Andy Mossack visits the London opening of the Avocado Show and its Dutch-based entrepreneurs looking to open a restaurant in every major world city.
I remember visiting the first Avocado Show restaurant in De Pijp, Amsterdam back in 2017 in the wake of its seemingly overnight success. People were literally camping overnight outside the restaurant to get a table; such was the Instagram frenzy caused by its opening. Who would have thought the humble avocado could become so hot.
Of course, this wasn’t your simple smashed avo on toast eatery, The Avocado Show created edible art on a plate. Carving the lovely green flesh into fancy dishes of such theatrical wonder it brought the Dutch out in their droves along with hundreds of thousands of on and offline fans.
Founders Ron Simpson and Julien Zaal had certainly stumbled on to a winner, and three years on they’ve expanded their franchise to three outlets in Amsterdam, and opened in Brussels, Madrid and now London. These guys are not intending to rest on their laurels (or avocados?) they intend to bring their “pretty healthy food” franchise to every major world city.
For me, it’s all about avocados, a fruit that can be notoriously inconsistent. Either too ripe or yet to ripen and often full of black blemishes. Somehow, they have sourced reliable and sustainably serious avocado farmers in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Spain and South Africa who manage to deliver perfectly ripe avos all the time.
The London restaurant interior is a very healthy shade of pink in Princes Street, a couple of minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus. Instantly, I feel a familiarity, almost like a favourite toy. A sense of reliving a fond memory. Was I seeing that Mama Mango dish through rose-coloured glasses or will it stand the test of time?
I love the online menu. Each dish offers a clear description, all the ingredients and any containing allergens. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are easily spotted.
I kick off with an indulgent basket of avo fries as I fancy a dip (£6.50). Fingers of avocado encased in Japanese panko breadcrumbs with a truffle mayo dip on the side. It’s the perfect fry, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Who knew avocados could taste even better than potato fries?
We also ordered the Avo Garden (£6.95). A beautiful half avo filled with hummus and sprinkled with cayenne, cumin, paprika and edible flowers alongside a couple of pita sticks. Very, very tasty.
Now came the real test, the Mama Mango (£13.95). A poke bowl with mango, edamame, pickled cucumber and wakame, on a bed of sushi rice inside (and this is the arty bit) a royal crown of sliced avocado. No rose-coloured glasses here. It is just as I remembered. The crown of sliced avo is so delicately woven it’s a wonder how it sticks together. The whole dish is a fountain of flavour. The fresh mango and pickled cucumber combine brilliantly.
There are other notable mentions on tables near me that looked every bit as spectacular as mine. The Bun Burger uses an avo instead of bread but the beef patty, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and grill sauce is all traditional burger and comes with a side of three dip nachos (£14.95). There’s a vegan option too. A crispy avocado, corn & quinoa burger with mustard relish, little gem lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo on a vegan brioche bun (£15.95). And who can resist a dessert of peanut butter and avo ice cream (£5.95)
Even while basking in their success so far, Ron and Julien are only just getting started. They have already published a book of gorgeous recipes in collaboration with food artist/chef Colette Dike, launched a range of trendy fashion accessories and set up a healthy franchise operation.
This isn’t fine dining, and it’s not trying to be. What it is though is a celebration of the versatility of the avocado, beautifully presented, and as they say, “it’s pretty healthy eating”.
For lovers of avocados, and I put myself firmly in that bracket, this is a dream come true.
Food images (C) Andy Mossack
Tell me more about The Avocado Show restaurant
The Avocado Show, 6 Princes Street, London W1B 2LG
E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +447594561103
The restaurant is open from 10 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.