Orange water blancmange,
guava sorbet & pistachio
Okay Time Out, all is forgiven (See blog date 24 Feb). This week’s featured venue, Caravan, is spot on in lots of ways. I’ve been there twice now: first of all to snoop and chat at down time, and yesterday for brunch. It was heaving by 11.30 and rightly so. These guys know what they’re doing, even if some of the staff are still learning the finer details. The chef is Miles Kirby recently from Providores in Marylebone High Street, a Kiwi who patently knows how to put an interesting menu together. You can go in at any time and have the likes of Salt and Sichuan Pepper Squid with Chilli Mayonnaise (£6), House-cured Organic Salmon with Sesame Cucumber (£6.50) or Golden Beetroot, Berkswell, Poached Egg and Watercress (£5.50) – all on small plates. There are bigger portions of Almond Couscous, Tomato Ragout, Aubergine and Sumac Yoghourt, (£11), and other meatier items such as Warm Smoked Duck, Ragstone, Pear and Walnut Salad.
The premises looks deliberately worn in, and rough hewn. The face of the bar counter is made from scaffolding planks, and the industrial aluminium shelves at the back have fairy-style lights cleverly strewn along the back, gently illuminating the glasses. The hanging light fittings throughout are lovely. Someone inspired did the fitout, and knew when to stop adding. If I say St John crossed with Muji (menus on conti clipboards), you get the idea.
Yesterday was their only their second Sunday, and yet it felt it had been open longer. There were some minor faults. An order of Muesli to be followed by Poached Eggs on Sourdough Toast arrived at the same time, and the selection of jams on offer at breakfast were raspberry, honey and marmite. To match such an imaginative menu, it would be easy to extend the selection to spread on the delicious toast. But these are minor gripes. Until they can draw beath, and get their website up, the menus are downloadable from http://www.london-eating.co.uk/menu/37167.asp.
There’s a treat down in the basement. The brightly lit kitchen to the left is visible through the big hatch, over which the chef is happy to come and chat and take compliments. And straight ahead is a large heavy duty coffee roaster firmly planted on the floor waiting for action. If they get the timing right on the roasting, the prospect of roasting coffee aromas wafting up the stairs, will draw in customers in ever increasing crowds. At the moment they don’t take bookings during the day. Maybe it won’t be long before you have to book 3 weeks in advance for a 1hr 15 min breakfast slot (a la Wolseley). But for the moment, enjoy!
Caravan, 11-13 Exmouth Mkt, EC1R 4QD. Tel 020 7833 8115
Around £80 inc service for two