After experiencing a fry up like no other at Saxon and Parole in New York I found it hard to accept the unpromising likelihood of me finding anywhere with as good a game in London. In a back issue of Stylist months beforehand some of England’s best-kept Brunch secrets were exposed in a short column on unique eateries around the country. And being the dedicated food lover that I am, I had wisely thought to put the page aside for a rainy day. I have since been working my way through it, one Sunday at a time.
This particular Sunday it was my flatmate Charlotte who suggested we turn off Guy’s Big Bite and get off the sofa to spend our Sunday eating good food rather than watching unhealthy American’s knee deep in saucy ribs. As an enthusiastic coffee-lover, Caravan caught her attention immediately, boasting its own roastery and a very seductive coffee menu.
“We roast batches of beans daily on our Probat roasters using beans sourced from around the world. When we find a coffee that we love, we take the time to develop the roast profile to bring out the best flavour characteristics.”
She needed it in her life, and as it turned out, so did I; I just hadn’t known it then. Fresh out of bed and still in our oversized ‘cosy clothes’ we hopped on the 73 and went straight to the newest Caravan in Kings Cross. Thankfully all other customers were on our wavelength and the place was a slow-moving, sleepy slumber of people in ‘Cot-Bots’; the perfect atmosphere for a long, lazy lunch.
The building is huge and very industrial looking with pipes visible on the ceiling and long wooden tables that look like they came from a private school dining hall. As you queue (unfortunately it is practically compulsory) you line up past countertops covered in cakes, looking into the busy, bustling kitchen where bacon is seared like there’s no tomorrow.
We soon slipped onto the end of a busy table and after speculating over their ‘Salt Beef Bubble’ speciality, decided against it, ordering instead from their impressive ‘Sides’ section. This consists of just about any typical fry-up constituent you can imagine, including avocado with lemon and chili flakes and chorizo or wild boar sausages. It was the right decision. We ended up with clattering side plates falling off our corner of the table as we tucked in to huge juicy mushrooms, herby scrambled eggs, avocado and streaky bacon. Charlotte soon forgot about how good her latte was when this turned up. The eggs were full of flavour - which I never really expect from eggs - and the mushrooms were out of this world – unusually plump and soaked in organic butter.
Usually when I go out for brunch I tend to go for sweet pastries, pancakes or granola but with mountains of poached eggs and garlicky sausages whizzing past me on every waiters arm I couldn’t waste the opportunity. It was by far the most enjoyable breakfast I’ve located in London so far, even better, I thought, than the city’s famous Breakfast Club’s. There was nothing ‘greasy-spoon-y’ about it and the atmosphere was amazing; like a family-filled kitchen on Christmas morning, but on a slightly larger scale. The mushrooms stole the show this time, but didn’t quite suffice for the Creamed Spinach that I’d reluctantly had to leave behind at Saxon and Parole. Bloody good effort though, Caravan.
I have since been back a couple of times and have opted for starter style ‘sweets’ as well as the standard over-ordering of sides, simply because they sounded too good to miss. With my current obsession with coconut intact I tried their ‘Coconut Rice Pudding with Baked Banana’, which was even better than it sounds. The bowl was filled with thick coconut milk flavoured with spices and a sweet smokiness from the banana. Weeks later I returned with my most loyal lunch-loving companions to try ‘Coconut Bread with Lemon Curd Crème and Berries’. Yes, yes and a third time yes. So early on a Sunday it was easy to confuse the experience with still being in bed dreaming it. But I wasn’t. It happened. And it was… Well, you just need to try it for yourself.
It is important to visit with someone who is as enthusiastic about food as yourself, because the starving anticipation and the noises and commentary that follow a mouthful of each dish are definitely part of the experience. If you can’t be bothered with a tired attempt at a home made fry-up, Caravan can.
Granary Building, Granary Square, London N1C 4AA.