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Breakfast and Early AM Pastry in London

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Hello all,

Making my first trip to England at the end of June and will be spending 9 days in and around the city for Monty Python, Wimbledon, and Black Sabbath plus all the typical tourist sites. All in all I'll be doing a lot of the high end - already have reservations for Ramsay, Hedone, Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs and also planning to add Ledbury, Fat Duck, plus perhaps Ducasse and Sketch as reservation windows open.

As an early morning runner, what I'm looking for at this point is breakfast options - things open by 7:00am for either pastries or something more substantial. I've already eyed Laduree, Carvan, and Duck and Waffle plus it appears many of the hotels offer pricey (questionable value) breakfasts. Any specific recommendations for top notch pastry, scones, or proper breakfasts would be greatly appreciated - particularly things not so common in the states.

Cheers,
Mike

http://endoedibles.com

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  1. Paul is a patisserie chain from France with many locations in London with quite good pastries/croissants. At 7am they might be your best bet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: brokentelephone

      I'm familiar with Paul - didn't try it when in Paris, but may on this trip. Things opening by 8ish are fine, as well - I generally have run and am showered, ready to go by 7:30-8:00 and accounting for travel and such I have leeway.

      1. re: brokentelephone

        Sadly, the last two croissants I have had at Patisserie Valerie have been a real disappointment, stodgy and in one case clearly the day before's. Shame, I used to really like them but I am not sure they are managing their fast expansion well.

      2. Another decent chain is Patisserie Valerie - they're all over.

        1. There's also Le Quotidien chain - very good breakfast food, and I think they open fairly early. You didn't say where you're staying, but there is one of these on Marylebone High St. - right across the street from Patisserie des Reves (sorry don't know their hours).

          1. Honey & Co opens at 8:00am and then there is The Wolsey at 7:00am. St John Bread & Wine is good for a bacon butty opens at 9:00am. And at he weekends markets like Borough will have breakfast option.

            Good coffee places do pastries/breakfasts: Monmouth is one, Lantana another, and Workshop another.

            For a very comprehensive set of reviews, including a good British fry up - "The Full English" (which is essential), this link maybe of interest: http://londonreviewofbreakfasts.blogs...

            My take on hotel breakfasts is that if you go upmarket you pay but the quality is good - however avoid if the cooked breakfast is not cooked to order. The chain hotels, even the big expensive ones, tend to do breakfast buffets which ain't the same.

            The bakers already recommended are OK but they are French....! so to balance this try and find a Gail's a English baker with branches across London (I know the owners are not British but they did meet in London). http://gailsbread.co.uk/about-gails/

            3 Replies
            1. re: PhilD

              St. John looks like an excellent Sunday breakfast spot - pastry and savory alike.

              Thank you for the links - VERY helpful, and yeah - no buffets.

              It seems scones are more an afternoon tea treat, which I have plans for, but anywhere doing them early AM?

              http://endoedibles.com

              1. re: uhockey

                Gail's does scones all day. Another option in st. Martins lane, Covent Garden is Timberyard, which also does great fruit bread toast. More south, Albion near Tate Modern does good and substantial breakfasts.

                1. re: Londonlinda

                  Excellent - thanks!

            2. Where are you staying please?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Robin Joy

                Just south of Central London - but more than willing to travel for good food.

                1. re: uhockey

                  For perfect trad English The Shepherdess in City Road cannot be beaten. But I'm guessing it will take you 45+ minutes either way. In rush hour:

                  http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaura...

                  Working locals only.

                  The smarter places already mentioned are mainly very good, but 90% of the customers will be visitors and the fare will be identical to that available in any modern city in the western world.

              2. Then again there is this at Hawksmoor's Guildhall.
                http://thehawksmoor.com/breakfast-bru...

                4 Replies
                1. re: Foxeyblue

                  Looks great, but what's it actually like at 8 a.m? Empty would be my guess.

                  1. re: Robin Joy

                    It's actually fairly busy at 8am. Also not many visitors either, mainly people who work in the city, though of course some may not consider this a good thing. Their take on the McDonalds sausage and egg muffin is really good. I find the breakfast for two too rich though especially the pig trotter beans and I wasn't really up for bone marrow at 8 in the morning.

                    1. re: Paprikaboy

                      I confess to being surprised! I've worked 5 minutes walk away from there for 25 years and it would never occur to any of my colleagues, clients/contacts etc. to be anywhere but busy at their desks at 08.00.

                  2. re: Foxeyblue

                    This definitely goes on the list. :-)

                  3. I like Gail's bakery. Wonderful breakfast pastries including fabulous cinnamon rolls (very Swedish, not like what you might find in the US). The Gail's locations I've been to are in Bloomsbury and Clerkenwell and the Bloomsbury location is very close to the British Museum, just off the lovely Bedford Square.

                    If you're staying "south" of Central London, does that mean south of the river?

                    Two other good local bakeries are Konditor & Cook and Euphorium. They have several locations across the city.

                    This will probably be quite off the beaten path for you but have you considered trying Ottolenghi? Their main restaurant is in Islington and they do breakfast pastries as well. I think they have a small place in Kensington too.

                    1. If it scones you are after, it's worth bearing in mind that M&S food halls with a bakery do freshly baked scones every morning, you can also buy Cornish clotted cream and a jar of jam there, so you can have them whenever you want.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: curiouseater

                        Good point about M&S , I can't vouch for their scones but their Eccles cakes are really good. I used to have an M&S next to my office and had to try and limit myself to one eccles cake a week.

                        1. re: curiouseater

                          I'm after anything I can't get an awesome version of stateside. :-)

                          What is M&S?

                          1. re: uhockey

                            M&S = Marks & Spencer - large high street retailer with an up-market food hall. Most have in-house bakeries which I believe finish pre-made scones, bread etc on site.