Latana Café is one of three Antipodean cafes offering great breakfasts for Londoners: Latana is in Fitzrovia, Salvation Jane in Shoreditch and Ruby Dock in Camden.
I am lucky to have Latana about five minutes away from my office, and I’ve recently visited twice for breakfast in a fortnight. Tucked away deep in the heart of Fitzrovia, the café is divided into Latana IN and Latana OUT, those in a rush can grab some pastries and coffee on the hoof from Latana OUT on the way to work.
|Lantana Cafe: Australia in the depths of Fitzrovia|
|In, out, in, out, shake it all about|
Sitting inside Latana there’s a definite Scandinavia feel to the café, with unvarnished wooden table tops, mismatched chairs and even one table in the corner with an IKEA-style fold away table. Outside there are wooden benches with little stools to sit on, and away from the street on Charlotte’s Place, when the sun shines it’s actually a nice little area of London to be in.
The café feels fresh with whitewashed walls and at the end of the café a fantastic grey wall mural of a butterfly. While we perused the extensive breakfast menu, nameless chill-out music played in the background and we drank water from jugs filled with mountains of mint.
|Artwork inside the cafe|
|Lantana's pastries and muffins look too tempting|
The café heralds its coffee, and while I’m not a massive coffee connoisseur, my colleague wasn’t bowled over by the beans. The food on the other hand is a different story…
On my first visit I choose the slow braised beans with ham hock, served on corn bread with grilled chorizo, a poached egg and spinach (£8.50). It was like a ranch breakfast – or cowboy breakfast – with the smoky beans and chorizo creating warmth to my morning chow down. Sadly I felt it slightly overpowered the ham hock, but it was really delicious and the egg was poached to perfection. The meal was served on top of a dense grilled cornbread and ever since one of my first breakfasts in San Francisco I’ve been a fan of this unusual carb-loaded bread. Absolutely delicious – I will be trying that at home.
|Breakfast fit for a cowboy|
My colleagues chose the house cured salmon on organic dark rye roast with a poached egg, pickled beetroot, lemon crème fraiche and chervil (£9.50) and smashed avocado and streaky bacon on a sourdough toast with a poached egg and rocket (£7.50) both of which went down very well – especially the avocado on toast which was presented like an indulgent butter, check out my recipe for this energy boosting breakfast.
|House cured salmon on organic dark rye|
|Mashed avocado and bacon|
On my second visit a week later, my dedicated colleague and I returned at opening at 8am on a Thursday as a pay-day treat and there was already a queue forming with desperate Fitzrovia media-types waiting to be let in.
This time I choose the toasted courgette bread with grilled halloumi, slow roast tomatoes, a poached egg and chilli jam (£11.50), while my colleague chose the maple French toast with streaky bacon, grilled banana and toast pecans (£10.00).
|Round two at Lantana|
It was the courgette bread which caught my eye in the breakfast, and it didn’t disappoint – the substantial portion was cakey, yet firm and was a different take on my much-loved cornbread. Again, the egg was perfected poached, and the sweet chilli went brilliantly with the bread. But it was the halloumi that was a slight let-down as I felt it just didn’t bring anything to the dish.
I’ve had this before with meals where halloumi is added to the dish at quite a significant mark up in price and so many people (myself included) think of the last amazing halloumi burger they ate and order it in a hurry. But halloumi is only as good as the sauces and seasonings it absorbs, and while the rest of this breakfast was amazing, the halloumi was just average.
|Was the halloumi necessary in this Lantana breakfast?|
But I’ve saved the best until last. The French toast here was incredible. I couldn’t believe the architectural genuis as the plate was placed in front of my colleague. The double thick doorsteps of bread were standing beautifully like a castle, with a ravine of buttery maple syrup acting as a moat surrounding it. Throw in the saltiness of the bacon and you have a breakfast of heart attack inducing strength, but at least you will die happy. Very very happy.
|Lantana's French Toast is a heart attack on a plate, but a welcomed one|
It’s only been a couple of months on this breakfast journey of mine, but so far this place has to be my favourite little café – a foodie haven right in craziness of central London. I urge you to give it a go.
13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1SN