Caravel

British, Modern European·
££££
·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Caravel

Silver Award

When you reach Regent’s Canal (on which Caravel resides), you’ll find yourself buzzing through a gate, which lets you down a set of wrought iron steps and onto a pontoon that lurches slightly as you step onto it. Fairy lights guide you along the water’s edge and onto the barge. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be charmed before you even reach the table.

The charm doesn’t stop there. The brothers Spiteri have fashioned a delightful space out of this old Dutch barge - two banks of four-cover tables run along each side of the barge, bedecked with white tablecloths and table lamps. There’s a stripped back beauty going on here - perhaps not surprising given the Spiteri’s heritage around the likes of St John, Quo Vadis and Rochelle Canteen.

Given that background, the menu is exactly what we want to be eating on a romantic old barge. There’s excellent bread and butter, obviously, but more lovely things too. Crispy little potato rostis are an infinitely better vehicle for sour cream and caviar than a blini could ever hope to be. Chicken liver pate is an easy thing to get wrong - here it is perfect, emerging from the floating kitchen in a smooth rocher with pickles and toasted brioche.

Lorcan Spiteri’s menu plays smartly on nostalgia too - the bare bones sesame prawn toast on sliced white would be an odd fit otherwise, but it suits the theme of wistful childhood memories. So too does a dessert of blood orange jelly, creme diplomat and honeycomb - all your six-year-old self’s favourite things in a bowl. Not everything was a hit for us - we found asparagus with gribiche was a little heavy on sauce and light on seasoning, and a white crab tagliatelle would also have benefitted from a touch more salt. No matter, though - Caravel passed with flying colours nonetheless, and it’s more than worth its salt in London’s restaurant regatta.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
British, Modern European
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Quirky, Unique
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace, Waterside
Special Features
Vegetarian options
People
Dates, Romantic

About

Originally converted to create extra dining space during COVID, this ex-office barge is now the location of Caravel - a moorside restaurant that takes inspiration from Britain and the Med with a pared-back menu. The front and back of house teams are respectively led by brothers Fin and Lorcan Spiteri, who are the sons of St John founding partner Jon Spiteri and Rochelle Canteen co-founder Melanie Arnold.

With that in mind, you may already have a good idea of what to expect on the menu here. Lorcan oversees the kitchen at Caravel and turns out menus of rustic, classic British cooking, with a few nods further afield, whilst Fin - once manager of the member's bar at Quo Vadis - looks after drinks and front of house.

The menu at the time of writing features a selection of snacks, small plates, mains and desserts, and changes relatively often as produce comes in and out of season. Things kick off with snacks like little potato rostis with sour cream and caviar, then small starter plates such as duck croquettes with wild garlic aioli, salsify, gribiche and hazelnuts and winter tomato salad. 

The mains are an echo of food that the brothers grew up around at restaurants like St John, Rochelle Canteen and Quo Vadis. There's pressed lamb, sprouting broccoli and anchovy, for example, and a warming dish of mussels, chips and veloute. The menu rounds out with simple but heartwarming puddings like rhubarb jelly with chantilly and honeycomb, and caramelised banana and almond tart. 

On the drinks front, Fin has assembled a compact list of drinks that focuses on independent, organic wine producers, as well as as including a handful of cocktails. 


FAQs

Do I need to book?

Yes, booking is advised!

Helpful? 0

How do I get to the restaurant?

The entrance is located on Packington Bridge - ring the buzzer for entry then walk down the pontoon, past Studio Kitchen, to find Caravel.

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Caravel is featured in

Location

172 Shepherdess Walk, Islington, London, N1 7JL

020 7251 1155 020 7251 1155

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 12:00-16:00
Fri 12:00-16:00
Sat 12:00-16:00
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 17:30-23:00
Thu 17:30-23:00
Fri 17:30-23:00
Sat 17:30-23:00
Sun Closed

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020 7251 1155 020 7251 1155

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