If you're planning a trip to London this summer, you've likely heard of neighborhoods; Covent Garden, Shoreditch, Kensington, and Mayfair which are often the center of tourist attractions and buzz-worthy restaurants, but what about lesser-known but much-loved Homerton, Dalston, or Haggerston?
According to Bianca Bridges, founder of Breakfast London and vegan pizza company Good Belly Pizza, come summer we should all be heading to London's east neighborhoods for our shakshuka, buttermilk pancakes, and full Englishes.
The sprawling English capital has a plethora of neighborhoods with fantastic food options, sure. You can see them all in detail in Bridges' stylish new guidebook Breakfast London: Where Real Londoners Eat. Her new book celebrates all corners of London's local hangouts and hidden gems, greasy spoons, and independent coffee shops, each page filled with drool-worthy photography, insider tips from London's chefs and cafe owners, and recipes.
“London is definitely my favorite city in the world, and its unreal food scene that’s boomed in the past decade makes it all the more sensational," said Bridges. There's still a lot to be said for the classics, she noted. "There’s not a lot that can beat a good full English breakfast."
But where should London visitors go for a local taste of the cities best breakfast offering when the weather gets warmer? Make a beeline for east and north-east London, according to Bridges.
Here are her favorite London breakfast hangouts for basking in British sunshine (if luck's on your side, that is).
Brunswick East in Dalston
"Brunswick East has an outdoor courtyard that’s great to soak in some sun surrounded by other brunch-goers. It's one of my breakfast top spots in London," said Bridges. Run by two sisters from Brunswick East in Melbourne, they create the most incredible Aussie-inspired dishes rivaling breakfast in Australia itself. "Pretty much all of the ingredients are made in-house—the quality is excellent and the menu is hugely creative" Bridges noted. "They cut doorstop-sized chunks of toasted sourdough and have a no sh*t egg rule which all eateries should adopt." Come here on Sundays for 'Yoke', their yoga & brunch program.
The Barge House in Haggerston
Though the Barge House is open for breakfast during the week, it's the weekend menu that takes your mornings up a notch. Their signature "Breakfast in Bread", to be exact. "The Original Breakfast in Bread" is a sourdough loaf hollowed out and packed with smoked bacon, their home-made sausage, slow roasted tomato, leeks, oyster mushrooms, spinach, topped with a free-range egg, and sprinkled with cheese. You'll want to sit for a while at this canal-side hideaway after imbibing one of these. And don't skip out on one of the five types of Bloody Mary.
Towpath Café in Haggerston
"Closed during the winter months, Towpath is a prime spot next to Regent's Canal during the summer," Bridges explained. In her book, she describes this laid-back cafe as the "epitome of simple, memorable food made with quality ingredients." Situated half inside converted storage sheds, and half on the canal towpath itself, you can’t get your breakfast any closer to the water. It's so laid-back, there isn't actually a website for the cafe, you can find the menu chalked up on the blackboard daily.
I Will Kill Again in Homerton
"I Will Kill Again is tucked away in a railway arch, so if you think you’re lost while you’re heading there, then you’re going to the right place," said Bridges. This cafe is located inside Dark Arts Coffee Roastery (so their coffee is excellent, too.) "They cater for all diets, so whether you’re a vegan, veggie, pescatarian, or meat-eater, they’ve got something delicious for you. Get there early or be prepared to do the awkward hover for a table."