Food for Thought

A Londoner's Guide To Starting The Day


Readers of this blog are hopefully agreed about the best way to start the day.  But on days when we can't offer you a Hot Ticket, where can you turn for inspiration (and eggs)?

After lengthy consultation with our most discriminating members, a hostile number of alarm clocks and a granary's worth of granola, here is our guide to how London can best invigorate your mornings. 


You've probably got the memo: whether you're looking to unleash the muse or be more tolerant of the smells in the tube, the answer is MEDITATION. The most recommended local places to learn are Will Williams (Transcendental Meditation) and the London Buddhist Centre (Mindfulness of Breathing).

Religious options include services at St Martin in the Fields (8.30am), the Bevis Marks Synagogue (8.30am) or the Regent's Park Mosque.

“Breakfast is everything. The beginning, the first thing. It is the mouthful that is the commitment to a new day, a continuing life” – AA Gill

When it comes to readying yourself mentally and vitalising the creative juices, JOURNALING is also in the hall of fame. The most common endorsement we hear at the table is for the process known as the "Morning Pages", advocated by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way.

Many people tell us they like to FAST. Sure, sure; but you can still prepare to FEAST... perhaps by stackings ome banana, blueberry & pecan pancakes à la London-based chef Anna Jones or simmering a shakshuka inspired by the city's Punk of the Pomegranates, Ottolenghi.


When it's your BUDS that you're focusing on, then from a daunting array of options The Hot Breakfast members pick:

Classic: Eggs Benedict at The Wolseley

Cult: Hazlenut & Butter Porridge at 26 Grains

Controversial: Canadian Beans with Vegan Chorizo at I Will Kill Again

Cosy: Cinnamon Bun from Nordic Bakery

Contemporary: Garam Masala Roast Banana with Date, Cocoa & Pecan Granola at The Modern Pantry

But not all of us have the stomach for solids at dawn.  If it's BREAKFAST BREWS you're focussed on, no one quibbles with the flat whites from Notes (7.30am, WC2N 4ER), AllPress (7.30am, E8 2NG) or Prufrock (7.30am, EC1N 7TE). 

As for tea, you might go black (Brockley Breakfast) or green (Jade Tips) but either way, your place is Good & Proper Tea (8am, EC1N 7TX).

If BREAKFAST IN BEAUTY is your bag, Sky Garden (7am, EC3M 8AF) offers panoramic views of the city, while the Pear Tree Café in Battersea Park (8am, SW11 4NJ) and Pavilion Café in Victoria Park (8am, E9 7DE) are the two most frequently lauded when you fancy greenery but are also feeling greedy.

And on those days when the London drizzle is rising a little too fiercely from the pavement, you can summon the best BREAKFAST IN BED by ordering a Bacon & Egg Naan Roll from Dishoom (thank you, Deliveroo) and conducting your own caffeine ceremony using Monmouth beans and an Aeropress.


All the Lidos (London Fields (E8 3EU), Parliament Hill (NW5 1NA), Brockwell (SE24 0PA), Tooting Bec (SW16 1RU)) open their doors for you to SWIM between 7.30-8am. 

Should you prefer to STRETCH, then the Mysore Ashtanga Yoga practice (6.30am, W1B 5PW) at TriYoga Soho is spoken of glowingly, although Indaba (NW1 6UA) appears to be the universal favourite when it comes to studios.

Some like it cardio, however. If you're more in the mood for a SPRINT, then TRIBE have listed some great options for running routes in the capital.


Win the morning, win the day, or so they say.  If this is your view, and you want to put the pesky Parisians and noisy New Yorkers in their place, you can go the "Full English" with quintessentially London experiences such as:

RAVING courtesy of Morning Gloryville (6.30am)

Early morning stand-up COMEDY at Blooms (7am, EC1Y 8SL) or PUBLIC SPEAKING with Toastmasters (7.10am, WC2B 5AZ)

Or, if you prefer to be behind the scenes rather than front of stage, you can master PHOTOGRAPHY as the day breaks (7am)

And of course, dawn is the best time to get the bargains: FISH from Billingsgate (4am, E14 5ST), FLOWERS from New Covent Garden (4am, SW8 5BH), MEAT from Smithfield (2am, EC1A 9PS), ANTIQUES from Kempton (6.30am, TW16 5AQ).

What have we missed?! What should we know about??? We'd love your tips and tricks for getting the most out of London before most have got out of bed.