If you are looking for a great place for a first date, or, somewhere you and your friends / partner will love with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and superb food that looks super stylish then look no further. The place you NEED to visit is Avenue in the heart of London’s St James.
I had an email through saying that “Avenue’s cuisine has been completely revamped and now focuses on Asian cuisine with a fiery South American twist and has a brand new chef in the kitchen” and asking if I would like to review it. Now, for those of you that are new to my blog I’m a foodie!!!! Food excites me. I talk about it continuously, I create my own recipes and I love visiting restaurants that I haven’t before to discover fabulous new flavours. I love Asian food and the South American twist made it even more appealing.
The restaurant of course has an A La Carte menu but in addition offers a Set Lunch on Monday and Tuesday – on the website it’s also available for dinner, Weekend Brunch, a Set Menu (what we tried) and a Bottomless Brunch.
The restaurant itself looks lovely with an enormous display of glasses which form a chandelier hanging over a bar area that has a bottle display. I went along on a Tuesday evening and it appeared to be a popular haunt for the local office staff with plenty of suits as well as groups of friends. What stood out was everyone was super polite and friendly always a good sign and so I’ve suggested this to my girl pals as a great place for drinks!!! I’m looking forward to a cocktail night hopeful soon. Not only were the clientele friendly but I will also mention the staff were amazing. The level of service here was truly exceptional and something that really does stand out in the higher end restaurants that I have visited.
I tried the new menu which apparently changes quite often, a good thing as it makes it easier to revisit often and try lot so of different delicious foods. The set menu although restricted in options, did have a selection that covered vegetarians, vegans, meat and fish lovers – that’ll be everyone then lol. It’s always good to see that they take everyone’s dietary requirements into consideration.
I will admit I wasn’t sure what to order at first as all the dishes sounded interesting. The dish that stood out the most was the Sea Bream as the taste combination sounded quite exciting.
First we enjoyed a cocktail and when they look as enticing as the one we tried you simply can’t resist. The wine list was varied and had a good selection from different regions. Wine drinkers will be in their element.
The Black Turtle
Hennessy fine cognac, sake infused with cinnamon, fresh apple juice, lemon juice and seaweed syrup garnished with mint leaves and dry lemon.
This was a super refreshing cocktail that has a strong alcoholic kick. The apple juice comes through as does them lemon, mint and cognac. This was so easy to drink, we could have sipped on them all evening but then there wouldn’t be a review to read as I would have passed out probably part way through the third one lol – yes I’m a light weight as I don’t drink often. With that in mind I moved on to sparkling water with the intention of drinking my glass of bubbly which came with the three course meal later. At this stage I simply must mention the waiter. He was brilliant, filling our glasses when they started to look half full and doing the same with all the other diners in the area we were seated. It was like he had a sixth sense, what a star!
Heritage Tomatoes, Avocado, Poached Spicy Kumquat, Thai Asparagus
What a work of art. This was beautifully presented as you can see, as was all the food we enjoyed on the evening. Fresh and full of tomatoey goodness, this is a super healthy and light starter. If you’re lacking lycopene – the amazing antioxidant that helps fight ageing and cancers then you’ll get a good dose after this. The tomatoes are plump, ripe and full of flavour. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and still had a good bite, and the kumquat gave a tasty tangy addition to the mix of flavours. All this was presented on a layer of pureed avocado. This is the ultimate in healthy food with a great mix of fresh flavours. The crispy lotus was an interesting addition to the dish and I could have eaten a bowl of these (they’re soooo good).
Avocado, Pickled Apple, Edamame and Mango Salad
Another masterpiece in design. The plate was graced by a mountain of green. I loved that there was so much avocado in the dish and the lettuce was exceptionally fresh and crisp. The pickled apple brought a delicious flavour to the dish and was somewhat addictive. The only thing that I found disappointing was that I found only two edamame beans and three teeny tiny pieces of mango hidden within – it would have been nice to have a little more of these. This was a minor oversight though as everything else was “simply fabulous” and you can quote me on that.
Seabream, Bok Choy, Jalapeno and Lime Beurre Blanc, Pickled Lotus
I’m trying to eat more fish so I thought where else to give this than a good in a restaurant that takes pride in its food. That was my best decision that day, the dish was in a word “superb” OMG, I really loved it. Why? The skin of the fish was perfectly crisp and seasoned. The fish itself was perfectly cooked and was heavenly – this is now one of my new favourite dishes ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And don’t get me started on the sauce. I quite honestly can say that this dish was wonderful. The beurre blanc was really moreish, it’s delicate flavour and light creaminess worked well with the texture and flavour of the fish and I had to fight the urge to not lick the plate as I couldn’t bare the thought of wasting it. The lotus was a welcome and interesting addition giving an interesting texture and flavour which combined well with the other flavours and textures.
Having a sweet tooth this is always my favourite part of the meal. Having seen the effort that was put into the previous dishes we had indulged in I couldn’t wait to see what we would be presented with and needless to say they didn’t fail to impress.
Madagascar Vanilla, Poached Pineapple Carpaccio, Coconut Sorbet
An interesting combination of flavours which actually work extremely well together. The portion size was larger than expected but of course that’s a positive, we all love dessert! The dish was refreshingly different and interesting to the palate. The pineapple was delicious, the coconut sorbet amazing, combined all the components complemented each other well. Even the meringue mounds hidden beneath the pretty edible yellow viola worked well. The chefs must have had fun creating this and did a great job it’s not just aesthetically pleasing it also tastes good..
Passion Fruit Cheesecake, Raspberry Jelly & White Chocolate Cream
The best dessert from the selection we both agreed on tasting, and boy was this good. It’s not just a stunning dessert it tastes exquisite. The combination of fruity, tangy and sweet is perfect and it’s the sort of dessert I could imagine seeing on a good afternoon tea. You can smell the fresh passion fruit, the white chocolate cream was incredibly light and fluffy with a sweetness that balances the tartness from the raspberries. Interestingly enough I noticed the chefs had had fun with this dish, there were 6 different forms of raspberry. The first was the layer of raspberry jelly on top of the passion fruit cheesecake, second, the fresh raspberries placed on top, thirdly, the raspberry sorbet which really was a treat, a refreshing taste of summer. Fourth, freeze dried raspberry pieces to add a texture contrast, fifth, ground freeze dried raspberry, and last but not least, the raspberry coulis dotted around the plate. This was an incredible dessert and something I really must put my mind to making myself at home for my family and friends to enjoy.
The food overall was of a very high standard, service was exceptional, the atmosphere relaxed and the restaurant itself modern and a good size as were the tables so diners did not feel packed in. The prices for the set menu were very reasonable with a two course meal and a glass of wine costing £20 and three courses with a glass of bubbles costing £25. We had a lovely evening and would highly recommend it to anyone that loves good food, you are guaranteed to love it too!
What dish excites you most from those we tried?
Enjoying this post? You can subscribe to Melanie’s Fab Finds to have posts delivered straight to your inbox once including recipes, reviews, competitions etc. before anyone else. Don’t worry I won’t spam you.
Watch our product reviews on YouTube:
I was invited to Avenue in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and pictures are my own.