The New Zealand trio behind Caravan Restaurants, Miles Kirby, Laura Harper-Hinton and Chris Ammermann, open a new site in Fitzrovia, located in the ex BBC Radio 1 recording headquarters. As well as all-day dining and craft coffee, the restaurant offers 'Caravan-To-Go' and the basement houses a 'record room' accommodating private dining and parties.
Harden's survey result
“So many amazing, creative options for brunch” together with “renowned coffee” (“meticulously sourced and roasted in-house”) have made these “loud”, “brash”, “buzzy” and “quite hip” haunts – particularly the well-known Granary Square branch – key destinations, particularly at the weekend. When busy, however, service can be “hit and miss”; and the food has sometimes been a let-down of late: “it feels like random, trendy ingredients are thrown into dishes so they can charge more for them, rather than for culinary interest or flavour”.
A “brilliant option” for brunch – which can be “excitingly different, or traditionally comforting as you choose” – these “vibey”, “extremely busy” (“you may have to wait for a table”) haunts are “just the job if you’re feeling a bit jaded” and “hard to fault” generally. The menu has its wild and wacky moments which are usually “interesting and super-delicious” and “the freshly roasted-on-site coffee is some of the best in London”. All its branches are strong performers – especially the Exmouth Market original and well-known Granary Square outlet – and in July 2018 the brand finally reached the West End, in a striking space near Oxford Circus that once housed BBC Radio 1.
“London’s most interesting brunch dishes” – “light pastries and wholesome porridge to unusual spicy and savoury options” (not to mention “fabulous speciality coffees”) – help drive a “vibrant” buzz at these “funky” hang-outs, with the “bustling industrial-style” Granary Square outlet vying for top popularity with the smaller Exmouth Market original (Bankside has yet to make many waves; and there’s also a new City branch is opening in October 2017, in the new ‘Bloomberg Arcade’). The eclectic dishes can seem too “keen to be innovative at the expense of polish” though, or just plain “weird”.
“Crazy eclectica rubs shoulders with family favourites” on the sometimes “bizarre” menu of these “bustling” “cheek-by-jowl” fusion haunts, whose “phenomenal coffee by itself would score a 6/5!” and helps establish them both as major brunch hangouts. Nowadays the “ever-busy” Exmouth Market branch is eclipsed by its huge, “super-cool” Granary Square sibling in King’s Cross, where “media types from The Guardian and students from adjacent St Martin’s” bolster the “hip and trendy” vibe. Stop Press – a third branch is to open on Bankside.