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.