For the seasoned (no pun intended) gastronome, the word ‘buffet’ is often met with an air of cynicism, thanks to numerous sub-par dining experiences. Below is a list of all-you-can-eat weekend brunches which are not only delicious, but which also come with plenty of liquid refreshment.
All you can eat and drink
Having your cake and eating it. And by cake, we really mean alcohol.
One of the most (potentially) healthy brunches in the capital is at Cookbook cafe, nestled in the Intercontinental Park Lane, with a market table of seasonal salads. Think fresh artichoke, asparagus and butter bean with tomato. However, there’s also syrupy waffles on demand and a plethora of good ol' fashioned English comfort food, including perfectly formed eggs Benedict and sunday roast. To offset any initial virtuous intentions, it’s impossible to resist a visit to the dessert stand, a Mecca of sugar with a whopping 12 treats (and a virtually untouched plate of fruit). Hence why we quantified this entry with ‘potentially’.
Cookbook Cafe at InterContinental London Park Lane, 1 Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY. Weekend brunch is £52 on Saturdays and £59 on Sundays, 12.30pm-3.30pm.
Flesh & Buns
We're firm believers that the second best thing to actually being in Japan is stuffing your face at a cracking Japanese 'izakaya' (their version of a pub, but tapas style). It's a boozy affair, with a cocktail on arrival and a selection of delicious hot and cold plates, including sashimi, tempura and soft shell crab, all rounded off with a main course of hirata buns with your choice of filling. The staff are pretty attentive when it comes to topping you up with the unlimited fizz too.
Flesh & Buns, 41 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LX. 020 7632 9500. Unlimited Sunday Brunch is available noon-5pm. Two menus at £39 or £46 per person, both include unlimited prosecco, red or white wine. 2 hour time limit on all bookings.
If you’re all about rooftops and champagne (regardless of the weather), check out the Infinity Sundays at this Oxford Circus venue. Free flowing Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, an endless supply of Japanese appetisers (sushi, yakitori, noodles) accompanied with amazing views across the London skyline, make this a comparatively reasonable treat, given that it circumnavigates the usually quite spendy a la carte option. After (just about) filling up on the bubbles and snacks, there’s a charcoal-grilled main and, of course, desserts.
Roka at Canary Wharf
City-worker favourite Roka — much like the previous Japanese restaurant entries — follows the established ‘all you can eat Asian’ small plates, followed by a stomach-plugging main dish format. Lively, buzzing and extremely popular with families, it’s more suited to social gatherings and occasions, as opposed to an intimate rendezvous. Brunch comprises a welcome bellini, wines throughout, sushi platters, sharing desserts and a self-serve counter, proper buffet style, before consuming a chosen main, such as buttery black cod, rib eye or lobster, if you’re feeling flush.
Roka at Canary Wharf, The Park Pavilion, Canada Square, E14 5FW. 020 7636 5228. Brunch costs £45, with add-on prices depending on what you have for mains. Available Saturday and Sundays from 11.30am-4pm
All you can eat (with some drink)
For when you want to eat, but not necessarily drink (hey, it happens. Sometimes)
Stylised Chinese dim sum tea house, serving up traditional Asian morsels with a Western twist, hosts its ‘Lazy Sumdays’ every weekend in branches all over the capital. With an array of buns, rolls, dumplings, puffs, soups and sticky rice to choose from, be prepared for a vastly varied and very filling meal (with a hint of indecision). We’d recommend the char sui bun, har gau and shu mai if you’re looking for the traditional Hong Kong staples. In keeping with the hospitable trend of welcome drinks, you get a complimentary cocktail if you arrive between noon and 1pm.
All you can drink
Forget the food, give us booze — fabulous fizz is the star of the show here.
Elegant and effortlessly chic eatery, based on the sleek American steakhouses dotted all over New York, Avenue conducts a laid back and leisurely affair over the weekends with free-flowing fizz. Proper USA style, pulling no punches, expect authentic stateside favourites such as mac 'n’ cheese and buttermilk pancakes. Then there’s the ‘build your own sundae’, complete with your choice of two scoops, sauce and toppings. Naughty. Centrally located — it’s perfect for couples, boozy get togethers and ladies who, well, lunch. Obviously.
Former Pitt Cue Co man Neil Rankin is behind the food at this egg-centric brunch hangout. £30 gets you three dishes from the menu, but let's admit it, the real lure of this place is the bottomless booze — bucks fizz, cava and Bloody Marys. You've got two hours to get as much down you as you can. Ready, steady... gorge! Bad Egg, Unit 1B, City Point, 1 Ropemaker Street, EC2Y 9AW
Locations chosen editorially and independently, images acquired from venues.
This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital's top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.