Foodie Top 5: best brunch spots

Where to go in Cambridge for scrumptious elevenses

5 Espresso Library  

Bright, spacious and uber-stylish, Espresso Library on East Road is a solid favourite for many locals for a lazy late-morning feast. They’re big on wholesome, seasonal food and speciality coffee, and cater especially well for vegetarian and vegan diners. Get stuck into a scrumptious slice of frittata, a goodness-filled bowl of granola with fruit compote and Greek yoghurt, mashed avocado with smoky chickpeas or a melty and delicious Welsh rarebit on sourdough. 

Coffee boffs will enjoy the ever-changing array of offerings from different roasteries to try, whilst cyclists (we hear there’s a few of you in Cambridge), will enjoy the café’s bike theme and being able to hang their beloved steed on the wall while they eat. 

Espresso Library brunch is served from 7am to 12pm on weekdays, all day Saturday and from 8am to 3pm on Sundays.

4 MillWorks

A johnny-come-lately to Cambridge’s blossoming brunch trail, MillWorks is the latest outpost from local restaurant group Cambscuisine. From the beautifully restored watermill wheel to the glass flooring through which you can see the river rushing past underfoot, the building itself is fantastic, and always buzzing with happy diners.

Sip on a Hot Numbers coffee or order yourself a Sweeney Todd’s Bloody Mary (an homage to an old incarnation of this historic building), then get stuck into a fabulously indulgent Full English with juicy, smoky barbecue beans, streaky bacon, sausage, fried eggs, grilled mushroom, tomato and plenty of sourdough bread. There are also lighter options such as pancakes with maple syrup and blueberries, smashed avocado on toast and bacon and egg in brioche rolls, plus a rather decadent pulled pork shoulder with Béarnaise sauce on toast (which we’re salivating at the mere thought of). 

Brunch is served at MillWorks from 11am to 3pm on Monday to Friday and 10am to 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.

3 Old Bicycle Shop

Probably the only place in the city you’ll need to make a reservation at to guarantee a table at brekkie time, the Old Bicycle Shop became an instant hit with the city’s brunch fans when it opened last year. Inside, like its sister pubs The Cambridge Brew House and The Punt Yard, it’s hipster heaven, with mismatched furniture and vintage bicycle parts aplenty. But this is no case of style over substance: the brunches here are next-level. Our fave is the hearty, herby, duck egg shakshuka with its hunks of sourdough for dipping, but the sweet potato pancakes with honeyed figs, toasted Brazil nuts and yoghurt deserve an honourable mention too. There’s also standard brunch fare such as streaky bacon sandwiches and eggs Benedict/Royale/Florentine, and to make your morning that bit sweeter, there’s a great selection of cocktails, including their take on the obligatory brunch Bloody Mary (the Bloody Transfusion Vodka).  

Brunch is served at the Old Bicycle Shop from 10am to 5pm on Monday to Sunday.

Image: Charlotte Griffiths 

2 Fitzbillies

This Cambridge institution needs no introduction – but as well as world-class Chelsea buns, it also delivers one of the finest brunches in the city. Our personal favourite is the Full Fitzbillies, an exemplar fried breakfast with plump sausages, thick rashers of bacon, perfectly cooked eggs, freshly baked, buttery sourdough toast and chunky hash browns. They get a million extra brunch points for also offering morning-friendly cocktails like Bloody Marys and mimosas – ideal if you fancy a spot of pre-midday boozing. If you fancy something a little lighter, there are dishes such as crushed avocado on sourdough toast with chilli oil and seeds, granola with fruit compote and gorgeous fluffy pancakes, which come drenched in honey with juicy ripe figs and a dollop of crème fraiche. Heaven. 

Brunch is served at the Trumpington Street branch every day until 4pm. 

1 Afternoon Tease

Everything about this King Street café makes us smile, from its cheery interior to its friendly staff and scrumptious cakes. Begin things with an Afternoon Tease coffee, then select your brunch dish of choice.

It’s always fun to discover what’s new on the ever-changing menu, but whatever they’ve dreamed up that week, you can guarantee it’ll be packed with top-quality ingredients from great local suppliers. Stalwarts include banana bread (dripping in butter and utterly delicious) and perfectly poached eggs on sourdough. 

Brunch times are 8am-12pm Tuesday to Friday, 9am-3pm on Saturdays and 10am-3pm on Sundays.