Caravan Restaurant & Roastery

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Ian Jones

No, not a wet weekend in Rhyl, this Caravan has travelled across the world and finally reached Manchester. It’s the brainchild of native New Zealanders Chris Ammermann, Laura Harper Hinton and Miles Kirby, who saw great success with Caravan in London. But what is it?

In a nutshell, expect Antipodean speciality coffee culture paired with a snazzed-up take on all-day dining. It’ll be based in Manchester’s St John’s district, alongside high-profile neighbours such as Fenix and Aviva Studios

But hang on, it’s not open yet. It’s set to launch properly in August, but we were lucky enough to attend a showstopping preview, full of the city’s great and good, all marvelling at the top-tier dishes and drinks. 

Foodwise, it’s all about beautifully prepared bright, flavour-packed dishes that work as well on a sunny beach on the other side of the world, as they do in Manchester. We’ll cover things properly when it opens fully, but in the meantime get an advance look at small plates such as smoked cucumber, beautiful prepared with a drizzle of chili oil and black vinegar and scattered with sesame seeds. 

Next up, steamed cod dumplings with a soy-gochujang ketchup and coriander, plus a plate of jalapeno cornbread, made with chipotle butter, coriander and lime. The flavours are big, bold and burst off the plate. 

The sharing plates don’t disappoint. There’s a beautiful pile of charred asparagus, tumbled together with tangy stilton cheese and some sweet and salty, Japanese den miso, alongside some pitch-perfect grilled sweetcorn cobs, spruced up with a dash of cumin lime salt (I’ve never heard of it before but I love it), pecorino cheese and lashings and lashings of lovely butter. 

For all you meat-eaters, some Sichuan salt and pepper quail (declared the dish of the evening by our nearby diners); some gloriously juicy chargrilled spiced lamb cutlets with a chermoula marinade; and moreish beef sirloin with anchovies, capers, tarragon and mustard. 

Desserts kept it simple, with an elegant rosewater blanchmange, matched with oat crumb and poached rhubarb, or rich, dark chocolate brownies, made using a hint of Caravan’s very own coffee, plus an espresso martini on the side, also made with Caravan’s very own coffee. 

If tonight’s banquet-fit-for-the-King is a sign of things to come, then – apologies for sounding as corny as those cumin lime salt-covered cobs – Caravan is going places.

St Johns, off Quay StManchester M3 3BG View map
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