I've written about Caravan before when I came to visit on a Sunday to have their well known brunches. On that occasion I left feeling set up for the day and more than satisfied. My close buddy and fellow chef Alex Reid really wanted me to try out the a la carte menu, just for the simple fact that during the week the food really does comes to life and moreover showcases what Caravan is really about.
After a year of playing the waiting game, myself and a few others popped in to have dinner. We really went to town.
Caravan is a fantastic, young and trendy place to go to and the fact that its expanding its brand tells a story. What I love about this place is how honest the food is. It doesn't need to be fancy or presented in a pretentious way, you know what I mean, big plate small food with micro cress to make it look pretty. The food does all the talking, what you read from the menu is exactly what you're going to get on your plate. There's no faffing around in this place.
Not only that, the chefs play around with the menu all the time, changing things, experimenting, keeping it exciting and fresh.
Sure seasonality is a golden rule at any restaurant when it comes to writing a menu and Caravan does this but what's great is that there are no boundaries, they can create anything they like, shaking things up producing dishes inspired from the four corners of the globe.
I had dishes influenced from Europe and Asia and after knocking back a few beers and cocktails, I was ready to chow down on some blinding food. I love the idea of having different style of foods on one table. One minute I was having tasty chorizo croquettes and the next I was having tender, meaty ribs coated in a sticky miso sauce. Some people might find that strange to eat at the same time, but believe me it works and who cares, if the food looks and tastes fantastic then that's all that matters.
|Fresh vine plum tomatoes on chargrilled sourdough|
|Sobrasada and chorizo croquettes, saffron mayonnaise|
|Soft shell crab, kohlrabi, peanuts, cashew nuts, nuoc cham|
As all of my friends and family know I am an avid hater of nuts of any kind. The smell, look and taste of them doesn't sit too well with me. So when there were dishes that had nuts in them such as the soft shell crab and the blue cheese and peanut won tons I was a little apprehensive and hesitant in giving those dishes a go.
But I was having such a great evening I thought why the hell not. To be fair with the soft shell crab I just put the nuts to one side and I love soft shell crab. I simply adore food like that where you can just pick them up with your hands and go to town with them. With the won tons, the blue cheese overpowered the peanut taste and therefore wasn't as bad as I first feared. There was a little crunch but the texture of the nut didn't put me off.
|Blue cheese and peanut wontons, sweet soy|
|Roast sweet potato, beansprouts, mint, curry mayonnaise|
|Beef tatatki, moromi miso,|
If anyone hasn't tried beef tataki, I highly recommend that you do. Its so simple to do and as soon as I went out with Alex to this "hipster" Japanese restaurant in Marble Arch called Kurobuto, he put it on the menu.
Like I said its simple and packed with so much flavour. Seared beef, miso dressing and fresh limes make this dish mouth watering and out of this world.
My other mate Ian came with me to try the food here and he will be the first one to tell you that he likes his food plain and simple and I really do mean simple, like eggs and bacon or mac 'n' cheese. To his credit he tried most of the dishes and for the first time he stepped out of his comfort zone and gave it a real go. He really did have a great dining experience and at the end of it fell in love with that lamb and beef.
|Crispy lamb ribs, miso sauce, cucumber, wasabi|
|Potato and onion tortilla|
|Padron Peppers, piquillo peppers, goats cheese|
The plates kept on rolling out and after eating all that delicious food, I still had to tackle one last dish and what a dessert it was.
Refreshing passion fruit ice cream with a light coconut cream was the perfect end to what was a incredible hour of eating and drinking.
|Passion fruit ice cream, coconut cream|
This particular occasion at Caravan really did blow the other time out of the water. The brunch is fantastic but the a la carte menu at this joint is seriously banging. Its a great restaurant and I can assure everyone that visits here will not be let down by the food. It's a menu that's fresh and constantly changing, not sticking to the same formula and its great to see food that's played with and experimented to get people intrigued and eating food inspired from all over the world.
A big shout out to the front of house and kitchen team, it really was a memorable evening out.