East London: 10 brunch spots worth visiting
What’s a weekend without brunch? Whilst London has its fair share of fantastic restaurants, it is also sadly home to a range of very average ones too, so make sure that you don’t spend your precious hours queueing somewhere that isn’t worth your time. I often prefer to eat out in east London: when it comes to new openings serving hearty and authentic food with a lot of love, you’ll find that they are pretty much all in this part of town.
I’ve done the hard work for you, and compiled my favourite brunch spots across east London, all worth visiting:
Friends of Ours, Hoxton
A firm favourite of mine for several years, Friends of Ours is a neighbourhood spot only 5 minutes away from Old Street station. This Aussie-style cafe has a seasonal changing menu, which seeks to wow each time it is renewed. Past favourites on the menu have included matcha french toast, fried chicken bao, sweetcorn fritters, and creamy scrambled eggs with beetroot cured salmon, all served by up by the friendly cafe staff…just make sure you get here early on the weekend to avoid the queue, and order as many sides as possible (as they are all delicious).
Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green
Bistrotheque somehow marries east London cool with sleek sophistication: entering through a tiny entrance on Wadeson Street, you’ll find yourself in a light-filled industrial space. Add some white tablecloths, a French-British inspired menu, and a live pianist, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Make sure you order the cornbread pancake with avocado, poached eggs, and hot sauce, and you won’t be disappointed.
You’ll find Attendant only a two minute walk from Old Street. Whilst the original Attendant is a tiny converted Victorian loo in Fitzrovia (yes, really), the Shoreditch branch is a much bigger, brighter space. Classics on the menu such as their french toast or avocado toast are a failsafe, but they also have seasonal dishes such as a butternut squash on toast (vegan friendly), and waffle with poached pear and berry compote. YUM.
Rawduck, London Fields
If I were to hand out awards based on interiors alone, Rawduck would surely win something for their industrial, plant-filled space, complete with rustic wooden tables, and cosy atmosphere to match. You’ll find a relaxed neighbourhood crowd here on the weekends, hankering after their Asian-inspired brunch classics, such as avocado toast with spicy sambal, Japanese nori bowl, and tarka dahl with poached egg and naan.
After your meal, head to Broadway Market for dessert.
A Shoreditch classic, this Kiwi roastery and cafe does a roaring trade every day of the week. You can expect hearty, inventive and delicious dishes here, whether that’s the bubble ‘n’ squeak benedict, (poached eggs on a potato cake topped with hollandaise and your choice of salmon/bacon/halloumi), or the mushrooms on toast with parmesan, chilli and creme fraiche. It also happens to be where Oliver and I had our first date.
Bookings? Only for parties of 8 or more.
Pavilion Café, Victoria Park
The coffee shop counterpart to Pavilion Bakery (which has several small locations across east London), this park cafe overlooks the water in Victoria Park, and is a wonderful perch for a sunny day. The brunch menu here features a Sri Lankan twist: expect coconut chilli sambal with your avocado toast, or an egg hopper with dahl…they also serve a seriously good stack of pancakes too.
Esters, Stoke Newington
A daily changing menu, and chefs who clearly care about the authenticity of their dishes…come here and take a stab at whatever’s currently on the menu, and you won’t be disappointed. Last time I visited, I ate their charred brassicas, cauliflower puree, and toasted seeds with sourdough and it has stayed with me since…
Mae & Harvey, Mile End
This tiny cafe in Mile End (and by tiny, I mean tiny) has a curated but delicious menu that will have you struggling to choose what to order. Order everything. I can attest to the waffles (and their various toppings), the avocado toast, and the pancakes all being delicious…make sure you order sides of halloumi and homemade beans too, and get here early to nab a table!
From the same minds behind Scotchtails (best Scotch eggs in London), and Lundenwic, you’ll find Crispin, a sleek glass box located next to Old Spitalfields Market. Here you’ll find simple but great-tasting food served up with little fuss: avocado on sourdough (with a generous sprinkle of chilli and salt flakes), or scrambled eggs with parmesan and chives. Crispin is also open in the evenings, and offers a simple, sharing-plates menu.
10. The Good Egg, Stoke Newington
Inspired by ‘the cuisine of Tel Aviv’s street food stalls,’ The Good Eggs aims to bring the flavours of the Middle East to London’s brunch scene. Whether that’s through their hearty shakshuka, homemade chocolate babka, or a selection of their small plates (whipped labneh, honey-fried halloumi, aubergine and tahini etc), every bite will have you ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ for more.
Bookings? On weekdays