The Greedy Diva recommended Lantana when we met up shortly after I had visited her hometown of Melbourne. I told her how impressed I was with the breakfasts, brunches and cafe culture in Australia and how frustrating it is to come back to London and not have great food like that widely available. Put it this way, there isn’t a Starbucks on every corner over there.
I was in Australia for a month and in that time visited Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. Most of the places that I ate served delicious food and I didn’t have a bad meal (apart from the Vietnamese that some of you may have read about). I was excited by the fact that most places, even little convenience stores sold what appeared to be delicious, delectable homemade banana bread and (I am told) great coffee.
Being a food lover and not being able to find decent fresh and delicious food so easily made coming back to London almost depressing.
I came back with a mission, which of course I’m not going to fulfil (yet anyway). I want to bring good homely fresh food to the UK – I want people to realise that buying an 80p cookie from a ‘fresh’ bakery in a Tesco Metro is not the best option. I want more independent coffee shops to serve homemade cakes, fresh salads and sandwiches, not that tasteless cardboard rubbish you get in the supermarket.
I don’t want to go into a Starbucks and buy an overpriced tasteless muffin. I want to walk into newsagents and be able to buy blueberry teacake that is not 4 days old or stuffed full of trans fats. I want to own my own cafe – but that is a dream and may well be achieved in time. It has spurred me on to bake more and bring my own tasty treats to work with me so I’m not tempted by average baked goods.
Don’t get me wrong, London has a fantastic food offering but I do feel that the focus is more on restaurants and not good cafes. The amount of times that I have gone into Central London wanting to go and sit in a coffee shop at 10pm and not a pub are countless. The closest thing that we have to the cafe culture in Melbourne is Old Compton Street and Soho – that is why it is one of my favourite areas in London.
I also do love a good old lazy weekend brunch. So, Lantana was the name and a fantastic Auzzie style brunch is their game. Seeing that they are open for brunch from 9am – 3pm, we took a trip down today. We arrived to a long queue out of the door and literally not a single English accent was in earshot. I knew I was in for a treat.
A lot of our cooking at home is similar to food on the menu – we eat a lot of poached eggs, have copied their baked beans side, we’ll cook sweetcorn fritters for brunch every so often and chorizo often makes its way into our dishes. One thing that we don’t have often is French toast or banana bread because my boyfriend is so against fruit, it’s scary. So I treat myself when I go to Lantana, knowing full well that it’s going to satisfy me completely. And that’s just what it did. We were in there for an hour and a half. When we walked out, I felt completely and utterly relaxed and as happy as Larry, whoever he is!
I even tried the silky smooth flat white that my boyfriend ordered… and I liked it!
Lantana without a doubt serves the best brunch I’ve eaten since Australia. I hope more cafe owners take note and start to take a leaf out of Lantana’s magical book.
13 Charlotte Place
Fitzrovia LondonW1T 1SN
+44 (0) 20 7637 3347