty Cafe is an organic coffee, flexitarian food, sustainable cafe with bright and modern decorations. With two Blighty Cafe options, one in Tottenham and the other at Finsbury Park, you can choose from Full English, Full Vegetarian English and even a Full Vegan. If you’re travelling from Scotland, they even offer The Full Scottish with all the trimmings you’d expect.
Opening up in 1946, The Regency Cafe is a small Art Deco café wrapped around all that is Britishness. With photographs of Tottenham Hotspur football players and the walls tiles being the original ones it opened with, it has history soaking out of its pours. It is also used as a popular filming location for British TV shows. Most importantly, they offer a customisable option to their fry-ups, including the options to add extra items.
With sustainable sourcing of ingredients, The Table Cafe offers a brunch that will knock your socks off. The Borough Full English has home-made baked beans that are made with chorizo and ham hock. While The Green Goddess is another brunch hit, they also offer pancakes and egg-based brunch options too.
Found in Kensington and opened in 2010, Ffiona’s brunch menu7 offers a Full English, Full Veggie, and even a dish called the Queen Scramble, which comes with eggs scrambled with pickled jalapeños, cheese, onion, mushroom, and two slices of toast. If you opt for the traditional Full English or Full Veggie, you also get a decent side of chips with it.
Although this might not be the most extensive list to help get your hands on a quintessentially British fry-up, these places are named the best in London. While they all come with mouth-watering menus, they also come with an extra cheery welcome and very British surroundings. All you need to decide is which place you’re going to try first and whether you want to enjoy a traditional British breakfast close by to a famous landmark, a park or on your way through a station.