“How Green was my Buffet.” – Avobar

“A bar? Dedicated entirely to avocados?” Yes, mother, and its not a phase, it’s who I am!

. . . So there I was in all its stone-pitted glory. Smack in the middle between the Leicester Square and Covent Garden underground stations. Situated in Henrietta Street, amongst such incongruous company as the Covent Garden Market, and er. . .the English National Opera, sits the Avobar. Dedicated to the avocado in all its wonderful wonderfood glory.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, the avo appeared out of nowhere somewhere in the last decade and is the brunt of jokes about millennials. But what else do I know about this mysterious emerald foodstuff? Can they speak Esperanto? Can they write a great American novel? Can they sew a button back on a chemise shirt?

Avo bun burger (£14.20) Teapot sold separately.
Avo bun burger (£14.20) Teapot sold separately.

Avocado; the potato of the Slytherins. I don’t trust ’em I tells ya! You can’t rely on something with that thin a skin and too hard a core. (And that’s just the Slytherins.) So my jaunt to the avobar comes with a lot of avo-ticipation. I’m looking forward to expanding my avopalate. (okay I’ll stop now.)

The website informs us of their aim to bring “a new vibe to healthy eating with our creative dishes inspired by the king of superfood – the mighty Avo!” So on this, the greenest of days; St. Patrick’s day, I venture to have my disappointments quashed and my mind blown. Totes what ole Paddy would have wanted.

And the staff seem eager to deliver with plenty of smiles as they go through their walkthroughs. (Although that could be this sharp as hell tweed blazer I have on.) The kitchen, which is visible from my table has a number of waiters standing to attention. As if competing to bust an order. A bell rings every time a plate is pushed at the bar, and everyone turns to look at the avo-curios being brought out. Early on in the night we have some chirpy upbeat, modern dance music that keeps things lively, and no, I’m not going to complain about the bass this time.

Speciality foods shouldn’t scare people off. Speciality places certainly shouldn’t scare people off. Sharing my belief, I sit confident amongst a room of the young and the beautiful sending their avopictures to instagram and twitter. It’s understandable, Avobar is a pleasure cruise for the aesthete.

Their website describes it as “Californian Cool”. Everything is so breezily pretty; the greenery and plants hang in corners and among the walls, verdantly growing as in the wild. Twee decorations of bowls and plates are stacked on shelves and the colour schemes are passively effeminate, pinks and slight off whites standing against dirty sand colour tables and stools. Overhead lamps with wicker shades glower a latent orange dimness. Its casual, it’s a place to hang. You could see Carrie Bradshaw and her ilk talking about their bed notches at a table here.

Fish tacos and mulled bramble
Fish tacos (£8.20) and Mulled Bramble (£9)

Holy Guacamole!

Literally everything on this menu has avocado in it! If you weren’t acquainted with this green superfood, sign up for this place. It’s a nicely drawn out and designed menu with an avocado illustrated at the bottom in case you get lost. Or lose motivation.

Apart from the occasional smashed avo with chilli flakes on toast my range of avocado hasn’t been stretched to the limits, so to be met with twenty or so dishes that uses the same ingredient with a large variety of dishes; mashed, guac, grilled, slices, roasted and pulses coming in a variety of meat frees, gluten frees and dairy frees, I am beginning to feel spoilt at the opportunity!


“. . . I’m hit on the nose with a fresh burst of aromance, the smell is utterly delicious. . .”

Much to my surprise a lot of the menu wasn’t without meat. I was anticipating avocados being used as a substitute like how Mooshies put a few slices in for a pulse and texture. Vegans and vegetarians are welcome with a tasteful pick of selections.

I loved how inventive they were with the dishes, getting avo in the recipes with a variety of ways; orange salmon with avocado dressing, eggs with avodaise sauce and pancakes with avo butter. Your curiosity is piqued by the menu, and frankly I’m tempted to get the entire brunch roster. Although it was a tough decision, I put my trust in the kitchen and get the house specialty – Avo Bun Burger 14.60).

The Earth’s Perfume”

As soon as my serving lands on my table, I’m hit on the nose with a fresh burst of aromance, the smell is utterly delicious. The plate is so alive and springy the salad winked at me. I’d ask it to buy me dinner first but feel this an exception to the rule.

It comes masterfully decorated, with two halves of a seed sprinkled avocado instead of a bread bun, which causes much more problems than it solves, to be honest. And the novelty wears off as you begin to knife and fork through this reject of the Culinary Branch of the Tate Modern.

Avo Bun Burger, thoroughly critiqued.
“Deconstructed” burger.

To taste; the soft, natural flavours of the burger spoke for itself, light and fluffy sweet potato with red lentils mashed into a patty. Seasoning each bite with a delicate herb and coconut dressing, giving a nice second kick of taste. Slices of tomato and cucumber kept things moist against the hash, giving crunch amongst the velvet.

Serving as my side, ‘slaw; sour, vividly stinging red onions and beetroot, strong flavouring and vibrant and with lasting aroma. It’s a great tang to the burger and with enough sauce to coat and mop up the leafy, crisp salad with as well.

What is so surprising is you can tell how organic and fresh and well made it all is. Indeed, Avobar does insist – “We set high standards when it comes to our food” – on their website, and you can be confident this isn’t a brand selling you a line. When cooked well enough, the natural world has its own perfume. I didn’t know whether to eat my food or rub it into my wrists and neck.

Orange Salmon and white Jasmine Neroli Tea.
Orange Salmon (£9.40) and White Jasmine Neroli Tea (£3.40)

“How can you put avocado in a drink!?” I hear the excessively critical voice in my head apoplectically moan. And the answer is “very easy”, with a unique collection of blends and yes, even cocktails. The Avocolada (“getting caught in the rain. . . “) (£7.) is a bouquet of sweet and softly green, frothy, a concoction that feels very soothing to the body.

An Avocolada and a Sour Jasmine. (£7 each.)
An Avocolada and a Sour Jasmine. (£7 each.)

Continuing their strive for excellent health cuisine; a huge variety of teas, smoothies and juices with the benefits printed in the menu as a selling point: “good for clearing your head“, “good for energy boosts” making this a great place to eat for the health conscious. As the night wears on the music gets turned down a notch, and shifts to exotic, world music that wouldn’t sound out of place as the backing to some belly dancing. It also gets quieter, and gives the place more room to breathe which makes me notice how fitting it is; sambas and slow jazz ballads giving the place a much more distinctive character.

“. . . if Prince made brownies this is what I imagine they’d taste like . . .”

Kicking back with the Cali-Cool

With a gut of nutritionally balanced food and drink that you could see being served at a mindfulness retreat, I’m feeling relaxed and warming to the Cali-Cool aesthetic, and insist on staying for afters. Keeping me company is the avobrownie (£4.90). As I’ve mentioned before I’m not a fan of brownies but I still try, and learn better.

The avobrownie was incredible. At first glance it looks bulky, packed fully loaded, and the shaving of flower petals carry the pretty look of Avobar. The chocolate had uniquely rich taste and thick texture, chunky and yet light and easy on the mouth. The crust on top provided a little crunch and the sweetness isn’t overpowering. Drizzled around the plate is a sweet potato syrup, with fruity tones, soaking into the body of the bake. If Prince made brownies this is what I imagine they’d taste like.

Avocado Brownie
I laboured over those right angles.

Accompanying my dessert was the Avojito (£7.40); springy and limey, with icy zest and a coolness that will help you in the summer. Like the Avocolada before it, the avocado in it makes a frothy mix that gives it a smoothie-like texture. With a capital “SMOOOOOOOOOOOOO”. Said in a chocolatey baritone voice.

Avobar is a friendly place when you’re there, you feel attended by the staff. Although their website’s disclaimer– operate on a first come, first serve basis – does make one feel worried if you’re planning a visit, and it gives me the feeling that this place hasn’t figured what it wants to be – is it a quiet, trendy little cafe where people brunch with the eggs avodaise and beetroot on toast, or is it dining with the orange salmons and burgers? With its £10 taco and cocktail offer you’d think it to be an after-hours socialising place. I’d also recommend for them to expand their larger dishes, the classic selection, but that maybe my own prejudice against smaller dishes. (I’m watching you, tapas. . . )

It’s also not a bad idea to see the place expand their brunch meals. They’re clearly not short of a few ideas for dishes nor variety. And they’re eager to please and turn people onto their stone pitted fruits.

So all in all, I’m impressed, walking out of the bar literally complimenting the chef as he asked us how it was, I now feel fully confident in giving the potato for Slytherins a thumbs up. It’s a great experience, and hope to see this place and perhaps other places dedicated to a certain foods – (looking at you houmous) – expand and get popular.

I wonder what they do with all of the peeled skin-shells?

*
Special thanks to my friends who withheld from eating and took pictures of their meals.

. . . back to the homepage

Do you like your stones pitted? How many avocados can you eat in one dinner? How super do you like your food? Have you been to the Avobar? Agree or disagree?

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