Having opened in September of last year Avido is a welcomed addition to the shop lined, pub spotted strip of Oxford St, Paddington. Blink and you may miss it but take a moment to peak through the glass doors on a cold night and you’ll find a warm and inviting space worthy of a pause.
The first thing that strikes you about Avido is the décor with thick ropes hanging from the walls and long draped lampshades hanging from the ceiling. The exposed, rough brick walls, chocolate leather seats and wine rack behind the bar give Avido a modern stylised finish. It’s quirky without being too try-hard.
Had it been summer we may have themed this Secret Foodies Backyard BBQ and dined in the outside courtyard drenched in sun sipping icy cold drinks. But it’s mid-winter and the idea of a Tuscan escape sounded far more romantic.
We start our evening with a glass of La Zona Prosecco from King Valley. Our guests arrive and the entrance gets rather cosy, annoying in sticky summer but tonight the body warmth is welcome. We take our seats and charcuterie boards with bresaola, salami, rare roast beef, pork terrine, crostini and caper berries are placed between the tables to share. There’s a truffles theme running through the menu and you can taste the truffle oil splashed sparingly across the roast beef.
My favourite dish of the evening is next, the fried gnocci with grappa and gorgonzola sauce and fresh spinach. I’m not usually a big fan of gnocci but this is light, fluffy and the golden fried exterior is pleasantly different from the stodgy glue like gnocci that’s scared me in the past. The 2009 Castel Firmian Pinot Grigio is also my favourite drop for the evening. Thank you Sommelier David for an excellent wine match with each dish, not just this one.
Bangalow pork belly with taleggio and cauliflower al forno w’vino del santi spiced pear with a salad of kohlrabi, radish and celeriac is served for main and matched with the 2009 Galli Estate Nebbiolo. It’s a difficult feat to serve pork belly on large scale of 35 dinners and especially with a small kitchen. The presentation was great and I really liked the ‘posh coleslaw’ but found the pork a little dry. A delicious cauliflower side was true to the season and a nice embrace of winter.
That brings us to dessert, rosemary panna cotta with roast raspberries and truffle honey. Rosemary is a strong and over-bearing flavour easily balanced with a roast lamb packed with garlic. With something so delicate as a panna cotta it’s too overwhelming for my taste. Head Chef Skye Carigiet mentioned he’d served a lavender panna cotta previously and I think this more subtle combination would have worked better though I did enjoy the truffle honey candy on top. A glass of the Castellani ‘Solo Arte’ was a nice match and wasn’t too sweet for a dessert wine.
He looks young but UK import Skye has had an impressive career in the UK including a stint with Gordan Ramsey who he says was the most influential chef he’s worked for despite his temper. Skye believes in using organic produce wherever possible and uses seasonal, fresh produce. He know’s what he likes and isn’t afraid to experiment, that I appreciate. I look forward to experiencing his next whacky creation and I’m sure he’s your go-to-man for 101 ways to use truffles in cooking.
Owner Ian Summers and the team run a warm and hospitable restaurant in a great location. I think it’s perfect for a bite with friends, cheeky vino and nibble or a lazy session out back when the sun decided to peak it’s head.