The suburb of Avalon on Sydney's Northern Beaches has been well known for having great restaurants, excellent coffee, quirky small bars, and an eclectic selection of shops from unique fashion to art. The casual beachy atmosphere draws a cultured interesting crowd that demands good healthy food.
There is a good selection of restaurants from modern contemporary Brasseries, Cafes, Thai, French to Japanese. What was missing was a good Asian street food restaurant. Finally Avalon has what they needed with Yoda Food opening last year in July.
I stumbled upon Yoda after seeing a movie across the road at the Avalon United Cinemas. I was starving and it was already 930pm. Initially we looked across the road and saw Yoda but decided a short walk down the street to see what else was on offer. Looking around and noticing other restaurants were fairly quite at that time, we ended up back at Yoda . We were drawn to how busy it was, a good sign and the spicy aroma wafting in the air was tantalising.
The decor is a funky mix matched selection of chairs and tables, hanging metal birdcages and abstract modern and asian art.
We were warmly welcomed by owner Michelle Ring. Her husband Brendan Brady is a UK Expat who spent 9 years learning the art of Asian cooking Hong Kong and further here experimenting with a friend from Laos. Michelle is one of those people you instantly connect with, very open and friendly, showing real compassion and interest in people. Brendan lives and breathes cooking and believes the best cooking is with the freshest ingredients and sauces made from scratch. I had to ask Michelle about how they came up with the name for the restaurant. Initially the name Yoda Food brings to my mind, Mung Beans,Tofu, Lentils and all things Healthy rather than South East Asian Street Food so don't let the name confuse you.
Brendan & Michelle - image Yoda website
It appears Yoda has a special meaning for this industrious couple going back 20 years ago when Brendan Brady gave a stone Burmese Buddha to his wife Michelle. Their Buddha with a remarkable likeness to Yoda from Star Wars has stood the test of time in their relationship and is now their talisman for their new venture. This couple is a powerhouse of energy and Michelle not only serves and managers the restaurant, she also looks after her four young children. Yoda proudly sits up high at the back of the restaurant keeping the energy in place. The Force is certainly with them!
My friend and I were excited to try out the menu. I ordered the Fish of the Day wrapped in Banana Leaf with red chilli paste and coconut $20.00. My friend chose the popular Beef Rendang GF $18.00. I was driving so a quick peek at the drinks menu and I decided on just one glass of Hunters Marlborough Pinot Gris $7.40 and my friend ordered a Yoda Virgin Mojito $8.00 which she said was delicious. BYO is also welcome here @ $3.50 pp. Each bite danced in my mouth, the fusion of flavours were perfect.
There is a wide selection of interesting dishes to choose from and no doubt they will be all lip-smacking tasty. Don't forget dessert! I was also impressed to see several options for GF (Gluten Free) KF (Kid Friendly) and V (Vegetarian).
This restaurant is similar to how restaurants operate in Asia in that they don't close during the day but are open from 11am until 10pm 7 days a week. You can even get great coffee and home-made cakes so there is something for everyone at any time of the day.