Nancy Lam’s Enak Enak 56 Lavender Hill Battersea SW11 5RQ Sometimes I wonder if I my writing has the reverse Midas touch. Mandarin street, The ... Read Feature
Caravan, Ftizrovia sits in a building that used to belong to Radio 1 donchyano. Well I do as I used to work just around the corner from there.
One time I nearly knocked Sarah Cox over as she emerged from a local sandwich shop. Cox is one of those people who (at least to me) look better in real life and I remember suffering from rather a large stab of jealously when she remarried.
That day unfortunately I wasn’t meeting Sarah Cox, but rather a friend from a similar business to mine with whom I’d had friendly rivalry for years. His name is also Rob, but I’ll refer to him as Other Rob (OR) to make things more confusing.
It was his choice of breakfast establishment, and he’d chosen Caravan. I arrived slightly tired and bleary eyed, with the feeling you get when you’ve had exactly one hour too few sleep.
My first impressions were that Caravan was far too hip and happening for likes of me. Achingly fashionable types could be seen partaking of trendy breakfast dishes whilst happily scrolling away on this year’s iPhone. The otherwise friendly receptionist perhaps agreed as she steered me towards a table for 2 in some sort of back area which lacked both in temperature and service coverage.
OR was running late, so I ordered a coffee and started studying the menu. This was the sort of menu that offered up charred aubergine puree as a serious choice as a breakfast comestible. Well it was either that or the fried jalapeno cornbread, choices, choices. Actually I think that the menu is beyond satire and you should simply enjoy it’s loopiness which can be experienced here.
Naturally the choice of hot drinks were enormous, I was gratified to see that you could get genuine filter coffee. This is one of my pet peeves, yes, I love espresso based drinks but for a longer coffee filter is far nicer tasting than an Americano. Here Caravan offered you a choice of two blends.
OR was still running late and my coffee hadn’t arrived. My corner of Caravan more closely resembled that room at a party where the ugly and unpopular are shepherded by the second.
My thirst now compared with that of desert explorers so after gently rugby tackling one of the passing waitresses, so she’d pay attention I demanded to know what had happened to my now rather antiquated order for coffee. Well guess what folks, they were having a rather unexpected rush on hot drinks that morning. I mean breakfast, hot drinks who’d have thought those two would go together.
OR arrived about the same time as my coffee. Seeing my coffee triggered instant nostalgia, no not because I was suddenly remembered what coffee was, it being so long since it was ordered, but that it was served in a 250ml measuring flask the sort of thing I hadn’t seen since high school chemistry classes.
My companion was apologetic, he’d apparently encountered a rather sticky bottle of wine the night beforehand and had found it rather difficult to let go of. Knowing the feeling myself I happily agreed to his suggestion that he made up for it by paying the bill.
As the menu featured such items as vanilla waffles, quinoa grain bowls my choice of what was really their version of a full English minus toast and OR’s of poached egg with extra toast seemed rather banal. It also confused the waiter who suggested quite sensibly that I should just give my toast to my companion and then we’d be happy bunnies all round.
Well my food when it arrived was actually very good, the bacon thick as advertised, full of flavour and neither under or overdone. Eggs cooked through as I’d requested, mushrooms and tomatoes zinging the tastes buds like a tazer on steroids. The OR’s however looked rather sad, a single poached egg (he’d requested only one) sitting on top of what he claimed was excellent toast.
We did manage to have a good gossip about work, which was after all the purpose of this little get together and my breakfast was excellent. Would I recommend Caravan however, well to be honest I’m not sure?
I don’t know how much the bill was, but I’m certain it would have been slightly too much. For me the quirkiness felt forced, I mean coffee in measuring flasks, it’s like the demented uninspired offspring of cocktails in jam jars. Of course, it could just be because they gave me a bad table, but then I’d never mislead you like that, now would I?
Till the next time
152 Great Portland Street
0203 963 8500