By Boutique Handbook writers
London isn’t short of brunch spots, but The Boutique Handbook likes to highlight the lesser-known hangouts that probably aren’t on your radar unless you’re a local.
Think neighbour cafés and restaurants championing British produce, secret gardens and terraces, plus extras like coffee roasteries and wellness studios offering classes and workshops.
We asked food influencer and all-round brunch expert Poppy Woodcock, founder of Instagram account @themunchbrunchkids, to tell us her favourite London brunch spots.
Note: You won’t find any of the below in central London, which is why we love them that little bit more, but rest assured they are all worth travelling to.
Best brunch in North London
Common Ground, Finsbury Park
Common Ground neighbourhood cafe can be found in Stroud Green, near Finsbury Park, and is the perfect spot for brunch in the sun. Poppy loves it for its botanical interiors and huge secret garden terrace, which has heated igloos in winter. Dark Arts coffee is served in stylish ceramic mugs and its seasonal and sustainable menu includes lots of homemade freshly-baked treats.
Good to know: Walk-ins only until 4pm daily (4.30pm on Saturdays). Menu is mainly plant-based, no laptop policy, no smoking outside on the terrace. Dog-friendly
Price point: Cakes start from £3.50 and brunch dishes from £7
CHI CHI’S, Green Lanes
CHI CHI’s describes itself as being a ‘Brooklyn meets Shoreditch’ kind of place. It might be a London brunch spot by day with a terrace in summer, but on Thursday and Friday nights it turns into a cocktail lounge serving small plates. Found on Green Lanes, the nearest station is Winchmore Hill Overground. Poppy says it serves the best waffles in London. She also recommends their kids menu, which has a ‘build your own waffle’ section.
Good to know: Brunch served 9.30am to 2.30pm Wednesday to Sunday. Children allowed until 7pm. Cocktails and small plates served 7 to 11pm Fridays and Saturdays. Dog-friendly
Price point: Brunch dishes and small plates start from £7, cocktails from £8.50
ESTERS, Stoke Newington
Home to the original Miso White Chocolate Cookie, ESTERS is a cute neighbourhood cafe in Stoke Newington with a secret garden terrace perfect for alfresco coffee and cake. Poppy loves it because everything on their short, but creative menu is cooked from scratch featuring produce from local farms in Kent, Sussex and Cambridgeshire. It also champions the use of UK heritage grains in their home-baked cakes and cookies.
Good to know: Walk-ins only. Brunch served 8am to 2.30pm Tuesday to Saturday. Well-behaved dogs allowed. No laptops on Saturdays. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Dog-friendly
Price point: Brunch dishes from 6.50, weekend specials from £16
Best brunch in East London
Friends of Ours, Hoxton
Australian brunch restaurant, Friends of Ours, can be found in Hoxton, a few minutes’ walk from Old Street station. Since opening in 2018, it has often been voted one of the best London brunch spots, and Poppy agrees. She loves it for its outside space and creative antipodean-inspired menu, which has expanded to include pop-ups and supper clubs throughout the year. Now open until late, you should also head here for natural and low intervention wines and small plates in the evenings.
Good to know: Brunch served 8am to 4.30pm daily (5pm on weekends). Dog-friendly. Tip: Sign up to their newsletter and receive a free coffee if you claim it within 24 hours
Price point: Brunch dishes start from £7.50, wines from £6.50 a glass
SNACK BAR, Dalston
SNACK BAR is a hidden gem on Dalston Lane from Freddie Janssen, author of Pickle, and Anaïs van Manen, ex-development chef at Bao. Their secret backyard garden is a cute spot which also hosts summer BBQs and pop ups. Outdoor tables can now be booked via Resy. Dishes are Asian and Mexican inspired and they host boozy bottomless brunches at weekends. Poppy says don’t leave without trying their signature gooey butter cake.
Good to know: Brunch served 8am to 2.30pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 2.30pm at weekends. Laptops allowed before 12pm and after 2pm on weekdays, but no conference calls. Dog-friendly
Price point: Pastries from £2.50, brunch dishes from £6, Bottomless Brunch £35pp
OZONE, London Fields/Shoreditch
OZONE is an award-winning roastery founded in New Zealand that has cafes in London Fields, Shoreditch, Ludgate Hill and Aldgate. Poppy is a big fan of their coffee, which supplies many other cafes in London and their focus on sustainability and zero-waste cooking (they are a B Corp certified company). Their London Fields branch has a cute outdoor terrace perfect for alfresco coffees.
Good to know: Walk-ins only. Food is served 7.30am to 3pm on weekdays and 8.30am to 4pm on weekends. Vegan options available. Cocktails, beer and wine also served. Dog-friendly
Price point: Coffees from £2.90, dishes from £7.50, cocktails from £9
Best brunch in South London
Juliet’s Cafe Bar is a new opening from Juliet’s Quality Food, who already have a cafe in Tooting. Find it in the courtyard of not-for-profit art space, Studio Voltaire, down the road from Clapham Common. Both have cute outdoor spaces and serve creative menus. Think elevated brunch dishes like Smoked Caviar Folded Egg and Pumpkin Omelette. They served Barn coffee from the famous Berlin-based roastery. Poppy says it’s worth visiting on the weekends for their sourdough waffle special.
Good to know: Walk-ins only. Open Wednesday to Sunday 9am to 5pm in summer. Kitchen closes at 3pm on weekdays. The main Juliet’s is open all year round. Groceries like bread, coffee and wine available to buy through their online shop
Price point: Coffees from £3, brunch dishes from £7.80
Milk in Balham has been a popular London brunch spot since it opened in 2012, and it’s still one of the best places to brunch in the capital. Head there on the weekend for it’s ever-changing Australian-inspired menu and cute decor. Alfresco dining available out front. Poppy’s tip is to order the seasonal buckwheat pancakes, but save room for a slice of brown butter hazelnut cake or a freshly-baked Anzac biscuit.
Good to know: Walk-ins only. Open 8am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm at Saturday and Sunday. Can be a 20-minute wait on weekends
Price point: Coffees from £2.70, brunch dishes start from £6.70
nue ground, Clapham
nue ground in Clapham is more than a brunch spot, they also have a wellness studio that is due to open soon and will run various classes and workshops. Poppy loves the healthy, seasonal menu here that takes a less wasteful ‘root to stem’ approach. Think fresh, colourful salads, daily hot specials and plant-based cakes. Grazing platters, flatbreads and sharing boards and wines from small, ethical producers available Thursday to Saturday.
Good to know: Open 7am to 7pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. Thursday to Saturday 7am to late. Lots of vegan and free-from options. On Deliveroo and has an online shop. Dog-friendly
Price point: Brunch dishes from £8.50, cakes from £3, cocktails from £10
Best brunch in West London
The Elder Press Cafe, Hammersmith
The Elder Press Cafe is a cute brunch spot moments from the River Thames. Poppy loves it for its homely feel and stylish decor. Set over two floors, there are tables inside as well as a garden room and large terrace. She also loves the ever-changing specials boards with inventive breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes such as the Brunch Plate, Super Grain Porridge and Kimchi Fried Rice.
Good to know: Open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm and 9am to 5pm at weekends. Breakfast served 8am to 11.30pm, lunch 12pm to 3pm. Dog-friendly
Price point: Brunch dishes from £7.50, lunch from £12.50
Milk Beach, Queen’s Park
Described as a ‘little slice of Sydney in London’, Milk Beach can be found on a beautiful mews street in leafy Queen’s Park that’s home to great restaurants, design studios and a craft brewery (Wolfpack). There is also a recently-opened branch in Soho. Poppy loves it for its inventive Australian-inspired brunches in the day. They are also open in the evenings for small plates, wine tasting events and play live music on Saturday nights.
Good to know: Open Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 11pm, Saturdays 8.30am to midnight and 8.30am to 5pm. Closed Mondays. Dog-friendly
Price point: Brunch dishes from £4.50, dinner dishes from £5.50, cocktails from £8
Burnt, Shepherd’s Bush
Polly says Burnt in Shepherd’s Bush is one of the best brunch restaurants in West London. It serves a seasonal menu, plus a counter full of freshly baked croissants, cakes and sandwiches daily and is open late for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays. Expect coffee from Climpson & Sons and Dusty Knuckle pastries and there’s a secret secluded garden at the back of the restaurant.
Good to know: Open Monday to Saturday 8am to 4pm and 9am to 4pm on Sundays. Serves dinner Thursday and Friday nights from 6pm
Price point: Brunch dishes from £7, small plates from £4
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