Archive for September, 2012

Return of the Hawksmoor

Monday, September 10th, 2012

After the raging success of our last visit, it seemed appropriate to pay an anniversary visit to the provider of one of the best breakfasts we’ve had in London so far … Hawksmoor Guildhall.

Breakfasting venue:  Hawksmoor Guildhall

Date of Breakfasting: Wednesday 14th September

Time: 8:00am – 8:45am

Nearest tube is:  Moorgate / St.Paul’s / Bank

Location: 10 Basinghall Street, London, EC2V 5BQ

Join the Caravan club!

Monday, September 10th, 2012

If you need breakfast, if you want high class, and if you can find it, then maybe you too can eat at Caravan King’s Cross.  The finding it is a bit of hit or miss affair at the moment; of the three of us who made it, there was one hit and two misses – although we all did eventually locate it.  Presumably it will be easier once the Granary Square development is finished – and maybe once there’s more than a sandwich board outside to let you know it’s there.

But roughly speaking, you wander up the new road that leads away up behind and between King’s Cross and St. Pancras stations, and cross over to the big plaza at the end.  Then you wander up and down the frontage of the big converted warehouse (well, granary I guess) until you find the one with the welcome aroma of coffee and delicious food.

Walking in you know immediately what kind of place you’re in.  With the exposed air con piping, the hip laid-back music drifting softly across the floor, the low slung tables and chairs vaguely reminiscent of your sixth form common room yet somehow at the same time sleek and modern … this place is TRENDY.   Yep, in capital letters.

The coffee.  That is definitely the first thing that I should mention.   Caravan King’s X hosts its own roastery within the premises, as you can tell as soon as you pass the threshold.  Wonderful scents tease your nostrils, and a chalkboard announces a variety of alluring bespoke blends to choose from.  A waitress is promptly at our table to take our drink order, and a cup of glorious pitch blackness arrives in what seems like moments, complete with mini milk bottle.  Did I mention that it is TRENDY here?  Mind you, I couldn’t care less if it were the headquarters of the Saddo Club as long as I can get coffee like this.  And peppermint tea, made up with fresh peppermint leaves.  Oh yes.

You want to know about the food though: that’s fair enough.   Between us we cover our bases on the menu.  One corn and morcilla fritters with avocado and paprika crème fraiche, and side of Satsouki sausage.   One Jalapeno cornbread with fried egg, black beans and tomatillo.  And (but of course!) one Full English breakfast.

In a word: sumptuous.  The fritters are marvellously spongy, and the paprika crème fraiche complements the avocado so well you wonder why it doesn’t grow on the trees like that – and the Satsouki sausage oozes deliciously onto the palate.  The Jalapeno cornbread has the perfect level of “pick-me-up” tang to it, without being overbearing, and the black beans are cooked just so.  And the tomatillo … admit it – you thought this was some poncy name for tomato sauce, didn’t you?  Well, it sort of is (in that the tomatillo plant is a relation to the tomato plant) – but mostly isn’t (in that they taste quite different, adding a tasty tone of citrus to the dish.

Of course, being THAT kind of place, Caravan do their own take on the Full English.  It’s called “Caravan Fry”, and you have to order the sausage separately to make it up into the real deal.  But since they have a delectable array of sausages to choose from, including boar, the aforementioned satsouki, or chorizo, you can almost count it as a plus.  Though I have to wonder whether the omission of the sausage from the base line-up is in order to keep all the individual menu items under the ten pound mark.

But back to the food – the boar sausage is an excellent addition to the Caravan Fry, which is itself is a beauty to behold.  No stinting on the mushroom, which is definitely a big plus in my book.  Providing the obligatory tomato as a compote is a unique approach, but it does seem to work here.  Liberally adorned with bacon.  The one thing I would say is that, pitched at the same price as a slew of other exciting and inventive dishes, this offering would definitely seem a little wan in comparison if you ordered it alone (without the sausage) and had to sit through breakfast watching your accomplice(s) explore the rest of the menu.  But it is but a small gripe really.

I’m coming back, first opportunity, to try out the Parmesan grits, boar sausage and girolles.  Overall verdict – if you’re allergic to the achingly hip, or if you are a Full English fundamentalist, this might not quite be your thing.  But to everyone else – or if you just want to expand your boundaries: get here now, for a breakfast like no other.