The problem with being a blogger is that you end up with a lot of blogger friends. Although I really like having friends who are a bloggers, I feel really bad for my non-blogging friends who end up going out with me for a meal.
Why you ask? It’s not ideal when they aren’t allowed to eat or drink anything till I get that perfect picture by which point what they ordered has probably gone cold. Sometimes all they want is to enjoy a meal without having to deal with me pestering the staff about the origin of the ingredients and the history of the restaurant!
So you can imagine how Seb and Laura felt last weekend when they had to bear not one, not two but three food bloggers over brunch. They had to deal with Franky (a.k.a Munch and Brunch), Harry (a.k.a #Cake) and me over brunch. Thankfully they are quite used to dining with us lot so it wasn’t too bad for them (hopefully).
We are all going skiing in Méribel in March (more on that later) so we met up at Lantana Cafe on Franky’s recommendation to finalise holiday plans. Exciting! If you haven’t heard of Lantana Cafe, it’s a bustling little Australian cafe tucked down a laneway off Goodge Street in Fitzrovia. Don’t be fooled by it’s alleyway location; it’s one busy cafe! We had to wait for 20 mins or so to get a table and we arrived at Lantana Cafe for 11 am. Pretty early for brunch if you ask me but it was still absolutely packed.
Lantana cafe is a tiny modest space and does feel cramped in places but I really like what they have done with the limited space. We were luckily seated downstairs next to the kitchen away from the bustling cafe on ground level. Complete with a large shared wooden table, quirky design fixtures on the wall and some amazing black and white wallpaper (which I absolutely love); it’s a great space if you want to escape and have more of a private setting. The cafe is named after a flowering South American weed that has become an iconic plant of national significance in Australia over the years. It’s a great name and the perfect metaphor for a cafe that’s been thriving on foreign soil since opening back in 2008. It’s growing popularity has seen them open two more cafes in Shoreditch and Camden.
So let’s talk food! They have a great brunch menu – simple yet full of interesting options. I had the Toasted Courgette Bread with Grilled Halloumi, Slow Roast Tomatoes, Poached Egg and Chilli Jam. The toasted courgette bread had soaked up all the wonderful flavours from the other ingredients but was still crispy enough for that all important crunch test. The chilli jam was a great touch too – gave this dish a subtle kick. Definitely a well thought out dish that I cannot recommend enough.
Harry’s Slow Braised Beans with Ham Hock served on Corn Bread with Grilled Chorizo, Poached Egg and Spinach was really good too. Substantial portions, great combination of flavours and the pièce de résistance; a perfectly poached egg!
Laura ordered the Smashed Avocado and Slow Roast Tomatoes on Sourdough Toast with Poached Egg and Rocket. Again a simple dish with simple ingredients cooked to perfection. It’s a theme that overlays everything on the menu and I think it’s great. Unlike a lot of breakfast/brunch places in London today, where you come out feeling like you need to hit the gym immediately, the menu at Lantana is wholesome and hearty without being overly indulgent. Don’t worry if you do fancy something smaller though. They also serve up a great Toasted Muesli with Vanilla Yoghurt and Poached Peach as Seb found out.
You know how the grass always looks greener on the other side? I had serious, and I mean serious food envy when Franky’s Corn Fritters stacked with Streaky Bacon, Fresh Spinach and Slow Roast Tomatoes was served up. It also came with some smashed avocado, a poached egg and a dash of crème fraiche for good measure. At £11.50, it’s one of the costlier dishes on the menu but I cannot recommend this plate enough. It’s a brilliant combination of flavours all served up on some of the best corn fritters in town. Like Franky says over on her blog, there is some serious #yolkporn going on here. Enough said.
So Lantana Cafe might be a modest little cafe hiding in a quiet alleyway in Fitzrovia, but it serves up some of the best breakfast in town. Genuinely friendly service, affordable pricing and great coffee all add to reasons why you need to try out Lantana Cafe. If this is what the Aussie’s eat every morning, I am moving down under in the not so distant future!