Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards 2009

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  • To save 30% on the new 'Time Out Eating & Drinking 2010' guide, just visit the Time Out shop

    Best New Restaurant | Best New Italian | Best New Cheap Eats | Best New Gastropub | Best New Bar | Best New Local Restaurant | Best New Café | Best New Design | Best Spanish Restaurant | Best Spanish Wine List

    Best New Café


    • Photo for WINNER: Lantana

      WINNER: Lantana

      13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1SN

      This excellent café is always a joy to visit. It has an overflowing sense of Australian bonhomie; the owner, Aussie Shelagh Ryan, set up the place after bemoaning the lack of decent cafés in the capital. Though its been nearly a year since it first opened, the food remains inspired and, more importantly, delicious; the flat whites come out perfectly each time, and they keep striving to bring something new to the table. For example, late-night openings on Thursdays and Fridays see the café offer fruity cocktails and Australian wines, served with nibbles. We’ve enjoyed Bill Granger-esque breakfasts here, such as corn fritters with rocket, smoked salmon and lime aioli, or grilled halloumi with sourdough and portobello mushrooms. Lunches might include steak sarnies, or full-flavoured tarts such as sweet potato with chorizo, asparagus and feta with innovative salads. The grilled chicken skewers are ludicrously juicy, served with a cooling tsatsiki; fishcakes are packed with quality fish and perched on top of an intense napoli sauce. And we haven’t even got to the sweet treats; the typical Aussie almond-meal cakes, friands, are moist and moreish (if a tad sweeter than we would have liked), while the hummingbird cakes (no relation to the Notting Hill cupcake shop) are packed full of tropical and spice flavours, and a supremely sinful half-inch of cream cheese frosting. Lantana’s the frontrunner in a new scene of Aussie and Kiwi-run cafés and coffee bars. Read more

  • RUNNER UP: Fleet River Bakery

    71 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, WC2A 3JF

    Chainstore Holborn is not the sort of place you would expect to find Fleet River Bakery, where the breads are all freshly baked on-site, the lemonade is own-made and little else is outsourced or bought in. Sandwiches are simple, with classic combinations such as roast beef and horseradish, but the quality of the bread elevates them above the norm. Some of the salads could do with a course in presentation, but are packed full of distinct and cleverly layered flavours. The labyrinth of rooms makes sure there’s enough space for everyone, but we were perhaps slightly bored by the plain, ‘urban rustic’ decor; there isn’t much in the way of atmosphere. Read more

  • RUNNER UP: J&A Café

    4 Sutton Lane, Clerkenwell, EC1M 5PU

    A haunt for the artistically minded, this café makes the most of its secluded location down a Clerkenwell alleyway, and its former incarnation as a Victorian diamond-cutting factory. The look is therefore industrial-meets-comfort – exposed brick walls are juxtaposed with rustic baskets of fresh vegetables, and blackboards with chalky scribbles contrast with piles of pastel-coloured cupcakes. The food revolves around simple sandwiches, quiches and salads (the same at dinnertime), but it’s the sweet treats and coffees that steal the show – the apple and maple cake was a triumph of classic dessert-making. Read more

  • RUNNER UP: Luca's Bakery and Café

    145 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, SE22 8HX

    One of the slicker-looking places on Lordship Lane, this continental-style café is known in the neighbourhood for their freshly-baked breads and pastries. Brunch is pretty good, too, with two poached eggs on excellent sourdough bread (with just the right amount of chew) and a choice of William Rose ham (meaty and intense), Moxon’s smoked salmon (oaky and not overly smoky) or spinach, with hollandaise, which on our visit was slightly too gloopy. The coffees aren’t bad, but the piercing shriek of the milk steamer suggested slightly amateurish baristas. On a quiet day, Dulwich’s denizens bask in the peaceful bamboo-lined alfresco seating out back, or flick through newspapers at the large wooden communal tables. Read more

To save 30% on the new 'Time Out Eating & Drinking 2010' guide, just visit the Time Out shop Best New Restaurant | Best New Italian | Best New Cheap Eats | Best New Gastropub | Best New Bar | Best New Local Restaurant | Best New Café | Best New Design | Best Spanish Restaurant | Best Spanish Wine List

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