Travel

London's best alternative brunches

Our pick of the capital's surprising – but delicious – brunch offerings, from a Sri Lankan spread to Cali-Mexican in a vegan pub Monday, 8 April 2019

By Nicola Trup

Brunch is big business in London, and while avocado on toast remains as popular as ever, it's time to try something new… avocado on K-toast, perhaps, sprinkled with Korean chilli and sesame? Or how about ditching the English muffins in favour of bao benedict? Here are five restaurants and cafes in the capital that are shaking things up at brunchtime.

Sri Lankan: Hoppers, Marylebone
Its Soho branch may be the original, but at its St Christopher's Place outpost, Hoppers serves a six-course Sri Lankan Sunday brunch. Amid all the kothus (chopped roti dishes), karis (curries) and sambals (spicy sauces) you'll be eating, the two unmissable options are the eponymous hopper — a crispy, coconutty bowl-shaped pancake with an egg in the bottom — and the spicy smoked Gorakha Bloody Mary. Price: £26, Bloody Mary £8.50.

Korean: Jinjuu, Soho
The Jinjuu Korean brunch experience starts with a sharing board so hearty that it would suffice for brunch in itself — prioritise the sae-woo pops (crispy fried prawn cakes on sticks, served with gochujang mayo). Mains, meanwhile, are recognisable brunch dishes, but with a twist, such as Korean fried chicken and waffles, and green tea pancakes. If you have room for dessert, it's bingsu (shaved ice). Price: £27, or £39 with bottomless wine, prosecco and beer.

Vegan: The Spread Eagle, Hackney
London's first 100% vegan pub plays host to Club Mexicana, which serves up California-style Mexican dishes. Choose from the 'big brunch burrito', which includes meat-free chorizo and tempeh bacon, or the huevos rancheros (made with scrambled tofu 'eggs'). And don't miss the brunch cocktails, such as the beetroot punch (dark rum, beet shrub and ginger kombucha). Brunch mains from £10, cocktails from £8.

Bao: Mr Bao, Peckham
As the name suggests, this place is all about the bao. And you can expect its preoccupation with fluffy Taiwanese buns to manifest itself in the Bottomless Brunch, too. Try spins on classic dishes, such as bao benedict (pork, spinach, egg and hollandaise on a bao bun) or the full Taiwanese: Taiwanese sausage, spring onion pancake, bao, soy-glazed eggs, spiced beans and smoked bacon. Wash it all down with as many Asian-inspired cocktails as you can drink in one hour. Price: brunch mains from £5.50, one hour of unlimited cocktails £14.

Indian: Jamavar, Mayfair
Inspired by India's seven 'princely states', Jamavar's Royal Brunch is rather like South Asian tapas, fine dining-style — and with too many courses to count, you definitely won't go hungry. Highlights from the set menu include murgh makhani (char-grilled chicken tikka), and, among the veggie options, achaari baingan (aubergines and potato in pickling spices). Price: £55, including a glass of champagne.

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