London’s restaurants have swiftly become the best in the world, but it’s not just about dinner. Continuing our round-up of the best breakfasts in town, here are 10 breakfasts we can’t get enough of in Clerkenwell
1 WORKSHOP COFFEE CO
Open for just over four years now on Clerkenwell Road, as the name suggests coffee is king here – and they certainly know how to make one heck of a cuppa. However, it’s their rather quaint, to the point breakfast menu that has made the experience even better for us. Their huevo rancheros certainly livened us up (tortilla, braised beans, fried egg, jerk sauce, jalapenos), and we loved the name smashed avocado – and the combination of said fruit with granary, feta cheese, roasted tomatoes and dukkah was exemplary.
27 Clerkenwell Road EC1M 5RN; 020 7253 5754; workshopcoffee.com
Many people have been waxing lyrical about King’s Cross recently – and rightly so – and Caravan’s N1 location is certainly a winner, but there’s something about their Exmouth Market restaurant, bar and coffee roastery that we can’t get enough of. The weekday breakfast menu suits all kinds of appetite: from the small (ham and cheese muffin for the princely sum of £2), to the large (the Caravan fry up), through to those loved up couples who have to share everything (their baked eggs for two with chorizo was incredible). Their lunch and dinner offering isn’t bad either for those who want to park here for the day.
11-13 Exmouth Market EC1R 4QD; 020 7833 8115; caravanonexmouth.co.uk
3 GAIL’S ARTISAN BAKERY
Sweet or savoury? No need to make a decision at Gail’s, which has breakfast properly covered. There’s some great healthy options – you can never go wrong with Greek yoghurt, fruit compote and granola – but as this is the most important meal of the day, we say go to town. And with choices such as blueberry pancakes, maple bacon brioche, mushroom ragu and shakshuka (rich and hearty baked eggs and feta in a roasted pepper stew), you can certainly do that.
33-35 Exmouth Market EC1R 4QL; 020 7713 6550; gailsbread.co.uk
We’ve not been to the new Stokey restaurant yet, probably because we are still trying to drag ourselves away from the St John Street location. Things are relaxed here, so it’s more brunch than breakfast, but we love the fact you can get something completely different. Perhaps you have a yearning for sweet potato, greens and eggs? If so, you are in luck. For those a little braver (or perhaps suffering from the night before), we recommend the steak, eggs and salsa verde. It’s always a good time to have steak, especially when it’s this good.
69-73 St John Street EC1M 4AN; 020 7014 8070; foxlow.co.uk
5 GRANGER & CO
Considering he opened a restaurant slap-bang in the middle of London’s creative hub, perhaps it’s not a surprise that Bill Granger has come up with a breakfast menu that’s out of the ordinary. We love the setting, but also love the fact the menu covers baked delights, Bill’s own classics, and big plates for those who really want the day to start with a bang. Our picks from each? Toasted rye, avocado, lime and coriander, with a poached egg on top; the Fresh Aussie (tea smoked salmon, poached eggs, greens, avocado and cherry tomatoes); and the crisp pork belly brioche roll with chilli jam. Pork belly for breakfast? Brilliant, we say.
50 Sekforde Street EC1R 0HA; 020 7251 9032; grangerandco.com
6 THE CLERKENWELL KITCHEN
We first came across The Clerkenwell Kitchen after hearing about their six daily lunch dishes they create, which change on a daily basis. One morning we were a tad peckish, so popped in to see if we could nab lunch early and realised how great their breakfast offering is too. It’s all about the suppliers here, where ethics come first, but not at the expense of taste. Chegworth Valley, Wild Forest Foods, Neals Yard Dairy, La Fromagerie… Considering the names, you just know the food will be mighty fine.
27-31 Clerkenwell Close EC1R 0AT; 020 7101 9959; theclerkenwellkitchen.co.uk
7 THE MODERN PANTRY
We used to think The Modern Pantry was our very own secret, before realising that everyone else with an interest in food knew all about Anna Hansen’s stunning creation. It will soon get bigger, too, with the opening of The Modern Pantry part two, so enjoy those lazy, quiet breakfasts while you can. It’s not often that the sides on a breakfast menu beat most menus elsewhere – spinach, haloumi, chorizo and tea smoked salmon are all available – and we love the fact we can have posh egg and soldiers here.
47-48 St John’s Square EC1V 4JJ; 020 7553 9210; themodernpantry.co.uk
8 ST JOHN BREAD AND WINE
Now, we know we are cheating here, especially for a Clerkenwell round-up – but given this firm East London favourite is a few minutes walk away from the unforgettable restaurant on St John Street, we felt it had to make the list. If you are not convinced, then their quirky ‘timetable’ for breakfast will surely win you over. For example, last Friday it went like so: 9am – Old Spot bacon sandwich; granola, yoghurt and honey; porridge and prunes; peached fruit, yoghurt and toasted brioche; pickelets and jam; toast and honey. Then, at 11am for those craving a mid-morning snack, there was a choice between seed cake and a glass of Madeira, Eccles cake or chocolate brownie. Love it.
94-96 Commercial Street E1 6LZ; 020 7251 0848; stjohnbreadandwine.com
Top marks to Leon for a menu that points out what’s low in saturated fat, wheat free, gluten free, dairy free and more. What we also love is the fact we can take away some proper grub, as let’s face it we can’t all lounge about all morning. Their poached egg pots are great, from the smoked salmon and avocado concoction, to the barely believable Full English pot, which crams in poached egg, Cumberland sausage, British back bacon and saucy beans. There’s porridge pots too, and wonderful muffins – and we love, love, love their milk free shakes, made with almonds and naturally sweetened with dates. Very impressive.
Zinc House, 20 Cowcross Street EC1M 6DH; 020 7250 3670; leonrestaurants.co.uk