Liz O’Reilly headed to LNT in Adliya to check out a brunch menu that serves up nonstop entertainment alongside a great variety of food. Weekend venue sorted!

Arriving at Lanterns is always a relief to see the reserved parking area in this hugely popular part of Block 338. And, heading into the restaurant itself, I was again impressed to discover that LNT is actually an over 21s space – perfect for a really enjoyable brunch with grown-up friends.

The atmosphere here is welcoming with a retro feel. A plethora of metal signs and artworks adorns the walls, seating is comfortable and there’s an impressively well-stocked bar to take care of all your beverage needs.

Entertainment from a live band, which changes weekly, and DJ Lina Colada, runs throughout both the brunch itself, which is from 12pm to 4pm on Friday and Saturday, but also into the after-brunch party, a one-of-a-kind buzzing, fun affair. LNT is also smoker-friendly (phew).

There’s a neat, pretty terrace which will appeal to nature lovers with its abundant greenery. Temperature controlled for comfort, it’s a great spot to dine or enjoy sundowners without missing out on the music and atmosphere. Or, if brunchers prefer, they can partake of the feast downstairs in the ever-popular Lanterns garden.

Two menus are available for brunch, one which offers exclusively LNT fare, the other boasting favourite dishes from both LNT and Lanterns. We began with starters to share. Sizzling Wagyu Beef Skewers; Baked Mushrooms filled with cheddar cheese, onions and leeks; Thai-style Chicken Satay with peanut sauce; and Jalapeno Cheese Balls – breaded cheddar and Emmental with parsley, coriander and jalapenos. What a treat.

The sauce on the Wagyu skewers, though a simple, spicy soy sauce and beef reduction, perfectly hit the spot in terms of flavour and really brought out the very best in the bite-sized chunks of high-quality meat. And the crunchy vegetables made for an interesting texture combination alongside the tender juiciness of the flesh. The satay chicken, which, of course, needs no introduction, was exactly as we had anticipated, the sweet/ salty sauce enveloping the chicken nibbles in a way that played to the very familiarity of the dish.

Cheese balls were hot and crunchy on the outside, the interior melting delightfully for an intense cheesy flavour hit made all the more special with the herbs and the startling bite of the jalapenos. The mushrooms were, for me, the star on this occasion. The firm, almost meaty flesh of the fungi hiding a delicious combination of creamy cheese, onions and leeks – flavours I would never have thought to put together but which worked so very well that I kept coming back for more, eventually getting my fingers slapped away to give someone else a chance! I think I may actually return to LNT on a quiet afternoon for a double portion of these with a good book and a glass of hops to indulge in some people watching from that terrace.

Next, we enjoyed a trio of hummus – avocado, regular and beetroot – an opportunity for the chefs to really show off, since hummus is the simplest dish but one that can be the hardest to perfect. They certainly had no problem whatsoever. I was intrigued by the avocado version, which tasted strongly of the fruit and had an almost mousse-like texture. The bright pink of the beetroot one was beautiful to look at and sweet to taste. But, as usual, the original, for me, was the favourite. Perfectly textured with not too much olive oil and just the right hint of garlic. Served with crunchy bread and corn chips, we really could not ask for more.

Almost replete from the starters, we chose to share a main course and went with my dining companion’s recommendation of Stuffed Cheesy Cannelloni – pasta filled with spinach, chicken, ricotta and mozzarella. What a great choice this was. Super flavourful with melting cheeses, teasing hints of herbs and an amazing texture thanks to the perfectly rendered pasta, which had just enough bite to make it interesting without presenting a challenge to get to the delicious interior. I must admit, pasta would usually be my last choice from a menu. But this changed my mind. It was a dish of such completeness that I found myself falling a little bit in love.

By this point, we were absolutely full to bursting point and truly could not manage dessert. But I am told LNT serves a mean apple crumble with cream. Might just have to come back for that too.

Throughout our meal we were served Virgin Mojitos, a refreshing long drink for a warm day. And, since we had decided to forego dessert, we decided to retreat to the terrace to relax as the sun went down. ✤