Avocado & Lemon - Mediterranean sunshine comes to Twickers
Despite the rather strange ‘local food factory’ strapline on its signage, when visiting the recently-opened Avocado & Lemon you will be transported by the Mediterranean ambiance, a menu with an eastern Med slant, and delicious, freshly cooked food from the spotlessly clean open kitchen. It is owned by Chef proprietor Atanas, formerly sous chef at the Petersham Hotel, but latterly running a very successful pop-up restaurant in Kingston market. It’s a welcome breath of fresh, foodie air to central Twickenham (just down from Waitrose near the old Wimpy bar site).
It opens from 8.30 till 4 for breakfast and lunch (clearly very popular with local office staff already, and packed on match days, so word has already spread). But we popped along for a pre-Christmas dinner, and a very fine meal it was.
We started with a mixed meze and crispy fried squid. The meze comprised Parma ham, salami, imam bayildi, feta, olives and Greek pita. This was beautifully presented on a wooden board and also included humus and mashed avocado. It was a generous portion, and all the ingredients were spot on. The squid was beautifully crispy (a polenta coating apparently helps) served with homemade anchovy and caper aioli, a green salad garnish and, I was delighted to see, a piece of warm, grilled lemon. By grilling or baking lemon, the flavour is caramelised and greatly enhanced; this is just the sort of little extra touch that demonstrates it is run by someone who clearly loves food and knows how to cook it!
For mains, I chose deconstructed lamb kebab (and yes, those of you who regularly read this column will know that I normally avoid anything ‘deconstructed’) but this was one dish that benefitted greatly from the individual elements being served separately. Delicious slow cooked lamb was served with spiced salad, homemade tzatsiki, imam bayildi, crushed almonds and more of that delicious Greek pita. It was absolutely divine; the lamb was ‘pulled’, beautifully tender and really ‘lamby’ in flavour, with very delicate spices. In fact, it is making me hungry now just looking at the photo I took! My husband opted for ‘Big Bad Wolf’ a grilled bavette steak served with chunky chips, roast tomatoes and mushroom, and a freshly made béarnaise sauce. I managed to extract a ‘tasting sample’ and it was superb. It is clear that Atanas and his team can also produce a damned fine steak dinner! The steak was tender, cooked to perfection and the béarnaise was fab. We were told that all the meat is from our great new local butcher The Meat Room.
We enjoyed a beer and a couple of glasses of very nice house wine with our meal and weren’t intending to have a dessert at all as we were replete. But Atanas kindly produced a plate with bite-sized portions of brownie and mascarpone biscuit cake to go with
our coffees. They were the perfect accompaniment, in fact, the perfect end to a perfect meal.
If there were negatives, they were very difficult to find. The place could be cosier of an evening, but Atanas is aware of this, and work is in progress to give it a warmer atmosphere. It’s difficult to transform a bustling daytime café with massive windows into a cosy evening venue,
but judging by the standard of everything else, I am sure it will soon be sorted. In the meantime, I would urge you to visit this great little restaurant before it becomes too popular to get a table!