London has become populated with the concept of small-plate sharing and Caravan is right up there as one of the best. We visited the branch at Kings Cross, the newer of the two, but have been told the Exmouth Market sister is just as good. The ethos is the same in both branches: welcoming, efficient staff; who ooze professionalism with a friendly smile and a menu of, what their website calls, ‘well travelled food’.
The Kings Cross branch is part of an old warehouse with an open plan layout. It has a laid-back buzz and provides great people-watching opportunities. It’s chic without being pretentious, with high ceilings and low-hanging lights. The kitchen runs along one side, and behind the bar is a giant coffee-roasting machine. This is where we parked ourselves as we hadn’t reserved a table in the main restaurant. It didn’t bother us one bit as it felt like we were in our own little world.
The menu consists mainly of small plates plus a few large and (at King’s Cross only) a handful of first-class pizzas, meaning the results are always interesting. The pairings of ingredients to create niche dishes is outstanding. Flavours you wouldn’t think to pair together work so well and the end results are happy customers with full bellies.
We encourage small plate sharing at London’s Dinest as it gives you a greater sense of what the restaurant is trying to offer. The menu is split into three sections (bread and cheese, small plates, larger plates) and it’s a guide to order a couple from each. To begin we opted for the Jalepeno cornbread with chipotle butter, Garlic & za’atar flatbread with tahini yoghurt, Alpine Victoria cheese with orange honey figs & hazelnuts and Gorgonzola dolcelatte with walnut pesto. The cornbread was light and flavoursome and the chipotle butter was delicious. We all loved the dolcelatte, naming it the dish of the night! It has been a while since we have had a good quality dolcelatte and this one was just beautiful. The pesto was fresh and worked well to tame the rich flavour of the cheese.
To follow we ordered some of their Pork croquettes, Crispy tofu with kimchi slaw and a couple of pizzas to share. The croquettes were crisp on the bite with a hot gooey centre encompassing the tender pulled pork. The sauce that accompanied the tofu was really moreish. Deep BBQ flavour with a kick that is really hard to get right, but Caravan have. Stonebaked pizzas with mozzarella and basil on one and Nduja and peppers on the other. Both lovely but there are better, more stand out, dishes on their menu.
We loved the concept yet again and the experimenting of flavours is always a winner. We will be back as we know Caravan love to change the menu to make you want to try even more unusual dishes.
Caravan Kings Cross
Granary Building, Granary Square, 1, London N1C 4AA