Originally serving British, then American food to well-heeled clientele, this large D&D restaurant on super-posh St James’s Street now does more waistline-friendly, Asian-inspired fare. Some of it is excellent. Gochujang marinated rack of lamb came succulent and drizzled in a fabulous – though admittedly very English – jus. Another highlight was something that was described as ceviche, but was actually just delicious cured sea bass (just call it cured sea bass!): there was none of the requisite zing, but this was delicate, quality fish. Other dishes disappointed: a tomato and kumquat salad arrived with tasteless, fridge-cold tomatoes, and the half lobster was bland.
On the plus side, Avenue has the kind of truly excellent service you would expect on this street, right next door to John Lobb Ltd – where a pair of handmade shoes starts at £4,280. There’s also a rather spectacular chandelier made entirely out of perfectly polished wine glasses. But scruffy bits stand out: the tables look cheap; the playlist is drab muzak; most disconcertingly, the doorknob at the entrance is a fist-sized, silver ‘@’ sign. It’s a painfully naff way to push your way into such a top-dollar establishment. These aspects, and the fact that Avenue was massively over-airconditioned, made the space feel a little stiff. Still, it’s a reliable enough spot for a smart business lunch.