10 Of The Best Fry-Ups In London
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Norman’s Café, Tufnell Park
This newcomer launched in north London in 2020. Featuring British café classics – from a set full English to retro lunch staples including fish and chips, toad in the hole and steamed puddings – dishes here are plated up simply and made using the highest-quality ingredients. Aiming to build a community and offer an affordable weekend treat, this nostalgia-filled caff hits the mark when it comes to paying tribute to the original greasy spoon – just check out its Instagram account. We go for the ‘Set 1’ – toast, sausage, eggs, two rashers of bacon, a hash brown and beans.
167 Junction Road, Tufnell Park, N19 5PZ
Mario’s Café, Kentish Town
In 1958, Mario opened Tony’s Restaurant in Kentish Town. He hailed from Puglia and decided to name the place after his son. It was renamed Mario’s Cafe in 1989 – this time after Mario’s grandson, who was roped in to help out on the restaurant floor. He was only supposed to be there for a year, but after his father went off to have a triple bypass, Mario took over – and is still running the place today. Chalkboard menus feature the likes of poached eggs and prosciutto on ciabatta; and sausage, eggs, beans, bacon and tomato for just £4.60.
6 Kelly Street, Kentish Town, NW1 8PH
The Regency Café, Pimlico
This institution has occupied the same spot on Regency Street since 1946. The café is so iconic, it’s been the backdrop for TV series such as Judge John Deed, Rescue Me and London Spy, plus the films Layer Cake and Brighton Rock. Designed in an art deco style, the tiled interiors include photographs of Spurs players and formica-topped tables. On the menu, expect all the classics – think omelette with baked beans, sausage, fried egg and beans, and grilled mushrooms on toast – all served with a proper mug of builders.
17-19 Regency Street, Pimlico, SW1P 4B
Maria’s Market Café, Borough Market
Maria’s Market Cafe is a south London institution, named after its founder Maria Moruzzi, whose parents opened Borough Café in 1961. After many decades of frying bacon, brewing tea and serving everyone from market porters to Hollywood film stars, Maria has retired, but her legacy lives on. Now under new ownership, the café – in Three Crown Square in Borough Market – is still the place to go for its well-loved bubble and squeak, stuffed bacon sandwiches and expertly made hot drinks.
9 Stoney Street, Borough, SE1 9AA
E Pellicci, Bethnal Green
This Grade II-listed café is an ornate, old-school spot for an excellent fry-up. Priamo Pellicci began working in the cafe in 1900 and it was here that his wife Elide brought up their seven children, while running the café below after her husband’s death in 1931. Elide is the E. Pellicci in the café’s name, and her portrait remains downstairs. Choose between four set cooked breakfasts or go rogue with American-style pancakes or classic ham, egg and chips.
332 Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0AG
Andrew’s Restaurant, Holborn
Andrew’s has been serving locals for more than 50 years. TV presenters Jon Snow, Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Tom Bradby are all fans, and all signed a petition to prevent developers from shutting down this classic café a few years back. And thank god they did. Inside, there are well-worn chairs, wipe-down tables and photos of Routemaster buses, alongside a vast wall-to-wall blackboard menu above the counter, featuring fry-ups (including a fried slice), omelettes, mixed grills and a selection of proper homecooked dishes such as liver and bacon. Andrew’s is occasionally open in the evening, when it can be hired out for pop-ups – celeb chefs such as Giorgio Locatelli and Nigella Lawson have hosted parties here.
59 Gray’s Inn Road, Holborn, WC1X 8TL
Terry’s Café, London Bridge
Terry’s dad was a chef in the army and his mum was a pastry cook, so he was always going to make a name for himself in food. Born and raised in south London during WWII, at age 17 Terry got a job at Smithfield meat market. After a long career in butchery, he decided it was time for a change. In 1982 he opened what is now Terry’s Café, cooking hearty fare using produce from Smithfield and Borough markets. Today, the traditional café is run by his son, Austin, and continues to serve up ‘The Blowout’ (two eggs, bacon, Cumberland sausage, bubble and squeak and tomatoes) and ‘The Hamlet’ (Cumberland sausage, egg, bacon, black pudding, mushrooms and beans).
158 Great Suffolk Street, Borough, SE1 1PE
Marie’s Café, Waterloo
Round the corner from Waterloo station, Marie’s Café is a popular Thai restaurant that also happens to serve traditional English breakfasts during the day. With its distinctive green exterior and traditional tiled frontage, Marie’s on the inside is a proper, formica-clad greasy spoon – and all the more special for it. Inexpensive and famed for its large portions, this is just the spot for a hangover-busting feast.
90 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, SE1 7AB
River Café, Putney Bridge
Close to Ruth Rogers’s more famous The River Café, this Italian-run café and snack bar offers a slice of unchanged 60s dining. Complete with its original blue and white tiles, plywood panelling, colourful mosaic flooring and painted murals of the sea and cityscapes, this is an ideal spot for a snappy breakfast or brunch, or simply an extremely well-made bacon roll.
1a Station Approach, Putney, SW6 3UH
Hawksmoor, Various Locations
If you’re heading to a reservation at Hawksmoor, it would be criminal not to order steak. This mantra extends to breakfast: the ‘Hawksmoor Breakfast’ for two features smoked bacon chop, sausages (made with pork, beef and mutton), black pudding, short-rib bubble and squeak, grilled bone marrow, trotter baked beans, fried eggs, grilled mushrooms, roast tomatoes, HP gravy and – as if you needed it – unlimited toast. Those who fancy something a little on the smaller side should opt for a 200g fillet, served with eggs and hash browns.
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