*Avenue Restaurant was relaunched in March 2014 with a new glamorous look and an American influenced menu – the review below is for indicative purposes*
Like many of the D&D Group’s restaurants, Avenue is a big, table-clothed, classic, fine dining style of restaurant. In that lovely part of St James’s towards Pall Mall, it’s an expansive space with light streaming in through a high, windowed ceiling, which can sometimes, understandably, feel a little empty and lacking in atmosphere.
The décor is suited to the area but there are elements of flair which are now a little dated (splashes of dramatic red orchids in an almost totally white design) and when we dined there was a fairly out-of-character display of art on the walls as part of a temporary exhibition. But, that all aside, we were seated in a mezzanine level overlooking the grand bar and restaurant in a very comfortable spot, which I’d certainly recommend if visiting.
The menu is a selection of seasonal dishes one has learnt to expect in a restaurant erring slightly on the masculine corporate side, and flavours are gutsy and strong to suit the suits.
A starter of English asparagus, which surely is a crime not to serve in early June, was delicious and scallops were plump and beautifully caramelised. The apple served with them lacked a bit of bite and could have added some acidity to cut through the fatty pancetta.
Mains were a choice of fish, pork belly, steaks and a token vegetarian risotto or pasta, and my guest and I both went for fish. Large portions of well-cooked turbot and sea bass were really rather good and this was the course which stole the show.
The fish was perfectly pan-fried on both occasions, and the balance of seasoning just right.
Clearly the sourcing is very important to this restaurant, and it certainly shines through in the quality of cuts served. Simple but very pleasant accompaniments of spinach and man-sized chips complimented the dishes too.
A shared pudding of rhubarb crumble was a lovely end to the meal, and served with an icy cold Muscat rounded things off rather marvellously.
Avenue is pleasant, and at times, very good. It’s one to have in the back of your mind for a business lunch or an early supper and you’d certainly have a good time with no disappointment.
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