The fourth Brunch Club gathering took place on 23rd January 2017 at Lantana Cafe Shoreditch, Unit 2, 1 Oliver’s Yard, 55 City Rd, London, EC1Y 1HQ. A more casual setting than our last venue, but we were tempted by an interesting brunch menu with plenty of veggie and gluten-free options.
Ed: I started with a chai latte, v pleasant and subtle (could have had another!) moved onto Earl Grey tea after, which was a pretty standard loose leaf situation. Not bad but clearly not the main thrust of the cafe’s operations.
Eleanor: I had a flat white – served in a cup and saucer, the right size and with a beautiful swirl atop. The coffee was delicious, with a fruity tang. Tap water was provided for the table in a large jug.
Lou: I joined Ed in the chai latte which was delicious, and also had a tea – lovely to have loose leaf in the ‘forlife’ pot!
Lori: I started, as usual, with a double whammy of soya latte and freshly squeezed orange juice. The latte came in a short glass and was one of the best I’ve tasted (why are the tasty ones always so small though!), and the OJ was served in a tall glass with ice.
WHAT WE HAD
Ed: Courgette bread, which is apparently a thing. It was delicious, very moist. Not especially courgette-y, but courgettes aren’t known for their overpowering flavour. Portion was slightly on the small side. For my “Brunch Pudding” I had a small cake called “Crack Cake” which was a sort of carrot cake. The menu did list various fruits involved in it, but I couldn’t find any evidence of them! Bit of a disappointment.
Eleanor: I had the duck and sweet potato hash, with kale, fried egg, creme fraiche and Sriracha hot sauce. It was not my usual breakfast fare but I had pudding-course-plans which meant this was a good option. The portion was reasonable, I was impressed by the amount of duck in the dish, I’d have like more kale but overall it was a good flavour combination and really quite tasty, the Sriracha and creme fraiche combo was a good addition.
Eleanor (cont’d): For second brunch, I had the cinnamon French toast. Now, the actual French toast was fair, a tad on the dry side and not too eggy but my word, the toppings made this the most incredible dish “saffron poached pears, blackberries, orange and honey labne and pecan brittle”. This was an amazing dish, the pears and the labne were incredible, and the brittle added a delicious crunch. Would eat again. And again. And again.
Lou: I also had courgette bread which came with halloumi (making it a veggie delight) but I added some bacon – the poached egg was cooked to perfection, and the salsa on the side was a bit of a revelation. I thought presentation of food was good, and came relatively quickly after ordering despite businesses of the restaurant. Had definite food envy of the cinnamon toast, but my ‘Brunch Pudding’ was a rich and beautiful chocolate Guinness cake – good sized portion.
Lori: I ordered the ‘slow and low baked beans’, which came with chilli cheddar corn bread, grilled chorizo, a poached egg and wilted spinach, plus I added in a side of grilled halloumi. I couldn’t really taste the chilli or cheese in the thick wedge of bread as it was topped with extremely flavoursome beans and a perfect poached egg which demanded my attention. It was all extremely tasty but sadly went cold before I finished it, but that’s perhaps my own fault for talking too much! For ‘pudding’ I had a powerball, which was a small wheat-free alternative to cake, but added an espresso martini just to make it a bit more decadent.
Eleanor: None! However there was French toast on the main brunch menu and a fair selection of cakes available.
WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?
Ed: We had a LONG chat about RuPaul’s Drag Race and Hurricane Bianca, which made me incredibly happy. My impending nuptials came up a few times too.
Eleanor: How amazing archives are!
Lou: Lori told us some more about the Underpinnings Museum photo shoot and social media engagement from Drag Race alumni
Lori: Drag Race (and how I still haven’t watched All Stars 2!) and Ed’s wedding planning were two stand out topics for me. Oh, plus how tasty and photogenic the food was.
SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS
Ed: I think the service was fine, our main server was very pleasant. Atmos was interesting, a lot of youngsters zipping in and out, not much lazing and chatting over Sunday newspapers.
Eleanor: What Ed said. We were generally left alone which suits us very well. Toilets were gender neutral and self-contained. Chairs were quite uncomfortable but a fair amount of table space for the four of us. Not too loud or echo-y.
Lou: I really liked the lighting in restaurant, the natural toned decor and the cake display area, but definitely got the vibe of a ‘City’ spot. The uncomfortable seats made me feel they didn’t want us sitting there for too long.
Lori: Friendly staff who didn’t pester us, a nice atmosphere and a reasonable amount of table real estate. Seats could have been comfier and loos could have been cleaner, but pretty nice all round.
Ed: Back to Muswell Hill where I was to meet my Mr for a THRILLING Sunday food shop.
Eleanor: Off for a dance rehearsal, then leaving drinks for a dear friend, then home to collapse and dream of that french toast…
Lou: Met up with a friend and went and got vegan hot chocolate in Deptford, before helping with a house move.
Lori: Went to drinks with a friend who’s going off travelling, then home for some ‘me time’.
Ed: Great for a shorter occupancy brunch.
Eleanor: One course brunch would be fine, pricey but good quality.
Lou: Great location and would make an impressive spot doing business
Lori: Tasty but not outstanding. Would definitely go back for coffee though.
The image of Lantana Cafe Shoreditch at the top of this post is from the Lantana website. All other images were snapped by Brunch Club members on their phones, so excuse any blurriness as we were all rather excited about eating the food.