Caravan is synonymous with the modern dining expectation – a versatile set of menus tailored to a customer base that doesn’t want to be told when they should eat. It’s a relaxed affair that starts with a leisurely breakfast, followed by an all-day menu, plus brunch at the weekends that allows for serious lie-ins with its 4pm finishing time.
But Caravan isn’t just about food – they’re serious about their coffee too and Caravan Coffee Roasters supplies freshly ground coffee to their own restaurants, plus a growing band of other establishments that appreciate the exceptional quality.
The restaurants were set up by New Zealanders Miles Kirby, Chris Ammermann and Laura Harper-Hinton, with the first opening in Exmouth Market in 2010. The fresh interior and plates of globally inspired food were well received and a second, larger restaurant followed in Granary Square at King’s Cross.
With a focus on sharing and a constant influx of diners, you’ll find a lively and relaxed atmosphere in both restaurants. A small pizza selection also graces the menu at King’s Cross, while coffee obviously plays an important role in both locations.
The roastery is part of the King’s Cross restaurant and it’s here that the team profiles each batch of beans then roasts and blends them to produce the range of coffees that are brewed and served on site, or sold in the shop.
Each restaurant has seamlessly merged into its surroundings and become both a local favourite and destination diner. The laidback atmosphere combined with memorable food has proved to be a winning combination.
A third site, Caravan Bankside, opened in October 2016.
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RECIPE: Kimchi pancake, pork belly, duck eggs and gochuchang ketchup
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of preserved vegetables and chillies that is served as a condiment or side dish. Piquant kimchi pancakes are the perfect complement for rich, fat-laden pork belly.
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
1 duck egg or 2 hens’ eggs per person For the slow cooked pork belly: 1 kg (2 lb) pork belly 1 ltr (4 cups) pork stock For the kimchi pancake: 1½ tbsp tahini 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 egg 125 ml (½ cup) full-fat milk 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar 150 g (1¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) fl our 1 tsp baking powder 250 g (9 oz) roughly chopped kimchi 3 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced Large bunch coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly chopped 2 tbsp vegetable oil For the gochuchang ketchup: 125 g (4 oz) gochuchang (Korean fermented red chilli bean paste) 50 ml (¼ cup) rice wine vinegar 150 g (1 cup) tahini 75 ml (1/3 cup) sesame oil 50 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce 75 g (1/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar 3 tbsp confi t garlic purée
Slow-cooked pork belly Use a sharp knife to score the skin of the pork belly at 1-cm (½-inch) intervals. Place in a large pan or dish and cover in brine (1 litre/4 cups of water to 100 g/½ cup fine sea salt). Leave overnight in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F). Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan. Remove the pork from the brine and place in a deep roasting tray. Pour over the stock and cover with parchment paper, then seal with foil. Cook the pork for 3½ hours, or until the meat pulls apart easily. Carefully remove the pork from the roasting tray and place on a chopping board. Slice off the skin. Allow to rest then carve into long slices before serving.
Kimchi pancake Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Whisk the tahini, soy sauce, egg, milk and vinegar together in a medium bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir to form a batter. Add the kimchi, spring onion (scallion) and coriander (cilantro) and stir. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based 20-cm (8-in) skillet or pan and add the mixture. Cook on one side on the hob for a few minutes then place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the pancake and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. When the pancake is ready, remove from the oven and turn out onto a board. Cut into 8–12 pieces.
Gochuchang ketchup Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Let it stand for the sugar to dissolve and the garlic to impart its flavour. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Bringing the dish together Cook the pancake while the pork is resting. When the pancake is cooked, leave to rest and carve the pork, then cut up the pancake. Fry 1 duck egg or 2 hens’ eggs per person. Assemble all the ingredients on serving plates and top with the gochuchang ketchup.
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This extract is from London: The Cookbook by Cara Frost-Sharratt (Frances Lincoln) £20, grab a copy here.
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Gasholder is another cultural guide from London Belongs to Me Ltd. It's available monthly in print and daily online as part of a network of such publications, each passionately dedicated to the capital's neighbourhoods. Find out more about Gasholder,