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|Address:||11-13 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QD|
|Tel:||020 7833 8115|
|Price: £39.00||Wine: £17.00||Champagne: £48.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 8am-10.30pm (Sat-Sun 10am- Sun -4pm)|
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
There was a worrying time – heralded by the departure of The Guardian and seemingly personified by the closure of Brindisa – that Exmouth Market's stature as a foodie heaven was waning. But that wasn't the case – a Japanese café, a better-then-average Indian and (around the corner) a carnivore's dream Argentinian joint have confirmed Clerkenwell's gastronomic credentials. And now Caravan adds considerable lustre to an already impressive crown. In some ways it throws down a gauntlet to the diva of Exmouth Market, Moro, offering a Peter Gordon-esque approach to fusion cuisine. The position is good (replacing a never-quite-made-it series of bars), the atmosphere lively, the decor minimalist but warm and the service charming, relaxed and friendly. The tasting plate of humous, falafel, baba ganoosh, cheese, some intriguingly orange-flavoured carrots and flat-bread is a nod Moro-wards, though the mains as yet are fairly fusion-less (an excellent stew of pork belly and beans, topped off with some jaw-shattering crackling or a succulent veal schnitzel – a far cry, thank goodness, from the Austrian original's resemblance to deep-fried chamois leather). But it's the puds that betray the Providores/Sugar Club heritage – a quite stunning orange flower-water flavoured blanc mange with a dreamy guava sorbet and lifted with a sprinkling of crunchy toasted nuts: pure heaven. The equally imaginative trio of coconut rice, caramel bananas and tamarind ice-cream would have benefitted from a different presentation – the very sweet, gorgeously banana-y bottom layer (the whole thing comes in a Duralit water tumbler) is too far down easily to combine with the richly textured rice and the deliciously sour, though pungent tamarind. Ideally they need to be tasted together for maximum effect. Maybe served side by side on a plate would allow for more blending of flavours. A short wine list climbs quite quickly into the £30+ league but is well chosen. Two cocktails, two courses, a bottle of Rioja and service came to a few pounds under £100 – excellent value and a steal compared with Moro… A really treasurable new addition to Clerkenwell's gastro street.