Caravan Kings Cross, London

i am ever thankful for the weekly long weekends i have the pleasure of indulging in; its amazing what a difference an extra day (or two #terrifictimetabling heehee :P) off school can make! indeed, monday blues this week were even more non-existent than normal because the weather was amazing and we celebrated a very dear friend’s birthday with good food (both at brunch and dinner mmm…) and even better company ❤

after successfully surprising aforementioned birthday girl bright and early at 9am in the morning by sneaking into her room and hiding behind her bed before jumping out screaming “surprise” as the best birthday song ever started playing, we set off for caravan at kings cross for birthday brunch.

perhaps it was the beautiful weather that day which made all the difference, but i loved the look and feel of granary square where caravan is located. housing the central st martins school, the former goods yard is made up of tall imposing buildings surrounding a large bustling square with a carpet of little dancing fountains. there’s also a little canal running by the side of the square with lots of activity going on. the inside of the building was equally impressive – a large trendy space with high ceilings, plenty of seating area and a palpable buzz from a healthy and extremely trendy crowd.
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one of the best things about caravan is that they open early (8am on weekdays) and close late (midnight on fridays and saturdays); it really is a great place for all-day dining. they have a different menu for different mealtimes throughout the day, and they are the kind of menus which make you want to order everything on them because everything sounds yummy 😛 check out the menus here.

we started off our meal with a pick from their list of daily bakes – a spiced apple crumble slice which was a very delicious start to our brunch:
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spiced apple crumble slice – £3 (if i’m not wrong), £3.50 at the most
we were actually expecting more of a cakeslice-type slice of tart but this was good all the same. it was moist and dense and the crumble on top was yummy, lending the slice a nice addition of texture, crunch and just the right amount of sweetness coming from the fresh, juicy and subtly-spiced apples. needless to say, it was gone in no time, long before our other orders arrived…

as for the mains, i opted for the jalapeno cornbread. i had wanted to try their aubergine puree dish but they had run out! 😦 nevertheless, the cornbread was satisfying:
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jalapeno cornbread, fried eggs, black beans, guindilla pepper – £8.50
it isn’t quite clear in the picture but the dish consisted of 2 pieces of cornbread and 2 fried eggs. i love cornbread and this was no exception. the jalapenos added an exciting twist and upped the spicy game of the bread, while bits of corn embedded in the bread balanced it out with sweetness. the bread was dense and moist as it should be, but i found it a tad oily – perhaps from the fried eggs rather than the bread itself? (not quite sure about the oil source) i also loved the beans that added further texture and bite, and the fried eggs that had wonderfully crispy edges and perfectly runny yolks. they were the perfect accompaniment to the bread!

the other popular choice at the table was the baked eggs:
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baked eggs, tomato pepper ragout, greek yoghurt, toast, with chorizo sausage – £9.50
i only had a few bites of this so can’t say much about it, but it was enough for me to appreciate the ultra tastiness of the tomato ragout – it was hearty, tangy (but not acidic) and extremely flavourful. the yoghurt and runny yolks topping the ragout perfected the mix of flavours. the chorizo was also one of the yummier ones i’ve had included in a brunch dish – iit was moist and tender, a far cry from the tough and dry chorizo one is sometimes unfortunate enough to encounter in life.

last but certainly not least, we got a serving of coconut bread to share:
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coconut bread, lemon curd cream cheese, poached rhubarb – £7.50
given the serving size, i thought this dish was on the pricey side. no regrets getting it though, because it was a refreshing accompaniment to our savoury mains. my favourite part of this dish was definitely the lemon curd – smooth, thick, creamy and a perfect balance between sweet and sour. i loved it and found myself using every but of rhubarb and coconut bread left to soak it all up! the coconut bread on its own left less of an impression; there was only a very faint hint of coconut and if not for the odd bit of coconut that i chanced upon in the process of enjoying this dish, i would have completely forgotten that it was meant to be coconut bread. maybe if i had had it without the lemon curd, the coconut flavour would have shone through more. texture-wise the bread was dense and moist like banana bread which i really enjoyed. the rhubarb added a good juicy crunch to round the dish up.

all in all, we were really satisfied with the food and ambience of the place but the one thing which we all found lacking was the service. it wasn’t particularly personal or warm; in fact, it was rather abrupt and cold at times. perhaps it has to do with the restaurant’s location and it catering to lots of hip and cool arty farty types? that said, it doesn’t detract too much from the fact that good food is served in a nice ambience, so it is definitely worth checking out if you have some spare time before or after catching a train. i didn’t try any, but i heard the coffee is good too! and did i mention that they take reservations?

Caravan Kings Cross
Granary Building, 1 Granary Square
London N1C 4AA20141027_101909 20141027_101041

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Daisy Green, London

it was a 3-course brunch deal which i spotted on timeout that prompted me to check this quaint little well-kept secret out; i wouldn’t have known about it otherwise! i guess you could say its slightly off the beaten track given that its not part of the soho congregation of food places, tucked away from the hustle and bustle but still a stone’s throw away from marble arch.

occupying a corner shop along seymour street, i knew i’d like this Aussie cafe one i saw the neon window decor and cute/quirky things they had placed just outside their shop:
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me t(h)ree?
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the first floor consists of a counter (probably busy with takeaway orders during lunch hour on weekdays, i would imagine!) where they prepare their “cold” foods – wraps, frozen yoghurt, sweet treats (cakes, brownies etc) – and drinks, and a few window seats:20140118_11014820140118_134019first floor of daisy green

head down the stairs and you will find yourself in a larger dining area that is split into 2 sections. i loved the whimsical decor down in the basement – it was full of bright, happy colours and really reminded me of the alice in wonderland tea party! if their intended effect was to get people excited and in the mood for good food, then they definitely succeeded (at least for me)! 20140118_11393420140118_112522

here’s the menu (they pride themselves on preparing healthy & quality aussie-style food!):
20140118_112050our amazing timeout voucher allowed us to pay just £25 for £50 worth of food, so we had a lot of eating to be done between the 2 of us. thank goodness the menu had a great range – we were spoilt for choice and didn’t have problems planning our exciting feast 😉

beginning with drinks, i opted for the detox juice (which i thought sounded pretty interesting) while my friend went for the avocado smoothie.
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L: green detox juice – cucumber, celery, spinach, green apple & mint – £3.50
R: avocado smoothie with lemon, yoghurt and agave syrup – £5

we both really liked our drinks! the freshly-squeezed green detox juice (odd and off-putting as it may sound) was extremely refreshing. i normally detest celery (yes, there are things i actually do not particularly enjoy eating heh) but the combination of ingredients in this was such a good mix that the taste of raw celery was almost completely masked! everything tasted so fresh and light and it was something very different from regular juice that you get off the shelves in supermarkets – i know it probably looks a little too green to be appetising for the veggie-averse folks out there, but trust me, this was really good and not to mention super healthy!
as for the avocado smoothie, it was really a taste of home for us because in singapore they do similar avocado juice/milkshake things at hawker centres! we were very pleased – the smoothie was super thick and creamy, and the lemon added a nice twist/lift to avocado that otherwise has the tendency to be quite heavy.

service was really slow that day and our food took quite a while to arrive. i’d like to believe the best and attribute it to the fact that they were very busy and it isn’t normally like that! nevertheless, it was worth the wait! i had the shakshouka while my friend had the bondi.

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shakshouka: baked eggs with tomatoes and spices with a chunk of wholewheat bread + frenched lamb cutlet – £9 + £5

i cannot resist good baked eggs and i was not disappointed with daisy green’s shakshouka rendition! the tomatoes used were fresh and naturally sweet, while the spices added a nice, tasty tunisian lift to the dish. together with the huge chunk of sourdough (which i really enjoyed), this was really satisfying but managed to remain light because of the pure tomato base of the shakshouka. i think i would’ve preferred it to have some kind of meat in it though, because the taste (albeit really good) was pretty much the same throughout the entire pot; adding some meat to the mix would probably have made it even more delicious! (i clearly have not forgotten about the amazing lamb shakshouka i had at artichoke in singapore) it was thus good that i ordered an extra frenched lamb cutlet to go along with my shakshouka. i actually expected it to be bigger since it was an additional £5 but serving-size aside, it was tender, well-seasoned and perfectly grilled – juicy and not dry. the strong taste of lamb that many fear was also absent here!

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the bondi: 2 poached eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, six hour tomatoes & avocado on sourdough + spicy chorizo beans – £12 + £3

this is basically daisy green’s take on the big breakfast. my friend had most of this but i did try components of it – the sausage in particular i remember to be very tasty, crisp skin on the outside, with a really flavourful inside! i also remember the avocado being perfectly ripe and it was a very nice and refreshing addition to the plate amidst all the cooked food. i would order the bondi for the variety it presents on a single plate, but taste-wise i wouldn’t say it was anything exceptional.

the spicy chorizo beans that we added on as a side however, were super yummy:
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chunks of chorizo nestled among beans in a spicy tomato-based sauce made for a perfect addition to our brunch! i really loved these beans which were something different from the regular beans you get at breakfast. they were extremely tasty and went absolutely perfectly with the toast provided! i’ll definitely order this the next time i eat there, as an accompaniment to whatever i’m having!

the servings were pretty big and we were rather full by the time we finished our mains, but i had been eyeing the croissant bread and butter pudding from the moment i spotted it on the menu and so some space just had to be made for it in our stomachs. we were not disappointed at all:
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croissant bread & butter pudding with double cream – £5

one of the best bread and butter puddings ever!!! we LOVED the idea of a croissant bread & butter pudding – it was extremely buttery (as croissants are) and hence more moist than a regular bread & butter pudding. the raisins in it and the crusty top also had parts to play in its deliciousness, and not forgetting the warm double cream that we drenched the whole pudding in. surprisingly it wasn’t too sweet and though dense, it was not heavy; probably because of the fluffiness that the bits of undrenched croissant retained! you can’t really see this from the picture, but it was a very generous serving; we ended up not being able to finish it! i recommend this as a must-order when you’re at daisy green – worth every penny and calorie 😉

we also decided to try their frozen yoghurt after seeing a daisy green mobile froyo van parked outside their shop. the recommended toppings were berries and brownies so that’s what we opted for!
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetthe yoghurt was thick, creamy and smooth so if you like your frozen yoghurt icy then you probably won’t fancy this. i personally really liked it though, because that’s exactly the way i like my froyo! if i’m not wrong they only have natural flavour (which is what we had). i loved how it wasn’t tampered with by artificial flavours; there was a subtle sourness that many yoghurts tend to lose when in fancy flavoured forms. toppings were added generously and the berries were super fresh and sweet while the brownie was very yummy too!

the brownies, along with a few other treats are baked in-store. i know this because we were given a small door gift with a mix of all the treats they had available that day to take home with us:
20140118_141443we got a mix of their mars bar, brownie, coated banana and a flapjack-type thing if i remember correctly! all were pretty good (though i wouldn’t really rave about them) and the best part is, if the sticker that sealed the box was stating the truth, so guilt-free (or at least more so than their equivalents elsewhere) too!20140118_141434

all in all, our experience at daisy green was a lovely one. great food and drinks, great dessert and decor to boot, tucked away in a great location that is central yet quiet, and everything at reasonable prices! what more could one ask for? its been added to my list of places to go for brunch in london; i’d have a meal here over any of the bigger chains anytime.

PS. i hear their coffee is great, as are the wraps. oh and the banana bread! will definitely be back to give them a try!

Daisy Green

20 Seymour St
London W1H 7HX

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