Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Caravan, King's Cross

I've been a big fan of the original Caravan site on Exmouth Market, since it opened back in 2010.  I'm a massive Aussie style breakfast fiend and their baked eggs is one of my top London dishes.  Unfortunately, a recent evening trip was disappointing and I found the quality of the food seriously lacking and on top of that, I was really uninspired by the menu, nothing jumped out at me and I ended up having avocado on toast.

With this in mind, I was completely blown away by both the menu and the dining experience at the new Caravan, King's Cross.  They opened on Monday and I visited on their second day of existence, the place was really busy and the food was impressive for such a new venture.

The area is really on the up.  Eat St is just across the road and Shrimpy's round the corner.  There's been a lot of recent investment and whilst it's currently more building site than a hip to-be-seen-in corner of London, I think it will soon pick up.

We hadn't booked, arrived just after 7 and were seated right away though most tables were taken, or were soon filled.  We started off with a couple of cherry gimlets which were good, but a bit small for my liking, teeny glasses completely filled with ice doesn't leave a lot of room for the gin.

The all day menu is split into 4 sections, oysters, bread, cheese and meats, small plates and large plates, there's also a separate brunch menu available.  Having looked online in advance, there were so many dishes I was keen to try, we decided to go for small plates, to maximize the number of things we could try.  We started with 6 Portland pearl oysters with bloody mary jelly (£8).  Followed by these small plates:-

Mackerel fillet with corn, avocado and coriander salsa (£7.50)
Interesting combination, lovely piece of fish, perfectly cooked.

Chorizo and butternut squash croquettes with saffron aioli (£6)
These were fantastic, smooth and meaty on the inside with a crisp coating that was not at all oily.

Baked cauliflower with smoked san simon and sage breadcrumbs (£5.50)
Loved this, great textures and a new cheese to me.

Grits with girolles, pecorino and truffle oil (£6.50) My standout
dish of the night, these were so creamy and moreish, I practically cleaned the bowl!

There was a lot more I could have been tempted by, the pizza topping combinations all sound interesting and they looked and smelled good.  At this point we decided to move onto dessert.

Ginger treacle tart with clotted cream (£6)
Brilliantly chewy and there was a hint of orange in there too.

Caramel chocolate pot with salted shortbread (£6)
Great salty sweetness, runny caramel for dunking into underneath the hard set top layer.

I was very impressed with the quality of the cooking on display here and this sort of food is just what I like to see on a menu, but I do have to say there's little to be had that is not already being done well elsewhere in London.  The unique aspect to this venue will likely be that they are expanding their coffee production.  Caravan already roast their own beans at the original site and have built up a substantial wholesale offshoot, this new spacious home will allow them to explore this further.  The dining room is split in two, at the front, the eating area and, at the rear, a more relaxed coffee shop vibe and there's little by way of competition in the local area.  I can't wait to come back for breakfast, and I'm only a 10 minute walk away so that will likely be happening regularly.

Caravan King's Cross
Granary Building

Caravan Kings Cross on Urbanspoon

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