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Caravan Bankside

Restaurants, Global Southwark
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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Third outpost of the fusion staple, in a Southwark ex-factory.

As you’d expect, the food at this third branch of coffee-roasters-turned-fusion-fare hawkers Caravan is sound – with a broad, globally peripatetic menu branching ever wider from the Antipodean fare it first made its name with in Exmouth Market all those years ago.

Snacks of cornbread and peanut wontons – practically humming with the earthy funk of blue cheese – are reliable staples harking back to those early menus, and Caravan succeeds best when merging East and West. This is exemplified in chive and pork potstickers – Chinese ‘gyoza’, if you like – served with a slick of black vinegar mayo. Also in a simple kale, pecorino and truffled umeboshi salad that was nevertheless an open-hand slap of flavour, liberal with the cheese and lousy with the salt-sweet of pickled plum. Then there was an excellent, densely meaty plate of yuzu-pickled mackerel – more akin to Scandinavian herring than the expected ceviche – and set off by the genius addition of brittle toasted buckwheat.

Duller notes come in the form of confit fennel with lemon gremolata – bereft of aniseedy freshness, as cooked fennel often is – and an anchovy, preserved lemon and jalapeño pizza that, while passable, sorely lacked a knockout flavour on account of the fish being marinated rather than salted.

As for the cavernous room – all lofty height, stripped wood and metal girders – it looks marvellous, though the the swathes of hard surfaces come at a cost. My God, are the acoustics terrible here. It almost makes you long for carpets.

But those are the only downsides. If Caravan keeps rolling out offshoots like this, then we should be grateful.

Details

Address: The Metal Box Factory
30 Great Guildford Street
London
SE1 0HS
Transport: Tube: London Bridge
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £90.
Contact:
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am-10.30pm; Sat 10am-10.30pm; Sun 10am-4pm.
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