Bringing a plateful of Australia’s sunshine and lip-smacking brunch culture to London, Lantana hits the spot when it comes to delicious all-day dining, says Sophie Ritchie when she visits the group’s Shoreditch site
Pretty much since that first fateful March 2020 day when Boris sat us all down in front of our screens and Chris Whitty was first wheeled out with his Power Point slides, a trip to Australia has been off the cards. It’s only recently that they’ve announced an ease in tight restrictions, with plans for international borders to lift as early as November 1 under a fast-tracked plan declared by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to allow them to “take our lives back”. Well, that sounds like a bit of me lately. Not that me and my savings have been scouring Sky Scanner for flight prices, of course.
But until that suitcase portal to the land of flawless beach hair and venomous beasties is open, getting an authentic taste of Australia’s cuisine feels like the next best thing – and at Lantana in Shoreditch, they serve it up pretty well indeed. When I visit on a foggy Saturday afternoon, weighed down in camel-inspired style with various bags, jackets and even kickboxing gloves (I’d just been to a nearby class) the team usher me and my guest in like old friends, showing us to a small table sitting opposite the pass, separated by a bookshelf.
Within minutes, we’ve met at least four staff members – who are all equally friendly and welcoming, helping us feel comfortable without any sense of overbearing pestering in the busy restaurant. Urban architecture mixed with a laidback Bondi beach vibe provides a relaxed setting designed perfectly for chatting and chomping.
The Food & Drink
The Brunch menu is of post-Covid QR Code fashion, brought up on our phones with one quick hover. Tick for sustainability and hygiene, decidedly less helpful if you hate technology or have squint-worthy eyesight. The dishes are a mix of saintly and sinful, divided into two columns of plant-based options and ‘Meat & Fish’. A sign of the growing vegan movement times (and well, we are in central trendy Shoreditch), plant-based variations come first.
Lantana offers breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week, but on weekends it’s brunch service from 9am – 4pm. There are heaps of items that call out to me – a refreshing Avocado Poke Bowl (Ve), for one, but instead I opt for the staple Smashed Avocado with Halloumi (£11.9), which comes served on fresh sourdough with a gorgeously supple poached egg, chilli jam and nutty hazelnut & pistachio dukkah, topped with shaved raw courgette. It’s a flavour bomb of different textures, and makes a unique change to the usual standard dousing of chilli flakes. I don’t eat dairy so I hold the halloumi (not literally, as there’s not enough room on the table for much else), but I’m sure this would make an excellent salty addition.
I pair it with a Yin and Yang drinks combination, a Sipsmith Gin-filled Hibiscus Collins and a jade green juice aptly named ‘The Hulk’, consisting of Kale, celery, cucumber, lime, apple. Having been ‘out out’ the night before, my insides both simultaneously thank and resent me. For those feeling especially thirsty, guests can try the ‘Lantana Blowout’ (£30) – where any brunch item comes with hiccup-inducing unlimited Prosecco or Mimosa.
Forever greedy, I also split the Cinnamon French Toast (£11.5) with my friend (did I mention I’d been to an adrenaline-inducing kickboxing class?) which is just my kind of decadence, brimming with sugary apple & pear compote and topped with lashings of maple cream, which soon melts over the plate like summer’s day ice cream. It’s impossible not to pick at the studded candied walnuts too, which are moreish debauchery.
The Wordrobe Verdict
If you fancy a little bit of Oz, pause on the passport (for now) and make a booking at this excellent Australia-infused restaurant instead. With several sites to choose from, including Shoreditch, London Bridge and and Fitzrovia, bask in the chic interiors and lap up flavours like an ocean enthusiast at Lantana this autumn.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor