I’ve been to Caravan for brunch a couple of times now and it was amazing both times. The first time I went was a long time ago, just after we moved to London. I don’t remember it that well other than that we had to queue for quite a while as they’re very popular and they don’t take bookings on weekends but it was worth the wait! It’s a huge place so the fact that they’re always packed out really shows how good their food is.
I got the oat and quinoa porridge with banana, dates and honey and poached eggs with field mushrooms on sourdough. How times have changed. Don’t get me wrong, porridge and eggs are pretty much my favourite breakfast items and I eat them every single day, but now I’m far more adventurous and try to order more exciting items off the menu rather than things I can make myself at home! They do make perfect poached eggs though.. something which I have yet to ‘master’..
Marcus got the oat, super seed, fruit and nut granola with coconut yogurt and baked eggs w/ tomato pepper ragout, greek yogurt, toast and merguez sausage. Although it was cooked to the perfect consistency, I do remember being a little disappointed by my porridge as I was convinced that it was just oats, and I was looking forward to there at least being a different grain in my porridge since I usually only ever use oats, but the waitress insisted there was quinoa in there and that it was just white, not red. At the end of the meal she later admitted that she was wrong and that they’d run out of quinoa, which was fine but I wish she’d have told me when ordering as I would have gone for something different.
Anyway.. that was a long time ago, and we’d been meaning to go back for ages to do brunch properly! We were lucky enough to be flying from Heathrow on a Thursday afternoon, so we stopped for brunch on the way to the airport. They take bookings on weekdays too so we didn’t have to wait for a table. Despite having a light breakfast before we left the house, by the time we got there we couldn’t wait to eat! It’s literally a stones throw from Kings Cross station, but we didn’t really consider how much of a pain dragging all of our luggage would be – we each had a rucksack, a suitcase and a badminton bag. When I looked at the menu again I had no idea how I’d ended up with something so simple the first time – I wanted to try everything! There was coconut bread, a grain pancake and a sweet potato waffle but I ended up going for the jalapeño corn bread w/ poached eggs, sherry corn salsa and herb creme fraiche.
Marcus chose the barbecue beans with fried eggs, mojo verde and toast. Although it didn’t look amazing, mine tasted incredible! The corn bread was so tasty, the eggs were perfectly poached and the sauces complimented the dish perfectly. I’d definitely get it again for the corn bread alone – the saltiness of the butter and the sweetness of the corn kernels were a match made in heaven 🙂 I got to try Marcus’ too and the beans were so good – I love home made beans!
At Caravan it’s clear that they take great pride in their coffee. They roast their own beans daily using beans sourced from around the world, focusing on quality, sustainability and fair relationships with their growers. Their beans are actually available to buy as well as brewing accessories for home use. I’ve had their coffee before and I remembered that it had a fruity/acidic taste which doesn’t appeal to me at all. We both decided to give it a second chance anyway and we got flat whites, but neither of us liked the taste. It had the sour acidic taste which I have noticed is present at a number of popular London coffee venues and I’m certain that it would appeal to some people but I really don’t like that taste in coffee so I wasn’t a fan at all. They also sell to a number of independent coffee places around London – I know Brickwood use their beans as I don’t like their coffee either. I’ve got the London Coffee Guide now so I know which coffee places to avoid!
After our mains was the toughest decision of all.. what dessert to choose! They have a cabinet with cakes, cookies, scones and brownies inside. There weren’t any pastries and I fancied one, so I chose the date and tamarind morning bun since anything bread-y and sticky is always a winner in my eyes! It actually ended up being very pastry-like and it was delicious. It was fluffy and soft on the inside with a flaky pastry on the outside, perfectly sweet with a sticky glaze on top.
I had to get cake too of course! I went for the raspberry yogurt cake washed down with a pot of tea (I wasn’t making the mistake of getting their coffee again!). There was a bit too much frosting for me (shocker I know) but the cake itself was delicious and moist. The menu said hints of violet which worried me a bit as flowers in cake or food in general just do not do it for me, but it was so subtle that I couldn’t really taste it over the raspberry.
We were served by a number of people while we were there. Most of them were lovely, but there was one waitress who was incredibly rude. Marcus asked to swap chorizo for bacon and it wasn’t allowed. That was a little baffling since chorizo is more expensive than bacon as a side but that wasn’t the part we were bothered about.. the menu says add a side of chorizo for two pounds but when Marcus asked the waitress raised her eyebrows sarcastically and said ‘well if you could swap it for anything, the menu would say add a side of anything you like.’ We looked at each other, wondering whether she was joking, but she looked back at us grumpily and dead serious. I was genuinely shocked that someone so discourteous would work at such a well known and popular restaurant. Luckily she went off duty shortly after this and everyone else that served us was lovely.
It’s a shame when very good food is tarnished by bad service, and it’s a shame that the actions of one waitress can reflect badly on all staff but that’s the only negative thing I can find to say about this place (okay and the coffee but that’s personal preference!). I can’t wait to go back again – I still have so many places to visit on my list, but I’ll definitely be going back here 🙂
Would I recommend it? Absolutely
Worth going out of your way for? Yep!
Would I go back? Definitely
Link to their website: http://www.caravanrestaurants.co.uk