Where to Brunch when you’re looking for somewhere a little more special without damaging your wallet

Wanting to impress people by introducing them to the world of brunch…to places that do much more than just those typical dishes seen on every brunch menu?

Who doesn’t look forward to a good brunch?! Be it that weekend brunch that’s going to be the highlight of your week, when you can finally escape from work OR that mid-week brunch you’ve been eyeing and is pretty much the only thing keeping you going. Brunch is fast becoming the millennial’s favourite meal and it’s not hard to see why. It’s almost created a whole new genre of food or at least food that we can quite easily conjure up in a few seconds if we were in a situation of having to explain what brunch consists of. Not that this would ever happen because who’s not well-acquainted with brunch…

Yes, I did suggest that there’s almost a template of what to expect on a brunch menu. You know what I’m thinking… avocado on toast, poached eggs, probably on a slice of sourdough or halved muffin, a sweet-tooth’s pick of pancakes or French toast… I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the basics, but brunch spots have become more pressured to stand out from the crowd by offering unique brunch specials or putting their own spin on the much-loved classics. At this point, your worry is my worry. How are our wallets going to handle this?

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually several London brunch spots offering special dishes at a very reasonable price! So you CAN impress your friends by taking them to cool cafés with delicious food, without leaving behind your weekly budget, which happens more than we’d like. Don’t worry you’re not the only one.

Milk Teeth, Tooting

First on the list is Milk Teeth, an Aussie café in Tooting. This place is quite literally buzzing. There’s music playing in the background- enough for you to feel chilled and comfortable and not so loud that you can’t hear your friend from across the table, because what’s brunching without a good ol’ catch-up. The staff are all extremely friendly and on hand to give you genuine recommendations. The menu is not extensive but at least one dish will catch your eye, if not the whole menu. Milk Teeth offers poached eggs but add their twist of delicious espresso hollandaise, which arguably is just a better version of the traditional. It’s deeper in flavour and not so heavy. You can choose to have it with bacon, smoked salmon or smoked eel (even the smoked eel option is under £10). For the adventurous sorts, give this a shot, it’s smokey, smooth and rich.

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Milk Teeth, Tooting Young Betty- Poached Arlington white eggs, Brixton sourdough, espresso hollandaise w/ Lincolnshire smoked eel: £9.50 Chose the Lincolnshire smoked eel option because I love smoked eel and not a lot of places offer smoked eel, particularly for brunch, and because the member of staff serving us also highly recommended it! Loved the espresso hollandaise because it was flavourful and not too heavy. The eggs were very nicely poached – soft egg white and a bright orange lava centre. Would have loved more of the smoked eel. The smoked eel wasn’t as fatty and delicate as other ones I’ve had and could’ve had a more intense ‘smokey’ flavour but still yummy nevertheless! I would happily eat two plates of this in one sitting!! …on second thought perhaps 4 eggs is slightly excessive…

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Onto the sweet option, who doesn’t love a weekend special?? Milk Teeth serves their sourdough waffle dish only on the weekends and each weekend you can expect something different. Not only are they visually stunning, the flavour combinations are pretty spectacular. Past flavours include ‘Pink grapefruit and tarragon jersey cream with brown butter tuile’, ‘poached rhubarb, blood orange posset, buckwheat crunch, blood orange cure & smoked vanilla’ and ‘Halva, orange blossom, caramel, saffron kulfi & confit peel’. Evidently a lot of thought goes into building their waffle masterpieces and it is our joy to eat them. Again, this sweet option is within the sweet £10 budget. Milk Teeth may be a little further out, but honestly, it’s totally worth it.

Catalyst, Chancery Lane

A hideaway for creative dishes that are nothing but excellent and all at a very reasonable price. Their take on the baba ganoush involves a stellar coffee sriracha, which I guarantee you’ll become addicted to, and comes in a rather generous ‘for one’ serving. This is a winning dish of tender aubergine, roast peppers and creamy avocado, sitting on a thick slice of sourdough, all tied together with that dangerously good sauce. They also offer a pretty impressive pancake stack, not in height, but a giant pancake, as in if pancakes were served by measurement, they would fall under the ‘fills the entire plate size’. In addition to these pancakes, another particularly intriguing sweet treat they serve are the golden brioche soldiers. Caramelised, sweet, crunchy exterior and a soft and fluffy interior, their golden brioche soldiers alone are delectable. Together with the fragrant, lightly spiced creamy warm semolina custard and tart plum and juniper compote, this surely ticks the box for unique brunch dishes. You and your brunch companion will most definitely be spoiled for choice here. Did I emphasise the generous portions enough? Absolutely worth your money.

Brother Marcus, Angel & Balham

Yet another gem for special brunch dishes under £10. Everything sounds pretty appetising and you’ll have a good laugh looking at the witty names. Sign yourself up for a Sugar Daddy, which at Brother Marcus is a totally decadent brioche French toast filled with a coconut duck egg custard, covered in bacon floss and drizzled with palm sugar syrup. This dish is heaven sent, a beautiful marriage of Eastern and Western flavours. Pork floss is particularly popular in East Asia for its unique texture and sweet-savouriness and the small chewy nuggets of bacon with the floss in this French toast dish add a welcoming contrast to the sweet elements. The coconut duck egg custard is as silky smooth as you would hope, and that coconut flavour is light and fragrant. The texture of the French toast here really earns bonus points. Rare do we find a perfect contrast of a crunchy outside and soft but not dry inside. This dish just gets better towards the end as it sinfully soaks up that palm sugar syrup. It really is as good as it sounds.

We couldn’t miss out their equally amazing savoury dishes on offer that will drag you from your bed to their doorstep or alternatively have you dragging someone you’d just really love to share a few dishes with. And not just because there’s too much you want to order but know full well your stomach and wallet will not tolerate.

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Did you even brunch if you don’t post it on the gram? 😂💁🏼‍♀️ dreamy set up at @brothermarcus_ in Angel for today’s brunch 🤭💃🏼 this is the “Bob’s your uncle”, aka pork belly, a fried egg, cucumber, spring onion, sriracha and tomato relish in a Cretan pitta 🍅🥓🥒🌮🍳 all washed down with a peach Bellini 🍑🍾 now the sofa is calling to spend the rest of my Sunday in (horizontal) style 😎 #milliemunch . . . . . . . #foodblogger #foodiesofig #whatiate #eeeeeats #f52grams #munchies #feedfeed #buzzeats #fblogger #forkyeah #onmyplate #foodie #foodblog #londoneats #londonrestaurants #londonfoodblog #londonfoodblogger #eater #brothermarcus #islington #brunch #breakfastlondon #londonbreakfast #brunchporn #brunchlover #porkbelly #islingtoneats #breakfastporn #londonbrunch

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Half Cup, Kings Cross

Finally Half Cup, situated on a rather quiet road just off of Kings Cross. Half cup changes their menu seasonally, but it never deviates too far from our comfort zone. They serve a particularly popular French toast with a very nature-like theme- imagine crushed Oreo soil and edible flowers. Whilst this is pretty appealing, don’t neglect the toasted banana bread option, which currently is being served with tahini yoghurt, honey and black sesame. Warm banana bread, not too dense, strong banana aroma and taste – it’s a pretty satisfying dish whatever day, whatever the time.

They also do an exciting savoury pancake option, perfect for those who are after pancakes but don’t have much of a sweet tooth! Their sweetcorn pancakes served with feta, chives, bacon and chilli sauce is proudly topped with a fried egg. Perhaps a good idea when you’re after something a little lighter.

This is all really just another excuse to brunch. Leave any of these places and your companion(s) will be thoroughly impressed with their experience and meal and even more satisfied with the bill. And who will they be thanking? Enjoy!