Brunch is essential for world peace. There’s little that can’t be solved over a good eggs Benedict, no wrongs that can’t be righted with a well-timed flat white, precious little that a perfectly pitched pancake stack won’t fix. Plus, if you didn’t Instagram your shakshuka, then did you really have a weekend at all? So, get to know this brunch spots and do your bit for humanity at large. It’s your duty.
1 Boyd Street, Newcastle NE2 1AP
0191 260 5216
In keeping with its art school bearing, there’s no thought of settling for a bog standard menu here. It’s all louche, Eastern-spiced tweaks to the norm: the eggs eclipso, for instance, stars poached eggs in a smoky tomato and pepper sauce with sumac flatbread to ferry the delicious goo into your face. The big hitters, though, are the hash bowls: boulder-like hunks of chorizo or halloumi – or, indeed, both, you weekending gadabout, you – with fried potatoes, red onion, spinach, a poached egg and hollandaise.
The Riverside Café
7 Main Street, Tweedmouth, Berwick TD15 2AA
In a little under 18 months, this unfussy six-table café has made a big name for itself. Berwick’s not exactly short-handed when it comes to good places to revive oneself over coffee and a full English (which, despite its name, is rarely best enjoyed at breakfast time – you need a bit of a walk to stoke your appetite up first, so 10.30am to 11am is the sweet spot) but this unpretentious, well-priced and intensely friendly place is near the top of the list.
1 John Street, Cullercoats NE30 4PL
0191 280 1077
Fat stacks of pancakes with compote and bacon are the pick at this endearingly eccentric café – if you’re feeling adventurous, you could grab a haggis toastie or some cinnamon and Drambuie porridge – with cakes by Tynemouth’s Gareth James Chocolatiers. The crockery is uniformly excellent too, which obviously makes everything taste better.
The Good Apple
18 Derwent Street, Sunderland SR1 3NU
0191 564 1763
The endless meat parade – bacon this, sausage that and woodchip-smoked the other – can make brunches all feel alike. Not so here: an inventive, flavour-jammed vegetarian flip gives these brunches a light, vibrant swizzle. The scrambled tofu on toast, pan-fried with kale and sesame seeds is about as joyously 2017 as brunch gets.
4 High Street, Sedgefield TS21 2AU
Brunch is, fundamentally, an Americanism invented to help New York’s socialites get a couple of hours’ more rest before heading into town after a heavy night, but Number Four’s take couldn’t be much more English. Their handmade, homemade scones are rightly famous, and their command of cakes is second to none too.
The Duck House
2–3 Town Hall Buildings, Princes Street, Corbridge NE45 5AD
There’s nothing extraneous or audacious here, just brunch classics done with attention to detail. The menu has the clarity and purpose of a Haynes manual: toast (white or brown, butter, jam); eggs (florentine, Benedict, royale); porridge (blueberries, strawberries, local honey). Marvellous.
Kneeton Lane, Middleton Tyas, Richmond DL10 6NJ
There comes a brunch in every person’s life which makes them reassess the parameters of the form, what it can do for their spiritual wellbeing, and how they can have more of it. Middleton Lodge’s are such brunches. As well as high-class takes on the usual (eggs Benedict with Yorkshire ham, eggs royale with locally smoked salmon et al) they’ve got energising detox smoothies, though the champagne, prosecco and Bloody Marys are equally appealing.
205–207 Chillingham Road, Heaton NE6 5LJ
0191 265 8436
Stark by Game of Thrones-influenced name and stark by Scandi design-influenced nature, this bistro’s pristine, dazzlingly white interior feels like it’s a parallel plane existing in the near future. The zeitgeisty menu, however, with its overnight muesli topped with pears and pistachios, its eggs in Basque piperade and its salted cod omelette with roasted tomatoes and shoestring fries, is sufficiently recognisable that it’s probably just being beamed in from Tuesday week.
The Craster Seafood Restaurant
Haven Hill, Craster NE66 3TR
Don’t listen to any beardy young malcontent who tells you kippers are over as a brunch item. He can keep his avocado and kale salad, along with his pristine 1982/83 Borussia Dortmund top and his mistrust of anyone over 30. Kippers are amazing, and fourth generation smokers Robson’s are the best in the business – their cute, bright restaurant is shut for the winter at the minute, but it’ll be back at Easter.
32–34 High Street, Yarm TS15 9AE
Alongside the usual eggy standards here, there’s the very fine avocado and smoked salmon with poached eggs as well as omelettes, toasted homemade bread and sandwiches which cross the line from being merely a carby transit system for meats and goes into full-on rhapsody. The Tower is well worth its capitalisation: it packs bacon, sausage, black pudding, hash brown and a fried egg. There’s a Bloody Mary on there too, should the need arise.