Avenue restaurant review: Classic British dishes in arty, contemporary surroundings
Avenue is a refreshing destination on the London dining scene – a venue for fine dining situated in airy, contemporary surroundings without the stuffiness you often get at other establishments in the same price range. I recently booked a table for five on a Saturday night to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Located in St James, just off Piccadilly, it’s just a few minutes walk from Green Park tube station. The restaurant is situated right on St James’s Street, with large windows giving you a view of inside from outside. Although we were a little late due to transport issues, it was no problem for the friendly staff who showed us to our table. We were given a large round table near the back so had a good spot away from the busy bar and were able to see the contemporary artworks hanging out the walls surrounding us. Avenue was built in a former bank so has high lofty ceilings, letting in lots of light during the day, but providing plenty of space for the low lighting, which gives the restaurant a relaxed, cosy vibe. The service was incredibly friendly and our waiter was quite the joker, making us laugh on many occasions.
The menu is seasonal British fare, with mains ranging from £14.00 to 29.50 for those fancying a Fillet Steak. However, my party had booked the Evening Standard offer (normally available Jan-Feb and Aug-Sep) so had a choice from a set menu for either two or three courses including a glass of wine for £15 or £20 respectively. The deal was incredibly good value and the set menu was actually a lot more extensive than you would get on typical deals like this. For starters, I opted for Loch Var smoked salmon, marinated onions, potato & horseradish cream which was a light and refreshing appetizer. For mains I had the battered day boat pollock, triple cooked chips and tartare sauce – essentially a posh fish ‘n’ chips. Unusually for an English person, I’m not mad about fish ‘n’ chips, but enjoyed the dish. It was filling, but not too heavy. One of my party opted for the generous portioned Avenue burger, St Gall, English mustard and chips and thought it was delicious. For dessert, we were torn between the choice of four different puddings so decided to order three and share them between our party. We each sampled the banana sticky toffee pudding with rum & raisin ice cream, Yorkshire rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream and Valrhona chocolate fondant with yoghurt ice cream. They are all absolutely heavenly and if I had to choose between the three, I wouldn’t know which one to plump for as my favourite. My party opted for the white wine on the set menu – the Piemonte Cortese from Italy which was a light, crisp and went down easily, so we ended up ordering a bottle during our meal.
- Avenue restaurant and bar, 7-9 St James’s Street, St James, London SW1A 1EE. Nearest tube: Green Park. For more information and booking, visit Avenue’s website.
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