#Foodie Review: Avenue (London)

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Summary: Recommended

Because the food is pretty good, decor is nice, service is really good, and most importantly because it is a darn good value where one meal here will not break the bank for most people, I RECOMMEND Avenue Restaurant and would be more than happy to go there again, with friends or colleagues, if in the neighborhood. Would I go out of my way, likely not. Should you try it out? I think so. Go for it, and let me know what you think!

Avenue Restaurant

7-9 St James’s Street
Mayfair
London
SW1A 1EE
Above photo from Avenue website.

Long Version

FOOD: 3

Before starting our meal, we had a glass of champagne to excite the palate and, well, we had just watched “Skyfall”, the latest instalment of the James Bond 007 franchise. Champagne just seemed right! We enjoyed the champs with some amazing brown bread with nuts that threatened to fill us up before our first course arrived. yum!

20121118-184750.jpgFor my starter, I chose a rather unique dish I actually may try for breakfast one Saturday morning. Wild mushrooms seasoned and sauteed in about a pound of butter were ladled over a heavy chunk of sourdough bread then covered with a slow cooked hen’s egg. While it was a tad salty for my taste, my stomach loved what my heart could later regret. My partner won this round with the venison carpaccio however, which was perfectly prepared, tender and juicy bits of perfection.

By this point, we had a bottle of the house white wine, acceptable yet completely unremarkable. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.

My main was a simply grilled plaice with prawns and capers on a bed of greens. While the fish was good, I must say it certainly did not wow me. And the prawns were a bit tiny and dry. That said, it was an interesting presentation albeit with only ok execution. My partner again won the round with fish and chips which were devoured before my eyes. “It was ok” was all I was able to get from the other side of the table, but there was no sign food have ever actually been on the plate so I think it must have been better than ok. 20121118-184801.jpg

For dessert, I had to continue in my search for the perfect sticky toffee pudding, having now sampled the treat at at least a half dozen restaurants. My favourite remains that of Fishworks on Marylebone High Street and the Avenue version did nothing to change that. In fact, recalling the pudding at Fishworks reminded me, alas, that I also could have gotten fish of the same quality there as well. I also tried my partner’s Bramley Apple Crumble, also pretty good but not memorable. “It was fine.”

Overall, I must say that the creativity in the meal declined as each course progressed. Appetiser was unique, main was fairly standard, while dessert was just common. That said, for the record I love basic desserts. so bring in the brownies, apple crumbles, and sticky toffee puddings. Just make them spectacular please. 😉

SERVICE: 4

The team here seemed happy to welcome us and the other guests. The place was not very crowded for a Saturday but busy enough to suggest they could handle the larger crowds as well. The host that greeted us was helpful, the server consistent. They were friendly and prompt and able to keep things on track and flowing smoothly. The courses were well timed and our glasses were always filled. Minor annoyance: server asked if we wanted our coffees with dessert and we said hello. Our coffee arrived as we were finishing dessert. Adam pet peeve!

DECOR/AMBIANCE: 4

This restaurant is apparently one of a few owned by the DandD team that I believe is affiliated with the Conran Group, but definitely includes Orrery, one of my favourites yet to be reviewed, and Coq d’Argent. I am a sucker for accent walls, especially when of a warm and vibrant colour. Avenue did not disappoint with a nice red wall with quirky yet subtle (and reasonably priced) artwork hanging. It was a bit loud yet still allowed us to have a decent conversation, get a decent amount of people watching in, and sit relatively comfortably. Privacy was fine and I didn’t feel as if they tried to cram every inch with seating as at Asia de Cuba. And despite the recent trend of restaurants with DJs and blaring lounge music, Avenue was reserved. No disco with dinner!

The restaurant was well suited for the quiet area of Mayfair that is St James and the crowd seemed there for food and service versus to be seen; a welcome change. One miss is that I could not see the chef or kitchen.

VALUE: 5

For reference to those who have not read my other reviews, I have dined at La Chappelle in London and Graham Elliott in Chicago, Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia and Le Bernadin in New York. Yet, my greatest joy comes not from proving world renowned restaurants deserve (or do not deserve) acclaim. Rather, it comes from finding fantastic value restaurants where food is great and value for money worth noting. London provides ample opportunities for this with toptable and other websites always offering discounts.

This meal was booked via toptable.co.uk and I signed up for the 3 courses with half-bottle of wine offer. I reviewed the full menu upon arrival and am confident in my review ratings for regular meals or for those taking on the offer.

I have been excited to spend this year finding contrasting restaurants that offer similar quality food and much better prices. I found one such restaurant in Vivat Bacchus, and now in Avenue. The meal was approximately £100 for two, compared to about 3 to 4 times that much at La Chapelle and it was a bit cheaper than the bill at Balleria, the last restaurant I reviewed. Vivat Bacchus remains the top value for service, food and decor for me thus far in London.

OVERALL: 4

I love great food and great service. Avenue had pretty good food and really good service. I want to know the place in which I dine is attractive and cozy enough for both business dinners or romantic nights out. I would take a date or colleague to Avenue. However, as I eat my way across London’s amazing options for dining, I find myself rarely repeating unless a place is really stellar. Alas, Avenue was good, no attitude, good service and a nice space. But it was not stellar.

Because the food is pretty good, decor is nice, service is really good, and most importantly because it is a darn good value where one meal here will not break the bank for most people, I RECOMMEND Avenue Restaurant and would be more than happy to go there again, with friends or colleagues, if in the neighborhood. Would I go out of my way, likely not. Should you try it out? I think so. Go for it, and let me know what you think!

In relationship with #foodies,

Adam

Adam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections

For more reviews, go to my yelp profile here or find me on TripAdvisor with username ALSWharton.

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Adam Stanley

Adam Stanley

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