Outdoor Brunch at Lantana Cafe

Sunny weekends are the perfect opportunity for people to climb out of the woodwork, reunite with friends and go for brunch. The recent sunshine resulted in one such occasion last weekend when my boyfriend and I met up with a couple of friends and went to Lantana Café on Charlotte Place.

If you are not familiar with the area you will need a map to find it. Charlotte Place is a little side street off Mortimer Street nuzzled in between beauty salons and other little cafes. Lantana’s exterior is pretty simple with white washed walls, a big window and window ledge, squiggly writing and a couple benches for outdoor diners. Unfortunately I can’t comment on the interior due to the following reasons.

Like most laid back, en vogue, happening eateries in London, Lantana is very popular. Like always, my boyfriend and I were about 15 minutes late to our rendezvous and our friends were still waiting in the queue for a table. We managed to snag a table outside, ordered our drinks and perused the menu. The outdoor seating was surprisingly comfortable. The small wooden stools were sturdy and supporting and the table was large and gave the four of us more than enough room to manoeuvre. It’s just lucky that it was dry and warm otherwise we would have been in trouble.

Our drink orders were taken as soon as we sat down (our friends’ orders were taken while they were queuing) and we settled down to a nice chat. A while later another waitress came over and asked for our drink orders and when we informed her they had been taken she wandered off. A little while later our drinks came. Our friends ordered coffee, which smelt and looked amazing, Moo got a coke and I got a mint tea. It was all lovely except that my cup was filthy and had stains and lip gloss all over it. They replaced it pretty sharply and then took our food order.

The menu is amazing! There’s fritters and crispy bacon, steak sandwiches, maple French toast and pretty much everything gets your dribble glands going. I opted for the Boston baked beans with pork belly, cornbread and poached eggs. Moo went for the Bubble and Squeak with black pudding, pear compote and fried eggs. And our friends went for the corn fritters and a breakfast selection (she chose a couple side dishes and made her perfect breakfast). My friend ordered another coffee and we started to get excited.

So after making our choices we were starving. But, like our drinks, it took an age for the food to come. In that time I was entertained by an argument in the queue, a young woman forcing herself and a friend onto the end of another group’s table only to be evicted for a couple who had been waiting longer. A bunch of teenage girls lit up some cigarettes. A girl shouted at the waitress and it was all pretty mental but it was like having dinner and a show.

Eventually we got our food and it looked beautiful on large plates and lots of different colours.

My Boston baked beans were full of flavour, tender and rich but a bit samey. I only had two tiny pieces of pork belly in it and I was a little disappointed. The eggs were poached fairly nicely but lost all flavour as they battled with the beans. The cornbread was tasty and had a good texture but it was a little greasy for me. There was a lot of food but overall it was a bit of a let down.

Moo’s dish looked a bit beige but also quite appealing. He loved the black pudding (it was his first try) but said that the bubble and squeak was pretty much potato and he would have preferred more vegetables. Also, looking at his eggs made me wince a little, as they were so crispy and over done.

photo taken from the website. Rex's actually looked far better.

Rex’s fritters looked amazing and I had to resist stealing a piece of his crispy bacon. Emily’s selection plate looked simple but full of flavour and made me feel like I made the wrong choice.

After our plates were cleared, the missing coffee was mentioned but we still waited a good 10-15 minutes to receive it; all the while getting daggers from people in the queue.

It sounds like I hated the place but I really didn’t. I think I was just unlucky, made the wrong choice and that it was really busy. I would definitely return and maybe try the French toast or fritters next time. Despite being busy and the odd rude customer, the atmosphere was good. Sitting outside was nice as we got some fresh air, benefited from the sunshine and could really talk to each other. The staff were a bit slow but they were really friendly and bubbly. The food was prepared well but just missed the mark for me but I’ll know better next time.

It was a great alternative to the Breakfast Club, which I find to be a bit soulless and it will be a lovely place to visit in the summer. It wasn’t perfect but I’m not writing it off yet.

Lantana on Urbanspoon

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