London’s first Antipodean-meets-South American coffee house and kitchen has arrived smack bang in the middle of Covent Garden and it’s a real beauty.
Abuelo (Spanish for Grandfather), is run by a mother and daughter team with Argentinian and Australian heritage. Mama Lynette is widely credited as a key player and pioneer of the original, disruptive Antipodean coffee movement. Named one of the “Coffee Kings” of Sydney, at her height, Lynette had five restaurants, 1,750 strong staff and celebrity clientele, including Kylie Minogue and Michael Hutchence, who would queue round the block for a cup of her coffee. She even created the “babyccino”, the warm frothed milk drink now favoured by trendy toddlers worldwide. Vogue Australia wrote about the drink and the story, and the serve went global.
So as you might expect – the coffee here is BANGING. They use South American beans and work with a British roastery partner, overseeing the process to get the right flavours for their single origin coffee.
We were here at lunchtime and tucked into vibrant salads full of colour, spirals, edible flowers and delicious dressings – just the sort of wholesome and hearty food we’d eat for lunch every day if we could. The ripped herb salad with mint, wild garlic leaves, chives, spring onion, spinach, avocado, goats cheese and pumpkin seeds was particularly fresh – add slow cooked lamb tostada if you fancy some meat.
Breakfast looks lovely too, with more interesting options than the ubiquitous avocado on toast. Instead try the poached eggs with salsa roja and chimichurri, on a bed of labneh, with avocado cream and smoked paprika or the honey whipped mascarpone served with fresh figs, crushed salted pistachios and edible flowers on toast.
There’s no Wi-Fi so it doesn’t have the ‘WeWork’ vibe some coffee shops end up falling prey too. Instead a large wooden table takes centre stage, with a traditional handwoven rug made by Australian-Argentinian ethical company Pampa, running down the middle. It’s bookended by the timber fireplace, filled with foliage and church candles. If you don’t feel like sharing your space, there’s a more intimate area with a cosy sofa corner studded with green cushions, tables and stools.
We’ll be returning to quench our coffee thirst along with a slice of vegan cake which the team decorate with a particularly insta-friendly combo of nuts, fruits and edible flowers.