On February 21, Avenue restaurant in St James’s will re-launch with a new look and a menu inspired by New American cuisine created by head chef Michael Blizzard (previously at Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental London, The Dirty Habit in Hollingbourne, Kent, and three Michelin-starred Restaurant Daniel from 2004-2006, New York City).
Located on St James’s Street, the restaurant will have interiors designed by Russell Sage and a menu drawing inspiration from elements of regional American food and refining them with contemporary cooking techniques and quality ingredients that celebrate provenance and seasonality in the US. Open for lunch and dinner, Avenue will also stock an extensive range of iconic and lesser-known American wines and its bar will feature both cocktails and US and UK craft beers.
Michael Blizzard has designed a menu featuring “New American” dishes such as corn crab (fried soft shell crab with avocado, arugula and chipotle mayo); lobster mac (macaroni with chopped lobster and sauce); clam chowder (served in sour dough with littleneck clams and paper bag ‘crumbled’ bay crackers); and pig ‘loaf’ (winter truffle with caraway and smoked tomato sauce). There will also be a selection of sandwiches and burgers on offer including The Avenue Hamburger (made with USDA beef and served on a brioche bun with house hot relish and green pickle). Sharing dishes for two from the Josper Grill will include beef cuts such as the Porterhouse and KC suckling pig butt (served with spiced bacon, pecan cabbage, turnip and sweet potato bake). Desserts will include cookies and ice cream with malted chocolate sauce; New York cheese cake with English blackcurrants; and donut holes, served with cinnamon sugar, Hershey melt and bourbon custard.
Wine is set to be a focal point of Avenue, with Sommelier Andres Ituarte, previously at Lutyens restaurant, offering an excellent range of USA and French classics. The list of over 200 wines will include Sine Qua Non, a quirky Californian make that never produces the same wine twice; Cayuse Bionic Frog, a cult Washington State Syrah; and Diamond Creek, an ‘old-school’ Californian Cabernet. Additionally, Avenue will utilise the new-to-the-UK Coravin wine system, allowing diners the opportunity to taste a variety of prestige wines by the glass or ‘pail’ at their table, at Avenue’s sleek onyx Bar or at the restaurant’s spectacular decanting station.
In addition, the Bar will serve a regularly changing list of classic cocktails, inspired by the US prohibition era but with a modern house spin. Using on-trend, in-house barrel-aged bourbons and whisky blends, the bar will also display several rare prohibition-era bourbons in spirit decanters, which will be used in a list of dedicated ‘Tribute’ drinks; dedicated to innovative early 20th century bartenders who fled the USA during prohibition and took up posts in many of Europe’s grand hotel bars, ‘An American in London’ will feature classics such as the White Lady (gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and egg white served straight up) from Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. Hard favourites like the Manhattan and Rob Roy will be off-the-menu options, leaving the rest of the list to focus on relived creations including the New York Sour (Pykesville Rye, lemon juice, sugar syrup and red wine float) and Manhattan No2 (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Italian sweet Vermouth and aromatic bitters) as well as a handpicked selection of US and UK craft beers from small boutique breweries.
With a nod to American architect Rick Mather’s original design based on New York art galleries of the 1990s, the new interior will reflect elements of a Manhattan loft exhibiting works from new and upcoming artists. Wooden floors will run throughout while floor-to-ceiling white walls will allow the eye to enjoy an eclectic mix of furniture and sculptural art installations. Floor lighting will give an intimate glow in the 112-cover restaurant, with a unique chandelier made from wine glasses taking centre stage above a stunning gold decanting station in the middle of the dining room. At the entrance of Avenue, the bar will offer several levels of seating, with high at-bar-dining stools and a variety of lower leather banquettes.
Avenue opens on 21 February and, combining as it does an art-focused interior with contemporary American-inspired cuisine, looks set to be a distinctive addition to the growing restaurant scene in Mayfair.