Avenue has been a fixture of London’s dining scene since 1996, but it still manages to come across as a thoroughly modern brasserie. Part of the D&D restaurant group, which also operates Coq d’Argent in the City and German Gymnasium in King’s Cross to name but a few, Avenue occupies a large, light-filled building at the bottom of St James’s Street.
The Russel Sage designed restaurant welcomes guests through a dedicated bar space, while further back you’ll find the main dining area, as well as an intimate private dining room. Avenue manages to fill the space with stand-out features such as the twinkling wine-glass chandelier that sits in the room's centre, and the vibrant, large-scale artworks that line the walls.
The restaurant has served a few cuisines over the years, with its menu having taken inspiration from the likes of the US, South America and Asia across its long life. These days though, D&D veteran Arnold Ivey is overseeing the kitchen, opting to serve a refined selection of meat and fish dishes which champion British ingredients.
We’re happy to report that this shift in focus works, with the menu’s unassuming yet effective dishes hitting the spot – it’s also a rare pleasure in London these days to find a menu that doesn’t require you to share. Our starter was a simple, but cleverly assembled crab salad; a mound of sweet shredded Brixham crab paired with brown crab mayonnaise, ready to spread on two slices of toast.
This simple yet effective approach appeared again in our main course, a slab of lusciously fatty pork belly with a sticky-glazed crackling topping. We padded out our main with golden tripled-cooked thick-cut chips and a bowl of creamed spinach, before rounding things off with an unashamedly sugary treat of a mixed berry sundae. This delightfully nostalgic concoction combines chocolate sauce, and strawberry and raspberry ice cream, with a final crowning coming in the form of a swirl of whipped cream.
Prices reflect the area, but deals such as the great value set lunch menu (three courses for £20) and the oyster happy hour where you can shuck away for just £1 a pop help to draw people in, and we also hear that the lively weekend brunch is quite the party destination.