London's 8 best greasy spoons for a fry up
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Folks of the UK today might well munch on muesli for their weekday morning meal, but most will agree that weekend brekkies demand something more substantial. For a killer hangover cure – or a lazy Sunday brunch with a newspaper – nothing beats the full English breakfast.
The fry-up tends to include as staples eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and baked beans... with typical guest stars grilled or tinned tomatoes, black pudding, and fried bread, hash browns or chips for some added carbs. In these pluralistic times, veggies need worry not – any place worth its ketchup has a vegetarian breakfast. The English capital's oily breakfasts were traditionally served by matronly waitresses in grubby diners, aka "greasy spoons" or "caffs." Nowadays, trendy establishments are just as likely to serve you up the old British diet-killer, with flat white coffees offered alongside the breakfast tea of yore. Continue to our best 8 fry-up spots in London.
- Folks of the UK today might well munch on muesli for their weekday morning meal, but most will agree that weekend brekkies demand something more substantial.
\#8 Smiths of Smithfields
Who says greasy spoons have to be fat-spattered caves with sticky tabletops and faded pictures of Queen Victoria? Not the folk at Smiths of Smithfields. This grade-2 listed building might look like a Brooklyn lounge bar, but its authentic breakfast could have emerged from a Surrey farmhouse. Look out for the bubble and squeak (just "bubble"), the old English dish of fried cabbage and potato. You might be tempted to stuff it in your ears – SOS is known to get a little noisy.
67-77 Charterhouse Street London EC1M 6HJ 020 7251 7950
Related: Venue site
Courtesy of Smiths of Smithfield
\#7 Phoenix Café
Most roving eaters know Brixton for the foody marketplace makeover that is Brixton Village. But Coldharbour Lane harbours a no-frills caff that calls to mind builders loading up with fat, carbs and sugar before a long day hauling bricks. One plate full of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and bubble with perfectly tan tea, and you'll know why Phoenix is the byword for breakfasts among Brixtonians. And the famously tasty toast comes from the restaurant's own secret baker. The old caff has just moved up the road from its original premises into a shiny new haunt.
- Most roving eaters know Brixton for the foody marketplace makeover that is Brixton Village.
- But Coldharbour Lane harbours a no-frills caff that calls to mind builders loading up with fat, carbs and sugar before a long day hauling bricks.
395 Coldharbour Lane Brixton London, SW9 8LN 020 7733 4430
Courtesy of Mike Urban, Brixton Buzz
\#6 Ginger and White
All over farm-sourced organic produce, Ginger and White offers a cut-above fry-up experience at two locations in the well-to-do suburbs of Hampstead and Belsize Park. The spacious, well-ventilated restaurants decked out with thick wooden furniture are hardly greasy spoons of yore. But repasts such as Blythburgh free-range bacon and slow roasted tomato with spiced ketchup on London bloomer bread will titillate baser breakfast urges as much as the finer epicurean tastes.
4a-5a Perrins Court Hampstead London NW3 1QS 020 7431 9098
2 Englands Lane Belsize Park London NW3 4TG 020 7722 9944
Related: Venue site
Courtesy of Ginger and White
\#5 The Walpole
Dubbed the best restaurant in London by none other than Marco Pierre White, this homey hub of grub is to be found in the westerly suburb of Ealing. The locally owned eatery serves traditional café fare including fry-ups throughout the day. Watch out for The Walpole's famous bubble and squeak, and ham freshly carved off the bone just for you. It might even be worth hanging westward until evening for the killer weekend dinner deal.
35 St. Mary's Road Ealing London W5 5RG 0208 567 7918
Related: Venue site
Courtesy of The Walpole
\#4 Mess Café
In the hip heart of Hackney is this breakfast mainstay providing fry-ups to an eclectic blend of locals. Eggs and the other usual suspects in the full English breakfast come alongside fried potatoes, which is a nice touch. The veggie breakfast has even been known to shake things up with some roast peppers. Free newspapers on hand and the ability to swap in and swap out ingredients to suit your taste make this a stress-free way to manage your grease injection. Oh, and the dirt-cheap prices.
- 35 St. Mary's Road Ealing London W5 5RG 0208 567 7918 Related: Venue site In the hip heart of Hackney is this breakfast mainstay providing fry-ups to an eclectic blend of locals.
- Free newspapers on hand and the ability to swap in and swap out ingredients to suit your taste make this a stress-free way to manage your grease injection.
38 Amhurst Road Hackney London E8 1JN 020 8985 3194
Courtesy of Emily Webber; https://foursquare.com/ewebber
\#3 Regency Café
The iconic art deco exterior of this restaurant might belie its greasy spoon credentials, but one look at the interior will assure you that the right breakfast is just an order away. Make that order, by the way, at the counter as you walk in. Grab your choice of hot beverage and take a seat. Pretty soon the arrival of your plate will be heralded in deafening fashion by the staff. Regency is known for appearing in 2004 British crime thriller "Layer Cake." It's also known for serving very large tinned tomatoes.
17-19 Regency Street Pimlico London SW1P 4BY 020 7821 6596
Courtesy of User:Rayray at en.wikipedia
\#2 Terry's Café
Why graze the expensive, multicoloured produce at nearby Borough Market, when you can rock up to Terry's and stuff yourself for a fraction of the price? Scoff your classic fry-up while gazing at antique bric-à-brac and photos of old London. The tea is cheaper than water, and the giant, delicious Cumberland sausage is sure to torpedo any hangover away.
158 Great Suffolk Street Borough London SE1 1PE 020 7407 9358
Related: Venue site
Courtesy of Terry's Café
\#1 E. Pellicci
In East London's pulsating Bethnal Green is the Holy Grail of grease. E. Pellicci is a century-old behemoth of breakast that manages to combine classy old-world décor with good old-fashioned greasy grub. The grade-2 listed interior might have you suspecting a menu spruced up into some kind of fancy French fare. But the fried eggs and bacon are straight out of the caff's origins in 1900. They should be – the same family still runs the place now.
- 17-19 Regency Street Pimlico London SW1P 4BY 020 7821 6596 Why graze the expensive, multicoloured produce at nearby Borough Market, when you can rock up to Terry's and stuff yourself for a fraction of the price?
- The grade-2 listed interior might have you suspecting a menu spruced up into some kind of fancy French fare.
332 Bethnal Green Road Bethnal Green London E2 0AG 020 7739 4873
Related: How to make the perfect fry-up
Courtesy of E. Pellicci and Classic Cafés
Hal Wallace is a writer and editor based in London and a keen traveler. Wallace has published work in national newspapers and magazines around the world, and various travel guides including Lonely Planet.