Having first established themselves in London back in 2008, the Lantana team can lay claim to being one of the progenitors of the capital’s booming Aussie café scene. There are two branches already thriving in Fitzrovia and Shoreditch, and their third location has arrived in London Bridge. They’re clearly working with an ‘if-it-ain’t-broke’ ethos: the coffee’s still artisanal, the staff are still plaid-shirted and cheerful, and the main sell is still the hallowed metropolitan ritual of brunch.
Unfortunately, said brunch was terrifically disappointing. The tomato sauce accompanying some ‘drowned eggs’ was vinegary, the pulled pork flavourless. Even with the addition of a little beetroot-cured salmon, I’m not convinced that avocado on a single slice of sourdough can justify a £14 price tag. A slice of courgette cake from the counter was lamentably dry. Only the earthily delicious kale-and-celery smoothie showed Lantana at its best.
But there are two other things that really spoil the experience here: hard floors and high ceilings. You have to shout to make yourself heard – especially when you’re after the attention of the staff, who were friendly but overwhelmed by the weekend queues. Hardly the leisurely Antipodean vibe I’d hoped for. Sadly, the Aussie sunshine has waned a little here.