Avion Street Café
Holešovice may be one of Prague’s up-and-coming neighborhoods – check out this recent article on the city’s emerging districts if you don’t believe me – but despite its rapidly rising kudos, there’s a distinct absence of decent cafes. For this reason, as Expats.cz café reviewer extraordinaire, I was pathetically excited to spot new kid on the block Avion Street Café appear on Komunardů.
Its funky retro signage promised much. Quiches! Salads! Soups! Baguettes! A big picture of a teacup suggested there would even be hot beverages on offer!
Even before I set foot through the door, my expectations were high – could Avion Street live up to them?
Don’t be fooled by the name: there’s no aeronautical theme so you won’t see a Spitfire’s fuselage hanging from the ceiling. Instead, there’s a rather ingenious lampshade made from dozens of upturned coffee cups each housing an individual lightbulb: a delightful bit of upcycled décor. On the walls there are a couple of murals in which some sheep, a deer and a field mouse are dressed up like lords and ladies of the manor while enjoying afternoon tea. It’s all rather Downton Abbey meets Beatrix Potter. The rest of the interior is more standard: there are half a dozen tables in all, some of which have squishy seats (hurray!) and a small counter with bar stools overlooking the street with easy access to sockets if you’ve come to work on your laptop.
Although the glass counter where the cakes are is only half full, this is explained by the sign on the door: the café is in its “zkušební provoz” – trial period. However, there’s a still decent range of both food and drinks on the menu. I didn’t spot any quiche, but there was some chicken soup and Caesar salad available as lunch options as well as five different kinds of panini. There’s also a breakfast menu which includes scrambled eggs, mini frankfurters with bread and mustard (erm, yum) and the apparent attempt at a healthy option, chocolate muesli with yogurt and fresh fruit.
As I’d just eaten Sunday lunch, there was only one thing on my mind – dessert. I was immediately drawn to the Kuba cake (39kč), which has nothing to do with Fidel Castro and everything to do with lashings of chocolate. As a rather pathetic attempt at simultaneous detoxing, I also order a green tea.
The green tea (25kč; 5kč for a portion of honey) is served in a large plain white tea cup and is, well, green. According to the label, it’s organic, so it ought to be a cut above in terms of quality, but as far as the flavour goes it’s unremarkable. Fortunately, the same cannot be said of the Kuba cake which was excellent: the thin sponge base is topped by a super thick layer of gooey chocolate goodness with the odd bit of banana mixed in as a token contribution to your 5-a-day. By the time I was down to my final few forkfuls, it did seem a touch sickly even for this sweet-toothed reviewer but it still comes highly recommended as an indulgent treat.
I’m not the only person in the area who has decided that Avion Street would be a nice spot to while away a rainy Sunday afternoon. As I’m halfway through my chocolately slice of dessert heaven, a couple of young families enter in search of shelter from the inclement weather and good cake. There’s a small toy kitchen tucked away near the bathroom which keeps the toddlers entertained. Shortly afterwards, a pair of guy hipsters grab the seats nearest to the power supply. Given just how close we are to a Czech media hub – the main offices of Blesk and at least a dozen other Czech print publications are just across the road – it’s easy to imagine that any nearby café would only be interested in attracting a pretentious crowd. Not so. The prices alone are a good indication that this is no snobby establishment: 39kc for a slice of cake in a pleasant Prague cafe is pretty reasonable I’d say.
I decide it’s time to try a coffee. The cappuccino was excellent: not too foamy with a distinctive coffee flavour without being too bitter. Perhaps it’s no surprise that it was top notch, given that Avion Street use Doubleshot beans. When I go to the counter to settle up, I can’t resist picking up just one more dessert to try at home. I choose a slice of walnut cake with three layers of sponge sandwiched together with cream. Having had enough sugar for one day, I have to enlist the help of The Boyfriend to do some taste-testing. Overall he gave the ořechovy dort the thumbs up, observing that there was a pleasingly fine balance between cream and sponge, while also praising the nuttiness which, according to him, was not overpowering. I should watch out: with insightful analysis like that, he could do my job.
All in all, Avion Street is a highly welcome new addition to the Holešovice cafe scene. I for one can’t wait to go back once the zkušební provoz is over to sample Avion’s full range of delights!
Avion Street Café
Komunardů 42, Prague 7
Brand of coffee: Doubleshot
Serves food: yes
Which Prague café serves the best chocolate cake?
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