We’ve waited a long time for this. Caravan today exceeded all expectations and our expectations were high. Inhabiting part of the revamped Granary buildings North of Kings Cross, Caravan does most things right. The staff are friendly, the fit-out is good (all the contemporary staples of exposed brick and recycled furniture but done so well and with so much space). As a roastery, Caravan at Exmouth improved its consistency over the years and recent coffees there had been very good indeed. When I heard they were opening a restaurant/roastery in Granary Square I couldn’t wait, especially when I heard they’d hired the brilliant Estelle Bright as a barista (formerly of Kaffeine and Dose Espresso) as well as Baptiste Kreyder formerly of Worshop Clerkenwell (St Ali UK).
Arriving for a late lunch I first ordered a flat white made with the current house blend (a sweet, caramelly combo of Fazenda Lambari from Brazil (pulp natural process) and Finca El Bosque, from Guatemala (fully washed). Anyone who knows Caravan knows that these beans are ethically sourced using a direct trade process. Estelle worked her magic on the La Mazzoca Linea (there are three espresso machines here – including a Strada for a takeaway and a second training Linea for the roastery and Chemex and aeropress were also available).
Ok, the food. This was a great brunch. The kitchen, as at all the best places, is open to view. Prior to Caravan, Head chef Miles Kirby worked with the well respected Kiwi chef Peter Gordon who was seated at a nearby table. I was tempted by fried chicken and a salt beef bubble and squeak but plumped for corn and morchilla fritters with avocado: delicious and perfectly cooked. The avocado combined beautifully and was ripe to perfection and the paprika creme fraiche complemented what were the best corn fritters I’ve had. A Hangtown Fry (fried oyster, bacon and potato omelette) was quite delicious. The fried oysters a wonderful combination of taste and texture. Rocket seemed to appear on every dish but hey, it was good rocket.
Estelle recommended a single origin El Salvadorean Finca El Retiro which was sweet and rich as a double espresso – I savoured it at length. A single shot piccolo also hit the spot. This is a great place to sit at the bar and order coffee as it is to sit at a table in the spacious high-ceilinged room to eat brunch, lunch or dinner. The reconditioned chairs are comfortable and this is a place you can relax in and enjoy at length and it’s big enough not to rely on a fast turnover of diners. The roastery is worth a look around with its beautiful German made machinery and there are coffee accessories for sale.
Kings Cross has always been an interesting place with gems of places hidden away. We do miss some of the former wildness of the canal how it used to be but Granary Square has proved an excellent design and the way the next door Central St Martins University building integrates historic architecture and modern design is uplifting and exciting. Caravan Kings Cross continues the theme!