After opening up to much buzz last May, Avalon seemed to drift a little below expectations. Before the year had ended, the chef was out and the menu and the look was promised a revamp. Now, Sean Jorgensen (formerly of MAYA) has taken the lead – and I was incredibly pleased with the results.
The restaurant itself hasn’t changed too much, but the overall look has gotten darker and cushier – with more gray, deep red and oak touches. The new menu is much simpler – no phyllo crusts and espuma here – and also more focused on showing off the wood grill. Yet, it’s still retained something close to the surprisingly low price point it opened with. There’s a deal available everynight for three courses: 178rmb for a salad starter, their 24-hour pork ribs and a bacon brownie.
That in itself is definitely worth checking out. While the salad portion was a bit on the small side, the pork ribs and coleslaw more than made up for it. We were given a huge rack of ribs smothered in tangy barbecue sauce with meat that melted off the bone (128rmb out of the set). The grilled snapper (148rmb) was similarly portioned – a whole fish topped with a spicy chutney. Luckily, not everything was gigantic – their vegetarian options, such as the pumpkin rissotto, were much smaller and lighter (around 80~90rmb)
Appetizers and desserts were equally reasonably priced for food that was, across the board, delicious. We especially recommend the crab soup and the avocado stuffed with mango and crab (both under 60rmb) for starters and the peanut butter cake and fruit mousse (both under 50rmb) to end off your meal. An extensive wine list with a 100+ selections helps wash it all down.
With all the sometimes mindboggling pricey establishments opening around town, it’s nice to know there’s at least some places where you can take a date, have a great fine dining experience and not completely break the bank.
Avalon is located on 2/F, Unit 19, 139 Changle Lu near Ruijin No. 1 Lu (长乐路139号). Telephone Number: 5382-0862