If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen
17 March 2020
The Betterment, Mayfair
Having opened on Grosvenor Square at the tail end of 2019, The Biltmore is still a hotel so brand-new you can see your reflection in most of the surfaces. It’s far enough away from the hellfire of Oxford Circus but close enough to the boutiques and flagships of Old Bond Street for London shoppers to put breakfast at the hotel's restaurant top of their to-do-list. Plus, it’s one of the few places in the city that offers a buffet-style breakfast to non-guests for £30 (well, if you’re spending the day spending, you might as well start here). As well as the continental buffet of fresh fruit, Dorset yoghurt and charcuterie, the à la carte menu features fluffy buttermilk pancakes with summer berries, morning mocktails (we like the passion fruit and banana option) and a new Indian-style kedgeree. The coffee doesn’t mess around – we were wired for the rest of the day – and neither do the staff, who brought stools for our handbags and offered to replace an egg that looked overcooked (it wasn’t).
Breakfast is served Monday-Sunday 6.30am-10.30am; 44 Grosvenor Square, W1K 2HP
45 Jermyn St., St. James's
For old-school elegance in modern-day London, head to 45 Jermyn St., the Fortnum & Mason-owned restaurant in the heart of historic St James’s. Park up on a punchy red chair and fill up on decadent lobster Benedict, scrambling prawns or crumpets with marmite and fried duck eggs. The Bloody Mary menu is next-level, with no less than six iterations, including a Hinomaru Mary with a Japanese twist.
Breakfast served from 7am Monday-Friday; 8am Saturday-Sunday; 45 Jermyn St, St. James's, London SW1Y 6JD
The Wolseley, Mayfair
Breakfast at The Wolseley is so good that A.A. Gill wrote a book about it (look for the lobster and caviar omelette named after him on the menu). The Corbin & King-owned institution is next door to The Ritz and serves modern European cuisine, plus all the classics - bacon rolls, muesli - and Eggs Arlington, named after the parallel street. Select from grilled kippers with mustard butter; fried haggis with duck eggs; vegetarian frittata or The English: eggs (any which way) with bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomato, black pudding and mushroom. On arrival, accept the maître d''s offer of a newspaper: it comes in handy when a celeb walks in and you want to ogle with some degree of subtlety.
Breakfast served from 7am Monday-Friday; 8am Saturday-Sunday; 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
A lack of signage makes this enigmatic restaurant hard to spot, but just look for the imperial yellow and blue frontage on Albermarle Street. Isabel is an offshoot of Notting Hill’s Casa Cruz, owned by Chilean investment banker-turned-restaurateur Juan Santa Cruz and delivers high glamour, mixing Chinoiserie with 1970s disco-style decadence. The menu draws on Argentinean influences, served by waitstaff in custom outfits by Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz. Breakfast highlights include poached eggs, heaped on pancakes with flaked almonds and avocado; florentine on arepa, a traditional Venezuela bread, and quinoa porridge with a bounty of toppings. The lavish bathrooms were made for Instagram selfies, beautifully decorated with hand-painted silk De Gournay wallpaper, featuring tactile Oriental gardens and tropical jungles.
Breakfast served from 7am Monday-Friday; 10am Saturday-Sunday; 26 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4HY
The behemoth Sketch on Conduit Street excels at every hour of the day, including breakfast. The morning meal is served within the picturesque and theatrical surrounds of Glade, the rococo-style velvet lounge with a découpage forest backdrop and a distinct moody glamour. While decor is flamboyant, the menu is traditional, serving fresh fruit, pastries and eggs any way you like, with a range of toppings. Vegans can enjoy a plant-based courgette blini, served with avocado, kale and pickled onions. Don't forget to visit the world-famous bathrooms, made up of glossy egg-shaped white cubicles.
Breakfast served from 7am Monday-Friday; 8am Saturday-Sunday; 9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG
Duck & Waffle Local, St James's
Duck & Waffle Local is the more casual, accessible sister to the original, sky-high Heron Tower restaurant. Located on ground level in Piccadilly's redeveloped St. James's Market, it is likened to a high-end fast food restaurant, where customers order their meal at the counter and sit at communal benches. As the name suggests, the menu is duck-centric, from duck egg cocotte with wild mushrooms and cheese to the namesake confit on waffle, with fried egg and maple syrup. Due to the speed at which the queue moves, make sure that you browse the menu in advance to avoid getting in a flap (...sorry).
Breakfast and brunch served Monday-Friday, 8am-12pm; 52 Haymarket, St. James's, London SW1Y 4RP
Franco's, St. James's
As continental as London gets, this Italian haunt has been a firm favourite of jet-setters, movie stars and chic Europeans for more than 60 years. We recommend grabbing a table outside for the full European experience, taking your morning slowly with a cup of coffee and a broadsheet. Choose between a typically continental breakfast - fruit, croissants, pastries, eggs - or a Full English. Prices are fairly reasonable, considering the area.
Breakfast served 7:30am to 11am Monday to Friday, 8am to 11am Saturday; 61 Jermyn St, St. James's, London SW1Y 6LX