In a culinary distillation, Sean Jorgensen’s Avalon has toned down the molecules and dialled up the grill. We took a chance to revisit his ultra-chic spot to find that star quality comes in many forms.
Once over the delight of being attentively greeted and engaged in niceties (something oft-missed in places such as Laris and Kathleen’s Five) the menu arrives with a bouquet of warmed bread. It’s a simplification of the previous incarnation with a focus on well sourced produce.
And it works. The cured meats board (¥88) is ably represented with standouts being a vegetable terrine, veal sausage and hearty pate. We were not in awe of the salmon belly “bacon” (¥48) being that neither namesake was fully realized in texture or flavour. This was entirely forgotten with an avocado loaded with Dungeness and mango salad (¥58) which supremely combined the clean flavours and let the fresh crab shine through. Similarly redolent was a petit serving of Dungeness gnocci (¥48).
Spoilt for choice with a small menu is a gratifying position to be in. Their short list of grill-dominated mains fits the bill with contemporary offerings including snapper, 48hr short rib and Australian sirloin (~¥130-200). A Miso rack of lamb (¥168) was an evocative inversion – incomparably tender meat complemented by burly lentils, bacon and a goats cheese stuffed aubergine.
The Peanut Butter cake (¥55), a slab of nemesis-rich peanut chocolate topped with incredibly tart jelly was seemingly engineered disappointment, or so the waiter would have us believe. Much better was a silken panacotta with superfresh in-season strawberries.
Avalon is food of star calibre that will give the likes of New Heights and Table No1. A run for their money. With an intimate wine-bar atmosphere it undermines that block of the Bund, entirely appropriate for a quiet dine or a gastronomic celebration.
- 2/F, 139-19 Changle Lu, nr Ruijing Rd [map]
- ★ ★ ★ ★ ★