I never really wrote about my religion before blogging about my wedding. I think religion can be a sensitive subject for many and not a topic for a light-hearted food and travel blog! But I was overwhelmed with the great response to my wedding blog, particularly how much everyone enjoyed reading about the traditions of a Jewish wedding.
While neither Mr Silver or I are particularly religious, planning a traditional wedding meant that we had to get our Jew hats on…visiting synagogues, listening to Hebrew choirs and planning a menu that wouldn’t offend our Kosher relatives. Weddings are a big deal in the Jewish community but a lot of couples use the same suppliers as each other and the weddings can up being a little cookie cutter and characterless. We wanted ours to be a bit different and more contemporary and to include exciting twists that our friends had never seen before. Cue my search for Jewish wedding blogs, and my discovery of Karen Cinnamon’s wonderful website, Smashing The Glass
I was instantly drawn in by the clever name of the website, which refers to the symbolic act in a Jewish wedding ceremony where the groom breaks a glass under foot to symbolise the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem.
On her website, Karen ‘smashes’ traditional ideas and the norm of standard Jewish weddings by providing inspiration and innovative ideas that will make a Jewish or Jew-ish wedding stand out from the crowd. Once hooked on each other’s blogs, Karen and I started chatting via social media, blogs and email and were keen to meet up.
Karen suggested Caravan, one of her favourite dining destinations, well known for their excellent coffee and brunch offerings as well as a fantastic lunch menu that fuses Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
The restaurant is based in a converted grain store and the decor is industrial-chic with a high unfinished ceiling, open pipe work and concrete floor. The look is similar to Caravan’s neighbouring restaurant, Grain Store
, which I review earlier in the year and absolutely loved!! Smells of coffee and freshly baked bread drift around the restaurant and despite the urban decor, it still manages to be homely.
The menu is packed with unusual ingredients, many of which neither of us had heard of. I love menus like that, where you’re almost certain to be trying something new. I opted for a starter and main course, whereas Karen, who prefers to graze, chose a selection of small plates.
Karen started with heritage carrots, ras el hanout, kale, goat’s cheese and sultanas. We both agreed that we would have never guessed that it was a plate of carrots! Karen enjoyed the starter, which was quite piquant but the goat’s cheese helped to neutralise the spice.
I chose smoked salmon with apple jelly. For me this dish was incredible, a generous portion with a very light dressing and the added spice of a bit of pepper. The apple jelly didn’t add much in terms of flavour but it did make the plate even prettier.
Karen and I had so much to talk about, our own weddings, developing our blogs and our love of nice hotels! We discussed the stories behind some of the real weddings that appear on her blog and some of her beautiful creative ideas for decor, stationary and food that really add personality to a wedding.
Mr Silver grew up in North London, the hub of the Jewish community, and has many close friends who are Jewish. I grew up in leafy Buckinghamshire and attended a Church of England School and so grew up with very few Jewish friends. Now when I meet a fellow Jewish person, I immediately feel an affinity with him or her, there’s shared sense of humour and culture and that comes from being part of our minority race. Karen and I didn’t stop chatting from the moment we sat down until we had to rush off at the end. I have no doubt this will be the first of many ladies lunches.
Chorizo and octopus was the first of Karen’s small main courses and unfortunately she found it a little too spicy to eat. I also noticed there was very little octopus and it was rather heavy on the Spanish sausage.
Her second small plate was a soft boiled duck egg, served with baba ghanoush. The Middle Eastern dish fared better and the egg opened to a perfect runny yolk complimented by the mildly spicy chilli oil and coriander.
My main course was a black sea bream with a balsamic glaze, orange pesto and a side salad of fennel. The zesty and refreshing dish went down a treat for me and the combination of flavours is a favourite of mine.
Karen needed to get back to relieve her babysitter of duty so our lunch flew by all too quickly. We really enjoyed most of the food but the end of the meal was spoilt a little as the staff were very slow to bring the bill and we were in a hurry to leave. I had been very keen to try the famous coffee from Caravan but because of our rush I had to take it away instead.
It was fantastic to meet Karen and to find out we have masses in common! I loved Caravan too, despite some patchy service, and I’m keen to come back to try the famous brunch and salted caramel hot chocolate!
Caravan King’s Cross
1 Granary Square
020 7101 7661