A busy Saturday night throwing shapes at one of our favourite London haunts – Koko – called for a serious brunch option this Sunday. After broadening our musical horizons with Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards (highlights being Michael Kiwanuka and SBTRKT), it was time to also broaden our egg-horizons and get ourselves down to Caravan in Exmouth Market after several recommendations.
Turn off the busy Farringdon Road opposite the fleet of Royal Mail vans at Mount Pleasant and you’re confronted by bustling Exmouth Market. Caravan itself is the first eatery you come across (except for a very sad looking Caffe Nero), and you’re instantly drawn towards the crowd of Sunday brunchers overflowing out of the door. We squeezed inside (just) and were instantly handed a bag of coffee (what??!) and directed down to the far end of the bar for a 20 minute wait. The bar itself is buffed to that comforting farmhouse-table shine, and piled high with mouthwatering muffins, fresh juices and jugs of water. Soothing green and wooden furniture, with posies of fresh flowers and bright sunlight from the vast windows instantly made us feel like we were in the perfect place for a morning-after-the-night-before.
An honourable mention for the music – tunes that accompanied our meal included ‘When The Going Gets Tough’ (Billy Ocean), ‘Take These Broken Wings’ (Mr.Mister) and Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics). All mixed between much trendier bassy background music. Tunes.
So we always expect a bit of a wait whenever the website states “we don’t take bookings for brunch” and this was no exception. The place was absolutely packed – which seemed to be a promising sign, rather than an annoyance. An army of staff were busy attending to every customer with an efficient – yet friendly – air. We were slightly surprised to have to wait the full 20 minutes for our cappuccinos, but it was more than worth the wait when it finally arrived. Smooth, sweet and beautifully presented. Finally we sandwiched ourselves into our table and perused the menu. Something was amiss…. No eggs benedict in sight! However, eggbloggers are lovers of eggs in all their glory, so we were willing to branch out (for the sake of the blog and our devoted readers, of course) and report back. Our order was duly taken…”We’ll have the grilled ham with bubble and squeak, two poached eggs and hollandaise please. Oh, and two english breakfast teas and orange juice.”
The EGGS (and bubble & squeak…)!
Unfortunately, we can’t review this dish as ‘like for like’ compared to the other reviews on our blog. But as an alternative to eggs benedict, this was a definite winner. The poached eggs were perfectly cooked and served with breaded and deep fried bubble & squeak which was deliciously sweet and creamy, with a satisfying crunch. For once, the hollandaise took a back seat and was a simple and creamy addition to complement the rest of the elements. The grilled ham easily took centre stage – a thick, juicy hunk grilled to mouthwatering perfection. The Daniel-Craig-in-blue-shorts of ham. The Scarlett-Johannson’s-lips of ham. In an ideal world, this is the ham that should accompany every egg. We bloody love that ham.
Ahem. A light sprinkling of chives finished the dish – and so did we. Within about five minutes.
We should mention Rob also ordered the berry (raspberry) friand. You know what a friand is, right? Of course you do. (pssst. It’s a cake. Definition 2. here – or check out our pics). It was only two pounds – bargain. And it was awesome. Raspberries and cake closely follow eggs in Rob’s all-time-favourite-things list, and the two together is sooo good. Sweet, stodgy and moist. Perfect post-egg pudding.
We should also take a second to flag up that Caravan is a coffee roastery and prides itself on it’s own blend of arabica beans. As we mentioned earlier, our cappuccinos (we also had the usual English breakfast tea with our meals) were really good – but neither of us can claim to be coffee connoisseurs, and this isn’t a coffee blog, so we’ll let you make your own minds up. If YOU are a coffee connoisseur why not leave us a comment below and let us know what you think!
Style: Not trying to be eggs benedict really – but a delicious alternative!
Value: 7/10 (£9.00 – 12.5% service charge added to bill)
Eggsecution (Cooking Of Eggs): 9/10
Will we be going back? We definitely will, when we’re looking for an eggs benedict alternative. This really is a great place, but if you go on a Sunday best not to be in a big rush as it’s bound to be busy! Check out the brunch menu here.