Jump down to the At a Glance summary section (we won’t be too offended!)
As Kiwis or anyone with the great fortune of having visited the Land of the Long White Cloud will be able to tell you, New Zealand knows how to do brunch; the myriad of cafes located the length of the country will attest to this fact. So what better way to commence the eve of my return to Aotearoa than with a brunch date at the latest addition to one of the UK’s most renowned Kiwi restaurant groups.
Introducing Caravan’s latest all-day restaurant in central London
Nestled in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia and a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus and Great Portland Street tube stations, Caravan has once again nailed an effortlessly cool and fresh vibe in this location. Housed in the splendid former BBC Radio One headquarters, the space has an urban jungle feel – think wicker light shades, wooden stools, marbled table tops, and copper piping accented with pops of greenery.
Caravan roasts their own coffee beans and do a stellar job of it
Toni had arrived a few minutes before me and was seated at a table near the window, perfect for watching the hustle and bustle of Central London life. No sooner had I sat down, my coffee order was being taken. As Caravan aficionados will already know, the group roasts their own beans and do a stellar job of it. My flat white was smooth, strong and a significant help in ensuring I achieved optimal caffeine levels – a winner on all fronts.
Best brunch menu in London (warning: there will be food envy)
Now, before we dive into our food choices, when it comes to eating out, I am always a fan of choosing a dish that I wouldn’t normally make at home. On top of that, I am the proud owner of a well-honed sweet tooth. I’ll always pore over the dessert menu before even acknowledging the mains. With this in mind, it was hard to go past the polenta ricotta hot cakes with stewed plums, maple yoghurt cream and pecans.
After a few minutes to-ing and fro-ing, Toni decided on the black bean and sweet potato hash and fried duck egg with feta, tomatillo salsa, chipotle mayonnaise. Our food arrived promptly, and while delighted with my hot cakes decision, I encountered an acute case of food envy when I realised the delicious aromas present at our table were not coming from my plate but instead from that directly opposite me!
Before I dug into my dish, Toni graciously let me help myself to a generous forkful of the hash and my expectations were not disappointed. The tomatillo salsa complemented by the chipotle mayonnaise was a stroke of genius, seamlessly tying the whole dish together. This definitely awoke the taste buds!
I would have happily bathed in the maple yoghurt cream all day
Back to the plate in front of me, the hotcakes were the fluffiest mix I have recently experienced and, to top it off, featured a surprise dollop of ricotta in the centre of each. The stewed plums and pecans added pleasurable mouthfuls of tang and crunch to the dish, and I would have happily bathed in the maple yoghurt cream all day – it was outstanding! The only dilemma I had was about the lack of syrup (remember that sweet tooth of mine?) However, a quick request to one of the cheery waitstaff and a generous serving of maple syrup appeared next to me. It’s fair to say both plates were scraped clean and if that isn’t a rocking endorsement of the food here, I don’t know what is!
A well-designed restaurant and bar with plenty of space
Caravan strikes an impeccable balance of encompassing communal and standalone tables all in one space. It caters to every occasion – a bar to perch at while waiting for your takeaway coffee, communal counters to settle in solo with your laptop and bash out your next novel, and an abundance of tables to accommodate lunch for two or dinner for eight. Nothing is an issue for the warm and welcoming Caravan staff (who are definitely a highlight!) and they will go above and beyond to make sure you enjoy your visit.
It’s all in the detail
I also think it’s worth noting a few endearing touches that the Caravan team have added: Aesop hand wash and moisturiser in bathrooms and, with the bill, they included a card with information on the origins and producers of their coffee beans as well as tasting notes.
Caravan restaurants have been making Kiwis proud in the Motherland since 2010 and their newest locale in Fitzrovia is no exception. My advice – do yourself a favour, grab your best brunch buddy and head to Caravan Fitzrovia ASAP. You can thank me later.
At a Glance
- Just passing through the ‘hood with no time to stop? Look no further than Caravan Fitzrovia’s dedicated takeout counter – offering a wide range of baked goods, sandwiches, salads and of course, coffee. Wish our offices were nearby!
- Most intriguing menu item: Their ‘Tepache 3 Ways’ – a traditional Mexican pineapple fermentation – they had us with the suggestion of doubling down and adding in a shot of Mezcal (obviously this is on the cocktail menu!) We also love the sound of their homemade G&T’s – there’s a Monkey 47 (one of our fave gins) with a grapefruit and citra hop (!!) tonic.
- Where else in London can I find a Caravan? Exmouth Market (the original Caravan, and the cutest of them all due to its compact size), King’s Cross Granary Square, The City (Cannon Street) and Bankside – they have Central London covered!
N.B. the food and drink consumed for the purposes of this review was purchased by Introduced By. No compensation (monetary or in-kind) has been solicited or offered. In fact, they don’t even know that they’re getting this glowing review! We love Caravan Restaurants, so the decision to write about it was our own and all views and opinions are our own.