Though not a newcomer— this Australian-run cafe, nestled into a snug unit on Charlotte Place, has been sating the appetites of hungry Fitzrovians since 2009 — Lantana remains one of the best spots in the West End to settle in for a lengthy lunch.
That's assuming you can get a seat: despite the competition in this cafe-crowded part of London, Lantana packed from the morning on, and if you're solo or in a pair, expect to share a table. This may partly be down to the service which, while never anything other than polite, does tend toward the leisurely. If you're the kind of person whose boss tends to be waiting by the door with a stopwatch as that lunch hour reaches the 59-minute mark, Lantana might not be ideal.
The food, however, is worth the wait. On our visit we tried a stack of corn fritters, cooked with just the right amount of moisture and accompanied by avocado, bacon and chili jam and rocket, and a burger laden generously with beetroot relish. On a previous trip we enjoyed the cafe's signature BERT sandwich — that'd be bacon, egg, rocket and tomato and aioli, on toasted bread (they also serve a BRAT for weekend brunch; see if you can guess what's in it). The accompanying coffees were excellent.
Having won a number of awards in its short lifetime, standards haven't slipped and Lantana has managed to keep its reputation afloat. The cafe has recently expanded out, opening up a take-out coffee shop right next door and an offshoot, Salvation Jane, in Shoreditch. Seek it out if you're in the area.
Lunch for two, with a latte, cost £25 including service charge.
Lantana is at 13 Charlotte Place, W1T 1SN