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I Spent My Sunday Being Basic At A 5 Course Avocado Brunch

What does it mean to be basic in the UK in 2016? Well, cash and location allowing, all self-respecting basics should be planning a trip to the Meredith Collective’s five course avocado pop up brunch. As a proud, self described basic, my eyes lit up and my stomach rumbled as soon as I heard about an event that contained a perfect Venn diagram overlap of my two favourite things: avocados and brunch. But, predictably, there was a backlash - or rather, a thin stream of Tweeters posting pictures of Marie Antoinette directed at brunch-goers captioned “THIS IS YOU!!!!!”
On the weekend that David Cameron was making things awkward for rich, white people everywhere, I felt more than a twinge of guilty self awareness about paying £55 for the privilege of eating avo ice cream and spamming my Instagram followers with green flesh money shots. Googlemaps mistakenly directed us to a venue a couple of streets away from the pop up, but it was easy to rectify the error - we just followed women who were also wearing Tory Burch flats. My husband was worried that the event would be picketed. “I genuinely think the Fuck Parade are going to throw a brick through the window,” he whispered, as he was handed an avo margarita.
Guests were seated on two long tables, so there were about 50 paying guests, and assorted baristas, waiters and a DJ. Meredith herself was in attendance, wearing a pea green dress and occasionally accessorising with Phoebe the puppy, an adorable King Charles Spaniel.

We were supplied with colouring pencils and paper mats decorated with a range of avocado facts. “DID YOU KNOW…THE WORD AVOCADO IS DERIVED FROM AZTEC WORD “AHUÁCATAL WHICH MEANS TESTICLE?…tehehe” asked the mat. I heard a girl at the other end of the table shrieking with laughter - maybe I was just the wrong audience for the joke.

It appeared that all the other avo fans were aged between 25 and 35. There was an even gender split, a mix of party dresses and workout wear, and happily, not everyone was white (I had been worried about this). However, it was easy to imagine every single person carrying a Michael Kors tote. I spoke to the couple to my right about brunch culture, and they theorised that it’s a big part of the wellness trend - you exercise on a Sunday morning, and then you go and eat eggs. (The couple implied that they were more disappointed by the lack of eggs on the menu than they were excited about the presence of avocado.) What was the ratio of workouts to hangovers in the room? 40-60, they suggested. At our end of the table, it was 50-50. As for me, I was just fighting the temptation to get a carry out from the Papa John’s around the corner.

The girl on my left was a recent vegan who had made her own avocado chocolate mousse the night before, such was her avo fandom. She was also doing the neatest colouring I had ever seen, and I watched with envy as I made a scribbly mess of an avocado pit with a green crayon. “I think coconut is going to be the next pop up trend, the next big thing,” she suggested. “It’s funny, I grew up with it, my parents put it in everything - and now it’s absolutely everywhere, in food and beauty products. I’m actually allergic - but I love it so much that I take an antihistamine before I eat.”
We talk a bit about the fact that £55 for brunch is a bit steep, but we admit that we’re both in the same situation - Londoners in our early thirties who will only ever be in a position to buy property if we befriend some oligarch who is doing a Brewster’s Millions - and we’ve made peace with the fact that if we have any spare cash, we might as well spend it on having a nice time. It’s worth pointing out that this is an expensive event, but you get a lot of beautifully crafted bang for your buck. It doesn’t feel like paying a heavy markup to see a stranger add cereal to milk, or spending the best part of £100 to watch unpaid actors getting dressed up to make you watch a film in a big shed.

We were served an amuse-bouche, a sort of tiny vol au vent with a creamy, fluffy avo filling. I had a second margarita, which was much more delicious than I was expecting. It’s like a green, clean Baileys. Deliciously Ella probably drinks one at Christmas. No-one but me ate the slice of avocado that garnishes the drink. “Call yourselves avo fans,” I grumbled, beligerently. It must have been the tequila.
My husband had said that the dish he was least looking forward to was the very first course - avocado gazpacho. He finished it before I finished taking a picture of mine. It was creamy (well, everything was creamy) and basil oil balanced the flavour, cutting through it and complementing it. I think that the dish contains a decorative avocado pit, but on closer inspection it appears to be a cherry tomato. I bit through it. It was very, very cold watermelon.
A bouncy pearl barley crab risotto seemed to have the least avo flavour, but it tasted carby and comforting enough to be welcomed by my hangover. And I love crab. I would eat crab off the bottom of Dane Bowers’ bathtub. By the time we were on the star dish, a harissa chicken with deep fried avocado, avo salsa and avocado raita, I was practically rolling in the aisles singing songs about the green wonder fruit (or I would have been if I wasn’t frightened of squashing Phoebe the dog. My notes say “Deep fried avo crazy amazing!” “Avocado ice cream is the shit!” and “I feel like Homer Simpson when he joined that cult!”

The ice cream is definitely the star dish. I overheard our gym-going neighbours complaining “it’s a bit rich” before they got up to leave, and I seriously thought about snatching their leftovers before they got cleared away. Obviously, food is a matter of taste in all ways, but I wondered whether we’re too puritanical when we eat of the earth. We’re still working out whether vegetables are supposed to be enjoyed or endured, and avocado straddles both camps. It’s a health food made from fat, and when you’ve absorbed every weird diet message you’ve heard since you first saw a picture of Jane Fonda in Spandex, that’s quite frightening. Avocado on toast might have a basic reputation, but it’s fundamentally a food for provocateurs. It’s comfort food that makes us feel uncomfortable. It’s a Vetements DHL tee, but edible. I suspect that our collective fascination with the fruit is far greater than the horror of the hipster haters.
Due to popular demand, Meredith’s avo pop up is taking bookings for five more dates during May and June. This basic bitch is willing to bet all her Diptyque candles that every seating sells out, because some of us have more money than sense, and avocado is delicious. Let she who has never considered Uggs cast the first pit.

Details of the Avocado Brunch Club can be found here.