This is article is sponsored by Etihad Airways.
Having celebrated two years of its 'Night Tube' last September, London is catering to its night owls with a burgeoning 'round-the-clock dining scene. No longer will a late-night kebab suffice; instead, midnight confit duck and 3am salt-beef bagels are the hottest new orders.
In welcome news for travellers arriving from opposite time zones, many of London's breakfast menus now operate 24/7. With Etihad Airways now offering more daily flights between Australia and London, check out the city's bold take on all-hours dining.
Here, we've selected five of London's best 24-hour breakfasts.
Duck and Waffle, Bishopsgate
Perched atop Heron Tower, Duck and Waffle offers a playful take on traditional English cuisine and sky-high views over East London. Here, those who take their breakfast seriously won't be disappointed; the restaurant's namesake highlight is a duck-leg confit and fried egg waffle sandwich with mustard maple syrup. Prices are refreshingly affordable compared to London's other rooftop venues, and dishes from the expansive menu are well-executed. Hot tip: leave room for the chocolate fondant with peanut butter ganache. Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, The City, London, duckandwaffle.com
Polo Bar, Bishopsgate
You'd be forgiven for overlooking Polo Bar's unassuming facade. It sits quietly across from Liverpool station; but step inside and you'll find a bright three-storey space inspired by the London Underground. With subway-tiled walls, striking decor and quirky signage, Polo Bar is smart and welcoming.
Since 1954, the cafe has provided traditional English breakfasts to hungry Londoners. Now, some 60 years on, the place is still buzzing. Friendly staff exuberantly greet morning regulars, while diners stream in from the late night through to the early hours. The menu caters to a variety of tastes and dietary requirements, from large plates, small snacks and gluten- and meat-free alternatives.
Can't decide? The honey-roasted ham and cheese bloomer toastie never disappoints. Feeling thirsty? You're in luck. Polo Bar has a 24-hour liquor licence too. 176 Bishopgate, London, polo24hourbar.co.uk
Beigel Bake, Brick Lane
This no-frills Jewish deli serves freshly-baked bagels around the clock. Beigel Bake is a Brick Lane institution, faithfully supplying Shoreditch locals with jam doughnuts, Eccles cakes, apple turnovers and doughy boiled bagels (they sell about 700 a day) since 1997. There's almost always a queue and the crowd demographics change depending on the time of day: locals in the early evening, club-goers from 2am and taxi drivers in the hours following.
Most come for the same thing: the hot salt-beef bagel. Beef briskets are brined in a mixture of sugar, salt and spices, boiled for several hours until the meat is tender, then sliced and piled onto an open bagel with mustard and pickles. At £3.70 these salt-beef beauties make for a hearty on-the-go breakfast (or a satisfying hangover cure). 159 Brick Lane, London, +44 20 7729 0616
Balans Soho Society, Soho
Sold on the idea that "too much of a good thing is a good thing", Balans Soho Society serves food and alcohol until 6am. The freshly revamped space is comfortable, and the friendly bar staff know their cocktails. It's the perfect late-night hangout with friends.
On weekends, visit between 8am and 4pm for the Lost Weekend breakfast, where menu choices include the luxe eggs Benedict with lobster, "Eggs in Hell" (a spicy-sauce special) or the Soho full English. But the cafe's all-day menu offerings are just as appealing – don't look past the brioche burger with maple bacon, dill pickle and red-onion marmalade. 60-62 Old Compton Street, London, balans.co.uk
When it comes to breakfast-menu variety, cafe-diner VQ over-delivers. Known for pulling a posh late-night party crew, the Chelsea base is open 24 hours, with an all-day breakfast menu that includes Belgian waffles, bubble and squeak, and eggs Florentine. Previously a greasy spoon hang out, its recently had a sleek renovation, making it a pleasant place for a top-notch brunch, any hour of the day.
As one of the six VQs in London, the Fulham Road hotspot shares a similar aesthetic with its sister sites: modern and eclectic with neon lighting. With plans to roll-out more sites by the end of 2019, it seems VQ is giving Londoners exactly what they want – an excellent all-hours breakfast menu served in an effortlessly cool setting. 325 Fulham Road, London, vqrestaurants.com
The House, Heathrow Airport
If you find yourself at Heathrow Airport with time before a flight, head over to Etihad Airways "The House" lounge in terminal four. You're guaranteed a late-night fix in first-class surrounds. It's not quite open 24/7 (it closes at 9pm), but the newly refurbished lounge has already established a reputation for fine fare with a strong focus on local produce and global flavour play. Its changing seasonal breakfast menu ranges from the traditional – think continental, fresh pastries and big English – to custom-made, with guests invited to choose their own omelette fillings and vegan alternatives.
Launching late last year, The House has introduced a contemporary dining option for those travelling in and out of London, offering engaged service and a choice wine list. A partnership with No 1 Lounges, the space has also been introduced in Sydney and Melbourne. In all venues, white linen tablecloths and elegant place settings add to the overall dining experience, while minimalist decor and an open bar inject modern appeal. Check-in, and then check out this new class of airport eats. Terminal 4 Heathrow Airport, no1lounges.com
Brought to you by Etihad Airways. Choose Etihad to create your one-of-a-kind holiday to London from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and Find Your Great Britain.