I had heard not so good things about Caravan on Exmouth Market (over-priced, average food, bad service)- but I completely disagree. My experience there was great!
I met a friend for dinner on a Saturday night. The atmosphere was happy, buzzy and busy but not so busy that you couldn’t move and people were falling over you. The lighting added to the effect, being low but not so low that you couldn’t see anything. I was shown to our table almost straight away and within 10 minutes had my aperitif cocktail (a Caravan Cranberry Iced Tea since I was off alcohol).
Dinner with my friend, Miss A. She chose, based on a friend’s recommendation. The Cow – it’s a good name for a pub.
I’ll see you at the Cow!
I like that but I like the pub even better.
The downstairs and upstairs couldn’t be more different. My friend was running late so I started with a drink downstairs in the pub to start. It was loud, buzzy and it was only Wednesday night!
Upstairs is a different story. Quiet, intimate and like walking into Paris. As soon as I arrive, the staff seat me and bring over delicious home-made bread, focaccia, olives and radishes. The waitress knew about the wine list and provided a small free glass of her recommendation for tasting (which we ended up taking a bottle of).
The menu differed to what was listed on the website – but I think this is a good sign since everything on the menu was seasonal and fresh. The waitress knew the menu and could easily talk about the dishes – something hard to find in London. She could talk competently about the chef and the type of cuisine he liked to make.
I chose the mussels marinere’ with a side of savoy cabbage. My friend, Miss A, chose the venison – something she’d never tried before. The mussels were fresh and beautifully prepared. There were none that had to be left. The venison was delicious, although perhaps slightly more cooked than I would have liked it. All three dishes was flavourful and fulling (you could get away with the entree’ size mussels as a main).
For dessert I had the cheese plate, which was priced the same as the other desserts and gave four very generous portions of cheese and a delicious chutney. Miss A had the whipped chocolate which wasn’t too sweet and wasn’t too bitter. Again, a very generous portion.
Pub – definitely your buzzy local, good vibe and lots of fun
Restaurant – a bit like walking into a local French bistro. Good for chat up with old friends or a date. Ambience was quiet and intimate. Food was excellent and reasonably priced.
The Cow Pub
89 Westbourne Park Road
London W2 5QH