Naomi Blair stays up late in London’s 24 hour restaurants
London is fast becoming a 24 hour city – with new all-night tubes and clubs that stay open until dawn, it was only a matter of time before restaurants got in on non-stop action. Now 24 hour opening times isn’t just limited to McDonald’s or the local chicken shop.
Brick Lane Beigel Bake
159, Brick Lane, E1 6SB
Must Try: Salf-beef bagel
Good for: Quick snack on the go
Overall: Good old-fashioned food perfect anytime of day
This 24 hour bagel shop is something of an institution amongst East-Londoners and normally has a large queue tailing out of its tiny shop on Brick Lane. But if you’re a night-owl, you can make the most of the minimal crowds and sample one of their world-famous salt-beef bagels. The bread is always freshly made on site, and the prices are as unpretentious as the store itself (starting from 25p).
There’s also the history of the fierce rivalry between Beigel Bake and the Beigel Shop a few doors down, each of them having a set of loyal customers. Both are recommended but whether shoved into your drunk little face at 3 in the morning, or savoured while wondering through the stalls on a Sunday, Beigel Bake always guarantees an excellent cheap eat.
176 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4NQ
Must Try: Royal Break Feast (traditional English breakfast served with tea and bubbles)
Good for: Breakfast at any time of day
Overall: Gentrified greasy-spoon
Polo Bar is a great little diner right by Liverpool Street station, serving up greasy spoon classics day and night. It prides itself on serving all types of Londoners since 1953, and a 24-hour alcohol licence means that the party never really ends.
That’s not to say that Polo Bar is just a destination for when you’ve been chucked out at closing time as the food deserves your full (and sober) attention. Serving a non-stop breakfast menu, as well as old fashioned pub-grub, Polo Bar is a real gem. The ‘Bubble & Bacon’ (£8.50) is a deliciously large portion of bubble & squeak with bacon, perfectly poached eggs and hollandaise, and the traditional English breakfast (£9.50) is a true hangover-blitzer; with high-quality bacon, sausages and sourdough bread.
If you’re feeling healthy, you can opt for one of Polo Bar’s freshly squeezed signature juices (£4.25) which should make up for any damage done the night before. The drinks include craft beers brewed in London, as well as wine, bubbles and English cider. This is 24-hour comfort food done well, making Polo Bar well worth a visit, day or night.
VQ Bloomsbury: 111A Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NQ. VQ Chelsea: 325 Fulham Road, London SW10 9QL
Must Try: Fish & chips
Good for: Pub grub with friends
Overall: Sophisticated food ready when you are
With outposts in both Chelsea and Bloomsbury, VQ has been doing a stellar job of ensuring Londoners are never left hungry. The restaurant is modern and completely debunks the idea that 24-hour eating has to be a rushed or unpleasant affair.
VQ offers an extensive 24-hour breakfast menu, including kedgeree (£7.95) and buttermilk pancakes (£7.50), which is ideal for students with a craving for breakfast foods at 11pm. The burgers are also not to be dismissed; they’re gut-bustingly huge, with the caramelised onions topping being highly recommended. VQ also offers omelettes, sandwiches (the Croque Madame (£7.50) is delicious) and salads, as well as several decadent desserts including the old school VQ Knickerbocker Glory (£4.95). They also offer an excellent value set menu, with 2 courses for £11.95 and 3 for £14.95.
The licence for alcohol is from 8am-2am, so if you’re just looking for a late-night top up, then this isn’t for you, but for good quality hearty food, VQ is one not to be missed.
Featured Image credit: VQ