Home American Caravan, Exmouth Market (London) vs. Tweet, Uptown (Chicago)

Caravan, Exmouth Market (London) vs. Tweet, Uptown (Chicago)

by Krista

Caravan inside
11-13 Exmouth Market
London, EC1R 4QD


5020 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60640

Date of Last Visit
Caravan: Monday, August 2, 2010
Tweet: Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Victim
Caravan: Me
Tweet: Aileen, Christina

The Damage
Caravan: £12ish?
Tweet: $20 USD each

The Background: I’m writing this with the benefit of hindsight. You see, today, I’m sitting in my corporate apartment in Chicago, just returned from brunch, American style. And brunch was bad. Bad bad bad. Too much food. And not enough good food. And it had me longing. Longing, longing, longing. For the chorizo baked eggs at Caravan. Wait, let me rephrase that…the chorizo baked EGG–singular–at Caravan. Because you can choose…one egg…or two eggs. I chose one.

Compare this to the four egg omelette (FOUR! For the love of God! FOUR!) my friend Aileen had at brunch today and well…THIS IS WHY YOU’RE FAT, America. And the tomatoes…who grows tomatoes like this and what sort of government subsidies are we giving them because it is TOO MUCH!

Tweet omelette

I can’t compare my day of visit between the two establishments. At Caravan, I visited on a dreamy and warm Monday at 8:30 a.m. where there were just a few entrepreneurs (Americans, of course!) talking business. The music was soft and light, and the service was sweet and attentive. At Caravan, I felt calm, cool, and collected. (Check out the lead photo and you’ll get the drift.)

Tweet, in contrast, I visited on a drizzly and cool Sunday at 11 a.m., where there were 20 parties before us on the wait list and I managed to throw my champagne and peach schnappes all over myself with the assistance of our friendly server. I felt wet.

But I can compare the menus. Caravan’s menu is small and compact. I can choose from this. Now take a look at Tweet’s menu. How can they possibly do all of this well? (Although of course, in America, we have the benefit of an army of short order cooks.) This is a menu with velcro, by the way.

Tweet menu

And then I can compare the food. Here is my baked egg with chorizo. It’s inventive (Greek yogurt! And chorizo! Combined! Deliciously so!) and lovely. The only fault I can find is with the bread. It’s not very delicious. It looks nice and healthy and grainy. But it’s missing something…maybe salt? It tastes like cardboard. Ah…and the orange juice was too large and had too much ice in it and had that taste that reminds me of drinking orange juice from a can when I went camping with my family when I was a child. I’m not saying this was tinned juice at all…I’m just saying it tasted funny to me.

Caravan chorizo baked eggs

And then here’s my crabcakes hollandaise at Tweet this morning. This is a heart attack on a plate. The English Muffin the eggs and sauce rested on was flabby and soft, perhaps toasted, but just barely. (And you know how I feel about toasting. Particularly English muffins, which are just begging to be toasted!) The crabcakes didn’t seem to be cakes but rather just a pile of crab. In some ways, this was not a bad thing. I like crab. But I could barely see the crab through the hollandaise so can’t tell you if it was fresh or tinned. My guess is tinned, but this is just a guess. But it was all just so…blah. (The hollandaise itself was very bland. I’ve had better. Much better.) There were two saving graces: a lovely fresh fruit bowl and the hash browns. The hash browns were nice.

Tweet crabcakes hollandaise

And now let’s talk about the bill. I paid by cash at Caravan, but I am positive they take cards. At Tweet, they don’t take cards. At all. Cash only. BUT…they will direct you to their ATM which charged me $3.00 for the pleasure of providing me cash. Yuk. Here’s my thought…if even a nail salon can take cards, so can you.

Although I did not visit the loo at Caravan, I can tell you squarely…never, never ever visit the loo at Tweet. Because there is a sign in there that explains how the door doesn’t lock well and that you really need to make sure that the door is locked while you’re, um, taking care of business. So you spend ages trying to make sure the door is locked but you’re not sure it is so and of course…the door opens up INTO the restauarant….

Apparently, no one at Tweet has ever heard of a locksmith. Or Home Depot. Let me just say…if you need a sign, surely–SURELY–there must be a better way.

To be fair, the service was equally sweet at both establishments.

The Verdicts
Caravan: Go! Now! But be careful on the weekend, because I’ve been thwarted before.
Tweet: I’m sure many people will like it here. Just not people who have had the baked eggs at Caravan. (Sometimes less is more, you know?) And that whole no cards thing is BS. Big time. (And you know it.) You are a large restaurant, and this is the 21st century. And well sometimes, people want to see a man about a horse and not put on a show at the same time.

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Charmaine August 9, 2010 - 5:16 am

Oh lovely, did you order bread with your baked eggs or did it come with it? When I went in the first month of opening I noted how the baked eggs really needed something bready to mop up all the tomatoey eggy juices. Mmmm….

Emyr Thomas, Bon Vivant August 9, 2010 - 10:47 am

I love Caravan – it’s my new favourite restaurant, and all the better that it’s a two minute walk from home! It featured in my list of the best London openings of 2010 so far:


Melanie Seasons August 9, 2010 - 2:06 pm

See – this is why you need to move back to London.

Just sayin’…

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