Avenue

Restaurants , Contemporary European St James'
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(6 user reviews)
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Avenue opened in 1997, at a time when St James’s was still playing FTSE and the area’s hedge fund managers were indulging in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ excess. Conran Restaurants hired the leading minimalist designer of the day, Rick Mather, to create a vast white box of a room. The unflattering uplighting of the hugely long bar made the rich show-offs look even more like Jordan Belfort in rehab.

Come 2014, and the financial hangover of the last five years is starting to wear off. Much the same team – now called D&D London – have refocused their efforts on what had become a dated and faltering restaurant, reinventing the vaguely American theme for the current age. So the late Rick Mather’s clean lines have been softened up; the waiting staff have learned to smile. The bar is still a major draw, helped along by great snacks, friendly bar staff, well-crafted cocktails, and an impressive wine list with some terrific wine flights.

The menu’s also had an all-points overhaul. The most fun dish is the New England clam chowder, served in a hollowed-out loaf crust, a presentation that was first fashionable during the 1970s. The chowder itself was very creamy and as rich as a stockbroker. As for the lobster mac, it’s comfort food that unsubtly signals the affluence needed to lace a simple dish with a luxury ingredient – a juxtaposition that seems apt on this faux-homely menu.

Meatloaf is a staple of home cooking across the US, here served in a pork version. It was a fine dish that any mom would be pleased with, but the portion was so massive it could have fed a family of four – and no doggy bags were available. It’s always tragic to see good food going to waste; perhaps the days of moneyed excess aren’t over just yet.

Venue name: Avenue
Contact:
Address: 7-9 St James's Street
London
SW1A 1EE
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-3pm Mon-Fri; 11am-4pm Sat. Dinner served 5.30-10pm Mon-Sat.
Transport: Green Park tube
Price: Main courses £15.75-£19.50. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £100.
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Average User Rating

2.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|6
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Henry C
tastemaker

We came here for a 'bottomless' Sunday Brunch in September 2016 and, in comparison to the multitude of other brunches in London, felt slightly underwhelmed - although the service was incredible. 


You can have two courses for £23 or three for £26. I went for the poached pears & yogurt as a small plate and my friends went for the pancakes. My portion was minuscule whereas the Pancakes were huge and far to big for a starter. However, the pears were delicious, however were also the highlight of the meal - not the goal of any starter.


I followed this up with the Mac 'n Cheese which although tasty was a tiny portion, my friends had the Butter Chicken Burger and the Eggs Benedict - again the portions were larger on others meals but just a little disappointing in taste.


The desserts were a waste of money and were very underwhelming - the Pecan Pie was not up to scratch and tasted smokey & burnt. The Brownie was also dry and dull.


The 'bottomless' referred to was the prosecco & Blood Mary's (which are interchangeable - which is a huge tick) and the Prosecco was rather tasty however the Bloody Mary's were bland, not spicy and flavourless.


It was a beautiful venue and the staff were very attentive but the food was very average.


Deon Pillay (theindependentfoodie)
tastemaker

A hidden gem in the heart of the trendy St James, "Avenue" oozes sexiness, glamour and trendiness with its Manhattan inspired interiors and artwork. With a warm, friendly welcome, impeccable service and fashionable cocktails I knew that tonight we were going to be in for a treat. Tonight we get to sample It's latest addition in the form of new head chef Domenic South. His seasonal tasting menu on paper looks like it shouldn't work but strangely it does! His exceptional marriage of seasonal produce, delicate balancing of flavour and eye for detail makes this evenings 7 course tasting menu a gastronomic success, drawning on his experience at restaurants such as the Hibiscus, Dorchester grill and international stints in Antigua and HongKong. It's clear that he has a passion for his craft, a refined palate and Michelin star aspirations. From the non descript green bean, lemon grass and almond, I was not sure what to expect. To my relief and delight a green bean palate cleaners flavoured with lemon grass and a toasted almond foam perfectly paired with a glass of Louis Roederer Quartet £9,50. It's notes of Apple, vanilla and it's biscuity mousse cut through the strong scent of lemon grass and allows you to fully appreciate the flavour of the medley of green beans and the almond foam. Next to arrive was a beautifully seared and seasoned Orkney scallop which had been lightly poached in delicate smoked ham and lime Consommé and served on bulgar wheat. This time paired with a glass of the French 2014 Domaine Saint Paul Colline, Picpoul de Pinet £7,50 , with it's citrus heart and hints of Mellon makes it a great accompaniment to this dish. Tuna tartare will never be the same again, This delightful dish or should i say work of art left me mesmerised. The gentle chilli emulsion which accompanies this dish pushes it to another level, every mouthful an explosion of flavour, accompanied by a very respectable glass of 2012 Albariño from the Marimar estate £12,50 a heavenly, silky smooth wine with hints of pineapple, Sicilian lemons and a floral nose of Jasmine. Domenic clearly understands seafood as every dish including the eagerly anticipated Sea bream, was treated with respect, subtle flavour combinations that enhance without overpowering. He delivered a well balanced, perfectly cooked fillet of Sea bream. The addition of Ceps, Trompette de la mortand , Gnocchi and chervil root sauce with lovage oil lifted it to a whole new level. Who knew wild mushrooms and fish worked so well together! Perfectly plated and paired with an £18,00 glass of Domaine Lamy, “Les Frionnes” Saint-Aubin 1er Cru 2010 worth every penny and it goes down a treat. The first of our meat dishes tonight a slow cooked lamb shoulder with coco beans, smoked garlic and squid ink. The beautiful flavour of the lamb slightly overpowered by a very rich smoked garlic and squid ink sauce. The wine choice a delicate red Jackhammer, a 2013 Pinot Noir from Central Coast,California, USA which was a delight and berrylicious @ £12,00 Next up a simply plated but explosive feast of flavour. Mango sorbet,fresh mango, vanilla and citrus cheese cake. Orgasmic and perfectly mirrored in the delightful glass of Ken Foresters "Noble late harvest 2010 Chenin blanc from South Africa £6,00 The evening comes to an end with a delightful trio of petit fours, which contained a rather interesting beetroot chocolate truffle. An exceptional evening was had, our host and restaurant General manager Jack Cohn clearly understands the value of great customer service. Attentive service, great ambience knowledgable staff who clearly take a leaf out of his book, I was impressed by his knowledge of wine and delighted by the pairings he had assembled. This place gets a respectable and well deserved 4 stars, and from this Autumn you will get to sample lots of great food, drink pairings and the opportunity to try the premium pairings. Get booking as this beautiful Manhattan style venue with its elegant bar is very popular with international guest, local hedge fund managers and foodies alike. Set menus from £25 Tasting menu from £40 Drink pairings from £20 http://www.avenue-restaurant.co.uk/

Joss B
Tastemaker

I used to go almost every weekend when Avenue first opened all those years ago and it was very good then. Today it is still good though i go only for the brunch which is good and well priced, though the service could be better and the food varies depending on what u order - pancakes can b quite stodgy, but the chicken burger v nice. The problem i suppose is that the brunch lacks that finesse and feels half premade - the Holondaise with the Eggs Benedict is pretty thin and flavourless and its hit or miss on how runny the egg is - though it maybe that its not premade and that its all in the way the kitchen is operating at capacity for a long time. 


The main a la carte may not suffer these problems but it has been too long since i last had it to comment.

Davef

I left very disappointed. Starters were expensive and small to the point where you check behind the waitress to see if she dropped anything. My foie gras had little flavour – apparently it was accompanied by gingerbread which I guess was the dust on the edge along with a couple of flavourless cherries. The main course of Jacobs Ladder I was assured would not be fatty. It was 75% fat and inedible. Puddings were fine. Service was impeccable. There's a reason it was empty at lunchtime.

Monika B

Had a fab night at the Avenue. My 2nd visit here and wanted to impress a friend. I was not let down again! Fantastic service from the moment we arrived, place was a little quiet to start off but perfect for a good catch up with my friend.

We had the chefs beef special to share, a monster portion that we could not finish. Meat was cooked to perfection with a good selection of sides.

Think they've refreshed the wine list which is well priced for the area.

A big thank you to the manageress who couldn't of been more helpful if she tried.

Alexander

Not impressed with this place at all. Starters were ok but the main dishes were an absolute disaster.I've ordered a simple burger and chips ( very hard to mess it up) and I got an over cooked patty and stale bread. My wife ordered plaice which was pretty poor as well.Service on the other hand was very good.They probably knew how rubbish the food was so they had to make up for it.

Special Offers

Set Menu: 2/3 courses £20/£25 & a glass of fizz

From a set menu, 2 courses for £20.00 or 3 courses £25.00 with a glass of Quartet sparkling wine. Not available in conjunction with any other offers.

Offer valid until Oct 31 2016

Taste of Avenue: 5 courses for £45, with drinks £65.00

Enjoy five courses for £45 per person, with wine pairings £65.00. Please note this menu is available from 27th August every Friday & Saturday evenings.

Offer valid until Oct 31 2016