Brunching is one of my favourite past times. Laughing with good people over a lingering Flat White and nibbling at a luxuriously delicious concoction at a civilised time of the weekend morning. What more could you wish for indeed?
Meeting with the kiwi brunch posse for one last hurrah before spreading to the four winds that we call the Christmas season, we decided a suitably antipodean send off at Lantana in Shoreditch was called for. Only a stone’s throw from my perennial favourite Ozone (though their wicked hashcake eggs Benedict plates are getting noticeably smaller over time) Lantana is found just a minutes walk from London’s circumrotatory bermuda triangle – the Old Street roundabout.
It doesn’t matter how many times I visit, in bright sunshine, howling
rain or on dark evenings, I spend at least 15 minutes scratching my head
at the myriad of exits. Convinced that the exit I take should be the correct one, I always end up at the wrong side and have to wander halfway around the above
ground traffic light system. I am 100% convinced that the staircases have
mystical powers of movement to bamboozle and confuse, much like Hogwarts
school corridors but lacking the amusing animated portraits to
entertain one along the way.
lan·ta·na [lan-tan-uh]: a hardy invasive weed that thrives in unlikely environments.
|Toasted courgette bread w/ grilled halloumi, slow roast tomatoes, a
poached egg and chilli jam
Having finally navigated the Labrynthine street layout, we wandered into the nicely busy Lantana, ready for a brunch feast after wrestling with the disorentating effect of 15,000 paths and exits (sorry about the superfluous hyperbole, but it’s scarred me over the years, ok?). Seated swiftly with a smile, we began the serious task of choosing from the menu. It was hard. Possibly even harder than navigating the Old Street tube
There were so many scrumptious options, and the delicious plates flying to other tables didn’t help either – catching our subtly craning necks, our waitress helpfully pointed out which dish was which, and heartily recommended the corn fritters and courgette bread.
|Corn fritters stacked w/ streaky bacon, fresh spinach and slow roast
tomatoes served w/ smashed avocado and crème fraiche
It takes a lot of work to deter my Kiwi lot from the siren call of Eggs Benedict, especially on a Saturday morning (recovering from hearty Friday evenings) but we were glad of straying from our standbye. My towering stack of toasted courgette bread, grilled halloumi slow, roasted tomatoes and a poached egg was simply sublime. Cut through with a piquant chilli jam, my tastebuds danced with joy at the unusual combination and marriage of textures. Soft bread, sweet tomatoes, smoky halloumi, the crisp bite of salad leaves and the sexy slow yield of a perfectly poached egg (fully worthy of a Marks and Spencer advert). Across the table, perfectly crisp edge corn fritters – an antipodean classic that has to be done well to get lip-smacking approval from our band of brunch addicts – with moreish pillowed interiors balanced cracking strips streaky bacon providing the perfect pick-me-up.
We washed our feast down with piping Flat Whites (ever enforcing the Kiwi stereotype) before our waitress unveiled our naughty dessert (split between four eager forks) of toasted banana bread with mascarpone, banana custard and salted chocolate
crumb. Words honestly fail me.
|Toasted banana bread w/ mascarpone, banana custard and salted chocolate
Worth every moment of confused navigating, Lantana was an easygoing restaurant of Australian delectations to while away a morning of wittering and gossiping. We may just have to come back.