The absolute best places to go for brunch in Durham
Overwhelmed for choice at where to brunch in Durham? Then look no further to decide where to take your mid-morning repast
Durham students love an aesthetic brunch spot; this is apparent by the sheer number of places you can go get brunch in an around Durham, but when put on the spot to decide, sometimes it feels like there are almost too many to choose from.
So if you’re not keen on the same old college brunch of cold beans and bacon again, be sure to follow this handy guide for the best brunch places in Durham to take your parents, recover from a night out, or procrastinate instead of going to the library.
Flat White Kitchen/Café
You’ve all probably heard of Flat White Kitchen, or at least seen the queue on the Bailey. They supply an aesthetic and peaceful brunch setting where they serve all the basics that you would want from a brunch spot. Their delicious pancakes and various breakfast dishes with many vegan and veggie options makes it a Durham classic that can’t be put down.
However, as a naïve fresher I had not yet discovered its sister spot of the café beside Osbornes, although it being a lot smaller, you know straight away whether you can get a table or not, without having to queue for hours outside. They serve the same delicious cakes as Flat White Kitchen, but don’t do the full brunch menu which for all those pancakes lovers is extremely sad!
Located on the hill next to Palace Green, Cafedral offers a calm brunch spot surrounded by lots of plants (I do really want to know how they keep them all alive). They offer what I’d say is more lunch heavy options to the brunch vibe, this includes paninis, salads and sandwiches.
But what really stands out is their hot chocolate, when I say it’s good, I mean award-winning good. So if hot chocolate is your thing you might want to swing by. They are however closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so make sure you don’t have your heart broken on arrival!
Chapters boasts their all-day breakfast and lunch on their menus, which provides a great place to brunch, and being right next to Jimmy’s, it can also allow you to reminisce on last night’s actions while you eat your food.
Last time I went I had the grilled halloumi and poached egg with chipotle hollandaise and it was one of the best brunch meals I have ever had – but be warned you will not need a cake with a breakfast or lunch meal if you go there, as it is plenty to fill you up.
One thing I particularly like about Chapters is the people watching availability, sitting outside Chapters can keep you entertained for hours whilst you procrastinate your work.
In terms of escaping your degree for a calming time, I’d say Riverview is high up on the list with its beautiful view overlooking the river and a high likelihood that you’ll be able to pet a dog while you’re in there as it is a dog friendly café.
For all those pancake lovers out there, if flat white has a queue, this could be the perfect alternative. With options from the classic full english breakfast to even bao buns, they really offer it all. This is slightly hard to find as its behind Rib and Reef down on the river, but this is a must do brunch spot in your university lifetime.
After Riverview I’d say this is the hardest café to find in Durham, tucked between Zaps and Tango, you could easily miss its small red door, but it is definitely not one to be missed. They sell a range of sweet and savoury waffles, but they are limited to just waffles. You can probably get the ingredients without the waffle, but then what’s the point of going? This is not one to miss to fill your waffle cravings. Although make sure you don’t go on a Tuesday as they will not be open!
I’d say out of all the bunch places in Durham this is surprisingly miscellaneous, once again hidden from the main street (what is it with hidden cafés in Durham?) apart from the doorway which leads you up an alley to the café. Their main speciality is their cakes and sweet treats, but they offer a lot of freshly made soups and pies for a nostalgic lunch vibe. If your grandparents are ever visiting, I would consider bringing them here for a traditional homely café feel.
I can’t lie this is basically a Flat White that serves alcohol and is a pub, and the main appeal to this is that it is close to the Billy B, however they do still offer a very nice brunch. A special shout out must also be given to their Sunday roasts, which can’t quite be considered as brunch, but is always a green flag for a food spot.
Book, book, book!! Or go on a weekday, that is my main piece of advice for Turtle Bay as it can get very busy with both students and locals, especially at the weekend. Turtle Bay has a buzzing atmosphere with their Caribbean vibe and with exotic cocktails for just about £1 more than the other bottomless brunches, I’d say it’s worth it for the bigger range of drinks you get.
Revolution & Slug and Lettuce
I have combined these two as they’re pretty much the same, bottomless brunch with the options of a limited choice of drinks, which include but are not limited to pints of Amstel, Aperol spritz and Prosecco. It’s probably easier to get a space at one of these than Turtle Bay, however you might not get the same buzzing atmosphere. That being said, Slug does have a very aesthetic restaurant, which is perfect for all those Insta pics.
We can’t talk about ALL the brunch spots in Durham so I have to add in some mentions of Leonard’s Coffee house, Treats and The Pancake Café, which are all also great places to go, just not quite a Durham classic yet. And finally some appreciation for Bill’s, which shut down last year. Gone but never forgotten!
So in conclusion avoid going for brunch on Tuesdays, always keep your eyes peeled as Durham loves a hidden brunch spot, and lastly be warned once you start going out for brunch your bank account will never forgive you.
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