2021 Awards – Best Breakfast

An Ethiopian Chelelektu, roasted and served as an espresso in a classic, white cup at Catalyst.We enter the final day of the 2021 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists with the “Best Breakfast” Award, which in 2020 went to Catalyst. 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 a lot better recently, so 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.

  • The Green Wood Cafe, where I had the fabulous Lodge Brunch.
  • Coopers Roastery & Coffee Bar, with a breakfast of poached eggs on guacamole and toast.
  • Riverbanc and its Vegetarian Stacked, an epic feast if ever there was one.
  • Surbeanton, with its take on Eggs Florentine. Purple sauce, anyone?
  • Wags N Tales, Surbiton, where I had the Wag N Tales special breakfast.
  • Gloria and Lil's with its unique bagel/flatbread-based breakfast.
  • Ginger Monkey and a brioche bun with avocado, mushroom, tomato and hash brown.
  • Reykjavik Roasters, Kárastígur, where porridge and toast were the order of the day.
  • Saint Kitchen, which is still knocking out great breakfasts after a change in management.
  • Story Coffee, Wandsworth, where I had an excellent smashed avocado on sourdough.
  • Medicine Codsall and the Vegan Medicine (times two).
  • Another Brother: coffee and brunch, the brunch in question being the Big Breakfast.
  • Bean and Hop, where I branched out for the Full Lebanese Breakfast.
  • Green Monkey London, where the corn fritters are to die for.
  • Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich, and another awesome veggie breakfast.
The Green Wood Cafe, where I had the fabulous Lodge Brunch.1 Coopers Roastery & Coffee Bar, with a breakfast of poached eggs on guacamole and toast.2 Riverbanc and its Vegetarian Stacked, an epic feast if ever there was one.3 Surbeanton, with its take on Eggs Florentine. Purple sauce, anyone?4 Wags N Tales, Surbiton, where I had the Wag N Tales special breakfast.5 Gloria and Lil's with its unique bagel/flatbread-based breakfast.6 Ginger Monkey and a brioche bun with avocado, mushroom, tomato and hash brown.7 Reykjavik Roasters, Kárastígur, where porridge and toast were the order of the day.8 Saint Kitchen, which is still knocking out great breakfasts after a change in management.9 Story Coffee, Wandsworth, where I had an excellent smashed avocado on sourdough.10 Medicine Codsall and the Vegan Medicine (times two).11 Another Brother: coffee and brunch, the brunch in question being the Big Breakfast.12 Bean and Hop, where I branched out for the Full Lebanese Breakfast.13 Green Monkey London, where the corn fritters are to die for.14 Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich, and another awesome veggie breakfast.15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The front of The Green Wood Café, with a large sign saying "Please Wait Here".The Green Wood Café

Let’s get things under way with The Green Wood Café in Coalbrookedale, where I had the fabulous Lodge Brunch. A veritable feast of scrambled egg, mushrooms, beans, hash browns and sourdough toast, to which I added a side of vegan bacon, I enjoyed this sitting in one of the gazebos which saw The Green Wood Café on the shortlist for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.

My flat white, made with the Jabbajaws blend at Coopers Roastery & Coffee Bar, served in a classic blue cup and enjoyed inside for the first time in 2021!Coopers Roastery & Coffee Bar

Occupying an old garage in Marlow, Coopers Roastery & Coffee Bar is exactly what the name suggests, with the coffee roasters (earning a place on the Best Roaster/Retailer shortlist) at the back of a large, open space, while the coffee bar is on the left. However, it’s more than that, since you can add lounge (shortlisted for the Best Physical Space Award) and kitchen, which cooked up my breakfast of poached eggs on guacamole and toast.

My Vegetarian Stacked breakfast at the Riverbanc in Llangollen: egg, halloumi, mushrooms, croquette, beans and seeded toast (plus an extra slice).Riverbanc

Riverbanc, in Llangollen, has an amazing terrace at the back, overlooking the roaring River Dee (shortlisted for Best Outdoor Seating), where I had my breakfast, the Vegetarian Stacked, an epic feast with poached egg, halloumi, mushrooms, and a potato croquette on seeded toast, plus beans on the side. Riverbanc has also been shortlisted for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.

A gorgeous flat white in an equally gorgeous, bowl-shaped earthenware cup, served at Surbeanton in Surbiton.Surbeanton

As much as I love my classical breakfasts, I always enjoying trying something different, so when I was at Surbeanton in Surbiton, I went for its take on Eggs Florentine. It was the first time I’ve had Eggs Florentine with a purple sauce, but any misgivings I might have had over the colour were dispelled when I tucked in, my breakfast proving to be both tasty and very filling.

The Wags N Tails logo, a stylised line drawing of a dog's face inside a circle, with the words "Wags N Tales" written at the top of the circle and "Coffee Bar Kitchen" written at the bottom.Wags N Tales, Surbiton

Staying in Surbiton, I had the Wag N Tales special breakfast. Consisting of two poached eggs, homemade beans, spicy potatoes, tomato and two sausages (one vegetarian, one vegan), plus a generous helping of sourdough toast, it was very tasty and extremely filling. Wags N Tales has also been shortlisted for the Best Physical Space and Best Espresso Awards.

Gloria and Lil's, written in an elaborate cursive script, taken from the sign above the café.Gloria and Lil’s

Moving on to Coventry, Gloria & Lil’s has a unique bagel/flatbread-based breakfast. There are plenty of pre-determined toppings, or you can go freestyle and build your own. I went for a flatbread wrap (you can also have them flat) with masses of halloumi, avocado and tomato. The flatbread, by the way, is very light and fluffy, more like a naan in texture than a chapati to use an Indian food analogy.

A lovely flat white, made with the Trio blend from Crosby Coffee and served in a glass on a geometrically patterned saucer at Ginger Monkey in Chester.Ginger Monkey Number 31

Continuing to move north, Ginger Monkey offers various toast/bread options for breakfast. I had a toasted brioche bun with avocado, mushroom, tomato and hash brown, which arrived as a massive stack, a base of smashed avocado followed by a single mushroom, thick slice of tomato and a hash brown. Ginger Monkey has also been shortlisted for the Best Flat White Award.

A pot of coffee for two (La Cascada from Colombia, made through the Kalita Wave), roasted and served at Reykjavik Roasters, KárastígurReykjavik Roasters, Kárastígur

You can’t get much further north than Iceland, where Amanda and I made two breakfast visits to Reykjavik Roasters on Kárastígur, for a combination of oatmeal porridge and sourdough toast with jam & cheese. Porridge (rich & creamy) and toast (tasty & crunchy) were both excellent. It’s also on the Best Physical Space and Best Filter Coffee shortlists.

The Saint Kitchen logo, taken from the facade above the windows on St. Paul's Square.Saint Kitchen

Saint Kitchen, on the south-eastern edge of St Paul’s Square in the Jewellery Quarter, has long been a part of Birmingham’s speciality coffee scene, where I’ve enjoyed many fine breakfasts. It’s recently changed hands, but I can report that the breakfasts are as fine as ever. I had the halloumi and avocado bagel, which was excellent, from the bagel itself to the toppings, the halloumi and avocado going particularly well together.

Welcome to Story Coffee Wandsworth, taken from the sign outside.Story Coffee, Wandsworth

Story Coffee made its name serving awesome brunches and excellent coffee in a fairly small place on St John’s Hill. I’m pleased to say it’s continued this reputation in its new flagship coffee shop in Wandsworth. The coffee was good enough for a place on the shortlist for Best Filter Coffee, while I had an excellent smashed avocado on sourdough, two perfectly-poached eggs, balanced on the top of the massed avocado.

A strawberries and cream cruffin from Medicine Codsall, which Amanda and I shared later that day.Medicine Codsall

This is the original Medicine bakery/cafe in Codsall, where Amanda and I had a pair of awesome breakfasts, followed by some equally awesome cakes (good enough for the shortlist for the Best Cake Award). The breakfasts were both the Vegan Medicine from the brunch menu, which we promptly turned vegetarian by adding halloumi, while I ordered a poached egg to round things off.

The A-board outside Another Brother in Wandsworth, proclaiming: "Coffee | Brunch | another brother"Another Brother

Back in Wandsworth, I had a vegetarian Big Breakfast at Another Brother. While not on the menu, the staff happily switched the sausage and bacon of the standard Big Breakfast for avocado and extra toast to go with two poached eggs, mushroom, halloumi, tomato and sourdough toast. A brunch fit for a king. Another Brother is also on the shortlists for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award and Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.

A cortado, served in a glass on a blue saucer, made with an exclusive coffee from Santa Ana in El Salvador and roasted by Nude Espresso for Bean and Hop.Bean and Hop

Staying in South West London London, Earlsfield’s Bean and Hop served me its Full Lebanese Breakfast. This was an interesting combination of tastes and textures, with scrambled eggs, spinach falafel, hummus, roast tomatoes, pickled turnip, za’atar yoghurt and grilled halloumi, all with a side of sourdough toast. By default, it’s vegetarian, although there is a vegan option (swap scrambled tofu for eggs and mushrooms for halloumi).

The Green Monkey London logo from the menu, showing the silhouette of a green monkey in a tree.Green Monkey London

From Earlsfield to Tooting Bec, where I had Green Monkey’s weekly special, consisting of smashed avocado, halloumi and poached eggs on corn fritters. While the eggs were awesome and the halloumi was excellent, the fritters were even better, interleaved with the halloumi in a horizontal stack on top of a bed of smashed avocado. Green Monkey has also been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.

My awesome veggie breakfast which I had at Little Yellow Pig in Nantwich. Arranged around a pot of baked beans in the centre are avocado, halloumu, a pair of fried eggs, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and two slices of toast!Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich

The second Little Yellow Pig follows the original’s winning formula of excellent food and great coffee. Case in point was my veggie breakfast of fried eggs, avocado, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, halloumi, a pot of beans and a slice of toast. Little Yellow Pig is also on the Smallest Coffee Spot and Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot shortlists.


And the winner is Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich
Runners-up: Green Monkey London and The Green Wood Café

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2021.


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