9 October 2013

brunch regen

Location | Caravan, King's Cross | Granary Building, 1 Granary Square

It's that time again, another recount of a recent food adventure. It had been a while since my fellow Brunch Bros and I had brunched; we wanted somewhere new and had been recommended Caravan by a few friends. First thing - trendy (plus for me, patience) alert. Caravan is one of these new we-don't-take-bookings places which essentially means you've got to queue if you want the experience. Phil and I arrived at about 11.30am in the hopes to brunch within the hour - just after midday is usually the perfect brunch o'clock. On arrival, the restaurant was clearly very popular. There were two queues - one for outdoors and another for indoors. Given that it was a beautiful day and we were explicitly told the queue for outside dining was longer, we decided to opt for the indoor list. "That will be approximately 1 hour and fifteen" said the clearly-stressed-out waitress. Now, if you know me well you will know I am not the most patient person. However, this was a chilled Sunday, the food sounded worth-the-wait so we decided to wait, relax and explore (more on the latter below).

1 hour and 45 minutes later (and just as my patience was wearing pretty thin and stomach was crying for food), we received a text: "Your table is ready". We then re-queued (be prepared for a lot of this) and were finally ushered to a comfy table - grey sofa bench on one side and grey (what I can only describe as) schoolroom chairs on the other. Phil and I got cosy on the sofa and then it was straight to the menu. Drinks were ordered almost immediately: I went for my go to latte (first picture), which was pretty good. Then it came to the food. The brunch menu is relatively concise but perfectly formed.

What We Ate | Phil: Jalapeno corn bread, fried eggs, black beans, guindilla pepper | Nick: Caravan Fry - eggs, field mushrooms, tomato compote, bacon w/ sourdough toast | me: poached eggs, aubergine puree, yoghurt, sumac, parsley, chorizo w/ sourdough toast

To be honest, the minute our food arrived we all knew we had picked a great brunch destination. The frustration around the waiting time almost disappeared because the food was genuinely fantastic. Great flavour combinations, well executed and creative twists on some pretty common brunch components. I have never had yoghurt, aubergine and chorizo together in a meal and do you know what, it works. You may have to try it to believe me but it is really good. The boys seemed pretty happy with their choices too - confirmed by completely clean plates.

All in all, visiting Caravan was a fun experience. The wait really did challenge my patience (which I'm sure you can tell) - I don't mind waiting (that's my choice) but if it's even longer than I'm told then I am not a happy bunny. I felt for the women taking reservations as they genuinely looked like all they were getting were complaints about the wait. However, the setting and the food made up for it. Plus, the bill was very reasonable at £15 each including tips. This place really does have a great atmosphere and I'm glad we ended up inside rather than out because I think you get a greater feel of the buzz. With an open kitchen, a barista bar, industrial lighting / feel and tables constantly rotating with new diners around us, it was a fun place to brunch.

The restaurant itself is in the heart of the Kings Cross regeneration project and really does personify the excitement around this whole development project. Caravan is located within the historical Granary Building which currently has an art installation lightening bolt across the front. On this particular visit, there was some sort of medieval festival happening in Granary Square which the boys and I got to explore while we waited for our table. There were fruit, animal (taxidermied) and veg stalls, a crockery smashing stand, a big brass band, horse & cart and all sorts to set the scene. It looked like a fun family outing opportunity, but for me also just showed overall how well the old works with the new. This is only the first phase of the Kings X project and I'm already impressed by what has been achieved. It's going to be a fantastic, cultural hub in the centre of London and I for one can't wait to watch it blossom!

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