When I started to put together a post listing out my favourite veg-friendly breakfasts and brunches in EC1 and EC2, I soon realised Breakfast in N1 (Angel, Barnsbury, Highbury and the like) had a lot to offer to the veg preferring (dare I say, vegetarian) breakfast eater. So here’s the second in my series on brilliant veg friendly breakfasts in this part of London.
On The High Street
The beaten track, as it were, has a number of great places for brunch if you don’t want to venture too far from Highbury or Angel tubes.
There’s no avoiding Ottolenghi’s Islington. It’s an institution. Effortlessly fresh and friendly, this place evokes the casual cool I experienced in Sydney cafe’s in the noughties. It’s one of my favourites.Effortlessly cool. Breakfast at Ottolenghi is a always a treat. The french toast is terribly sweet, but in a good way. And the welsh rarebit terribly cheesey.Ottolenghi has it going on, the coffee is top notch, the menu always a little inspired. Mostly there’s at least one veggie hot option, and if in doubt, the toast at your table bread basket option is great, as is the quite sublime banana spread that it’s served with. If you’ve the space in your schedule, go on a weekday to avoid the weekend queues.
I think of Food lab as “Angel surprise” on busy Essex Road. Foodlab is a cafe, bakery and food catering business, which has over the last year ventured into breakfast. A welcome switch from the crowded brunch spots in the main of Angel, it’s got a rustic charm, friendly service and a pretty comprehensive brunch menu which includes plenty of veg options.A rustic interior, a wide selection of on-premises baked goods (shown here a cheese and courgette slider) and a not bad at all breakfast menu (here are their baked eggs).The menu mixes Foodlab’s Italian heritage and British staples, from the full English to the now fairly ubiquitous baked eggs and toast. All are servedalongside a wide selection of cakes, filled small rolls and a freshsalad bar.
Being a Barnsbury local, It’s been a delight to see these gems pop up, right around the corner.
This charming café and restaurant is tucked away on leafy Hemmingford Road, around a ten minute walk from Angel. The café serves breakfast classics like eggs benedict, mushrooms and spinach on good tasty bread, and fab coffee. I’ve heard it often said their french toast is amazing, though I’ve not yet tried. There’s also fresh squeezed orange juice served in jars.A neighbourhood feel: Fresh breakfast classics in a tasteful, friendly atmosphere.The boys who run Pistachio and Pickle have turned a difficult spot, real estate wise, into a popular café and deli, becoming quite the part of the Barnsbury scene. Great coffee and a solid brunch menu. I love the mushrooms on sourdough. They also do a great afternoon tea if you sleep through breakfast.There’s a secret ingredient in Pistachio and Pickle’s cheese toastie. And the mushrooms on sou dough is one of my favs.Pistachio and Pickle opens at 8am on Saturdays and 9am on Sunday. Brunch is served till 2pm on Weekends. 237 Liverpool Road, N1 1LX. See also: Pistachio and Pickle Dairy, Camden Passage.
Around Highbury & Islington
If there’s an award for the most improved in London breakfasts suburbs, I think Highbury may be a contender. These two spots have opened in the last year or so, and both seriously upped the game. Thank the lord this part of London has got some good, independant spots for Coffee and breakfast treats. Allthough, there’s still room in the market for some short-order cooking, if you ask me.
If you’re willing to venture even further north, the trip to Masion d’etrie is well worth it. This popular coffee shop, as well as being abundantly cute, serves great coffee and a yummy selection of pastries and sandwiches. On weekends’ there’s ‘a brunch menu too, though I ‘ve not tried.Exceedingly cute, and tasty. The jams are sweet and bursting with fruit, perfectly top off a slice of proper brioche. And the yoghurt smothered with a decadent plum gumbo must be tried.Masion d’etrie is open weekdays 7.30am – 7pm, and 9am – 6pm on weekends. 154 Canonbury Road, N1 2UP.
If you’re looking for pop-up feeling, ultra über hipster coffee then look no further. Vagabond has two locations, this one on Holloway Road looks like a. The menu is straight forward, omelettes with a few fillings, sandwiches and soup. Banana bread. Get it? Got it. Coffee from Extract Coffee in Bristol and is what you’d expect from the decor, clientele and baristas: well crafted espresso and aeropress. Friendly staff.
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