I'm definitely not a morning person - but the one thing that does get me excited about the morning is breakfast! Imagine the smell of freshly baked bread, just brewed coffee and delicious sizzling bacon and tell me you're not drooling already; I honestly believe breakfast can make or break your day. Whenever I travel, I avoid standard hotel breakfasts because I just know there are bound to be plenty of hidden gems around the city serving up mouth-watering breakfast spreads.
During a recent trip to London, I checked out some of the capital's most talked-about brunch spots - and these were my favourites:
47-48 St John's Square, Clerkenwell, London
The concept of "fusion" has become something of a cliché in the F&B world, with restaurants trying to mishmash all sorts of conflicting cuisines to stand out - but this is not the case at Modern Pantry. Chef Anna Hansen is clever and inventive without trying to be too quirky; the dishes served at Modern Pantry boast French, Antipodean and even Middle Eastern influences, resulting in a unique mix that will definitely have you heading back for more! This relaxing eatery in St John's Square is spacious and decorated in neutral tones - a breath of fresh air in the crowded city. Try the sugar-cured New Caledonian prawn omelette with green chilli, spring onion, coriander, smoked chilli sambal and toast... yum!
7 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London; 5 Stable Street, King's Cross, London; 12 Upper St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London
Dishoom is modelled on a Bombay-style Irani café and serves modern Indian dishes with a twist. This restaurant's exotic décor transports you away from London, blending different individual elements – like colourful vintage-style tiles, industrial steel details, Indian newspapers, old picture frames and a huge clock – that all come together to create the atmosphere of an old Indian café… but a whole lot slicker! Must-try dishes here include the bacon and egg naan roll and the Bombay omelette.
The Breakfast Club
Multiple locations; I went to 12-16 Artillery Lane, London
There's no need to be glammed up when all you need is good food first thing in the morning – and The Breakfast Club delivers comfort breakfast food to fuel you for the day. What I like about this casual eatery is its relaxed retro vibe, with mismatched furniture, old-school board games and a soundtrack of cool tunes. Their breakfast burrito is one of the best I've ever had; meanwhile, if you like mixing sweet and savoury, order the "Ham So Eggsited" (get it?!), featuring pancakes with ham, egg, Cheddar cheese and maple syrup. And of course, if you're a bit hungover and craving a full-fat indulgence, there's the Full Monty breakfast too!
Duck & Waffle
40th Floor, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London
You'll find many reasons to hate Duck & Waffle based on first impressions: booking a table can be a pain, you're only allowed to stay during the time allocated to you and once you have made it in, you'll find a lot of the diners are tourists who spend ages just taking pictures of their food! But despite all that, there are plenty of other reasons why Duck & Waffle is well worth a visit: the food, the view, the food, the drinks… and oh, did I mention the food? Located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower, Duck & Waffle delivers an astonishing panoramic view of the city (ask for a window seat!), whilst their signature breakfast dish is the "Duck & Waffle" of crispy duck leg confit, a fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup. However, I'd recommend their "Full Elvis'" of waffles with PBJ, bananas brûlée, Chantilly cream and all the trimmings instead; I usually prefer savoury breakfasts over sweet, but this amazing dish will make you feel like you're in heaven.
160 Piccadilly, London
For a classic breakfast, there's always The Wolseley. Elegant but unpretentious, this grand café-restaurant is something of a British institution. From their famous Eggs Benedict to scrumptious pancakes, they're always consistent. It's also a bit of a celebrity favourite – I once saw Coldplay's Chris Martin having breakfast with his family there! If you can't get a table for breakfast, try going for their afternoon tea instead, which is just as good.