Abokado is a chain, but it has become just that because it delivers what people want and it has regulars, and that, these days, is an accolade! We had breakfast in the High Holborn branch, which is just a stone’s throw from Holborn and Chancery Lane Underground stations.
There are a few seats at this particular Abokado, but we had those to ourselves. A 10am visit allows one to miss the pre-office crowd and the early lunch bunch. There were, however, plenty of folks collecting both coffee and food to take away. They all seemed to know exactly what they wanted, indicating a degree of brand loyalty, and that was a hopeful sign (assuming those folks had discerning palates!)
I had heard of the coffee at Abokado and so thought I would try that as my mid-morning beverage. ‘Oh no,’ I hear my dear reader cry. ‘We know you hate coffee and haven’t had a good one in London since Adam was a lad.’ Yes, one could allude to biblical characters to describe my aversion to hot and mouth-shrivelling drinks, but I had a rather pleasant surprise. I really did enjoy coffee, in this case a Long White at Abokado. I finished it; I can’t remember the last time I saw the bottom of a coffee cup away from home, and I would have had a second had time allowed!
A morning delight
Award-winning coffee roasters Climpson and Sons have been roasting beans in London’s East End for a decade or so. They have designed a blend exclusively for Abokado which complements the foods on offer here – and that coffee is a morning delight. I tend to avoid the stuff as it’s invariably too bitter and often too strong.
Also, If I must have coffee I don’t want to be offered distracting options. I once lived in New York and would go to a ‘celebrated’ coffee shop every morning. The lines were long, and the menu was longer. I always had what the previous customer ordered as I presumed (wrongly) that it would be OK. A tallskinnymochaofEthiopenbeanswithashotofcaramelchocolatesprinklesandportraitofaNYcabinthefroth was never my cup of tea. Abokado sticks to a few tried and tested standards and it’s a lot better off for it. My coffee was devoid of bitterness but tasted of, well, coffee. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? A nice cuppa Joe from Brazil for under £2.00.
And talking of New York (note the use of a brilliant literary segue?) my companion was taken with the bacon, egg mayo and slow roasted tomatoes in a multigrain bagel for his morning snack. This was pronounced moist and flavourful, with well-textured bread. Bagels here are the real thing. OK, the multigrain element might be a departure, but the cooking method is authentic. The dough is made, shaped and then dunked in a vat of boiling alkalised water. It’s this unique additional step that gives a bagel its distinctive chew. Everything else is just a roll with a hole!
A first-class bun
I chose a pretzel roll and it was a winner. The aforementioned guest had chosen the breakfast bun I would have liked, so I was feeling rather short-changed. But this second choice turned out to be a first-class bun – one which I can highly recommend and will be having again. Free-range egg, sundried tomatoes with chilli ketchup on a freshly baked pretzel roll might not sound exciting but those tomatoes made the difference. They were sun-kissed rather than being dry and leathery. They offered the very essence of tomatoey taste. A real wake-up brekkie.
Abokado presented more than I had expected. Great coffee and thoughtful, sensible and delicious food. It’s not rocket science but it does work.
14 High Holborn
Phone: 020 7831 5101
7am to 8pm Monday to Friday