We enter the final day of the 2019 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists with the “Best Breakfast” Award, which in 2018 went to Short + Stout. Along with cake, breakfast has a special place in my heart. It used to be that I rarely got up and out of the house early enough to get to places before they stop serving breakfast!
However, I’ve been doing so much travelling over the last two years that I’m now able to generate a healthy shortlist this year, helped by those wonderful places that serve all-day breakfasts! In fact, given how often I have things from the breakfast menu for lunch, I wonder if I should rename this award “Best Brunch”…
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 18 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
I had a lovely breakfast on my last visit to Liar Liar (which also does a mean lunch). The Hipster is poached or scrambled eggs on smashed avocado on sour-dough toast, cherry tomatoes on the side. Liar Liar is on three other shortlists: Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot, Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot and Most Popular Coffee Spot.
Stan’s Bike Shack serves all-day breakfasts, sandwiches and cake, all prepared in the open kitchen behind the counter. I had a perfect egg roll (fried egg on a wholemeal bap) for breakfast. Stan’s Bike Shack has also been shortlisted for the Happiest Staff and Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Awards.
Breakfast is served until noon with a short, inventive seasonal menu. I had the breakfast tacos: two tacos, each over-stuffed with a fried egg, roasted winter vegetables, goat’s cheese, pickled onion strips and chilli oil. I was a little sceptical of the ingredient list, but on the plate, it was a delight, albeit a messy one. Exo Roast Co. has also been shortlisted for the Best Physical Space Award.
East Coffee Company offers a concise all-day breakfast/lunch menu from the open kitchen behind the counter. I had the Brekky Eggs, an interesting variation on the traditional Eggs Benedict. I selected the vegetarian equivalent, asparagus, spinach, avocado and walnuts with toasted sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds, topped off by a balsamic glaze, all on sourdough toast! East Coffee Company is also on the Most Popular Coffee Spot shortlist.
Located in Chicago, this is the first North American outpost for Mojo, the New Zealand-based roaster/coffee shop chain. Although I had it for lunch, my Kiwi classic of smashed avocado and feta on toast, was straight off the breakfast menu. Mojo has also been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.
I popped in to Scandinavian Embassy for breakfast on my final day in Amsterdam. There’s a limited all-day breakfast and lunch menu, prepared in the open kitchen behind the counter. I had the mushroom sourdough pancakes, served with crepe-like pancakes, thin and crispy, which was not what I was expecting, but very tasty nonetheless. Scandinavian Embassy has also been shortlisted for the Best Cake and Best Filter Coffee Awards.
Slow Café was my first chance discovery in Prague, popping in on the off chance as I wandered past, drawn in by the weekly brunch menu in the window. I liked it so much I went twice, once having the brunch plate and the second time trying the poached eggs, both of which were delicious! SLOW Café also been shortlisted for the Happiest Staff Award.
Ziggy Green, in Mayfair, was one of 2019’s additions to the ever-expanding Daisy Green Collection, with the usual combination of excellent coffee and innovative brunch offerings. I had the Healthy Start: poached eggs, tomato, broccoli, spinach and avocado with the surprise ingredient of “celeriac toast”. Ziggy Green has also been shortlisted for the Happiest Staff and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.
The Pilgrm is a boutique hotel just south of Paddington Station. While there’s coffee downstairs from Workshop, upstairs is a lovely lounge serving an excellent brunch menu. I had the awesome vegan cooked breakfast, a fascinating blend of contrasting textures and flavours. The Pilgrm has also been shortlisted for the Best Physical Space and Best Outdoor Seating Awards.
Wood St Coffee, now in its permanent home at the Blackhorse Workshop, does an excellent weekend brunch menu and a more conventional breakfast menu during the week. I kept it simple, with the excellent poached eggs on sourdough toast. Wood St has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Awards.
I first came across Bread, Espresso & when I visited in its original Omotesandō location in Tokyo, which has become a regular weekend brunch spot. So it was natural that I went to the newly-opened Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden when I was in Kyoto, having the awesome French Toast for breakfast. Bread, Espresso & has also been shortlisted for the Best Physical Space and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.
65mm Coffee in Tonbridge offers up some great coffee and awesome brunch options. I had the grilled cheese and smoky beans on sourdough toast, topped with a poached egg, a delightful combination, the smoky beans (65mm’s take on the humble baked bean) proving particularly satisfying. 65mm Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Flat White and Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Awards.
Dark Arts Coffee Japan in Hayama is an offshoot of Hackney’s Dark Arts Coffee, and continues the same winning formula of excellent coffee and brunch, in this case the English Brunch Muffin, substituting bacon for a green bell pepper. Dark Arts has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Espresso and Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Awards.
Café Névé was on my way to the office in Montréal, so I called in every morning for a cappuccino to go (hence its place on the Best Takeaway Coffee shortlist). I also had breakfast there at the weekends, selecting the Eggs Benedict with spinach, a breakfast fit for a king! Café Névé has also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Awards.
I started my day in Cork with breakfast at Dukes Coffee Company, Carey’s Lane, where I had the potato cakes, avocado and eggs, which came with a couple of slices of toast, the potato cake and two fried eggs putting an Irish twist on a third-wave staple.
From Cork to Tokyo where Fuglen, the Norwegian vintage design outfit turned coffee roaster, has a relatively new coffee shop in Asakusa, following on from its hugely successful Shibuya shop. I had the savoury waffles for breakfast on both my visits. Fuglen has also been shortlisted for the Best Flat White Award.
A chance find in Worcester, the Steam Coffee Shop has innovative breakfast, sandwich and lunch menus. Amanda and I actually ordered from the lunch menu, but both our dishes were breakfast like. I had The Graduate (sourdough toast, topped with smashed avocado and a pair of expertly poached eggs) while Amanda had the Eggy Waffles (slices of waffle, coated in an egg wash, interleaved with a wedge of fried halloumi).
The final entry this year sees us back in Prague with Pauseteria, serving speciality coffee and brunch in the heart of the old city. Amanda had an excellent cheese and spinach omelette, while I had the Eggs Benedict (without the bacon), served with with cloud eggs (whipped egg white with the yoke placed back in the middle).
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2019.
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