Friday 17 October | 2014
Antwerp is an underrated city. Unbeknown to most mainstream travellers, it is beautiful, smart, multi-cultured, and colourful – attributes that local hipster spot Caravan has chosen to amplify in its super original café near the the Park Spoor Noord.
The name Caravan sends our imagination off on exotic treks in faraway lands, or more simply to beach holidays spent with family. However this is no ordinary caravan – here the atmosphere is curious and almost experimental, with clinical lights, hanging cables and detailed wall hangings of plant anatomy and fish specimens. But it is easy to relax here, with sunshine pouring in, great music and a very promising menu.
From the cacti and staked orchids, to the bottle lined shelves and exposed pipes, the covert biology lab theme of Caravan continues. The blackboard experiments include burgers, lasagna, a Moroccan salad and even Vietnamese Pho Bo, along with classic brownies and New York cheesecake. We are eager participants!
The first of many colour explosions begins with frambozen limonade (€4.50), otherwise known as homemade raspberry lemonade with fresh mint. It’s fruity, refreshing, and sparkles all the way down. Meanwhile the coffee is a boutique blend with its own unique flavour, and is accompanied with square brown sugar cubes and crisp almond biscotti.
For those who still haven’t quite woken up, the heuvos rancheros (€8.50) offers another energetic colour pop and spicy chilli kick to revive the senses. This Mexican style wrap with fresh tomato salsa, sour cream, greens and cheddar cheese is given a breakfast makeover with creamy scrambled eggs, for a more modern take on brunch.
The quinoa muesli (€3.50) is essentially a canvas of wholegrain oats and popped quinoa, splashed with brightly coloured goji berries, pistachios, cacao nibs and dried mango. Served on natural low-fat yoghurt and loaded with superfoods, it is a wholesome start to the weekend – although deserving of a drizzle of honey, which is absent.
Adding further colour to the table is the groot ontbijt (€10.50), including a blue plated croissant, gluten free spelt granola with yoghurt, homemade bread, a boiled egg, ham off the bone, Dutch style cheese, fig jam, chocolate spread and something very like treacle. The bread, ham and cheese here should not be underestimated!
Caravan’s last big bang is this amazing chocolate brownie. The plating is so impressive – the putty coloured stone plate and artful chaos of pretty seeds and cocoa powder are both very on trend. It also tastes twice as good as it looks! This is a dish that would be welcome at a high end restaurant, yet here we are being spoilt with it for breakfast.
You lucky Belgians – this strange place is a treat.
See the brunch and drinks menus here: