Spiteri brothers to launch floating London restaurant next month

This March, brothers Fin and Lorcan Spiteri will be opening of Caravel, a restaurant and bar housed in a converted barge moored on the banks of the Regent's Canal.

Opening on Wednesday 9 March, the floating restaurant will serve a menu based on simplicity and the best seasonal ingredients.

Meaning a ‘small, light Spanish ship or sailing boat’ in the 15-17th centuries, Caravel was used for decades as a working canal barge. Having fallen into a state of disrepair, the boat was lovingly restored by the team at Holborn Studios in the mid 90s and named ‘Poppy’.

The space was taken over by Fin and Lorcan during lockdown, and they decided to create an elegant 40-seater dining room, quite unlike anything else in the city.

Located in between Hoxton and Islington on a quiet canal-side street, Caravel is next door to Holborn Studios, the award-winning photography studio which has played host to famous faces such as George Clooney and Jack Nicholson, shot by the likes of Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz and David Bailey

Lorcan’s concise menu draws on the young chef’s wealth of experience from his time in the kitchens at Quo Vadis, Oldroyd and Rochelle Canteen, as well his successful Guinea Fowlers pop-up and heading up Studio Kitchen.

Further inspiration is taken from his upbringing and the food that he and Fin enjoyed growing up, with memories of bowls piled high with fresh pasta, and hearty braises cooked by his grandmother.

Initially open for dinner from Wednesdays to Saturdays, Caravel will offer a simple, regularly changing a la carte menu. Diners can start with snacks such as the house made bread and butter and slices of cured meats. Moving onto starters such as ‘sesame prawn toast with spiced tartare’, ‘confit duck rissoles’ and ‘violet artichoke with kohlrabi’.

Main dishes will span a range of British, Italian and French classics, with ‘white crab tagliatelle, fennel & garlic’ joined by hearty plates such as ‘crispy pork belly, green beans & anchoïde’ and ‘roast hake, confit potatoes and curry sauce’. Desserts give a further nod to childhood favourites with a ‘blood orange jelly with honeycomb’ joined by ‘almond cake with salted caramel ice cream’.

Fin, who takes charge of the floor, has also created the drinks list at Caravel, having spent time behind the bar at 69 Colebrooke Row, Untitled and Ladies & Gents, before launching his own cocktail consultancy business.

The selection of ready-to-serve cocktails provide the perfect beginning (or end) to an evening on the barge, with the refreshing ‘Blood Orange Margarita’ made with agave and blood orange syrup, a classic Negroni with a rhubarb twist, or a Rum’n’Coke Old Fashioned. Alongside this is a small and selective wine list, with a focus on independent and organic producers.

Seating 40, Caravel is a truly unique dining room. Boarding the rust-coloured barge from the pontoon, diners are greeted with a pared-back space with elegant touches. Light pours in from the boat’s windows, and wooden tables are covered with crisp white tablecloths and small, brass lamps which give a warm glow to the evening’s service.

Situated at the back of the boat, the small open kitchen gives diners a glimpse into the waterside cooking.

Fin said, “Lorcan and I are so excited to finally open Caravel. We have actively transformed this barge from a rusty old thing to this incredible space, and can’t wait to have people on board.”

Caravel will be open from Wednesday to Saturday and from 5:50pm until 11pm.