Caravan

Address: 11-13 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QD, United Kingdom
Telephone: 020 7833 8115

- Mid-range

4

This relaxed brasserie and café-bar brings a dose of antipodean sunshine to Exmouth Market.

Caravan opened in 2010 to immediate acclaim, this sort of easy-going all-day outfit still being a rarity in London. They’re so serious about coffee that they roast their own daily on the premises - smell it! – and a similar concern for quality extends to their choice of ingredients, spirits and wines too.

Food and drink
4.3
90%
Service
3.8
90%
Food and drink
4.3
90%
Value for money
4
90%
Ambience
3.8
90%
Location
3.5
90%

Food and drink

Unlike some fusion-y menus, the dishes aren’t too tricksy. Like me, you’ll probably feel you have to try the peanut butter and blue cheese wontons with soy dipping sauce, just to satisfy curiosity. I love the edamame purée with pickled Japanese mushrooms, and the subtle salty kick in vanilla blancmange with nectarine sorbet and dried cranberries, but the menu isn’t cast in stone and you may find slightly different dishes on your visit. That own-roast coffee appears in arabica oxtail with herb salad and crème fraîche polenta, and desserts of affogato, and chocolate and espresso pudding. A touristy tip: that Sipsmith gin and vodka they’re offering to make your martini with is actually distilled in Hammersmith, London – in the city’s first new copper still for nearly 200 years.

Ambience

Noisy, lively, yet relaxed. The all-pervading scent of freshly-roasted coffee can be heady at first. There are a few high stools for perching solo in the bar, while the main dining area has tables with bentwood chairs looking out onto the pedestrianised street.

Service

I’ve found it efficient but occasionally lacking the good humour one hopes for, especially from an antipodean crew.

Location

Exmouth Market is betwixt Farringdon, Islington and Kings Cross and something of a dining destination, though a look at the dreary surrounding streets will make non-Londoners wonder why.

Price advice

The problem with ordering inexpensive small plates is that it’s easy to go overboard. You could just have an espresso (£1.60) and a snack (ham and cheese muffin, say, or house roast monkey nuts – both £2), or you could greedily order six or seven dishes from £5-£10.50 and wind up spending as much as if you’d ordered a traditional three-course meal.

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Foodies
  • Singles
  • People watching
  • Trendiness
  • Chilling out

Details