Hangovers. Most of us have experienced them, and most of us have sworn that we’d never have another. And then Friday post-work drinks roll around again and we find ourselves, beer glass in hand, with no thought to how wretched we’ll feel the next day.
Now, paracetamol and a cold shower might help us to drag ourselves out of bed in the morning, but everyone knows that food presents the only true relief from hangover hell. But what do you do if you can’t stomach a fry-up? Here are our top picks of hangover breakfast tips – and the London eateries where you can find them.
1. Get Thee To A Juicery
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate more and therefore lose much-needed fluids. Dehydration is responsible for that blistering headache you have the next morning, and besides necking a couple of pints of water before you fall into bed, the only thing you can do to ease these symptoms is to rehydrate.
Where better to do it than in one of London’s many juice bars? We love Root and Bulb’s G0 cold-pressed juice, which contains cucumber, kale, spinach, mint, lemon and sea salt – the salt helps your body to hydrate faster and the kale and spinach will give you a hefty dose vitamin E, which helps to restore the cell damage drinking has inflicted.
Head to: Roots and Bulbs.
2. Head South
South America has the right idea when it comes to breakfasts: eggs sit alongside rich avocado and a multitude of herbs and fiery spices – and no one in London does it better than Hoxton’s Andina.
Opt for the Picante de Huevos for maximum nutrition: two eggs are baked in panca (a spicy pepper paste), rocoto and tomatoes and served with a tamal (a Peruvian corn pastry), steamed in a banana leaf and filled with meat and vegetables.
Eggs are the perfect start to a hungover morning – they contain large amounts of cysteine, the substance that breaks down hangover-causing toxins. Think of them as delicious hoovers for your liver.
Head to: Andina, Shoreditch.
3. Green And Clean
Sure, when you’ve got a pounding headache and a ravenous stomach, a plate of salty chips seems like the perfect remedy. But if you want to actually feel better, and not just use your hangover as an excuse to eat junk food, you should head to Nama, a raw vegan food joint in west London.
The great thing about raw food is that your body absorbs the maximum amount of nutrients it can from your meal – and because you’re largely consuming plants, you can have your fill and still feel great.
Try the spiced coconut porridge: it’s packed with nuts, dates, hemp and cinnamon, which helps to balance your blood sugar. The Blood Cleanser juice will also give you a wake up call like no other.
Head to: Nama, Portobello Road.
4. Carb Loading
If you’re going to do it, do it right.
London is full of sumptuous bakeries serving freshly baked loaves and pastries; Euphorium Bakery are renowned for their over-sized, butter-laced croissants but there really are only two options when it comes to hangover breakfasts: Breads-etcetera in Clapham, where queues snake around the block for the self-serve, self-toasting bottomless bread experience, and, of course, the bread board at Ottolenghi in Islington, which includes slices of the divine, in-house sourdough alongside your choice of melt-in-the-mouth pastry.
Bread acts like a sponge, soaking up any leftover booze in your body.
Head to: Ottolenghi, Islington
5. A Little Bit Of Spice
There’s a bit of a myth about eating spicy food to cure a hangover – the truth is, spicy food causes dehydration, and chances are, that’s only going to make you feel worse.
However, what a fiery bowl of miso broth or a chilli-laced scrambled egg does do is distract your body from its woeful feelings. The heat of the food will also encourage you to drink more while you’re eating it, giving your body some much-needed liquids.
Try Dishoom’s breakfast menu: the Keema Per Eedu is a powerhouse start to the day, mixing spicy chicken with sali chips. Delicious with the breakfast laksa.
Head to: Dishoom, Granary Square.
6. Eat Vegan
For those preferring a meat-free, lighter breakfast option, London is indeed bountiful. Most breakfast emporiums will offer vegan alternatives to their traditional fry-ups, and the cursory bowl of granola or jam on toast.
Head to InSpiral Lounge, overlooking Camden lock, for something more adventurous. Gluten-free panini toasties are served with fruit coulis and cashew cream; raw flax and chia seed crepes come with banana cream and dark chocolate; and you can even order a vegan “bake-up”, which includes scrambled tofu, tamari mushrooms and organic baked beans.
All the satisfaction of the fry-up, with none of the remorse.
Head to: InSpiral Lounge, Camden.
7. Hair Of The Dog
OK. There’s no science to support the belief that drinking more alcohol helps to ease a hangover. But it does help to disguise the symptoms, and sometimes, that’s all we can hope for.
Bottomless boozy brunches have become something of a trend in London lately, so there’s more than enough choice out there, but if you’re looking for the perfect hangover cocktail, make sure you visit Hoxton’s Beagle bar. There are four Bloody Mary choices on the menu, including the Classic (chorizo-infused vodka, spices, lemon, tomato juice) and the Maria Maria (smoked garlic tequila, habanero peppers, tomato juice).
Head to: Beagle, Hoxton.
8. Protein Power
So you’ve consumed a bewildering amount of calories and sugar via your Old Fashioneds/pints/large glasses of Pinot noir the night before, and you’ve had one of those strange night’s sleep where you’re simultaneously comatose while still feeling wired.
What you need is some slow-release energy to keep you steady while you try and shake off that hangover the next day, and one of the best sources of this is protein. Guildhall’s branch of steak-mecca Hawksmoor offers up some reassuringly meaty breakfasts, including steak and eggs (using fillet or rib-eye), lobster benedict and Manx kippers with poached eggs.
If you’re feeling brave, their breakfast cocktail list is worth a look, too.
Head to: Hawksmoor, Guildhall.
9. Caffeine Hit
As with hair of the dog, it’s actually not the best idea to drink a cup of coffee when you’re hungover. Not only does caffeine make your heart beat faster (and your body really doesn’t need to be under any more stress right now), but it also dehydrates you.
However, if you’re not lucky enough to be able to sleep your hangover away and you need to be up-and-at-them the following morning, coffee will provide just the nudge you need to get going. Stop by Climpson & Sons on Broadway Market for chilled vibes and some of the best coffee in London.
Head to: Climpson & Sons, Broadway Market.
10. Mix It Up
The fry-up is quintessentially British; steak and eggs belongs to America; croissants and bols-de-chocolat, the French. So what about other countries – what are their go-to hangover breakfasts?
In Japan, miso is considered a cure-all for myriad ills, and any carb cravings are taken care of by steamed rice buns. Scandinavian breakfasts are a festival of protein, with cured fish, shrimps, hard-boiled egg and rye bread all making the cut.
Grab both from The Monocle on Chiltern Street, alongside more traditional fare such as Bircher muesli.
Head to: The Monocle, Chiltern Street.