Caravan, Kings X

A couple of weeks ago I’d never been to this restaurant, even though it’s just down the road(ish) from my house. Then I went. I hearted it lots and so I went again a week later and I hearted it more. Now I’m going to have to go there at least once a month for the rest of my life. There’s a lovely story for you; Girl meets Food and lives happily ever after! Has that cheered you up now we’re all back at work after the bank holiday (OH GO AWAY CAROLINE).

Anyhoo, let’s not think about my dear Sister sunning herself somewhere exotic *gnashes teeth*, back to Caravan. It’s another one of these places which mostly do small sharing plates which as we know, Readers, I love HARD. They also do pizza and large plates, but I’m not interested in them so much. They’re probably very nice though, if that’s your bag.

Stand out dishes for me (over the two visits) were… *drum roll please*

Jalapeno corn bread with chipotle butter

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OMG *jaw drops* *drool* toasted, sweet, crumbly corn bread with a touch of heat from the peppers, oozing that spicy, chipotle butter *swoon*… Order it twice. At least. Camembert with figs, hazelnuts and balsamic gets a special mention because although it wasn’t exactly to my taste, this is because I usually like my camembert SERIOUSLY ripe. Like, watch-it-like-a-hawk-in-case-it-wanders-off-your-plate ripe. This wasn’t quite that, which means it probably appeals to a wider audience. Give it a go, you can work up to the proper stuff. Lovely with fig and balsamic though.

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The soft shell crab loses points for not being sexy (my photography doesn’t help, let’s face it) but more than makes up for this by being seriously delicious; crab the perfect mix of crispy outside and juicy inside and paired with delicately spiced lentils (bit autumnal maybe?). Excellent value at an incredibly reasonable £9. The pork belly was wonderfully tender with that creamy, melt in the mouth fat, though the crackling left a lot to be desired. It did not, as such, crackle, but I’d still order it again because the meat was so nice.

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Chickpea chips were another dish we had to have twice. They sound a bit bizarre, but they were delish! Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, perfectly seasoned and with tasty chipotle mayo. And y’know, healthier than normal chips because of the chickpeas which may or may not be vegetables. Probably.

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On my second visit the soft shell crab was off the menu (waaaah!) but they had a beautifully deconstructed crab on toast with orange to make up for it which it MORE than did. Much more delicate than the soft shell dish and pairing it with citrus is something I haven’t tasted before but was a work of absolute genius which brought out the sweetness of the crab without overpowering it.

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^ And it looked so beautiful!

The grilled prawns were also bloody delicious, but my favourite dish was the rare beef salad, which came with spring onion, coriander, edamame and crispy onions. The beef was lovely and tender, the dressing was sweet yet tangy, the crunchy onions added a bit of texture and the whole thing came together like an oriental symphony. Phwoar. Both times I went we had the broccoli and quinoa salad which if you’d just seen it on the menu you may think was unexciting but really is worth a shot.

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The only really disappointing dish I thought was the deep friend macaroni cheese which was on the menu the second time. I was very excited about what sounded like gluttony on a plate BUT it didn’t really live up to the promise, to be perfectly frank. Bit sad, but one dud out of about 15 dishes ain’t bad odds, my friends.

Now, I don’t know whether I just timed this right (or badly, depending on your point of view), but between my two visits the menu changed loads, and now I’ve looked on the website it’s changed again! This is why I shall be going back on at least a monthly basis for the rest of forever, in case I miss something really good.

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

Website here, you can book and everything!

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