Category Archives: Australasia

Lantana Cafe, Shoreditch

I’ve openly declared my love of brunch plenty of times here, in particular the boozy variety, but where did it all start….well a trip to Dublin where friends introduced us to the past-time at one of their favourite haunts Dillinger’s started the love affair and the rest is history. A couple of weekends ago we had a long overdue catch up but without crossing the Irish Sea, as they now live in London which is great for us! Being within easy driving distance we arrived at their flat in the Hoxton area of the city and deliberately hadn’t eaten all morning in readiness for late Saturday brunch and an ensuing all day session. A spot of research pointed me in the direction of Lantana Cafe on City Road and we arrived during what seemed peak time – just before 12pm, joining the back of a queue 5/6 deep.

After waiting around 10/15 minutes a member of staff looked at the queue and proceeded talking to the front half taking note of party numbers, whilst ignoring the rest of us! Pretty poor form, the issue was they hadn’t got an overall view of numbers they could’ve seated customers much more effectively with the tables they had remaining. Unfortunately they didn’t, so when it was our turn to be seated next, staff hadn’t accounted for our party of five and the next available tables only accommodated couples or a group of four. Basically meaning people who’d literally just walked in got seated straight away, we’d been waiting at least 25/30 minutes by then. All that without any form of apology whatsoever, we’d hoped for a better start. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand how it can be when a place is busy and staff are trying their best to please everyone. I’ve worked in restaurants and been in the same situation, but the basics should be paramount.

After one further wait we sat down, we quickly perused the food menu and briskly got our drinks order while we had the attention from a staff member – all zoning in on cocktails. The waitress asked if we’d wanted any coffees, we and simply replied ‘oh no, cocktails please!!’ A few Bloody Mary’s, an Aperol Spritz and mimosa ordered, it took a little while to get them so in the meantime we nabbed a staff member to take our food order. Aperol Spritz and mimosa are hard to get wrong and as it turned out were thirst quenchingly refreshing, however the Bloody Mary’s were very much on the tame side, lacked kick and were due a couple of twists of cracked black pepper, tabasco and some celery salt.

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The food looked great, but it didn’t arrive at the same time, with one of us having a sizeable wait (actually the whole table, because we didn’t want to be rude and start eating) and once again no apology when it was brought over.

Service aside, my breakfast burger was just what I needed with a really tasty meaty/herby sausage patty, crisp streaky bacon, a perfect fried egg with compulsory runny yolk, avocado and a little kick from a chilli ketchup. Supposedly there was some smoked cheese in the mix – the cheese element was definitely apparent, the smokiness not so much, whether it actually needed it was another question. On paper it sounded a lot, but in reality it wasn’t too large, I didn’t feel overfaced and if I’m honest was a bit relieved, especially knowing full well how all day sessions with these lot pan out.

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There was a similar feeling about the food across the table – we couldn’t grumble on portion size, the food cooked well, was tasty and did what a good brunch does and set us up nicely for the day ahead. There was spicy chorizo, runny poached eggs, silky scrambled eggs, salty crispy bacon and charred halloumi there to please. It was the niggles with service that made our experience really frustrating, and it was a shame because for me, having great service is so important! Apart from the initial wait, trying time after time to get the attention of waiting staff, and it wasn’t if we weren’t making it plainly obvious, while staff wandered past us countless times, without even an acknowledgment to the point where we just gave up. 

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Corn fritters stacked with streaky bacon, fresh spinach, roast tomatoes, smashed avocado, lemon crème fraiche with extra chorizo and halloumi cheese
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Poached eggs and pork and leek sausages on toast
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The Full Lantana – poached eggs with fried potato bread, bacon, roasted mushrooms, house baked beans and extra black pudding

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Scrambled eggs with streaky bacon on toast

Overall the food at Lantana was great, the Bloody Mary and their service needs work. 

Lantana Cafe

Unit 2

1 Oliver’s Yard

55 City Rd

London

EC1Y 1HQ

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Saturday Brunch, Auckland NZ, guest post by Joan Edwards

My husband and I were meeting a friend and her 4-year old son for a spot of brunch on Saturday morning and had arranged to go to The Tannery. The Tannery is a new collaboration between the ice-cream makers Kohu Road and the Coffee Roasters, Mt Atkinson.

The Tannery
The Tannery

We used to frequent the café at the Kohu Road creamery often and enjoyed their home-made pies, their Portuguese custard tarts and of course their ice-cream, so were disappointed when it closed down. But, fear not, It turned out that the space had been bought by the Mt Atkinson coffee owner who had a vision to create a space where you could watch the coffee being roasted and the ice-cream being made all on the same premises. The space has been renovated but continues to keep an airy warehouse feel with windows to both the creamery and the coffee roastery (roastery still under construction at time of visit). The café has always been popular with families and they will be pleased that The Tannery has kept the Kohu Road caravan which keeps the little ones amused while you eat.

Kohu Road Caravan
Kohu Road Caravan

The food offerings are simple – being limited to bagels and a small selection of baked sweet goods. However, on my first visit a few weeks ago, I was pleased to discover that they stock Best Ugly Bagels. Best Ugly Bagels are a relatively new venture from Al Brown (a NZ celebrity chef and restauranteur). They are a Montreal-style bagel as opposed to the more commonly available New York style and in my opinion, much tastier! They are hand-rolled, boiled and wood-fired in Auckland daily – and are much lighter and chewier than your standard bagel.

The Tannery offers five varieties of filled bagels, including a monthly special but they also allow you to build your own bagel with a number of fillings such as nutella, hummus, and peanut butter available. There are also 3 varieties of Best Ugly Bagel: sesame, poppy seed and cinnamon & raisin.

Food is ordered at the counter and delivered to your table. Sometimes the queue can be frustratingly long but this morning, although busy, our order of drinks and bagels was taken quickly. My husband also ordered himself a ‘cronut’ – a cross between a croissant and a custard doughnut as an entrée to go with his coffee. Delicious – but probably not too healthy!

We hadn’t been there long when we were treated to a flash-mob style percussion performance from people scattered throughout the café – there was a guy sat near me with a teaspoon and bottle, another behind me banging a plastic bin on the concrete floor, a girl at the other end of the café rhythmically tapping the sugar pot against the table and a couple of guys with broomsticks by the entrance. It sounds bizarre but it all came together to make a good noise. As we found out later, it was being filmed for TV3 and we were asked to sign waiver forms to give our permission for our images to be broadcast on NZ TV and apparently throughout the universe!

Our bagels arrived in good time: a New York (Gruyère, pastrami, hot mustard and cornichons) for my husband, King (Smoked salmon, capers, dills, red onion a cream cheese) for my friend and the monthly special (Blue cheese, pear, walnut and rocket) for me – all on poppy seed bagels.

King Bagel
King Bagel
New Yorks bagel
New York bagel
Blue cheese, pear, walnut and rocket bagel
Blue cheese, pear, walnut and rocket bagel

When they arrived, my husband asked if he could have some pepper. This seemed to confuse the waitress who claimed they did not have any! I am sure they must have some on the premises and it would be useful to have salt and pepper on the table. We let it go however, and enjoyed the bagels. They’re not as straight-from-the-oven type fresh as they are in the Best Ugly Bagel outlet in the city – but pretty good nonetheless.

In addition to the bagels, my friend’s son was treated to a cone with scoops of banana and raspberry ice-cream. Both me and my friend tried some of the banana icecream and agreed although it wouldn’t have been our choice of flavour – it was very good and extremely banana-ry! Not surprising as I am big fan of the Kohu Road ice-cream and they are always made generously with the best ingredients. My favourite is the dark chocolate which is made with 72% French cocoa solids. We often keep a tub in the freezer at home and you only need a small amount for a special treat after dinner.

Kohu ROad Ice-cream
Kohu Road Ice-cream

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Of course, the other main event at The Tannery apart from the ice-cream is the coffee: I am not a coffee drinker, but my husband has turned into a bit of a coffee snob since moving to NZ. Kiwis take their coffee seriously and I’m told the Mt Atkinson coffee did not disappoint – a rich blend with a good kick. So good, that he ordered another cup!

All in all, although we miss the old Kohu Road café, The Tannery is a good substitute and its location (walking distance from home) along with the welcome addition of Best Ugly Bagels means that we will continue to frequent this café for coffee and brunch.

Service: Service was quick due to no queue when we arrived. Coffee and bagels arrived quickly, but my friend’s ginger tea and her son’s hot chocolate took a bit of time to be served. We had finished eating the bagels by the time they arrived and no explanation was offered.

Food: Limited offerings but Best Ugly Bagels are always welcome. Coffee and ice-cream of high quality.

Prices: Filled bagels are priced at $9.50. Take-away multipacks of 5 bagels also available for $14 – perfect for when you have friends around for brunch.

The Tannery
44B Portage Road
New Lynn
New Zealand
09 827 6608

http://mtatkinson.co.nz

http://www.kohuroad.co.nz

http://www.bestugly.co.nz