The humble bowl of oats has come a long way in recent years. While once a bland breakfast option, porridge is now well and truly in vogue: bowls have become works of art, crafted with fancy ingredients and accessorised with decorations galore. Renowned for their nutritious quality, jazzed up oats are now a staple on the menus of breakfast spots across the capital. We’ve rounded up the best places in town for porridge, guaranteed to warm your soul…
The Chanel of the porridge world, 26 Grains is the creation of Alex Hely-Hutchinson, who came up with the idea while studying in Copenhagen. Inspired by the Danes love for grains, she set out to spice up the British oat scene, opening a tiny open-fronted café in pretty Neals Yard. With its wooden benches and blackboards, 26 Grains has the feel of an artisan workshop about it, even more so when you discover Alex rolls and flakes the oats herself. Offerings include an ever-changing menu of sweet and savoury porridge bowls, made with nut milks and spices and jazzed up with blitzed nut butters, homemade fruit compôtes, cacao crumbles and coconut palm sugar. Soon you’ll be able to try her creations in Borough Market too, as Alex is opening a follow-up eatery there, named Stoney Street after its home. 26grains.com
Eat: The ‘Banana, Tahini and Cacao’ with oats, banana, tahini, sesame, milk and cacao nibs.
Flotsam & Jetsam
Another Antipodean-style breakfast spot perched next to Wandsworth Common, Flotsam & Jetsam is popular with South London locals – so get in early to beat the queues, particularly on weekends. Their porridge offering is made up of oats, red quinoa and almond milk, topped with a blackberry and cardamom compote, sprinkled with roasted, silvered almonds. Warming and delicious, this hearty bowl will keep hunger at bay for hours. flotsamandjetsamcafe.co.uk
Eat: The seasonal porridge.
Rude Health Café
You’ll most likely have seen their breakfast goods lining the shelves at Whole Foods – but you might not know Rude Health have their very own café. A bright and airy spot tucked away in Fulham, oat experts at the Rude Health Café serve up perfectly warm, hearty bowls of sprouted porridge, made with almond milk and topped with your choice of fruit, granola, nuts, yoghurt, honey and seeds. rudehealth.com
Eat: Sprouted porridge with coconut yoghurt, toasted coconut granola, cacao nibs and honey.
A pioneer of London’s healthy breakfast scene, Australian-inspired Farm Girl now have three London branches across Notting Hill, Chelsea and Soho. As with all their dishes, their porridge features a plethora of the healthiest ingredients around, such as chia, himalayan salt and turmeric – so you can get your superfood fix before the day has even begun. thefarmgirl.co.uk
Eat: Lily Oats: oats soaked with matcha, spirulina, sesame and almond milk, topped with candied nuts and seasonal fruit.
A trip to Ottolenghi’s Nopi is always a treat. Light and airy with metallic gold lights, cream walls and wooden tables, it’s particularly pleasant in the mornings. Food-wise, NOPI offers something a bit different: breakfast options are surprising, with porridge featuring innovative ingredients like miso butterscotch and poached quince. ottolenghi.co.uk
Eat: Porridge with roasted plum, miso butterscotch and shisho.
A healthier alternative to bottomless prosecco, Dishoom offer unlimited refills of their medjool and date banana porridge. A recipe inspired by Mumbai’s Irani cafes, this oat concoction is sweet, smooth and filling. dishoom.com
Eat: Date and banana porridge.
Maple & Fitz
Health foodie brand Maple & Co have locations in both Kings Cross and Fitzrovia, ideal for inner city dwellers keen to grab some breakfast en route to work. Porridge bowls are accessorised with the likes of medjool dates, almond butter and toasted walnuts – with the option for a naked bowl, made with just water, milk or soya milk. We know what we’ll be choosing…mymapleandco.com
Eat: Salted date caramel porridge with medjool dates, almond butter, banana and sesame seeds.
Housed inside a 21 foot long fallen oak tree, South Kensington’s café-cum-tree house Squirrel would be worth a visit for the decor alone. Bonus: the food is really good too. Their porridge offerings are served in acorn bowls (naturally), with a choice of almond, oat, coconut or cow’s milk, with optional decor including seasonal berries, pecans, dates, fruit compotes and honey. wearesquirrel.com
Eat: ‘Pecan Pot’: porridge with pecans, dates, almond butter, granola and honey.
Weighhouse Street Deli
Deliciously Ella played a role in the national porridge resurgence, so it’s no surprise her deli serves up a tasty bowl of the good stuff. The menu changes regularly, but at the moment they’re serving up big creamy bowls of oat milk porridge – which are, like everything else there, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free. You can choose your own toppings, with options including coconut chips, raspberry chia jam, coconut yoghurt and chopped hazelnuts. deliciouslyella.com
Eat: Our favourite toppings combo is almond butter, coconut chips and sliced banana.
If you like your porridge with a view, head to Darwin Brasserie at the Sky Garden. Simple yet effective, offerings include the classic, mixed with dairy-free milk and topped with either demerera sugar and honey, or raspberries and pomegranate, and a bowl made with quinoa and coconut milk instead of oats, complete with banana, blueberry and Manuka honey. skygarden.london
Eat: Coconut quinoa porridge with banana, blueberry and Manuka honey.