Sunday 19 September 2010

Australia: Lantana

I'm disappointed. Given the number of Australian friends and colleagues I have living in London, and having visited Down Under a couple of times and witnessed first hand their obvious passion for good food.....there really doesn't appear to be a great deal of choice for Australia on our journey round London eateries. I refused to resort to Walkabout (or is that Billabong now?). Square Pie... hmmm, just doesn't seem authentically Australian. This could be a problem, I might have to track down some kangaroo steaks.

However, a little bit of searching uncovered one place that featured on several other foodie blogs, a newish cafe in Fitzrovia. Lantana was set up by a girl from Melbourne a couple of years ago and fills a big breakfast and lunch gap in the area North of Oxford Street.

Owing to the limited opening hours, we decided to make a trip for brunch on a Sunday, thinking it might be quieter than a Saturday morning. Mistake, big mistake. As we turned into Charlotte Place, we knew immediately where we were heading. Everything else shut around it, Lantana had a sizeable queue snaking out the door. We joined the back and started our wait, no alternative if we were going to fit in Australia before our trip to the Tiroler Hut for Austria this week.

Thankfully, despite the compact and bijou nature of the cafe, the owners have packed in as many tables as is humanly possible, so the wait only ended up as 25 minutes. There were also a limited number of tables on the pavement and the weather being sensational, these were also in use.

Once inside, we quickly got our drinks order in and browsed through the brunch menu. Coffees turned up quickly. And I drank mine in one go, as although it looked delightful and quoting James "This is a good coffee", it just wasn't hot enough for me. Luke warm at best.

The food was hot though. James chose "The Bert", closest thing to a fried egg and bacon sandwich. Unfortunately, they had run out of the black pudding side he would have liked, but he added extra sausage to make up for it.

I had an unusual corn fritter dish with a lime aioli. Topped with an extra poached egg. This was a huge plate of food, very filling and tasty too.

Suzanne had poached eggs on sour dough with a Sicilian ratatouille, the only complaint being far too many olives.

Suzanne and James ensured their future weekend breakfasts at home by claiming the poached eggs were good....but not as good as mine. Right answer.

This was a very pleasant breakfast experience - generous portions and tasty food, although with Fitzrovia prices to match (who can blame them when the place is so packed). I'd like to try their lunch menu too, but would have to have plenty of time on my hands, I suspect this place is busy all week long.

Although it was a nice change to be eating in the morning on our tour, I do wonder if this really is the best Australia can offer in London?

Food: ****
Atmosphere: ****
Value for money: **

Lantana on Urbanspoon

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