The other weekend Becky voyaged down from Manchester and we decided to go for brunch on the Sunday. Having made some disastrous dinner choices before, we spent more time than ever necessary researching some places and asking friends. As I was waiting for her slightly fragile face to float into view on the Tottenham Court tube escalator I google mapped ‘brunch’ and Lanterna popped up. It was described as an “Australian-style café” – the name refers to a flowering plant brought over by immigrants from South America to Australia and flourished there – and given that Becky had spent a year in Melbs I thought it might tickle her taste buds.
We queued a while but were in fairly quickly. The room was bright and humming with voices and clinking china. I love being able to tuck myself away in a cosy place and this room enabled exactly that.
The dishes on the weekend brunch menu at once very intricate and quite simple. I ummed and ahhd over options – mushrooms on toast with crispy shallots was vetoed by twinny – and I chose the courgette bread with poached egg, halloumi and chili jam over smashed avo because I’ve never tried c.b. before!
I thought every flavour that popped up on that dish was singularly great and fit together on my plate like a beautiful, edible jigsaw (now THERE’S an idea). Becky noticed the doorstop wedges of halloumi and appreciated their shapes. I topped this with the sweet and bitey jam that was a deep crimson colour, and trawled it through unctuous egg yolk. I flipped a hot, sharp chilli slice on top of that, and laced it with the fuchsia picked onions (I’m not supposed to eat them but they were too delicious.) I squashed a vibrant, juicy roast tomato on top, and all this was cushioned by a lilypad of courgette bread. It exploded into fireworks of red, green, pink, gold and also wrapped me in a soft blanket that reached up to my toes. The vibrancy and delicacy of flavours was fabuloso. Verdict on the courgette bread: soft, moist and a joyful companion: it mopped up the egg, inflated the halloumi and cuddled the chili.
I had a juice, too: orange, ginger, carrot and apple. Three’s the magic number here – the orange waded through the other more delicate flavours, washing them out.
Becky had a French toast that arrived with saffron-poached pear, blackberries and mascarpone. The thick slice of bread glittered with sugar and cinnamon and the plump blackberries had a lot taste, as did the pear.
If you’re round and abouts that area and do want a cosy, exciting brunch or a slice of cake (cos they also looked tempting) the Lantana Café could be right up your street!