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Caravan King's Cross

Critics' choice
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1/6
Rob Greig / Time Out
2/6
©Rob Grieg
3/6
Rob Greig / Time Out
4/6
Rob Greig / Time Out
5/6
Rob Greig / Time Out
6/6
Rob Greig / Time Out
Kings Cross and St Pancras
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This large, industrial-looking room lacks intimacy but makes up for it with a laid-back buzz, great people-watching opportunities, and great grub.

Whereas the original Caravan (on Exmouth Market) is a small space, with a neighbourhood vibe, this offshoot is an altogether bigger, more urbane operation. The large, industrial-looking room lacks intimacy, but has a laid-back buzz and great people-watching opportunities. The ethos is the same in both branches: welcoming, efficient staff and a menu of what they call ‘well travelled food’. Most are small plates – deep-fried duck egg with baba ganoush, chorizo oil and crispy shallots, say, or grits, collard greens and brown shrimp butter, plus a few large plates and (at King’s Cross only) a handful of first-class pizzas. The results are usually interesting: recent favourites include a richly flavoured celeriac gratin with parsley, walnut and a brandy apple topping, and naughty-but-nice crispy fried chicken (in cubes) with jerk mayo and pawpaw salsa (both King’s Cross), and meaty, comforting ham hock croquettes and zingy burmese chicken salad (Exmouth Market). Jalapeno cornbread with chipotle butter is hard to resist from either menu, and it’s always worth ordering a pudding. Breakfast and brunch menus apply the same pick and mix attitude as the all-day one. Drinks are equally good, from the global wine list to the own-roast coffee. The fruity Caravan blend is perfectly brewed, whether as a textbook espresso or an expertly feathered flat white. The setting, next door to the Grain Store and overlooking the fountains of the piazza-like Granary Square, is a further plus. One caveat – we’re not convinced by the unisex loos.

 

Venue name: Caravan King's Cross
Contact:
Address: Granary Building
1 Granary Square
London
N1C 4AA
Opening hours: Breakfast served 8-11.30pm Mon-Fri. Brunch served 10am-4pm Sat, Sun. Meals served noon-10.30pm Mon-Fri; 5-10.30pm Sat
Transport: Tube: King's Cross or St Pancras tube/rail
Price: Main courses £13-£17Meal for two with drinks and service:around £60

Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:6
LiveReviews|18
4 people listening
Bea R

After visiting a couple of years ago, and being unimpressed, we thought we'd give Caravan another shot for brunch.
What a mistake, surly art student staff studiously ignored us, after we were seated in a draft so persistent that we ate with our coats on. The smoked salmon and new potatoes was basically sashimi with a potato garnish and the baked beans were so sweet that any other flavour was lost in their syrup. To top off that impressive anti-climax we thought we'd sample it's coffee, which boasts great things. Ah we should have learned, it arrived served in a science beaker, luke warm, burnt and was dishwater'esque weak. Completely undrinkable. With enough to fill a tumbler (yes no crockery here) each, at £3 a head it was as underwhelming as the rest of our meal. 


Brunch for two, for  nearly £50, like this... bad show Caravan. We WONT be coming back.

Tasman P

I arrived at Caravan this morning and asked if I could sit down for a coffee. I was guided to a table where I then sat for 30 minutes without any service or interaction by any staff.

Even when I then packed up all my stuff, and left, I was not acknowledged.

Having been a regular dining customer at Caravan in the past, and having filled multiple loyalty cards over the last few months with regular takeaways, I'm really disappointed that I'm now unlikely to feel comfortable buying coffee or food there again.

Mark Radix

Having had a pleasurable if expensive brunch on my first and recent visit, I returned yesterday at approx. 3pm on a Saturday to have a late lunch at my local eatery. As usual it was full and was advised the wait would be 30-40 mins. I was told I could order a coffee in a random queue near the entrance desk but would have to consume it and wait outside. I looked at the confusing group trying to figure out where to order some coffees. I went back to the person who took my reservation only to find out I had to order the coffees from the person standing next to her. What a convoluted and disrespectful system for accepting diners? A victim of their own success handled by staff too cool for school? I questioned to being 'handled' and 'ushered' in such a slap dash manner and promptly decided not to wait out in the windy cold of winter and save my dosh. Very interesting discord between Time Out's 5* rating and Users 3* experience. I shall think twice about going there again!

Sam H

An amazing setting for what I wanted to be a birthday treat to remember. Working in hospitality myself, I said to my girlfriend as we sat down "I'd quite fancy working here"… not now!! The service was slow even though we were only given an hour and half to eat before the next booking arrived. The menu is very well laid out but you may need to ask what half of it actually is. My starter of balsamic glazed ox tongue was swimming in balsamic vinegar and inedible to even the biggest of balsamic lovers. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I asked a member of staff to bring me another menu so I could pick something else after my second bite. I was then left till around 4-5 minuets after my girlfriend (not a quick eater) had finished her starter, without anyone coming back to see if I wanted to order a replacement. My main course of duck and bean cossoulet was amazing after they took it back to heat up! However pumpkin, blue cheese and sage risotto that my girlfriend had was warm but very average! On a plus when I asked if the management would kindly take off the inedible starter, they did without any hassle. Although a service charge of 12.5% seemed a little steep considering the inconsistent, slow and unthoughtful attention of the staff. Maybe you should try giving them sections, instead of a free for all and then this could be avoided. A real shame as this place has obviously had a lot of thought in to style but not much into service. Will definitely not hurry back.

JulesP

I want to like Caravan - I really do - but having been there several times over the last few weeks, the service is just relentlessly terrible. The staff ignore you/don't see you/cluster at either end of the restaurant and don't look at their customers. They're often rude, rushed, harried, or simply too cool to care. So fed up of it now - despite the convenience and the good coffee - that I'm going to avoid Caravan in future. Added to which, the food is disappointing. Menus look promising and there are a couple of great ideas (it changes regularly but a spiced cabbage was good, as are their meatballs), but most of it is lacking really standout flavours, and it's executed hurriedly and en masse, meaning that onion flatbread is drowned in yoghurt dressing, or fried chicken cubes have tiny pieces of bone in. I'm not sure it was a good idea, quality-wise if not profit-wise, to go so big in the space at King's Cross; everything seems to have suffered. But it's always packed, so I doubt they're too worried! Until the service and the food improve, I'm sticking to Grain Store nextdoor, or trying the great food stalls along Goods Way instead.

James

Had a brilliant brunch - our waiter was exceptional.. Didn't catch his name but he had curly brown hair and an arm covered in quirky tattoos and he Knew the menu inside out. We had to wait a while for our food but he kept us entertained and laughing and it was well worth the wait. We wouldn't hesitate to come again and would recommend it to anyone.

Sarah

3 of us came here for a late lunch a couple of weeks ago, just popped in with no need for a reservation luckily as it was fairly busy for 4.30pm on a Saturday. We had the cornbread and the curry onion flatbread to start which were both delicious. The cornbread was pretty spicy but I think I preferred the flatbread- a sort of curry pizza with yoghurt dressing. For the main I had the lamb gnocchi with olives, tomato and parmesan which was incredible. Melt in the mouth lamb, gooey gnocchi and lovely little salty bites of olive. I'm still drooling thinking about it now! The others had the pork and the fish (can't remember which...perhaps pollock) which they also enjoyed thoroughly. Service was great, and discreet. Agree the unisex loos were a bit odd, it felt like they were unfinished/I'd walked into the staff room! Much recommended!

Laura

So I finally managed to get a booking at Caravan and what a disappointment this place turned out to be! I know that London is not particularly great for service unless you are going to a quality michelin star rated restaurant like The Ledbury for example but this was a joke and I am not surprised to see some of the other reviews on the page. What I am surprised about is that Time Out have it as a critics choice venue? How much are they spending on advertising I wonder. Basically in 3 words- expensive , crap service! Would definitely not recommend it to anyone that prefers to go to a place which can offer the full package - great food, fantastic service and great atmosphere for the equivalent price.

Lidia

Food was goo but portions very small for the price. The service was a bit of a joke. I ordered share dishes for our table of 6 people and the start off ok when they give us the first four dishes but then stopped and left us waiting for 45 minutes. Even though I kept asking the staff where the rest of the food was, they just said they would check. They would then proceed to avoid coming to our table so they would not be asked again. This only made things worse because we could not get anyone to take a second drinks order. Finally I spoke to the fourth waitress that bothered to pay attention to us and she checked on the food, then came back to tell me it would be another 10 mins which was ridiculous. So we told her to cancel it all and bring the bill. Once I said this, all the dishes we were waiting for miraculously appeared on the table and she was behind the waiter carrying the food and asked if I still wanted it all taken back. This was stupid because the waiter with the food completely ignored me when I told him that we had cancelled the rest because of the ridiculous wait and he still put it down on the table and walked away. After having waited for so long we all could no longer eat the food so we asked the to pack it up. She got annoyed at my request and rolled her eyes at while she was snatching the food off the table all angry! When it was time to pay, I said we are not happy to pay any discretionary service charge because of the bad service. Again the looks death we got from all the staff at the cashier desk was enough to make me think that these kids need serious lessons in customer service if they want to be getting £40 pounds extra out of dissatisfied customers. The service charge was £40 on our bill. Again not cheap, crap service, bitchy incompetent staff and no concept of timing with the food when people are ordering only sharing dishes. It's a shame because the few dishes we ate we're nice but the rest just tasted like crap because of the wait and service. Don't recommend it.

Patricia

The space and atmosphere are great but the service is really hardly there, and the price to portion size ratio is breathtakingly bad, we paid £30 a head for a variety of tapas, got a few tiny mouthfuls each and went home really hungry. We also specifically asked for white wine that was well chilled and it arrived barely below room temperature. It is not good enough just to to be fashionable when people are spending hard earned money on a night out.

Wendy

Was told that we couldn't order pizzas as the dough had not had time to prove. Made another selection which we didn't really want. 10 mins later and the table next to us ordered and got served pizzas! Very disappointed and felt we were fobbed off with a poor excuse. On the plus side they didn't charge us for the meal, but we were looking forward to a relaxing meal and chat and ended up in a bad mood. There was some confusion about sell by dates on the beer as well. I don't think we will be going back.

George Skerket

Beef Wagyu was truly excellent and Lamb Tagine wasn't bad either. Great atmosphere, attentive yet relaxed staff and a creative cocktail list - Expresso Martini is a must-try.

Reetabix

Great, imaginative food & a lively atmosphere but the service was poor the day we went. We had to wait 45 minutes for our party of 7 to be seated for Sunday brunch ( you can't reserve). Once seated, & having ordered hot drinks, it took another 25 minutes for my coffee to arrive. When I raised this with a waiter, far from apologising, he informed that a 25 minute wait for coffee was the norm! We were eventually let off the cost of the coffee by a much more affable colleague. Overall staff seemed overwhelmed by the large crowds keen to eat here.

Claire

The toilets were mixed, the door didn't lock, not good especially when a man can walk in. Not enough soap dispensers, lentil and fish main was good but small for the price. Scallops, goats cheese salad, quail and ricotta pizza were all mediocre.

mavis

average small plates, good pizza. will go back and try the brunches. very nice space, good for a casual dinner with friends.

Stephen
0 of 1 found helpful

Appalling treatment from staff, including manager over an £8 bag of coffee beans: date on bag was out of date as we discovered when we got home. Rude responses on telephone showed utter contempt for customer relations - over a measly £8 refund. Shall not be returning to the restaurant on principle, nor shall our friends. Definitely not worth recommending if this is how senior staff react over such a trivial refund.