Here at The Taste we don’t believe in reviewing restaurants as soon as they open, especially not on the opening night, unlike some food reviewers. Like any business, when you have a new venture with new staff everyone needs a fair chance to bed in and iron out any creases.
That being said we waited 4 weeks before venturing into review Nick Munier’s latest and greatest creation that is Avenue. Having watched the restaurant developing from idea to finished product, love him or loathe him no one can underestimate the blood, sweat and tears Munier and team have put into every inch of the place. The Taste took priority bookings online for the first 100 customers, this was over subscribed by over 350 such was the anticipation for the venue’s opening.
The ethos behind Avenue is that it is a destination, not just a restaurant or bar. Somewhere to experience good food in a casual, fun environment. Yes there are some blue chairs but that is about the only thing that has any resemblance to Pichet, Munier’s previous incarnation. Avenue is laid back, comfortable and old school cool. As soon as you hit the door the place is buzzing, so much so weekend bookings are fully booked several weeks in advance. The upstairs all day dining restaurant “Eclair de Luxe” is due to open in the next coupe of weeks so this should open up a lot more sittings to cope with the demand. There is also a private dining area for parties or corporate bookings.
We headed in last Thursday evening around 7.00pm , we were greeted by the beautiful front of house and operations director Alanna who led us to the newly opened cocktail bar downstairs. The bar itself is small but intimate with lots of provocative images adorning the walls to match the racy and interestingly named cocktails on offer. The Taste favourite was a toss up between the “Blonde Milf” and the “Bulleit Whiskey Sour”, a tough call and further sampling may be required for a definitive winner !
So onto to dinner, seated at the front of the restaurant in a spacious, comfy booth we had a look at the excellent menu and with head Chef Tom Walsh at the helm we knew we were in good hands. Not just good hands but also good company as one of the finest gentlemen in food journalism Ernie Whalley popped over to say hello, also in to see what Avenue had to offer. Munier himself is ever present on the floor and clearly knows how to work a room, it was refreshing to see how attentive he was to each table. The menu itself is well spread with a small focus on ceviche dishes with four offerings or more mainstream dishes like cote de boeuf, poached cod or breast of duck.
We started with The Roast Sea Scallops in a vierge sauce priced at €15. Most scallops starters are quite small with usually two scallops but this dish represented excellent value with 5 plump little scallops, cooked perfectly and tasting superb against the zesty lemon. Second starter was an old classic but when done right a firm favourite, Asparagus with Truffled Hollandaise and a Poached Hen’s Egg. As expected Tom’s skills shone through with a delicious bite to the asparagus blending well with the gooeyness of the egg.
At €25 the “Avenue Burger” is certainly not cheap but the quality of the meat cannot be underestimated, a 60 day dry aged smoked rib of prime beef from top butchers Higgins. A real triumph of casual dining, a crisp brioche bun packed with protein, topped with a divine lamb pancetta, pickle and juicy beef tomato. Any man’s death row meal! In an attempt to have a healthier option the second main consisted of a heavenly Seared Hake Fillet, well seasoned and topped with an inviting crunch. Placed on a bed of crunchy Bok Choi and cauliflower gently flavoured with a sweet sauternes sauce.
Dessert was a shared affair, a Pear Tarte Tatin freshly baked, which takes a little longer than most desserts on offer but so worth the wait .
The bill including two cocktails, two glasses of Lombeline Sauvignon Blanc and one coffee came to €142.05, Avenue is not a cheap date but as the old saying goes “you get what you pay for”.
This is a Hot Taste we highly recommend.
Avenue By Nick Munier
1/1A Crow Street
T: +353 (01) 6455 102