[London] Maria's Market Cafe at Borough Market

Sounds very cool. Thanks for the ideas, John.

Maria and her mother brought about a dozen breakfasts into my nearby office a couple of times a week (no, not all for me) from 1986 to 1999, when my employer moved to a different location. After her mother died she toyed with the idea of moving to Italy, but luckily for us breakfasters she decided to stay. I now work only 10 minutes walk away, so I stop by from time to time to quality check the bubble etc. All is well!


To me, this observation so perfectly sums up the kind of place that I always hope to find – whether locally or when I get to travel.

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Man, I love me some English/Irish breakfast. We grazed at Borough Market a couple of days ago, but didn’t remember your high rec of Maria’s. May just have to revisit the market and have some bubble and squeak. Of course, must indulge in the usual 10 quid/btl of prosecco.

Last year March, we were wandering around SoHo one morning. Was hoping to grab a Chinese breakfast, but no restaurants in Chinatown were open yet. What’s up with that!?

We stumbled upon a deli/diner called Bar Bruno and tucked ourselves in amongst the tradesmen fueling up for an honest day’s work.

Not pictured, two huge thick hunks of toast. Wife had calves liver, bacon and chips. I had the full blown Bruno breakfast. A memorable breakfast for the two of us.

We stopped in a couple of days ago, in the eve this time. Enjoyed this place again, and it was a welcoming oasis amidst a sea of gentrified hip bars and eateries.

Bar Bruno, on Peter Street. Soho.


Yes, London Chinatown is closed at breakfast-time. I think the whole place’s F&B establishments cater to the tourist crowd, so Chinese breakfast foods are virtually non-existent, or else served for lunch.

Take dim sum, for example - traditionally a breakfast food in South China. In London, people have dim sum for lunch and sometimes even at dinner-time. Nothing stopping one from having it at those times, of course - but it’ll be like the English equivalent of having breakfast cereal for lunch or dinner. :grin:

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Would love to hear any suggestions for places to get a Chinese breakfast in London at actual breakfast time (i.e. 9am at the very very latest). (Aside from the Mandarin Oriental, which is £38 and hence more than I really want to pay for breakfast, as well as being currently closed due to fire damage.)

I’d yet to come across one, but will definitely report back here if I do hear of any.

As for a Malaysian breakfast, I normally traipse over to the Malaysia Hall Canteen at 30-34 Queensborough Terrace, London, United Kingdom, W2 3ST. Opens at 8am and serves a good nasi lemak.

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i would love to try this. more than i’d love to try the often overpriced stall food :slight_smile: i love bubble and squeak and black pudding too.

regarding chinese breakfast, i am now homesick for toronto’s congee with chinese doughnut breakfast i’d eat at least once a week. somehow i haven’t attempted to make congee myself and really should. my favourites are with fish and scallop, or wonton. sigh.

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Unless things have changed, you can only go to the Malaysia Hall Canteen if you are actually Malaysian (I believe it’s subsidised by the Malaysian government). I tried to go many years ago and I was given a rather abrupt repsonse about whether I should be allowed inside.

And yes, the lack of breakfast food always puzzles me. A while ago when I visited the Chinese Laundry not long after opening, their main pitch was they sold great Chinese breakfast food.

Excellent, I said to the waiter, I can come here before work for a nice breakfast!

Oh, said the waiter, we don’t open till midday.

Still baffles me to this day.

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Since coming back from Asia the thing I miss most is not being able to get foods like, dim sum,congee, idlis, parathas, rota canai etc for breakfast. I understand it though. I think breakfast is the one meal were people are pretty set in their ways as to what constitutes breakfast. Maybe because it’s their first meal of the day?Commercially It probably doesn’t make sense to offer these for breakfast.
In Kuching I met an English guy who’d been there for 20 years. I said how good beef noodle soup was in the morning if you had a hangover. He wasn’t having any of it, had to be a full English.

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I have managed to get in but I went with a Malaysian friend. I turned up after them and had to point them out before they would served me. This was a few years ago so I’m not sure of the situation now.

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Yeah if you go with a Malaysian they turn a blind eye. I went on my own, they looked me up and down and eventually gave me a “we will let you just this once but next time bring a Malaysian!”

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Haha. Yes my wife is exactly like this. She will eat adventurously throughout the day but values a western breakfast. I can never do business on my congee or noodle soup.

I think around East Ham etc quite a few of the Indian places open for breakfast, @shekha can advise.

I think another problem with opening for breakfast is rents are so high and restaurants generally make so much of their profit from alcohol. Only a hardy few would chug down a beer while having a noodle soup at 7am.

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Ugh, okay - let’s go together when I’m in town next month. You can come as a “guest”. :rofl:

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how sad for him. for me, breakfast is just that - breaking my fast. i don’t actually care what you give me for breakfast as long as it’s not sugary (for the most part) and is tasty and has protein.

Yeah Vasanta Bhavan is open from 7am, I meet friends to discuss work there sometimes on a Friday. Otherwise Saravana Bhavan is open from 9. Thattukada / Anjappar are open from 11am which is a bit later but still acceptable brunch time I guess.

I really wish somewhere did Congee though - I thought Hung’s in Chinatown did but they stop serving food at 4am :frowning:


You totally should! I use the neat trick described here to get it done in 20 minutes.

Ooh, thanks for this. I haven’t been to Vasanta Bhavan for years and hadn’t realised they’d started opening earlier.

The Croydon Saravanaa Bhavan doesn’t open until 10:30am, which is a bit annoying. (They did try opening from 9 when they first moved in, but it didn’t work out for some reason.) Spiceland on London Road theoretically opens at 9 with a limited selection of the menu (that does include idli). In reality they don’t exactly put themselves out to open on time, though they’ve usually managed it by 9:30.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr