Britain likes breakfast, and we’re good at it. Our breakfast repertoire extends from the spicy Anglo-Indian flavours of Kedgeree to the double-carb deliciousness of potato bread and the milky comfort of proper Scottish porridge. We’re known worldwide for our ‘Full English’ fry-ups. And then there’s the tea, our unofficial national drink, with the most popular blend created in honour of - and named after - breakfast itself.

But brunch… Brunch we don’t really do. Perhaps it’s the opulence of a lazy, leisurely, mid-morning meal. Such unabashed indulgence still doesn’t quite sit right with us. London’s restaurant scene is thriving, but there’s no still no brunch tradition here that even comes close to that of New York (a confession: I spend many hours online perusing the brunch menus of NYC restaurants that I have no immediate or even medium-term plans of visiting). It’s a shame, because what is not to love about a meal that can be eaten at any point from 9am to 4pm, where all normal food rules fly straight out the window, and at which orange juice (and life) is made effervescent with the addition of champagne?

To me, it seems, brunch is a very loveable meal. Here are five of my favourite places to eat it in London.

Workshop Coffee Co.
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Formerly named St. Ali, this British-owned restaurant brings a slice of sunny Antipodean-style cafe culture to a slightly gloomy building in Clerkenwell. But who needs natural light when the food (and Allpress coffee) is this good? Brioche bun hamburgers, french toast with poached English rhubarb, toasted banana bread… This mishmash style of Mediterranean, Asian and American influences lends itself well to a meal designed to soak up hangovers - you need freshness and flavour to counterbalance the prerequisite stodge.

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The food is great, if expensive, but the location and setting justifies it as a special occasion expense. Located on the corner of the always lovely Exmouth Market, Caravan is particularly good in the summer months when you can sit on the pavement or by one of the huge, open windows. Open fairly late into the evening, it’ s also a great place for cocktails and small plates, but that’s another blog post entirely.

Salvation Jane
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Salvation Jane is the newer, bigger sister cafe to the equally brilliant Lantana in Fitzrovia. Both are Australian-run (do you see a pattern emerging here?) and both offer much the same variety of fresh, vibrant dishes and excellent coffee. The key difference is that, givens its size, Salvation Jane is more likely to have a table.

Salvation Jane is not the cheapest cafe but they don’t scrimp on portion sizes, quality, or (crucially) taste: my crunchy haddock hashcakes sat atop a pile of fresh spinach and came complete with two perfectly poached eggs and a generous slick of sunny dill mayo.

A Little of What You Fancy
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What was the first posh cafe/restaurant on Kingsland Road is now one of several, but it’s still among the best. Perfect scrambled eggs, melting smoked salmon, chewy, tangy sourdough bread and possibly the richest, most delicious cheesecake I’ve ever had… A Little of What You Fancy seems, aptly, to always offer just the thing that I fancy. Especially when that thing is a hangover cure.

Ozone Cafe
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A new addition to the growing East London coffee roastery/cafe lexicon, Ozone is (you guessed it) Antipodean-owned, sparse in design, and colourful in its culinary offerings. What marks it out as a place worth visiting is a brunch menu designed to be eaten its way through - how else could you choose between toasted sourdough with oven roasted tomato and avocado, Eggs Benedict on bubble and squeak cakes with béarnaise, and toasted granola with vanilla bean berries, Greek yoghurt & mint?

But if your body is craving greenery over grease, I’d recommend Ozone’s signature salad - a combination of house cured salmon, poached eggs, sesame dressing and the scooped innards of at least one, maybe two, whole avocados. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you can never have too much avocado.