The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Caravan, Clerkenwell

11 - 13 Exmouth Market
020 7833 8115

by Malcolm Eggs

"The beans were just roasted this morning," said the barista, as if by way of warning. "So if there's a certain... fruitiness to the flavour that will be why."

I hereby coin the term 'caravan apology', as in 'an apology for a benevolent state of affairs'. See: "I'm sorry I'm so early" or "I'm sorry, I know we said we wouldn't do presents"; this was the finest cup of coffee I have set to my lips in as long as I can remember, the froth patterned exactly like one of those 70s ring-binders and the taste smoother than a Don Draper infidelity binge.

We ordered baked eggs with chorizo and a side of black pudding. The latter, from Franconia in Putney, was remarkable - light, subtly smoky and, within a matter of seconds, absent. The chorizo and eggs (£11 for two) were delivered chicken madras-style in a handled silver pot, the chorizo bits lurking like crocodiles in a crimson-doused pool of red pepper, green parsley, piquant oily sauce, Greek yoghurt and gloopy, friendly eggs. It became a proper mess, but a bloody delectable one.

What about the service? Tap water was poured immediately without request, then replenished zealously. The room itself? Attractive and light, a mix of Wellington cocktail bar, London bistro and a branch of All Saints. Well-heeled new mothers and rubber-heeled freelancers have already formed a demographic stand-off.

If I must have a gripe, it's that the 'Caravan Fry Up' is £8 but comprising eggs, bacon, tomatoes, soy mushrooms and toast is holding back on some treasures: black pudding and bubble are available but must be ordered as sides at up to £3.50 each. Vietnam-style mission creep is a danger.

Four and a half years ago, I was in this same room - it being until recently Al's Café Bar - complaining in the first ever LRB review that the bacon was only cooked on one side. "I'm sorry you closed, Al's," can be my first caravan apology.

Caravan on Urbanspoon


Blogger HB said...

Soy mushroom?

9:28 PM, March 01, 2010  
Blogger Hoey D said...

I'm in there right now! Lovely service! I just had the baked eggs with chorizo with extra toast! It was delicious! And a great coffee! Which explains the exclamations! Came to £14! Which stings a bit but by god it was yummy!

11:41 AM, March 17, 2010  
Anonymous Xavier Izaguirre said...

Caravan Congratulations!

A great blog you have here. You have to review more places in East London!!!

Thanks and all the best wishes,
Xavier Izaguirre

11:25 AM, March 28, 2010  
Anonymous H. P. Wells said...

Gorgeous full English, excellent service, and a decent cup of coffee make this a fine addition to Exmouth Market.

11:20 AM, April 24, 2010  
Anonymous Tim 31.75 said...

Branch of All Saints - love it. It's still one of the nicest places to languish of a morning though

2:55 PM, July 07, 2010  

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