Tim Firmager heads to one of his favourite bottomless brunch spots, popular with twenty-something Londoners to discover their mid-week menu
Avenue Restaurant in St. James, London has recently launched a new menu influenced by modern Asian cuisine fused with a fiery South American twist. We at Vada know this venue as a destination for bottomless brunches, so were intrigued to find out what the new menu and ‘normal’ dining experience is like at Avenue.
Arriving at the eclectic modern art building that is Avenue, we were treated with the usual sharp service, staff taking our coats and offering a complimentary drink and snack whilst waiting for a colleague. We quickly received the menus at our table, and were left to peruse. To start we opted for the Marbled duck terrine, with ginger and apple chutney, toasted sourdough (£9.50) and the Sea bass ceviche with mangos, lime and avocado (£12). We asked the Sommelier to choose wine pairings with each dish, having a glass of Réthoré Davy Le Chapitre Pinot Noir 2015 with the duck, and a 2017 Domaine de Montredon Picpoul de Linet with the ceviche.
The Sommelier was approachable, and helpful, tailoring the wine “chat” to our level of understanding and appreciation. The starters themselves we good, but neither stood out. We did however have the opportunity to sample a mouthy of the scorched salmon with wasabi spiked white soy dressing. This soft and piquant bite would be enough to tempt us back for a plate.
Onto the mains, and Thursday night was clearly steak night for us, as we chose a 300g New York strip loin served with charred peppers and roasted garlic (£32), and Herefordshire dry aged fillet of beef, curried braised ox cheeks, coriander carrots (£29) with a selection of sides to share.
The Somellier expertly chose a bottle of Chilean Armador Carmenere 2016 Odfjell (an organic, biodynamic wine), for us. Steak is a prime example of a dish that most of us can and do cook at home, but when its prepared by an expert chef, the meat is elevated. At Avenue we found both steaks to be so tender, and perfectly cooked to our requests that we are any meat-loving reader should choose Avenue as their next meal out.
Desserts were chosen in the form of Lime and ginger cheesecake with white chocolate and yuzu cream (£8), and a Chocolate brownie with peanut butter ice-cream (£8). These desserts were expertly executed, and surprisingly the Asian citrus of the yuzu did cut through the cream.
Three stand-outs were the steak, desserts and service – the Sommelier in particular, whilst knowledgable did not have any of the pretence one may expect. We know this as a glamorous space, and advise readers to look out the for the illuminated chandelier, sparkling with wine glasses.
What we thought was lacking were the starters. Whilst the new menu clearly does bring together elements of Latin food and Asian flavours, we were not blown away by a brand new concept.
The cost of our meal was circa £50 each for three course, plus the cost of the wines.
The new menu at Avenue, St James is available for lunch and dinner. For the full menu and to make a reservation, visit avenue-restaurant.co.uk.
Avenue is located at 7-9 St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1EE.