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Aug 22, 2009 12:23 PM

Lantana, Fitzrovia, London

Excellent creamy foamy top on the flat white, the underlying coffee rather complex and expressive, with various nutty fruitty notes, an interesting contrast to the structured smooth qualities of the ones at Flat White. (Not saying that one is better than the other, merely that they're different.)

A good omelette, moist beneath the surface browning and wet on the inside (which is the way I like mine), with spinach, ham and cheese. Perhaps a tiny gloss of butter, certainly nothing like the buttery rendition at The Garrison on Bermondsey Street (which I also like but rather different). Big flavours in the tomato chutney - spicy (cumin, coriander?), fruity and sweet, very satisfying with the omelette. Nice rustic pieces of toasted bread. A side salad of sharp bitter nutty greens.

Pretty good friand, massively dotted with poppy seeds for many delightful miniature pops in a background of sweet lemon.

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  1. Until recently i lived 30 secs walk from Lantana and when it opened i wanted desperately to love it , as theres nothing better than a great coffee shop on your doorstep , but i just didnt get it ! I found it a case of 'emperors new clothes' , nowhere near the same world as monmouth , flat white , or even the new 'ginger and white' (hampstead) .
    Nobody describes food like you Limster , i love your reviews , so im almost hesitant to give my contrary view , but i went 3 or 4 times , and never had a great coffee once !

    10 Replies
    1. re: millema

      So you've discovered G&W. Apart from the coffees, what else have you been enjoying there?

      I recently discovered another excellent espresso/coffee bar. It's called The Espresso Room and it's on Great Ormond Street, definitely worth checking out.

      1. re: oonth

        well after your recommendation how could i order anything but an eccles cake . It was lovely , packed with fruit , tasty , flaky pastry , but also of considerable size . My flat white each time was excellent and the service was just perfect , especially as my 2 year old daughter received superior treatment than ricky gervais . He really looked quite perturbed .

      2. re: millema

        Please don't hesitate to give your contrary opinions, it's bad when people hesitate because it promotes lemming like groupthink. We're all here to share opinions.

        1. re: millema

          Weird, we had great coffee, which we put ahead of FW and Monmouth. We are Australian so maybe more to our taste.

          1. re: PhilD

            Flat White in soho is an antipodean coffee shop so that doesnt make sense !

            1. re: millema

              People can have different opinions of a given place due variation in the quality (e.g. different batch of ingredients, different staff/cooks, different dishes) or different tastes. Differences in opinions are the norm on chowhound. When it comes to opinions, no one is wrong, but no one is right either. It's all about deciding for yourself critically.

              1. re: millema

                Kiwi baristas, not Aussie's ;-)

                1. re: PhilD

                  agreed , but thats why i strategically said antipodean !
                  As a genuine question -- are australian and kiwi coffees or the preparation of the coffee that different ?
                  Regarding the original point , in my limited opinion my favourite coffee has been had at flat white , but my best experiences over time have been at monmouth . I love that theres no room to swing a cat , the waitresses that serve you are always genuinely friendly even though theyre fighting to find you a space to sit and theres a queue out the door .You share your tiny table with other people that somehow are always lovely , but maybe having my daughter in tow breeds friendliness amongst people .Its also the 1st place that opened my eyes (and mouth and nose ) to the fact that is it possible to have a decent coffee in england .

                  1. re: millema

                    I think you missed it was a joke. No there is no difference between NZ and Aus coffee. In-fact Flat White is part Australian owned and whilst the baristas are Kiwi's I think they worked in Australia prior to London.

                    Limster's reply hits the nail on the head regarding the differences. There are lots of different factors that make a good coffee; the grind, the blend, the humidity in the shop that day, how warm the machine is, and of course the skill of the barista in managing all these elements. Coffee in a good outlet should be consistent but even so it will vary from hour to hour and from day to day.

                    I like all three, and all three serve an excellent coffee. Given that 99.9% of UK coffee is poor we are really splitting hairs. My comment "we are Australian" simply meant that Lantarna may have been more to our, individual and specific taste. In Sydney/Melbourne everyone has a different favorite as individual taste varies.

            2. re: millema

              Flat white is a coffee (espresso shot) with steamed milk but no "froth" (not that any coffee should really have much anyway - i.e. not like the abominations that are served in the well known chains) as opposed to a Latte or Cappuccino which have "textured" milk (the Latte has a greater proportion of milk).

              A "long black" is an espresso that is made with more water so it is (well) longer. A short black in Australia is an espresso. Aus/NZ coffee culture is really Italian coffee culture with a few different names.

              Hope that helps.

            3. I too had a sensational coffee at Lantana, part of a very good breakfast, and it's near to where I live. Just find the place too frosty - both in human service and general 'stick around and read the papers' environment - to get me out of my own flat for breakfast or brunch. Would love a similar place with a warmer, more hospitable feel.

              1. We'll be staying in Fitzrovia for a week in October and need a very good espresso cafe to start the day. It looks like Lantana and Wild and Wood are the top candidates so far. Any others? But, first, we need help with the lingo: what exactly are a "flat white" and "long black"? We generally order cappuccini and macchiati. Any other terms we need to know? Thanks.

                9 Replies
                1. re: NWPeter

                  Milk Bar which is a spin off of Flat White has gotten very good reviews. Flat White is worth a visit too, but it can get busy and there isn't much seating.

                  1. re: nanette

                    I think these kiwi / aussie baristas are a bloody godsend.

                    But why are antipodean hipsters so much friendlier than english ones? Didn't they get the moody memo?

                    1. re: kidtofu

                      They know they are going home one day.....

                      1. re: PhilD

                        I think Lantana is great (again an Australian bias perhaps). Some of the menu leans towards a Bill Granger rip off - corn fritters anyone? Still, it is great food and I think the coffee is genuinely good. What I don't understand is why Aussie and Kiwi baristas are leading the charge in London and there is not more great Italian baristas, after all we are so close here to the spiritual home of coffee.


                        1. re: Gourmet Chick

                          I wouldn't say corn fritters are a Bill Grainger invention - I recall eating corn fritters long before he came on the scene (perhaps it is an Antipodean thing though - I'm from NZ)

                          1. re: pj26

                            Unless we're talking about different dishes with the same name, corn fritters are traditional in the South of the US.

                            1. re: limster

                              that's true - I guess my point was the corn fritters at Lantana are perhaps Antipodean influenced rather than specifically Bill Grainger influenced

                              1. re: pj26

                                I agree with GC definitely a Grainger influence. It isn't the fritter per se, it is the way it, and other dishes are served, it reminded us a lot of our our old haunt Bill's in Darlinghurst.

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  I visited Lantana yesterday and had the corn fritters which came in a good heap on top of some crispy bacon, avocado, poached egg and I think rocket? The fritters where delicious. The FW was superb in my opinion. I'm curious to see how it fares with Milk Bar/G&W. Great stuff, glad I finally got down there.

                2. I've been all over London on quests for great Flat Whites (they're virtually unknown in the States, though a few places in Brooklyn, where I'm from, are starting to put them on the menu). Lantana is right up there at the top of my list. They use their own blend from Monmouth and their baristas are superb. Love their breakfast menu as well, particularly their banana bread toast and brioche toast with yogurt and pears.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BGRose

                    One of the ex baristas from Lantana is now at a brand new cafe in New Cross, if any of you live down that way. The London Particular on New Cross Road. Check it out.