The London dining scene in 2012 has been marked by a trend towards duplication. Or should I say serialisation. Accompanying the slew of new (and increasingly specialised) openings we've come to expect of our drinking and dining scene, this year has also seen the opening of sister / daughter establishments from a diverse range of operators. We've seen a Mexican invasion of the east from Lupita, a foreign landing from Duck and Waffle, a Shoreditch sequel from Dishoom, and Honest Burgers cross the river to set down in Soho.
Antipodean eatery Caravan opened their first restaurant, bar and roastery in early 2010, establishing a simple concept which saw all-day eating and drinking, (almost) any way you like brought to Exmouth Market. The area is now one of the most popular dining strips in the capital. Under the guidance of Miles Kirby, Caravan has shown Londoners that it is possible to have a casual restaurant that serves up eclectic, fusion-driven cuisine without any of sighs and eye-rolling usually associated with such an offering.
When Caravan announced its second site at Granary Square, Kings Cross the timing and placement seemed just right. The area, currently being reincarnated as a mixed-use development has opened in stages and is already home to Eat Street (now KERB) and Shrimpy's, the fashionable filling station built in the ruins of clubland.
Encased in a monolithic brick building - a restored Granary Building, the interior leaves one feeling like they're sitting inside a 'school dining meets community hall', long-hung lights, trestle tables, paper table cloths, cutlery in buckets. This sensation is somewhat validated by the clientele. At brunch this was a mixture of young families who had tottered down the road from Islington and scraggly loose-knit and camo-clad students, nursing a single shot Gibraltar whilst pillaging the wi-fi. That said, the service is smooth and very friendly, executed by a brigade of leggy blondes - the sort usually seen striding around Surrey Hills or Potts Point.
Caravan was made for brunch. The daily changing menu features hearty but inspired fayre - Corn bread, Polenta and mushrooms, sausages, avocado on toast, milkshakes, bloody mary's if you so desire. We took a wide swing and finished up with a couple of house-roasted Caravan flat whites. All were excellent, and plans were soon made to return for dinner. Suddenly, Exmouth Market seems very far away. If anyone asks - i'm at her sisters place.
|Polenta, sausages, mushrooms|
Caravan Kings Cross
1 Granary Square
Nearest transport - Kings Cross St Pancras