Bankside has fast become a foodie Mecca – who’d have thought it? Once, nothing more than an office ridden area between London Bridge and Southwark, it now has a Tonkotsu, ‘O Ver and a new street food cum bar cum music venue cum Sunday Flea market called Flat Iron Square. It’s all going on.
Just next door to Hixter is Caravan’s third london restaurant – and it’s a real looker. The inside is all white painted exposed brick with steel framed industrial windows. Staff are young and trendy – the type who wear beanies – but most importantly they’re friendly with it.
On our Sunday brunch visit the place was packed by 11am. Avocado on toast with a poached egg (£8.50) might not re-write history but it’s a tried and tested brunch dish that is done perfectly here. The addition of Aleppo chilli and plenty of lemon ensure flavour is high. I order a side of thick cut bacon (£4) just, because. The quality is spot on and it delivers on its promised thickness.
Salmon and scrambled eggs (£9) is another solid dish. Good quality ingredients cooked well, not to mention some top notch coffee, which they roast themselves, is all you really want for brunch.
On a separate visit of an evening, where we dined as guests of the restaurant, the menu is far more adventurous. Pork and Chinese chive pot stickers (£7.50), that’s gyozas, are soft on one side with a glorious crispness on the other.
Crispy chilli salt tofu (£8) comes in a sweet and sticky sauce bringing alive an otherwise boring ingredient. Spiced cauliflower (£7) with harissa and pomegranate yoghurt is another strong veggie dish.
Lamb cutlets (£5 each) are big and juicy; fine for the meat but I could have done with some crisper fat. After all, crispy lamb fat is the finest thing in the world right? Best of the bunch: jamon and smoked simon (that’s a type of cheese) croquetas (£6.50) which, although sounding simple, is a must order ‘cos of that cheese.
Caravan Bankside is undoubtedly good for the area. Whether it’s for a quick takeaway coffee, brunch or dinner I’ve enjoyed each visit as much as the other. The vibe is friendly and relaxed which makes for the perfect neighbourhood joint.
Would we go back? Yes.