Ah, the great British breakfast. If you’re spending some time in London it’s likely that you’ll have bumped up against locals eating habits and maybe marvelled at some of them.
After all, Londoners are varied and come from all walks of life and different districts of the city, but it’s amazing how diverse and similar London breakfast choices are.
Of course, pronounce the words ‘English Breakfast’ and this is probably what springs to mind first. It should probably get its own National Trust funding , or at the very least be protected by Unesco, synonymous as it is with British history and heritage.
“Her cuisine is limited but she has as good an idea of breakfast as a Scotchwoman”, says Sherlock Holmes when describing Mrs Hudson’s cooking.
Breakfast has been a longstanding national obsession, British journalist and wit A A Gill summed it up like this: “Breakfast is everything. The beginning, the first thing. It is the mouthful that is the commitment to a new day, a continuing life.”
Clearly for writers in particular, but all of us in general, this opening olfactory act of our day is not one to be toyed with or taken lightly.
You’re in London, the very heartland of this great land of breakfast. There are so many options available to you for eating before midday.
Yet we’re going to look a little more specifically at one of my favourite type of hearty breakfasts – the Diner Breakfast.
Diners of course are a delicious all American import, and what better day to be writing about them but the day after Thanksgiving!
A few years ago you wouldn’t have been able to find battered chicken, waffles and maple syrup for love or money in London town. Yet thanks to the wonders of globalisation, today we have offerings from America spotted all around the inner limits of the M25.
And luckily many of them are jolly decent independent outfits with more diversity than soulless Starbucks and its plastic wrapped, overpriced barely digestible delicacies.
Thus the joys of London life: You can deviate from traditional offerings of Marmite or Black Pudding if you’re a well-travelled type, haven’t been brought up on British nursery matron’s food and not a stickler for tradition.
The Breakfast Club
This Trendy Treat has no less than 10 London Locations, as well as Breakfast Club goodness on offer in Brighton and Oxford.
Whatever neighbourhood you’re staying or playing in, you’ll be sure to get some.
Here are there addresses listed for convenient copying into Google Maps on your iPhone :
The Breakfast Club
31 Camden Passage,
5-9 Battersea Rise,
The Breakfast Club
1 Crossrail Place,
Crossrail Station and Retail Mall
Units 48-52 Boxpark Croydon
99 George Street
The Breakfast Club
29 East Bay Lane
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
London, E15 2GW
2-4 Rufus Street,
11 Southwark Street,
11 Berwick Street,
33 D’Arblay Street, W1F 8EU
12-16 Artillery Lane,
So how has The Breakfast Club become top dog in London?
How did they come to dominate the “Sunny Side Up” market?
In a nutshell: Notoriety and, they got there first.
Back in 2012 Long before the days when economists were lecturing us about how millennials will never be homeowners with our penchant for avocado toast (ie, back in yesteryear before avo toast was a thing); The Breakfast Club had already stuck a flag in the mast at their Upper street address in Angel.
Here we would regroup after many a boozy night to soak up any remaining inebriation with the Breakfast Club’s carb-heavy / taste rich dishes.
And what a menu!
For traditionalists you’ve got ‘The Full Monty’, your classic cooked breakfast encompassing eggs, bacon, sausage, Doreenʼs black pudding, home-style potatoes, creamy mushrooms, beans, tomato & toast. This classic option will set you back just £11.50 and certainly set you up for the day while you’re about it.
Feeling Americana? You’ll want to head over to the ‘Waffles and Pancakes’ section of the menu and browse. Although, you’d be hard pressed to go wrong with the ‘All American’, made up of pancakes, eggs, sausage, home-style potatoes, bacon & maple syrup at £12.50.
Finally in Club Comforts we find our famous Chicken n’ Waffles Fried served up with mac n’ cheese, pickles, jalapeños, pepper sauce and maple syrup. More honest American Diner inspired dishes would be hard to find!
Plant based peeps will love the vegan bacon in one of their signature dishes.
To read the rest of their taste bud tickling menu, it’s here.
Now don’t get put off by the name. Mind you, I wouldn’t recommend you going here if you are in fact watching your weight.
Like its No Nonsense moniker Fatboy’s does what it says on the tin: Serves up cholesterol heightening, deep fried goodness that as long as you move your body a bit the rest of the time, it’s fine to indulge in occasionally.
Let’s dive straight into their repertoire of devilish delights!
Fatboy’s is a classic diner specialising in shakes and burgers.
There most famous offering, the Meateor, comprises 8 x 3oz patties with lettuce, tomatoes, dill pickle, monterey jack cheese, smoky streaky bacon and beer battered onion rings served with large fries and a large milkshake of your choice. That comes to twenty quid on the cash register.
Another thing which is fun here is the ‘Go Mexican’ section of the menu, boasting burritos, tortilla and nachos.
They haven’t forgotten the small folk in your clan either – ‘Kids say Cheese’, is rather predictably their burger accompanied by cheesy chips, available for selection. Halloumi burgers will please dinky vegetarians. There are four options in total, all costing £6 before adding any extras.
Due to their E14 location in the heart of the city, there are good deals on for local workers on weekdays, usually at 6 or 7 pounds. Examples include, Tuesday’s deal: “Any hot dog and fries and a drink from the fridge”, £7.
Love Waffles? Here you’ll have found your heaven.
Waffles are coming at you in every possible incarnation, so that you can enjoy them gluten free, egg-less, sugar free and red velvet. Yum!
I have to admit I’m a Big fan of the red velvet option.
Sure, you have to be in the mood to eat sweet with a coffee, rather than a savoury meal, but my goodness, if that is what you’re craving then you will not be disappointed.
All Waffle Jacks’ food is prepared fresh to order. The splendid and very smiley service is, ahem American in style. It’s all rather brilliant, you feel as though you may have been momentarily whisked out of London and across the pond to eat.
Even their menu is fun, frivolous and in keeping with their theme. It encourages you to mix n’ match, building your own breakfast.
The Electric is more than simply another name on this list. It is an institution – a bastion of W11 village life. Here you will hobnob and rub shoulders with the beautiful people.
Notting Hill is simply one of the most exciting parts of London to visit. It manages to be both very real with its reggae and street markets, but very aspirational, brimming with untouchable glamour, at the same time.
I’d recommend taking the film tour of this iconic neighbourhood, if you haven’t yet. Then drink it all in and refuel with Brunch at The Electric before you head back.
The Diner at the Electric is a place to see and be seen, catch sight of the odd celebrity with their faux casual baseball cap pulled down low over ruffled hair.
Electric Diner serves its posh punters a French-American fusion menu. This includes a shaved rib of beef sandwich, the classic Diner hot dog, an indulgent double cheeseburger, and honey-fried chicken with chilli and sesame seeds.
Breakfast kicks off at 8am with a selection of fresh bakery treats, bolstered by a dedicated eggs section (be sure not to miss this on their menu).
For those with a sweet tooth or two, desserts include profiteroles and British classic, knickerbocker glory.
Hair of the dog needed? There are no less than 20 beers on offer (including Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Belhaven Stout on draught), a hand picked wine list, plus all your favourite cocktails, alongside the Electric’s new innovations such as ‘the root to mule’.
Despite its elegance, price wise The Electric remains London reasonable with only their rib-eye steak topping the £20 mark.
Fancy overstaying your welcome? The Electric has a cinema! At the time of press they were offering 50% off your meal if you were staying to watch the film screening.
The Blues Kitchen Brixton
I’ve got one last address for all you cool cats and music lovers.
It’s in Brixton.
Bright, colourful, bustling and vibrant Brixton. Utter this neighbourhood in front of middle class London twenty years ago and the reaction would unanimously declare, “decidedly dodgy”. It was a ‘no go zone’ before the expression existed.
But cue several years of Noughties gentrification and Brixton has managed to clean up, stay arty and so far keep that magic secret sauce, the Brixton soul.
If you’re just visiting, I cannot recommend this neighbourhood highly enough. It’s one of my faves, (could you tell?)
Plus it’s pretty quick to reach on the speedy, central Victoria line on the London underground.
Heading out od Brixton station, turn as if going up to the Ritzy cinema, (yet another great spot for those in the know). You should see it on your Google Maps. Before you reach it turn down Acre Lane on the opposite side of the street and head down to number 40 Acre Lane.
Congrats, you’ve made it!
At The Blues Kitchen you will eat specialities such as ‘Creole Crab Benedict’ £10.50, ‘Huevos Rancheros’ (corn tortilla, eggs, chorizo, refried beans, feta cheese, pico de gallo salsa, tomatillo sauce, sour cream) at £8.50, and ‘Wings n’ Things’ to share with all the saucey sauciness your heart could desire.
There is also an infamous ‘Bottomless Brunch’ to get stuck into.
It goes something like this: Every Saturday and Sunday enjoy a hearty American brunch accompanied by bottomless Prosecco, Bloody Marys or mimosas.
Choose your favourite tipple and get unlimited refills for two hours from just £19.95 for Bloody Marys/mimosas and £22.95 for Prosecco – your food will be charged separately. Take your pick from American style fry ups, buttermilk pancakes, creole crab benedict and many more brunch delights.
Bottomless Brunch is served from 10am – 3:30pm every Saturday and Sunday, book a table below.
The Blues Kitchen is certainly the hippest American Diner in London so far and it doesn’t hurt their cool credentials that they are also a live music venue.
This is the page of their site to go to and follow who’s playing when.
I have made my Brixton bias abundantly clear, but it must be noted that the Blues Kitchen has two other London addresses in Camden and Shoreditch too.
So what are you waiting for, roll on in for Blues, Bourbon & Barbecue.