There was something quite seductive about Avila that I couldn’t put my finger on. Was it the dark, smouldering interior and candlelight? Was it the devilishly handsome waiters mixing up cocktails behind the bar? Was it the intoxicating smells wafting from open kitchen? I suspect it was a combination of the three but from the moment we stepped into Avila, we were a bit in love.
The first of it’s kind in Sydney, the crêperie-cum-cocktail bar is the passion project of Alejandro Jara. ‘Bondi is changing,’ he said, ‘I saw a gap in the market as nothing like this has been done before.’ It’s only been open a few weeks and yet it’s been packed every evening so obviously, he’s struck the right chord.
It’s evident that a lot of time and care has gone into this space. The menu was designed by French chef, Raphael Matet and is brought to life by Camille Dubois, the best in the business (apparently he’s been making gallets since he was a youngster back in France!) The interior is gorgeously gothic with a wall of distressed mirrors, low lighting and vintage glassware; it doesn’t feel like you’re just streets away from the beach. It’s small but perfectly formed.
We went along on a Wednesday evening which is Ladies Night so before I had time to glance over the menu, I already had a glass of bubbles to sip on. On Alejandro’s recommendation, we went for the Sharing Plates of three savory and sweet crêpes for dinner. It was a really great way to get a proper taste of the menu (as there are quite a few tempting options!)
The galletes are presented beautifully on wood and marble slabs and are folded into squares which make them easy to slice up and share. My favourite by far was the egg and pancetta with tomato, swiss cheese and aioli. The egg was cooked into the middle of the gallet so it was a wonderful moment to break the yolk. The flavours went together wonderfully, most especially the aioli.
By the time we had moved to the sweet crêpes, we were quite full already. We had ordered a Nutella and candied hazelnut, an apple, cinnamon and salted caramel and a flambé mixed berry crepe all with ice cream. My, my, they were beautiful to behold (especially when set alight!).
After six small crepes between two of us, we were more than satisfied. I’d recommend just one Sharing Plate options between two and then perhaps a full-sized sweet crepe for a dessert. The standalone gallets are rather large and a popular option for lone diners is a crepe with a side salad. There’s also a soup option if you’re not keen on carbs.
They also have some fantastic cocktails to wash everything down with. A perfectly wintery menu, there are a range of sweet and fruity to dark and strong cocktails to choose from. I tried The Marquis, a vermouth based tipple with apple cinnamon on the side. The different seating options in Avila, from a high bar to booths at the back make this the perfect setting to skip the food and enjoy a drink or two with friends.
I have officially been seduced by Avila. From its atmospheric interior to its delicious menu, it’s the kind of place you’ll bring friends, family and people to impress. However, I’m not the only one who has been put under the spell. By 7pm, the bar was already full of couples and groups of girls meeting after work meaning that if you want to get a taste, I would certainly book ahead.
Avila is open in the evenings during the week, and for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the weekend.