Caravan, the Antipodean coffee roaster and all-day restaurant chain, opened its fifth site inside the former BBC Radio 1 recording studios on Great Portland Street in Fitzrovia this week. Coming off the back of the group’s arrival in the Bloomberg Arcade in the City, the long-rumoured opening was formally announced in January.
The vast (and beautiful) new site accommodates 100 to 120 covers — it’s a significant new all-day operation aiming to make a mark on the neighbourhood-of-the-moment. Given the venue’s storied past, a “record room” will feature, as well as a private dining room downstairs (where DJ Zane Lowe recorded his famous sessions). One booth will be marked with a plaque to denote where the late John Peel recorded his final show.
Caravan co-founders Laura Harper-Hinton, Chris Ammermann and Miles Kirby are three of the London coffee and brunch scene’s earliest adopters; Caravan is one of those ubiquitous brands that probably gets less credit than it deserves. Opening five sites spread across the city in eight years, its growth has solid foundations: considered, inventive and accessible plates of food with a varied drink offering that moves quickly and decisively with trends, bridging the gap between specialism and mainstream: cold-brewed teas, kombucha, shrubs.
And though the group now has a tried-and-tested model, it is not one to sit still. The big new innovation at the Fitzrovia branch is the group’s new Caravan To Go takeaway wing.
That fifth site is on Great Portland Street in Fitzrovia, and Eater London took a first look inside.