I was invited to the re-opening of Avalanche, the contemporary Italian restaurant and bar recently so I brought The Bloke as my plus1 for a treat. The decor has some modern features especially the lighting design but the art has much more of a classic feel. I hate restaurants where you are crammed in like cattle but here the tables are widely spaced and the chairs are incredibly comfortable. The restaurant has three bars in total so it’s a place where people can pop into for lunch and drinks a well as a meal in the evening.
As soon as we arrived someone offered to take my coat (amazing how many restaurants don’t do this) and we were asked if we had any allergies or specific food requirements. That was the first time we stated we are vegetarian. We were given a bottle of Prosecco and a chiller for the table and our glasses were topped up by the wait staff frequently. We were told our food would arrive shortly and I asked “Just checking, you know we are both vegetarian don’t you?”. Somehow this hadn’t been convayed but I was told it would be sorted out. Another waiter came over to us in due course and asked “You are the vegetarians?” At this point we were starting to feel like an alien species, only recently discovered by mankind. After a long wait and being presented with a dirty serving plate which was immediately returned to the waiter, our food arrived. I’m actually glad there was a prawn staring up at The Bloke. If it hadn’t have been so evident he would have enthusiastically tucked in, only to be disgusted that he was eating flesh after being veggie for 17 years. According to the press release we were expecting a main course each and desert each so it was a nice surprise we got to sample a starter of tasty vegetarian bruschetta between us.
Avalanche are bucking the tradition of only stocking Italian wine and instead offer a selection of the best wines from around Europe. I was asked which type of wine I like and I asked to sample an Italian red which had rich and spicy (rather than fruity) characteristics. I was poured several glasses of wine which I really enjoyed (unfortunately I can’t find the wine on their menu and I only know how to pronounce it, rather than spell it).
When the main arrived I had such an appetite I dived straight in and forgot to take a photograph! Bad blogger! We had a dish of ale dente vegetables with thinly sliced perfectly cooked potatoes to share and a dish of roasted aubergine topped with mozzarella each, served in hot bowls on little smooth wooden palettes. The mozzarella was really baked and rather chewy, which is how I prefer cheese to be cooked (some might say means it’s actually over done). The aubergines were baked so that they were soft in the middle but still had a bit of crunch on the outside, again exactly the way that I prefer my food.
For desert we were given a selection of three mini deserts to share between us. Cheese cake which was perfectly balanced, tiramisu which was luxuriously rich and creamy and chocolate cake which I found to be quite dry. As I was still a little hungry at this point (it was late in the evening and I’d not eaten since lunch) I rather cheekily asked if I could have a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Both of us were served with two big scoops of ice cream each!
The atmosphere on the night was very relaxed with a blues singer performing classics such as ‘Dream A Little Dream Of Me’ and more contemporary Amy Winehouse songs (live performances are every Friday) and the lighting was low creating an intimate atmosphere. We’ve been to quite a few restaurants over the years but it’s been a long while since we’ve been to one with a classic romantic feel. I’d really like to give Avalanche the benefit of the doubt and assume that on a normal night – possibly with less wait staff and less people all arriving at once – there wouldn’t be so many communication problems and misunderstandings. Having looked at the menu on Avalanche’s website I am really impressed with the amount and the quality of the vegetarian options which they offer.
I was invited to this event as a guest and was not charged for food or drink.