Whether you are a lifelong local or just visiting, you need to have tried London’s most iconic dishes – and where better to start than with a Full English Breakfast?
The first thing you need to understand is the difference between a café (pronounced kaf-fay) and a caff. A café serves drinks, snacks and light meals; they are often quaint and pretty, and the menu is likely to feature home-made cakes, sandwiches, soups and salads. A caff is more rickety chairs and formica-topped tables, paper napkins and mugs of builders’ tea (strong, with a good amount of milk), with large portions of fried food, bacon rolls and chips on the menu, and often affectionately known as ‘a greasy spoon’. They are both wonderful in their own way, but it’s the caff that is the king of the fry-up, aka the Full English Breakfast.
Hash E8, Hackney
An all-day café offering up imaginative, contemporary twists on classic breakfast and brunch dishes. You may go with your heart set on a Full English but be prepared for some serious temptation in the form of their Pig Muffin – crispy bacon, sausage patty, hash brown, pork belly, cheese slice, egg cake and bacon jam in an English muffin with a side of chorizo jam.
Basic: Half English – £9.50
Crispy bacon, fried egg, sausage, beans, hash brown, toast
Go Large: Full English – £13.00
Crispy bacon, fried eggs, sausage, beans, mushrooms, roast tomato, black pudding, hash brown, toast.
Served: All day
Mess Cafe, Hackney
Great little find and deservedly popular with locals. You may want to grab a newspaper on the way to breakfast or make sure your phone is charged as, if you get there after about 10.30am, you’ll probably have to queue.
Basic: Mess Breakfast 3 – £8.90
Bacon, eggs, sausage, beans, grilled mushrooms, hash brown, sourdough plus tea or coffee
Go Large: Add a range of extras including tomatoes, black pudding and fried potatoes.
Served: All day
E. Pellicci, Bethnal Green
A real London legend, this lovely Victorian Art-Deco family-run cafe has been serving up huge portions of classic British and Italian dishes since 1900 – including a banging Full English Breakfast. You’ll also get a hefty side of proper East End banter from current owner Nevio, making you feel right at home.
Of all the rave reviews it has received over the years, perhaps the most famous one is from notorious East End gangster Reggie Kray in his book East End Stories. (However, on my last visit I shared a table with the considerably nicer E. Pellicci regular, Norman; an East End local who has been coming here for 67 years. What a gent.)
Basic: Classic Set – £12.00
Bacon, egg, Cumberland sausage, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and fried bread or toast
Go Large: Have the Lot – £14.80
Bacon, egg, Cumberland sausage, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, black pudding, hash brown and fried bread or toast
Served: All day (closed on Sundays)
Cafe 338, Bethnal Green
Cafe 338 is handily situated just three doors down from E. Pellici, giving you a chance to nip into one if the other is full. This is a perfect example of why we love a Full English Breakfast here at London Cheapo – they’re such great value. This delicious, generously-sized and hangover-busting breakfast will really set you up for the day.
Basic: Full English Breakfast – £9.80
Bacon, egg, sausage, beans, mushrooms & hash browns and toast, served with tea or coffee
Go Large: Mega Breakfast – £11.50
Bacon, egg, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, black pudding, bubble & fried slice, tea or coffee
The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields
Without the egg-yolk yellow frontage favoured by the Breakfast Clubs, but with a rather fabulous ‘Sex & Drugs & Bacon Rolls’ neon sign, the vibes (and prices) here are more diner than caff.
(Can you keep a secret? If you want to know why we love this particular Breakfast Club so much, take a peek at this article.)
Basic: Greasy Spoon – £11.00
Bacon, egg, sausage, beans & hash browns
Go Large: The Full Monty – £16.00
Bacon, egg, sausage, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, black pudding, hash brown, crispy homestyle potatoes & toast
Served: All day (The Full Monty only available until 12 noon)